Posts Tagged ‘Declaration’

Nearing The End

September 20th, 2013 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments

Declaration_Smaller

This post is part apology, part celebration. After five years of research, books, libraries and writing, writing, writing, I have at last finished my manuscript about the Declaration of Independence! Five years! In addition to moving, reparing an historic house, running a business and publishing Bonjour 40, I filled in my spare time doing this. I have been weepy all week and thrilled beyond measure. So, yaaaaay!

This post is in part an apology, because in the last month in order to finish the last hundred or so pages, I have ignored many of you. I’ve been delinquent with communication, forgotten to do a few things, and been late to more than one event. For all of you who wondered what happened, I was just spending time 237 years ago, and they didn’t have internet then.

I have been writing the book chronologically, and from page one to the end. So in this last month, these fictitious people have finally been performing my scenes I outlined for them years ago. It’s been joyous. Emotional. Thrilling. As a friend said, “It’s epic. What you’re writing is epic.” I hope so. My characters have at last become who I knew they could be.

Yes, there will be more edits (I’ve already done numerous edits). Yes, there will be plenty of work ahead to find an agent, a publisher, and readers. However, for those who are already asking what’s next… Please just let me swim in THE END until my fingers get all pruny. For just a little while.

Pauline Maier

August 16th, 2013 • by Karen A. Chase • No Comments

paulinemaier

One of the books I have referenced while writing my novel about the Declaration is American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence by Pauline Maier. Fairly early into my research I found her book, and when I still had a question or two I e-mailed her. Within a day, she responded.

This wonderful, insightful historian died this week, at age 75, and rather than take up space here with my words, I instead urge you to read the New York Times article by Douglas Martin, Pauline Maier, Historian Who Described Jefferson as ‘Overrated,’ Dies at 75.

Her enthusiasm will be missed. In her book, she writes of being able to see the Declaration in Washington for the first time. “Curiosity more than anything sent me rushing through the hot summer air across the mall to the National Archives.”

Me, too, Pauline. Me, too.

July 4th: Not Independence Day

July 4th, 2013 • by Karen A. Chase • 1 Comment
The Dunlap Broadside first printed on July 4th. From the held at the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The Dunlap Broadside first printed on July 4th. From the held at the Yale University Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

As you fire up the BBQ and ready your fireworks, you should realize you are technically not celebrating “independence,” but celebrating the Declaration of Independence. Here’s why.

The day the founding fathers voted to approve the resolution for independence was actually July 2nd, 1776. On that day, Americans agreed to kiss the Crown goodbye. (They didn’t agree unanimously–note how that word is missing on the above image–until July 15th though, because it took New York a while to agree to the resolution.) After July 2nd, came the drafting of a formal declaration which Congress debated and edited for a couple of days. By the time they had approved the document, it was July 4th. That’s the date that appeared on the first printed copies of the Declaration, also known as “broadsides.” (A sheet of paper printed on one side.) There were about 200 or so of those printed by John Dunlap of Philadelphia.

All along we’ve celebrated independence on July 4th, because that’s the date the public first saw printed on the broadsides. There were no signatures on these copies, because they were typeset. The big Declaration of Independence, the parchment most of us recognize with the signatures at the bottom, didn’t come until later.

As for those original 200 broadsides, there were 24 known copies up until 1989. Then a painting was bought for $4 at a flea market for the frame. Behind the canvas was a 25th copy. It sold for $2.4 million. A 26th copy was “found” in the National Archives is Kew, England in 1990.