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Rare copy of Declaration of Independence in Perham

PERHAM - A rare, early printing of one of mankind's most important documents will be on display in East Otter Tail -- just in time for the 4th of July holiday weekend.

The document will be unveiled July 4 at the "In Their Own Words" Veterans Museum in Perham.

Elegant in language, compelling in reason, the Declaration of Independence is this nation's most cherished symbol of liberty.

Proof that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword, this simple piece of parchment changed forever the course of history in ways that wars, which often resulted in the substitution of one tyrant for another, had never done.

The idea of colonial independence gained momentum with the work from another pen, Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense.

Published in January of 1776, it sold by the thousands. Then in June, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented Congress with a motion to sever all political connection between the United Colonies and the State of Great Britain. Congress appointed a Committee of Five to prepare a declaration and the young Thomas Jefferson was chosen to draft the document.

On July 4, 1776 Congress approved the Declaration of Independence and it was formally adopted by unanimous vote of all the colonies represented.

That evening, between 100 and 200 broadsides were printed at the shop of John Dunlap, of which 25 are known to be in existence.

A few days later, John Dunlap created a unique printing of the Declaration on parchment. In 1823, two hundred official parchment copies were made for the Department of State by engraver William J. Stone. A number of unofficial copies were also made.

The original Declaration of Independence is in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.

A rare, early edition of the Declaration of Independence will be on display at ITOW Veterans Museum beginning July 4th. The fragile document is on loan to the museum from a private collector.

The ITOW Veterans Museum is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m.

Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for students. Admission is free for everyone on July 4th. Veterans are admitted free every day.

For more information call 218-346-7678 or visit -- Perham Enterprise Bulletin