Who Was Jacob Shallus?


If you know the name Jacob Shallus, then you are a true Constitutional maven.  He was the clerk who engrossed the final handwritten copy of the U.S. Constitution for the 1787 delegates to sign.  Shallus prepared the 4,000 words of text on four parchment pages probably over the course of a single day, Sunday, September 16, 1787.  The 37-year-old Pennsylvanian did a remarkable job under the circumstances –and received $30 for his efforts– but nonetheless he made some mistakes.  Henry Bain from the National Archives has a wonderful post detailing the errors contained within the earliest versions of the Constitution, some produced by Shallus and others, apparently according to Bain, the responsibility of none other than Alexander Hamilton (who somehow managed to misspell Pennsylvania).  Even sacred documents, it seems, need determined proofreaders.

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