Declaration of Independence Broadside

After delegates gathered at Washington-on-the-Brazos in March of 1836 to form the new government of the Republic of Texas, they sent a handwritten copy of the Texas Declaration of Independence to the town of San Felipe de Austin for printers there to produce a broadside version for wider distribution. The printers were Baker & Bordens, a small company that handled other orders from the Texas government and published the newspaper, the Telegraph and Texas Register. Baker & Bordens took the order to publish 1,000 broadsides of the Declaration of Independence from Mexico. They also printed the text in the March 12, 1836, edition of their newspaper, where they apologized for neglecting to add the names of two signers of the document, including the author of the declaration, George Childress.

July 6, 1836, printing record, Baker & Bordens. Texas Secretary of State public printing records, 1835-1836.

The State Archives has in its holdings an itemized record with charges for producing the Declaration of Independence, along with the Travis Letter written from Bejar (the Alamo) on February, 24, 1836, and the announcement of the fall of the Alamo. (Click the image below for a closer view of these items.)

Close-Up: July 6. 1836, printing record, Baker &Bordens. Texas Secretary of State public printing records, 1835-1836.

The disruptive activities of the Texas Revolution during that time caused citizens to flee their settlements, and the printed handbills of the declaration were largely lost to history. The State Archives acquired its copy as part of the Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers in 1909. Lamar was the second president of the Republic, and the document certainly would have been significant to someone in his position.

Main Broadside, Texas Declaration of Independence, March 2, 1836. Mirabeau B. Lamar Papers, 1909/001-344.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, several printed forgeries of the broadside were created and eventually sold to collectors as originals. When a rare book dealer, W. Thomas Taylor, noticed a suspicious number of broadsides coming up for sale he began comparing copies. In his 1991 book, Texfake: An Account of the Theft and Forgery of Early Texas Printed Documents, he identified 12 original copies of the broadside in libraries, museums, and private collections and ten forgeries. The Lamar copy at the State Archives has been authenticated as a genuine imprint and was featured in a 1995 Antiques Roadshow segment on the topic. One tell-tale sign of a forgery is the word “denies” is misspelled as “donies.” In addition to the broadside version of this historical document, the State Archives also preserves an even rarer copy of the hand-written manuscript.

Read the full transcription of the Declaration of Independence here:

2 thoughts on “Declaration of Independence Broadside

  1. Why would Mr Childress and his uncle Mr Robertson be left out of the declaration if he was the author of the declaration and they were representives of the county that they were in charge

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