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Rare Copy of Magna Carta Making Only U.S. Stop at NY Historical Society

By Emily Frost | September 21, 2015 11:56am
 A 1217 copy of the Magna Carta is coming to New-York Historical Society this week.
A 1217 copy of the Magna Carta is coming to New-York Historical Society this week.
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The Dean and Chapter of Hereford Cathedral from the Library and Archive collections.

UPPER WEST SIDE — A rare copy of the Magna Carta is making its only stop in the U.S. this week at a local museum to celebrate the document's 800th birthday. 

From Sept. 23-30, the public can view the document at the New-York Historical Society as part of its worldwide anniversary tour, according to the museum. 

The Magna Carta, issued by King John of England in 1215 as a peace treaty between him and rebel barons, brought everyone under the rule of law, including the king himself. It has served for centuries as an important founding political document for leaders.

Among the core principles within the document, the 39th clause secured the right for all free men to a fair trial.

Louise Mirrer, president and CEO of the New-York Historical Society, described it as "one of the most influential historical documents of all time."

“The Magna Carta established fundamental principles that inspired America’s Founding Fathers when they wrote the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, so this seminal document will allow our visitors to trace an important path of history back to its very origins.”

On loan from the Hereford Cathedral in England, the copy is a 1217 revised version of the Magna Carta that will take a global tour to Europe and Asia after leaving New York, according to the museum. 

The museum will also display a document known as the King's Writ, a 1215 document that contains instructions by King John to local sheriffs detailing how to prepare for the Magna Carta. 

The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West (at West 77th Street) and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday. It's open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is closed Mondays. 

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