July 4, 1776 to July 4, 2008
On July 4, 1776 John Dunlap printed approximately 200 copies of The Declaration of Independence as a broadside."There is evidence that it was done quickly, and in excitement — watermarks are reversed, some copies look as if they were folded before the ink could dry and bits of punctuation move around from one copy to another. 'We were all in haste,' John Adams later wrote."
Surprisingly these printed broadsides are the earliest records of the final draft of the document, as the manuscript dated July 4, 1776 in the National Archives was back-dated, and the manuscript from which Dunlap worked has never been found. Today 25 copies of the Dunlap broadside remain extant, mostly in institutions.