How to Sign: John Hancock’s Historical Impact of The Signature


  • The birthday of John Hancock, the famed signatory of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, is January 23, 1737.
  • Hancock’s large penmanship stands out amongst other signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence in 1776.
  • More than two centuries later, Hancock’s signature remains iconic even as consumers, individual professionals and organizations of every size, industry and geography have moved their signatures online with DocuSign – all but eliminating paper and the transportation of documents that requiring signatures.

SAN FRANCISCO—January 23, 2015—In recognition of John Hancock’s birthday today (Friday, January 23), the famed signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776, DocuSign, Inc. (DocuSign®) has provided comment below from its Chief Policy Officer Ken Moyle on why more than two centuries later Hancock’s signature remains iconic even as people and companies have taken their signature digital as a “sign of the times”.

“The signature has come a long way since John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. While his signature was the first on the document as the President of the Congress, and therefore centered under the document’s text, reports claim that he intentionally signed with large penmanship so that King George could see it without glasses.

Handwritten signatures like Hancock’s provide us with historical artifacts that are fun to look at in a museum, but in the digital age signing with a pen has become a maddening example of form over substance, where the ancient ceremony of writing one’s name on piece of paper is given more deference than is supported by common sense – or the law. Today’s electronic signature technology is allowing individuals and businesses to manage transactions requiring signature easily from anywhere, at any time, from any device -- and with greater transparency, evidentiary value and security than ink on parchment. Add to this the economic and environmental benefits, and it’s hard to find a reason to stick with paper. Time is saved. Paper is saved, and transportation of documents is eliminated. For example, with a daily average of 775,000 documents containing 3.5 million pages DocuSigned on the DocuSign Global Trust Network, we save more 400 trees per day.”

Companies like Virgin Holidays have saved around £10,000 in material costs alone through the application of DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform and electronic signature technology.

For further information on this subject or to arrange an interview with DocuSign’s Ken Moyle, please contact:

Kristin Treat
DocuSign, Inc.


About DocuSign, Inc.
DocuSign® is The Global Standard for Digital Transaction Management®. Global enterprises, business departments, individual professionals, and consumers have standardized on DocuSign, with more than 40,000 new users joining the DocuSign Global Network every day. Today, that network includes millions of users in 188 countries. DocuSign's DTM platform supports legally compliant electronic and digital signature processes tailored to meet requirements globally with localization in 43 languages. Companies and individuals DocuSign to accelerate transaction times to increase speed to results, reduce costs, increase security and compliance, and delight customers across nearly every industry – from financial services, insurance, technology, healthcare, manufacturing, communications, real estate, retail, and consumer goods to higher education, non-profit and others – as well as every business department, including sales, finance, operations, procurement, HR/staffing, legal, and customer support. For more information, visit or call 877.720.2040. Visit the DocuSign blog at  and follow DocuSign on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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