Georgia archivist Gregory Jarrell was scouring historical records on microfilm, as he routinely does for people who request information by phone or mail, when a date stopped him: March 2, 1777.
Jarrell ran to the vault and pulled out the bound volume containing the original document. He knew then that he had stumbled onto a state treasure.
Jarrell had discovered what archivists believe is the state’s oldest and only official recording of the Declaration of Independence.
State Archives Director David Carmicheal said the hand-written document Jarrell found on Wednesday was probably recorded by a scribe or clerk after Congress dispatched a copy of the original document from Philadelphia to the 13 original states.
Presumably, Carmicheal said, 12 other such documents might exist, but he has not had time to check yet with the other original states. It could be that the Georgia document is unique.
“This is our copy of the declaration,” Carmicheal said.