Contact the NJ State Archives
Mailing Address:
NJ State Archives
P.O. Box 307
Trenton, NJ 08625-0307

Office Address:
225 West State Street - 2nd Floor
Trenton, NJ

Contact Information

Document recovery and amnestry public notice missing documents

New Jersey celebrates 345th birthday - WHYY

Trenton displays copy of Declaration of Independence -

Hundreds turn out in Trenton to view rare copy of Declaration of Independence - New Jersey News Room

Reason to Celebrate Everything Jersey
- NBC Philadelphia

NJ marks 345th birthday with rare document display -

New Jersey celebrates 345th birthday - Philadelphia Inquirer


Secretary of State Wells, DARM Director Niederer and Governor Corzine look at Declaration of Independence in NJ State Archives vault

Governor Corzine and Erika Johansson walk out of vault with Declaration of Independence
Fife and Drum Corps lead procession from NJ State Archives to NJ State Museum
Governor Corzine walking with Declaration of Independence

  Governor Corzine speaking at ceremony   Marc Mappen emcees the event
Secretary of State Wells welcoming guests

  Lucille Davies, Commissioner of Education

  Award acceptance
Governor Corzine cuts New Jersey's birthday cake   Erika Johansson speaks with guests about Declaration of Independence   Karl Niederer discusses the importance of the Duke of York release

New Jersey celebrates 345th birthday

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

By: Phil Gregory

New Jersey celebrated its 345th birthday yesterday with celebrations in Trenton.

State officials, teachers and students gathered at the State Museum to get a look at two special documents: the 1664 charter establishing New Jersey as a British colony and the only copy of the Declaration of Independence that tours the country.

Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells says it’s important to celebrate the state’s founding and New Jersey’s historic venues.

Mitchell Wells: The historic piece is a huge part of our travel and tourism industry. Cultural and heritage tourism are really growing areas and bring a lot of revenue to the state.

New Jersey earned the opportunity to display the copy of the Declaration of Independence because students at schools in the state were winners of a National Mock Election campaign last fall.

Back to top

Trenton displays copy of Declaration of Independence

Thursday, June 25, 2009

By Derek Harper

TRENTON - When, in the course of human events, a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence comes to Trenton, a decent respect to the nation's history impels hundreds of people to see it.

And so it was Wednesday, when several hundred people visited the state library in the capital complex to see the so-called "Dunlap broadside" declaration on New Jersey Day, the 345th anniversary of the founding of the state as a British colony.

The declaration is one of 25 copies known to exist out of about 200 that were printed by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap to spread the word of the 1776 revolt.

It is not the familiar, hand-lettered document signed with a flourish by John Hancock that remains in the National Archives. Instead, it is an off-white sheet on which the colonies' grievances are printed, as is the name of Hancock, then-president of Congress.

The document was famously found behind a painting a person bought for its nice frame at a flea market in 1989 for $4. Most recently, sitcom writer Norman Lear and his wife, Lyn, bought it for $8.1 million in 2000 and dedicated it to public display.

The state earned the right to showcase the document - from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday and today in the state museum at 205 W. State St. in Trenton - through its heightened involvement in the 2008 National Student/Parent Mock Election campaign.

Gov. Jon S. Corzine told the mix of schoolchildren, teachers and curious onlookers that democracy can only thrive with participation.

"Today we mark New Jersey's 345th anniversary and reflect on the state's unique role in contributing to the growth and progress of America," Corzine said. "Having an original copy of the Declaration of Independence here on display reinforces this fact, and showcases the civic pride of New Jersey schoolchildren for their impressive interest in the Democratic process."

Also on display is the royal grant issued June 24, 1664, by James, Duke of York, to John Lord Berkeley and Sir George Cartaret, the original proprietors of the Colony of New Jersey.

Among the several hundreds who filed slowly past the documents were children in Christina Guzman's 5th-grade class from the Upper Freehold Regional School District.

