The committee consisted of two men from New England, John Adams of Massachusetts and Roger Sherman of Connecticut; two men from the Middle Colonies, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York; and a Southerner, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. In 1823 Jefferson wrote that the other members of the committee „unanimously urged me alone to carry out the project [sic]. I agreed; I drew it; but before I reported it to the committee, I shared it separately with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams and asked for their corrections. I then wrote a fair copy, reported it to the committee and of them unchanged in Congress. (While Jefferson made a „fair copy” containing the modifications made by Franklin and Adams, it was not preserved. It may be the copy that was modified by Congress and used for printing, but in any case, it did not survive.

However, Jefferson`s draft with Franklin and Adams` changes, as well as Jefferson`s own notes on the changes made by Congress, can be found in the Library of Congress.) Finally, in 1944, military authorities assured the Library of Congress that any danger of an enemy attack was over. On September 19, the documents were removed from Fort Knox. On Sunday, October 1, at 11:30 a.m.m.m. the doors of the library were opened. The explanation was back in his sanctuary. With the return of peace, the Guardians were aware of the declaration of the growing technological know-how they had in the preservation of parchment. They were gladly supported by the National Bureau of Standards, which had done research on the preservation of the Declaration even before World War II. The problem of protecting it from harsh light, for example, had led in 1924 to the insertion of a yellow gelatin plate between the protective glass plates.

But this process reduced the visibility of an already faded parchment. Couldn`t something be improved? The declaration remained in Washington from September 1814 to May 1841. It was housed in four locations. From 1814 to 1841, it was kept in three different locations when State Department records on the growing city were moved. The last of these places was a brick building which, as was later noted, „did not provide safety against fire.” It is the only surviving fragment of the first draft declaration of independence. This fragment shows that Jefferson heavily edited his first draft of the Declaration of Independence before preparing a fair copy that became the basis of the „original version.” None of the deleted words and passages from this fragment appear in the „Rough draught”, but all 148 unwashed words, including the clean and inveterate, were copied into the „Rough draught” in a clear form. When Herbert Putnam retired on April 5, 1939, Archibald MacLeish was appointed to replace him. MacLeish agreed with Roosevelt and Connor that the two important documents belonged to the National Archives. Due to World War II, during which much of the declaration was kept at Fort Knox, and Connor`s resignation in 1941, MacLeish was unable to complete the transfer. .