In 1896, a trustee of the New York Public Library donated to it one of the most important documents in American history – one of fourteen original copies of the Bill of Rights. Since then, the library has kept the bill hidden away for preservation purposes. But in a little over a year from now, thanks to a $600,000 display and preservation case, the bill will finally be brought out for public viewing. The president of the library, Tony Marx, described the document as being in “prime condition and ready to inspire and educate the public now and in the future.”
Because the library has entered into an agreement to share the Bill of Rights with Pennsylvania, it will only be displayed alternately. The agreement springs partially from a historic dispute about whether New York rightfully owns this copy of the Bill of Rights; some historians believe that the copy was stolen from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There’s no way to prove where the library’s copy of the bill was obtained, so New York and Pennsylvania have settled on a truce that involves displaying the bill in the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia in the beginning of 2014. You’ll be able to see the history-making and scandal-causing document at the New York Public Library in the fall of 2014, the year of the 225th anniversary of the bill’s proposal and drafting by Congress.