The district ended classes June 17, making Wednesday a rare summer vacation class field trip. However, her 11-year-old students Ashley Mruk, Madison Nevins and Morgan Gravatt all thought it was worth it.

"I thought it was, like, really cool that we still have a real copy from history that we got to learn about in school and actually got a chance to come here in the summer and see it," Nevins said. "I was, like, really excited because this was my first time seeing it."

Hundreds turn out in Trenton to view rare copy of Declaration of Independence
Wednesday, 24 June 2009

By Tom Hester Sr.

On the night of July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson completed the Declaration of Independence he had authored in Philadelphia and excitedly hurried to have 200 broadsides printed for distribution throughout the colonies.

Wednesday, nearly 233 years later, one of the 25 remaining copies, believed to be among the first printed, showing its wrinkles and slightly faded, went on display amid pomp and ceremony at the State Museum in Trenton.

Over 400 people, including Gov. Jon Corzine, turned out as part of a celebration of the state's 345th "birthday," to see the historic document and a copy of a land grant that led to the establishment of the English colony of New Jersey on June 24, 1664.

The public has one more chance to see the declaration without charge at the museum from 10 am. to 3 p.m., Thursday before it moves on to Juneau, Al. where it will be part of a July 4th celebration.

Corzine described the declaration's display as a spectacular moment for New Jersey.

"This is one of the most historic documents in the history of mankind,'' he said as he stood near the locked glass case that holds the document. "We are so proud we have a chance to display these documents side by side.''

New Jersey earned the opportunity to display the declaration because of the widespread participation by New Jersey school children in a mock presidential election in the autumn sponsored by the non-profit voter registration organization, Declare Yourself.

"Our future is secure if young people understand democracy demands participation,'' the governor said.
The pomp and ceremony began with Corzine and Erika Johansson of Los Angeles, the Declare Yourself program coordinator, removing the heavy metal case in which the declaration travels from the State Archives vault under the guard of state Troopers Clifford Pollard and Rasheed Joaquin.

State Archivist Karl Niederer oversees the vault where the declaration and land grant were stored. "These are documents that record seminal events in New Jersey history of the highest order,‘' he said. "They connect today's New Jerseyans with a people and what we are as a state.''

A procession along West State Street with the Old Barracks Fife and Drum Corps leading the way, the musicians dressed in British redcoat uniforms, and followed by Corzine carrying the metal case, troopers and an honor guard of a dozen students from Trenton, Ewing, East Hanover and Upper Freehold.

"Guess what's inside here?'' Corzine asked the children as they surrounded him. "The declaration,'' one of them shouted. "Are you going to protect me now if anybody comes after us?'' the governor then asked.

The copy of the declaration Corzine carried has even more colorful history than other copies.

Johansson said that in 1989, a man wandering in a Pennsylvania flea market purchased a painting he admired for $4. Later, while inspecting a tear in the back of the painting, he discovered the copy where it had been folded and forgotten. The man sold the document for $1.1 million and writer Norman Lear purchased it for $8.1 million in 2000. Lear, the founder of Declare Yourself, has had the document displayed nationwide. It travels with two armed guards.
Johansson said Lear's copy is believed to be one of the first printed because it bears "ghost printing,‘' and smudges from a printing press still initially wet with ink.

State Historical Commission Director Marc Mappen said the land that is now the state was called Lorraine, New Sweden and New Netherlands before June 24, 1664 when James, the Duke of York presented a portion of the land to Sir John Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret in recognition of their loyalty to the crown during the English Civil Way.
Described by one of the duke's followers as some of the "most improvabelest land'' held by James, the new colony was called Nova Caesaria or New Jersey.

Niederer said of the hand-written land grant, "This document, in a very real sense, is New Jersey's birth certificate. Our unique identity and history as New Jerseyans begins here.''

For more information on the viewing see: or or

Back to top


New Jersey turned 345 years old

Wednesday and we gotta say that the Garden State could easily pass for much younger, maybe 315.

Normally friends and family gather to celebrate a loved ones birthday over cake and candles. But, a state celebrates a little differently.

