Published: September 21, 2015
NEW YORK CITY — The New-York Historical Society is proudly displaying a rare early copy of the Magna Carta, one of the most important historical documents in the world, in an exhibition titled “Magna Carta 800: Sharing the Legacy of Freedom.” On loan from Hereford Cathedral in England, this 1217 version of the Magna Carta is currently on view through September 30. Originally issued in 1215, with subsequent reissues based on the revised 1217 version that will be on view at N-YHS, the Magna Carta celebrates its 800th anniversary this year. The document is accompanied by the King’s Writ of 1215, also on loan from Hereford Cathedral, which is the only known surviving copy of instructions issued by John at Runnymede to local sheriffs to prepare for the coming of the Charter.
The exhibition at the New-York Historical Society is the only US appearance and the first stop in a global tour of the Magna Carta, in a partnership between Hereford Cathedral and the Great Britain Campaign, which will also pass through China (including Hong Kong), Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Singapore.
The document that became known as the Magna Carta, or “Great Charter,” was initially developed in 1215 and issued by King John as a peace treaty with rebel barons to address specific grievances of his rule. Although the treaty did not hold, the document established the principle that everyone, even the king, was subject to the law, with all free men granted the right to justice and a fair trial. As such, the document has enormous symbolic power, granting protection against tyrannical rule and defending civil liberties, a central source of inspiration for future constitutional documents.
The New-York Historical Society is at 170 Central Park West. For general information, www.nyhistory.org or 212-873-3400.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm