SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Anyone searching for a physical reminder of the American Revolution should look no further than the Southborough Public Library, where Southborough's copy of the Declaration of Independence is on display.
The copy of the Declaration is unlike the broad sheet of paper on display at the National Archives.
According to Southborough Historical Society President David Falconi, the Southborough's version is known as a Dunlap copy, named after Philadelphia printer John Dunlap, who created printed broadsheets that were distributed to every city and town in the thirteen colonies.
It was in mid-July, 1776, when a rider from Boston delivered to Southborough its copy. Rev. Nathan Stone, the town's first minister, who read the declaration to his congregation during a Sunday service, according to Falconi.
"In those days, that's how you found out the news, by going to church," Falconi said.
He continued: "As this document was delivered to town, the same thing was happening throughout the colonies."
By this time, the people of Southborough were already active in the Revolution, so news of independence may not have been a total surprise, Falconi said. Southborough had sent a militia to fight in the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775, but arrived too late. That militia did harass British troops during the Redcoats' march to Boston, Falconi said.
"Still, it was a big step," Falconi said, noting that revolutionaries "could all be hung for treason."
According to Falconi, the Southborough Historical Society has been in possession of the town's copy of the declaration since the society's founding in 1965. However, it was kept in the state archives until 2001.
The copy appears in excellent condition. John Hancock's name is in bold print (not script), on the front. On the reverse, Falconi said, the inscription "Rev. Stone" is written.
"It just looks like a piece of paper, but when you think about, this is the document that stated, 'Screw England, we're outta here,'" Falconi said.
The document went on display on Monday, and will be available for public viewing along with other Revolutionary War memorabilia until at least mid-July.
"Anyone who sees it is amazed," Falconi said. "That's the beginning of our freedom, as we know it today."