The Continental Congress Broadside Collection
The Continental Congress Broadside Collection, consisting of 256 titles, includes material relating to the work of Congress, dating from 1774 to 1788. Items are predominantly extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, committee reports, proclamations, treaties, and other congressional proceedings. These broadsides provide a significant supplement to the Journals of the Continental Congress. Some of the broadsides trace the evolution of congressional measures at specific stages of consideration and differ significantly from the modified resolutions finally adopted by Congress. Some items contain manuscript annotations not recorded elsewhere that offer insight into the delicate process of creating consensus. In many cases, multiple copies bearing manuscript annotations are available to compare and contrast. Not every major topic considered by Congress is represented by this collection; the bulk of the material dates from 1781 to 1788.
Most of the items in the collection are composed of a single sheet, meeting the classic definition of a broadside. Some items, however, range in length to 28 pages. All of these broadsides, many of which were acquired in 1867 from Peter Force--historian, collector, and compiler of American Archives--are in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, with the exception of one broadside, which is in the Manuscript Division.