The first document posted by Project Gutenberg was the Declaration of Independence. Founder Michael Hart digitized the document in 1971 by obtaining an account with unlimited time on the Xerox mainframe at the University of Illinois Materials Research lab.
The Xerox mainframe used by Hart was one of 15 nodes of the Arpanet network that became the Internet. The Declaration of Independence happened to be in his backpack and became the very first electronic document. Project Gutenberg is a volunteer mission with the goal of preserving literary works by digitizing books in the public domain and gathering them into an electronic library. The organization hopes to encourage greater distribution of electronic books.