Happy Birthday, Bill of Rights!

The original 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified on December 15, 1791.

For its 200th birthday, the original copy of the Bill of Rights went on a tour of the United States, stopping at Davenport’s RiverCenter August 19-23, 1991. The multimedia traveling exhibit was seen 46,920 during its 5-day visit to Davenport, the only stop in the state of Iowa.

Because of that record-breaking turnout, Davenport was one of 10 cities selected to host “Celebrate Freedom” birthday parties on December 14, 1991. The other cities were Denver, CO; Oklahoma City, OK; Indianapolis, IN; Seattle, WA; Marietta, GA; Juneau, AK; Barre, VT; Knoxville, TN; and Kansas City, MO.

Davenport Public Library Main Entries newsletter, Sept/Oct 1991

The Davenport Public Library was honored to be chosen as the site for the Bill of Rights‘ birthday party. Along with the big birthday cake, the FRIENDS of the Davenport Public Library brought a patriotic tree decorated with the Bill of Rights from the Festival of Trees.

Davenport Public Library scrapbooks

The featured speaker was Iowa Supreme Court Justice Linda K. Neuman. She was the first woman and youngest person appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court, serving from 1986-2003. Before that, she was only the second woman ever appointed district court judge in Iowa when she became Scott County District Court judge in 1982.

“It’s easy for all of us o take these freedoms for granted. The key is we don’t think about them until suddenly they are taken away from us.”

Iowa Supreme Court Justice Linda K. Neuman
Patrick Deluhery, Angela James, Harold Daniels, Bob Duax, Linda K. Neuman, Kay Runge, Ted Frahm

Other guests at the party included Iowa Senator Patrick Deluhery, Iowa Representative Matt Wissing, Davenport Mayor Bob Duax, alderman-at-large Larry d’Autremont, Library Board of Trustee president/FRIENDS board vice-president E. Harold Daniels, Library Board of Trustees/FRIENDS board member George Otte, FRIENDS board member Bob Hansen, Karen Perkins of the Semper Fidelis Club, and the James family who were winners of the Volunteer Center of the Greater Quad-Cities Individual and Youth Volunteer of the Year awards.

The Gold Book, February 1992

(posted by Cristina)


  • Scneeberger, Gary. “River Center will host a special Bill of Rights display.” Quad-City Times, August 11, 1991
  • “The Bill of Rights.” Quad-City Times, August 15, 1991
  • “So few words, so much meaning.” Quad-City Times, August 22, 1991
  • Arland-Fye, Barb. “Q-C hosts Bill of Rights celebration.” Quad-City Times, December 5, 1991
  • “Bill of Rights.” Quad-City Times, December 14, 1991
  • “Q-C throws party for Bill of Rights.” Quad-City Times, December 15, 1991
  • “Q-C pays tribute to Bill of Rights.” Quad-City Times, December 16, 1991

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