29 December 2015

Though not common -- rare documentary treasures are found in unexpected places

We do know that sometimes there are pivotal events in history and people’s lives and often it’s less stressful to want to assume that the world won’t be any different is we throw something away, don’t take an action, etc.

This article seems to want to elevate our “game” by using the tagline “The obvious lesson: never throw anything away.” Pack rats everywhere are feeling the pressure.  No more than I as I just threw a whole bunch of old papers into my recycling box.  Fingers crossed that a significant piece of history has NOT just been lost.

The story of the intern goes ...

What Gruchow had found misfiled among the doctor’s papers was a draft of a document entitled “The Twelve United Colonies, by their Delegates in Congress, to the Inhabitants of Great Britain.”

... Until Gruchow’s discovery, no manuscript was known to exist and even its authorship was undetermined. The Continental Congress had originally appointed delegates Robert R. Livingston, Richard Henry Lee, and Edmund Pendleton to the task, but the printed version was unsigned. According to scholars, it’s evident from this recent discovery that Livingston was the primary author (the manuscript is in his hand, with notes and edits by Lee). Livingston, incidentally, was one of the five men assigned one year later to write the Declaration of Independence, along with Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Roger Sherman...

This find again reminds us that not ALL documents of historical significance have necessarily yet been found.

This reminded me of another article from earlier in the year, Rare Civil War document, discovered in drawer, outlines rights for NC's ex-slaves.

Sometimes, history can be found in the strangest places.

Like stuffed in the back of an underwear drawer.

That's where Angela Smith-Crumpler, a 61-year-old Raleigh-area lawyer, discovered a rare, crucial document that helped North Carolina stumble to its feet after the Civil War.

And, if things work out, General Order No. 46 - which outlined the rights and responsibilities of newly freed slaves in the state - will be a centerpiece of the North Carolina Civil War History Center planned for Fayetteville...

Keep this in mind when you are exploring and/or emptying out any old building.  You never know what you might discover hidden.

What stories have you heard about forgotten or unknown documents coming to light?

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