‘Hoo? What? Where?’ Explore This Rare Copy of the Declaration of Independence

June 30, 2023 By Jane Kelly, jak4g@virginia.edu Jane Kelly, jak4g@virginia.edu

The University of Virginia is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of items related to the American Declaration of Independence.

Largely penned by Thomas Jefferson, the nation’s third president and UVA’s founder, the document declaring the United States’ independence from Britain was adopted July 4, 1776.

The Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection is housed in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, which is also home to an extensive exhibit about the famous document.

Albert Small, a 1946 UVA graduate, began donating his curated collection to the University in 1999. It contains rare letters, books and assorted documents related to the preparation, production and printing of the Declaration.

As the nation prepares to celebrate it 247th Independence Day, UVA Today combed through the Small Declaration of Independence Collection for a rarely seen printing of the seminal document.

This broadside was published in 1866. Here is a description if it from the Special Collections Library:

“A very elaborately decorated lithograph. The title is surmounted by an eagle holding two American flags. The seal of the United States appears in the center of the sheet, with the text of the Declaration of Independence, forming an oval around it; ‘Declaration of Independence’ is printed around the top half of the oval.

“The Declaration is encircled by 16 small ovals, each containing information about one of the 16 presidents, with Washington at top and Lincoln at bottom. The presidential ovals are flanked on each side by a column with an eagle perched on top. The two eagles are holding a chain from which is suspended 13 shields, each bearing information about one of the 13 original colonies.

“A secondary title, ‘The Thirteen United Colonies in order as they adopted the Constitution,’ is printed above the chain. The names of other states, with dates of admission to the union, are printed around the lower half of the central oval, and names and dates of major Revolutionary War battles are printed on ribbons wrapped around the columns, with names of other battles printed along the bottom of the sheet.”

Now that the history lesson is over, explore the document for yourself and see if you can find the designated objects. Click or tap your screen when you find an object in this latest installment of Hoo? What? Where? The fun game is timed and you can share your results, just like Wordle.


  • 1866
  • Great seal
  • June 25, 1788
  • Left-handed soldier
  • Lion
  • No Date State
  • Scale
  • Third President
  • I Surrender

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Rare copy of the Declaration of Independence


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Media Contact

Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications