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Constitution Center Deal Will Bring an Original ‘Bill of Rights’ to Philadelphia

National Constitution Center
Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The National Constitution Center will exhibit an original copy of the Bill of Rights beginning next year.

President George Washington had fourteen copies of the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution) drawn up back in 1789 — one for the federal government and one for each of the 13 states.

James Vaughn, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, says 12 copies have survived.

“New York’s and Georgia’s copies are believed to have been destroyed in fires, and Pennsylvania’s went missing in the 19th century,” he says.

The New York Public Library acquired what is believed to be Pennsylvania’s copy in 1896.

Now, after four years of negotiations that were heated at times, Pennsylvania and the New York Public Library have agreed to jointly care for the document for the next 100 years.

“Now, we’re going to be able to display one of the original documents,” Gov. Tom Corbett said today at the Constitution Center.

Beginning in 2014, the document will be on display at the Constitution Center for three years.