1776: The First Independence Day
Contrary to popular belief, there was a lot less going on than many people believe happened during the first Independence Day in America. During the month before this historic date, the Colonies’ Second Continental Congress formed a committee to draft an official document that would give the official “Dear John” letter to Great Britain breaking all ties. This committee included Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston. Jefferson wrote the original draft document. After 86 changes were made to the draft, the Continental Congress officially adopted the final version on this day in 1776. The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first newspaper to publish the Declaration of Independence two days later. The first reading of this document occurred on July 8. However, it is believed that the document wasn’t actually signed by Congress until August 2. (Image: Wikimedia)
1777: The First Fireworks
Believe it or not, Congress led the way for the tradition of lighting fireworks on the Fourth of July by authorizing a display on this day in 1777, in Philadelphia, a year after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “At night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons. In Boston, a newspaper reported: “In the evening Col. Crafts illuminated his park on the commons, threw several shells, and exhibited a number of fireworks.”
1862: Lewis Carroll Shares His ‘Wonderland’ Story for the First Time
It is said that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as the pen name Lewis Carroll, shared an outline of his most famous story to Alice Liddell, the daughter of a family friend, on this day in 1862. On a rowing trip, Dodgson shared with Liddell an outline for his story. Loving the story, she begged him to write it down. After some time, he showed Liddell his handwritten and self-illustrated manuscript which was then known as Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. The book which became Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, was published in November of 1865. Since that time, many stage plays and movies have been made based on the book. In 2016, the latest film adaptation based on the characters, Alice Through the Looking Glass was brought to theaters.
- 1872: Calvin Coolidge (30th President of the U.S.)
- 1883: Rube Goldberg (cartoonist)
- 1924: Eva Marie Saint (actress)
- 1927: Neil Simon (playwright)
- 1995: Post Malone (singer)
I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.