Biography and History

John Hancock, American patriot and statesman, has become synonymous with American independence. Born on January 23, 1737, in Braintree, Mass., he was educated at Harvard College (now Harvard University). In 1766 he was elected to the Massachusetts legislature, and from 1775 to 1780 Hancock was a member of the Continental Congress, serving as a presiding officer. By virtue of this office, he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence, which he did boldly in large strokes. He was the first governor of the state of Massachusetts, holding that office from 1780 to 1785 and from 1789 until his death.

Source: From the finding aid for C1072