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September 9, 2016
For More Information Contact:

JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



New York State Archives and Library to Display Copy of U.S. Constitution in Celebration of Constitution Day on September 17

The New York State Archives and Library will celebrate Constitution Day on Saturday, September 17 with a public display of New York State’s handwritten 1788 copy of the United States Constitution, from the convention in Poughkeepsie where it was ratified. The Constitution Day exhibition will be held on the 7th floor of the Cultural Education Center at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany on Saturday, September 17 from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. In addition, free pocket-sized copies of the Constitution will be distributed on a first come, first-served basis; one per visitor while quantities last. A digital talking book of the Constitution from the New York State Talking Book and Braille Library (TBBL) will be available for TBBL patrons as well.

“The United States Constitution is a founding document of our country and the foundation of our democracy,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “I encourage the public to take advantage of this rare opportunity to view New York’s copy of the Constitution in person on Constitution Day and learn about the vast resources of the State Archives and Library.”

“We’re proud to display New York’s handwritten copy of the United States Constitution – used by the delegates in Poughkeepsie over 225 years ago to help form our nation’s system of government,” said State Archivist Thomas Ruller. “The New York State Archives is honored to hold this national treasure and share it with the people of the great State of New York.”

“As one of the oldest depositories in the country, the State Library is proud to celebrate Constitution Day,” said State Librarian Bernard Margolis. “We encourage the public to not only learn about the history of the Constitution, but to explore the various federal government resources and documents available to the public, free of charge, at the New York State Library.”

The United States Constitution was created on September 17, 1787. The document was considered by New York delegates who met in Poughkeepsie (The Poughkeepsie Convention), and after lengthy debates they voted to ratify the Constitution on July 26, 1788. New York was the eleventh state to ratify.

The text of the Constitution was engrossed (written in a large, legible hand) on parchment (treated sheepskin). The engrossed copy of the U.S. Constitution and the manuscript journal of the Poughkeepsie Convention were in a locked safe when the State Capitol burned in 1911. They were preserved from destruction and today they are among the treasured documents of the New York State Archives. An image of the first page of document is available here:

The annual celebration of Constitution Day is an opportunity for the over 3,000 official depositories of federal publications, in print and online, to share their rich resources with the public. The New York State Library, one of the oldest depositories in the country, was founded in 1818.  It is the largest depository in the state of New York and its holdings include both federal and state documents. As the New York State regional depository for U.S. government publications, the State Library receives and permanently keeps a copy of every document distributed under the Government Printing Office Depository Library Program.

The New York State Archives and Library are programs of the State Education Department’s Office of Cultural Education. Located on Madison Avenue in Albany, the Archives and Library are open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except on legal holidays. Further information can be obtained by calling (518) 474-5355 or visiting the library website at