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Declaration of Independence

Explore ways to learn more about the Declaration, including primary and secondary resources, and teaching tools.

Primary Sources in Special Collections

Washington University Libraries owns a substantial collection of primary sources related to early American history, including a number of documents written and signed by influential figures and books from the personal library of the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson. Learn more about these resources and others using the tabs below.

Books from Thomas Jefferson's Library

Washington University Libraries houses 74 volumes (33 titles) from the library of Thomas Jefferson, the third largest collection of his books in the world. These volumes were originally acquired by the University in 1880 as part of a larger collection from the library of Joseph Coolidge, who had married Jefferson's granddaughter. However, the University was unaware that the books were part of the collection until they were discovered by a researcher in 2011.

Books Owned by George Washington

WashU Libraries owns two books that were originally from the library of George Washington and contain his bookplate.

Manuscripts Written By or To Founding Fathers

WashU Libraries owns a number of letters and other documents written by or to the founding fathers and other important figures in American history. These include: