In this inventive version of the Declaration of Independence, a bust portrait of George Washington appears within Thomas Jefferson’s immortal words. The Great Seal of the United States—featuring a bald eagle—sits above the text, while 36 state seals—one for each state in 1865—appear to sprout from an encircling vine. The designer of this lithograph, William Henry Pratt, also created calligraphy portraits of George Washington within the Constitution and Abraham Lincoln within the Emancipation Proclamation.


Calligraphy version of the Declaration of Independence, with the lettering shaded to create a bust length portrait of George Washington, after Gilbert Stuart's "Athenaeum" portrait. At the center of the print, within an oval reserve below the title "Declaration of Independence," the text of the Declaration is rendered in such a manner that a bust-length portrait of George Washington, facing left, emerges from the shaded words. Calligraphic flourishes create a spread eagle at top, holding an olive branch in its proper right talon, arrows in its proper left talon, and the shield of the United States at its breast. The eagle faces viewer's left and holds a ribbon in its beak with the inscription: "E Pluribus Unum." Circular emblems of thirty-six states, aligned in a U or lyre shaped chain, frame the text at the sides and bottom. At the lower left, a streaming ribbon is emblazoned "Designed and written / by W. H. Pratt / Davenport, Iowa" and at the lower right, a streaming ribbon is emblazoned "Lith. and print. / by A. Hageboeck Davenport, Iowa."

The print is affixed to board and is backed with a brown striped printed paper emblazoned "Birge - Made in USA" along one long edge.


c. 1865




Ink on paper, board; calligraphy, lithography


Overall: 25 3/4 in. x 21 1/2 in. x 1/8 in. (65.41 cm x 54.61 cm x 0.32 cm)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Richard Burrus, Albert Small, Ann West, and the Broyhill Family Foundation, 2012


On obverse, printed in black ink:
On the ribbon in the eagle's mouth: "E/ Pluribus / Unum."
Above the main text: "Declaration of Independence."
On the ribbon at lower left, in script lettering: "Designed and written / by W. H. Pratt / Davenport, Iowa."
On the ribbon at lower right, in script lettering: "Lith. and print. / by A. Hageboeck Davenport, Iowa."

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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