Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

Comments by Jeanne

I don't have a book review for today-- or, rather, I don't have one that seems to fit the Fourth of July, that most American of holidays.  John Adams wrote to his wife in 1776 that he believed Independence Day would be celebrated with with "Pomp And Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations" and he has certainly been proven correct. . . except that he thought the day would be July 2.  The change came about because when copies of the Declaration of Independence were circulated, the date at the top was July 4, the date on which at least some of the signing took place, instead of July 2, the date when the committee approved the wording.  Interestingly enough, both John Adam and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826. Adams' last words were reported to be "Thomas Jefferson still survives." Ironically, this was the second time Adams was wrong:  Jefferson had passed away a few hours earlier.

You can read a transcription and see an image of that John Adams letter along with others here:

John Adams Letter

The Library of Congress has a treasure trove of information on American history but this is one of my favorites:    Patriotic Melodies   Here you can see historic copies of sheet music as well as hear versions of songs including  The Star Spangled Banner, Hail Columbia, God Bless America, This Land is Your Land, and many others.

That is just one small section of what the Library of Congress has to offer.  Topics range from Civil War photos to the George Washington papers to fiddle music to slave narratives.  There's even a section on Dolly Parton and her musical influences.

So have a happy and safe Independence Day and take a few minutes to celebrate our National Treasures, including the Library of Congress and Dolly. 

[Dolly Parton as Uncle Sam]. Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed July 04, 2016.)

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