Jerseyeans celebrated their state in style at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton Wednesday afternoon.

After nearly three and half centuries the Garden State kicked it old school -- two priceless historical documents were put on public display and special tours of Jersey history were given.

Heck, over the past 50 years the state became more known for Bon Jovi, the Jersey Shore and hair product than for its rich history. So, this birthday was a great chance to show off some of the state's past.

State officials including Gov. Jon Corzine, Secretary of State Nina Wells and the Department of Education Commissioner Lucille Davy were in the house to celebrate.

Students and teachers were recognized for their achievements in history at the event. There was also a slide show of student projects from around the state.

And, special tours of the State House, State Archives and the World War II Memorial were given to Jerseyeans.

And of course some special papers were displayed. The first document was the birth certificate that established New Jersey back on June 24, 1664. The second document was an original copy of the Declaration of Independence printed on July 4, 1776.

And, don't worry, the folks in N.J. knew that you can’t have a birthday without cake. Those who attended got to taste the 345th birthday cake for the Garden State.

For those history buffs out there who want to know more about the background of Jersey visit the state's Web site.

And, don't worry if you want to celebrate Jersey in your own style by listening to Bon Jovi's "Living on Prayer," feel free.

Back to top


NJ marks 345th birthday with rare document display

The Associated Press

TRENTON, N.J. - A joint display of New Jersey's two "birth certificates" is highlighting an observance of the 345th anniversary of the state's founding as a British proprietary colony.

One of the documents is the June 24, 1664 Royal Grant issued by King Charles II's brother James, Duke of York, establishing an English colony called New Jersey.

The other is an original copy of the Declaration of Independence printed on July 4, 1776.

Both will remain on display at the State Museum in Trenton through 3 p.m. Thursday.

New Jersey earned the opportunity to display the rare copy of the Declaration thanks to the widespread participation of Garden State students in voter education and mock election activities last fall.

Back to top


New Jersey celebrates 345th birthday

By Megan DeMarco

An original copy of the Declaration of Independence, printed by Philadelphian John Dunlap on the day it was signed, was an honored guest yesterday at New Jersey's 345th birthday party.

The rare document and the original royal grant establishing the English colony of New Jersey on June 24, 1664, helped commemorate New Jersey Day. Both will remain on exhibit at the State Museum in Trenton today.

"We are so proud that we have a chance to display those two documents side by side," Gov. Jon S. Corzine said.

The Declaration of Independence is one of 25 known existing copies of the "Dunlap imprint." Dunlap printed 200 in his Philadelphia shop after Thomas Jefferson rushed the document to him July 4, 1776, according to New Jersey officials.

The only copy that travels around the country, it will be exhibited in six cities recognized for participation in last fall's National Student/Parent Mock Election campaign. The timing coincides with New Jersey's birthday.

Proud New Jerseyans came out in droves for the occasion, packing into the first floor of the museum and snapping pictures of the artifacts.

If anything outshined the documents, though, it was New Jersey's students.

The Pearson Foundation and Declare Yourself, a nonprofit youth voter-registration organization, chose the state for the tour because more than a quarter-million New Jersey students - out of more than five million nationwide - took part in the mock election. Several of the 802 New Jersey schools reported 100 percent participation.

When planning the anniversary celebration, Secretary of State Nina Mitchell Wells said, "we had no idea that we would receive the honor and distinction that we have received because of our fantastic, fantastic students."

In addition to congratulating the students, teachers, and principals involved in the mock election, ceremony officials honored several other groups of students for their accomplishments.

One student was Kristine Thomas, an eighth grader at Rosa International Middle School in Cherry Hill. Thomas and a team of fellow students represented New Jersey at a National History Day contest at the University of Maryland this month.

She enjoyed a piece of cake in celebration of New Jersey's birthday.

"It's a tiny state, but it means a lot to everyone," she said.


The ceremony concluded with a rousing version of "Happy Birthday," and the distribution of birthday cake and cupcakes sprinkled red, white, and blue.

Back to top