FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 21, 2009
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
Tel: (804) 342-9665 | Email:
Contact: Stacy Skelly, Director of Communications, Pearson
Tel: (202) 431-5302 | Email:
Rare Copy of the Declaration of Independence Comes to Richmond
For One Day Only Visitors Can See Precious Document for Free at the Virginia Historical Society
Richmond, VA—On Saturday, October 24, from 10 am to 3 pm, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS)
will display one of only twenty-six known original printed copies of the Declaration of Independence. The document—coming to Virginia thanks to the Pearson Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Pearson, the global leader in education
and education technology—is one of close to 200 broadsides (large posters) created from Thomas Jefferson's original
draft by twenty-nine-year-old print shop owner John Dunlap. Ordered by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776,
Dunlap's printed copies of the Declaration of Independence were distributed the next day to the thirteen states, King
George in England, and George Washington to be read to the soldiers of the Continental Army.
"This is an amazing opportunity for our community because this Dunlap broadside is the only traveling copy of
the Declaration of Independence and has never before been on display in Virginia," Paul A. Levengood, VHS President
and CEO, said. "We want as many people as possible to be able to view the document, which is why the Society is
offering free admission all day on October 24th while it is on display."
Until 1989, only twenty-four of Dunlap's broadsides were known to have survived. That year, a man purchased a
framed painting in a Philadelphia flea market for $4. Upon examining a tear in the back of the painting, he discovered the
copy of the Declaration of Independence, which is in excellent condition.
Once authenticated, the broadside—the 25th known copy—was put up for auction. It was purchased by Norman
Lear and his wife Lyn for $8.1 million. The Lears established a nonprofit company, Declare Yourself, to travel the
document around the country. Declare Yourself is a national, nonpartisan, not-for-profit campaign to energize and
empower every young person in America to register and vote.
"Seeing the Declaration of Independence firsthand enables Virginians to engage in a unique and exciting way with
a piece of history that is the foundation of our nation, helping to build their community and civic awareness," Pearson's
Vice President Riley Wade said. "Pearson believes that by bringing this document to students and to the community, we
can help education come alive as people learn about the history of our country."
Pearson, in conjunction with Declare Yourself, is sponsoring other Declaration of Independence events in the
Commonwealth, including Monticello on October 21, the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library in Virginia Beach on
October 22, and the Virginia Council for the Social Studies annual meeting at the Richmond Convention Center on
"As educators, we are honored to travel to districts around the country, providing students with the rare
opportunity to see, and not just read about, this important document," said Mark Nieker, President of the Pearson
Foundation. "It's especially gratifying to get the chance to bring the Declaration to Virginia, where it was created."
"We are grateful to organizations like Declare Yourself and Pearson that place such a high value on getting this
historic document in front of citizens all across this nation," Levengood added. "Like the VHS, these groups are inspired
by history and share in our mission to collect, preserve, and interpret the past for the education and enjoyment of present
and future generations."
The Virginia Historical Society For more than 178 years, the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) has been the steward of our state—and often national—history. Headquartered in Richmond, the VHS features award-winning exhibitions that are entertaining and educational for visitors of all ages. Although designated the Official State Historical Society, the VHS is a privately funded non-profit organization that relies on contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations to sustain its operations. Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–5 pm and Sunday 1 pm–5 pm (shop and museum galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+, $3/students, free/under 18 and free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Sundays. For group tour information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, call (804) 358-4901 or visit www.vahistorical.org.
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today's digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is
demonstrated in the company's investment in innovative print and digital education materials for pre-K through college, student
information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs and testing,
and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. Pearson's comprehensive offerings help inform targeted instruction
and intervention so that success is within reach of every student at every level of education. Pearson's commitment to education for
all is supported by the global philanthropic initiatives of the Pearson Foundation. For more information, visit www.pearson.com.
Declare Yourself is a national nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign to empower and encourage every eligible 18–29 year-old in America to register and vote in local and national elections. Using the power of strategic media and retail partnerships, celebrity spokespeople, and most importantly, mobile and Internet technology, Declare Yourself's campaign blankets the landscape of popular culture, as well as universities and high schools, with a simple, clear message: REGISTER and VOTE! Since 2004, Declare Yourself has registered almost 4 million young people via on-line registration tools, on-location efforts and contests. For more information, visit www.declareyourself.com.