Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery

Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures

Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures

Closed January 5, 2015

A signature can be as routine as a mark on a form or as extraordinary as a stroke of the pen that changes the course of history. For example, the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence simultaneously committed the brave act of treason against King George III and created a new nation.

photoWell-known signatures are found throughout the records of the National Archives. Equally important are the multitude of marks by people unknown to history. The documents signed by these individuals represent fascinating stories to be discovered. 

View the exhibit online at Google Cultural Institute


photoMaking Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures” featured original signatures from our nationwide holdings.  From developing a signature style to signing groundbreaking policy into law, they illustrate the many ways people have “made their mark” on history.

Learn more about the stories featured in the exhibit with the free Making their Mark eGuide!


This exhibition was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, with support from the Foundation for the National Archives with the generous support of Lead Sponsor AT&T. Major additional support provided by the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family and members of the Board of the Foundation for the National Archives.

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Other Exhibits:

Coming Soon: "Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History" opens March 6, 2015!

photo Who was the "lady hootch hunter?" What is a  "drunkometer?" And why did some Americans campaign against the "spirit ration?" Find these answers and more in this fascinating collection of alcohol-related posters, films, patent drawings, petitions, photographs, and artifacts. Visit "Spirited Republic" and learn about American debates about alcohol and its place in society.

Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery, March 6— January 10, 2016