Christopher P. Stephens, Bookman

Chris Stephens has been a book dealer since 1965 - earlier if you count childhood buying and selling.

Stephens has sold major collections to university libraries all over the world. He has operated appealing bookstores in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, Hastings on Hudson, NY and several in NYC, NY. He is a wholesale dealer to other bookstores all over the world.

Chris loves books.

Stephens now maintains a lively internet operation out of his new home in Scranton, PA.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

John Hancock and the Declaration of Independence


John Hancock put the most famous signature to the Declaration of Independence even though he was not the most famous signer.  His signature made its way into riverrun en route to The University of Texas. 
The document was an appointment, of someone name Robbins, to military office.  Hancock signed in his capacity as governor of Massachusetts. With awe, I scanned the document.
The Hancock signature is large and bold.  He signed the Declaration of Independence as the president of the Continental Congress.  The confidence expressed in that signature lent additional authority the Declaration that we celebrate today.

But isn’t it interesting that we have selected that document, that event, to mark the beginning of our country?
Lots of revolutionary activity went on beforehand.  The Committees of Correspondence were established well before 1776.  The Boston Tea Party took place in 1773 and the First Continental Congress met in 1774.  Those key early battles at Lexington & Concord were fought in 1775 and so was the Battle of Bunker Hill.
The Green Mountain Boys captured Fort Ticonderoga and valuable cannons and the Second Continental Congress sent “The Olive Branch Petition” to King George lll all before the Declaration of Independence was issued.

If I were writing the history books, I wouldn’t date the beginning of the USA to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  I would date it neither from the restive disturbances and outright battles of the early 1770s nor from any of the many battles of the Revolutionary War, not even the one at Yorktown in 1781 when General Cornwallis surrendered.
For myself, I select the 1787 summer of the Constitutional Convention as the birth of the United States of America.  My USA is 230 years old this summer.  Not everyone would agree, but I have my reasons. Nevertheless, I am perfectly happy to celebrate on this day that others have chosen.
Actually, I am impressed with my fellow Americans in selecting the publication of our Declaration of Independence as the most significant moment in the birth legend of our country. 

It is with the glory of oratory, not of battle, that we choose to date our beginning.

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