Delaware’s Bill of Rights Returns to the Delaware Public Archives
(DOVER, Del.) – Appearing in Delaware for the first time in three years, Delaware’s copy of the Bill of Rights is now on display in the Charter Room of the Delaware Public Archives. One of the most important documents in the First State’s history, this parchment original of the Bill of Rights is the copy that was transmitted by President George Washington to Governor Joshua Clayton of Delaware and which, when acted upon by the Delaware General Assembly, was returned to President Washington affirming this state’s approval.
Delaware’s Bill of Rights is unique because the Delaware General Assembly did not create and send a separate response to the Federal Government. Instead, the Delaware General Assembly added its ratifying resolution, the signatures of George Mitchell, Speaker of the Council, and Jehu Davis, Speaker of the House of Assembly, and the Great Seal of the State to the original parchment copy. This document was then returned to President Washington who informed Congress of Delaware’s ratification on March 8, 1790 and deposited the original document in the office of the U.S. Secretary of State. The document is usually housed in the National Archives but is on loan to the State of Delaware for the next three months. It will be on display at the Delaware Public Archives, 121 Duke of York Street in Dover, until July 2, 2012. The public may visit Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., and Sundays 1:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Since the document is the basis of so many freedoms that Delawareans and all Americans enjoy, school groups of all ages are encouraged to come to the Delaware Public Archives to view the Bill of Rights and learn about the history behind such treasured American rights as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. To set up a tour of the Bill of Rights and the Delaware Public Archives, please contact the First State Heritage Park at (302) 739-9194 or Danielle.Campagnini@state.de.us.
For more information about the Delaware Public Archives, please visit the website. You can also become a follower of the Archives Facebook page and read the Archives blog to learn more about events and other items of interest at the Archives.
The Delaware Public Archives (DPA, archives.delaware.gov), an agency of the State of Delaware, is one of the oldest public archives programs in the United States. DPA serves the citizens of Delaware by identifying, collecting, and preserving public records of enduring historical and evidential value; ensuring access to public records for present and future generations; and advising and educating interested parties in the creation, management, use, and preservation of public records.