Confederate Constitution on Display

Apr 26 2013
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Russell Special Collections Building

The original signed manuscript consists of five vellum sheets pasted together into a roll 148 1/2 inches long. This manuscript was part of a wagon load of boxes rescued from the railroad station in Chester, S.C. in April of 1865 by Felix G. DeFontaine, a newspaper correspondent during the war. The boxes, which had been abandoned by fleeing troops, contained the records of the Confederate government, which were being sent south after the evacuation of Richmond. The prizes among the records which DeFontaine recovered were the two Constitutions of the Confederacy, Provisional and Permanent.

DeFontaine sold the manuscript copy of the Provisional Constitution at auction in New York in 1883. It is now in the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. He sold the manuscript copy of the Permanent Constitution to Mrs. George Wymberley Jones DeRenne on July 4, 1883. The University of Georgia purchased the Constitution from the DeRenne family in 1939.

The Constitution, handwritten on vellum, is only brought out once a year in order to preserve the document. For more information about the constitution as well as a transcription, please visit:

For more information about the location and hours of the UGA Special Collections Libraries, please visit

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