The Pat and Jerry B. Epstein American History Document Collection

The Epsteins

The Pat and Jerry B. Epstein American History Document Collection is an important collection of historical documents donated to The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 2002. Highlights of the collection include a rare surviving parchment copy facsimile of the Declaration of Independence by William J. Stone (completed in 1823), a set of autographs of all the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and a collection of autographs of Presidents of the United States up to, and including, Ronald Reagan.

Jerry Epstein writes,

My father received a Bronze Star for his combat service during the First World War, and I was raised with a deep appreciation for the freedoms we Americans enjoy in our wonderful country. Throughout my life I have been an American history buff, and I have been especially fascinated by our Founding Fathers and the trials, tribulations and sacrifices they made to establish our democracy.

I began my autograph collection over 40 years ago with a "franked envelope" bearing the signature of Thomas Jefferson. I have been thrilled to be able to assemble a unique collection of complete sets of autographs of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence and Presidential signatures from George Washington to Ronald Reagan, as well as one of the so-called "Stone rubbings" of the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps my most interesting anecdote about my experiences as a collector is about when I found myself bidding against one of America's wealthiest individuals for one of the few "Stone rubbings"; I was concerned about whether I would be able to win the bidding when a second copy of the rare document came on the market, and both of us were able to realize our dreams of owning one of the most special documents in our history.

My wife Pat and I first visited Colonial Williamsburg in the late 1950's, and we are delighted that we can make our collection available to visitors at Williamsburg and to millions around the globe who can visit this website and learn more about the Founding Fathers. Our fondest wish is that you will be inspired as we have been by their courage, conviction, and foresight.

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