The Fourth of July, aka Independence Day, is surely the most iconic of all the American holidays. The official birthday of the United States has long been celebrated with fireworks and family gatherings but the day did not officially become a federal holiday until 1941. A bit of background: on July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, which was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. While much of the above is familiar to all of us, not many know that John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence and would reportedly protest July 4 celebrations by refusing invitations on that famous day. Ironically, “frenemies” John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826—the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Learn more about the history and traditions of Independence Day at the Library of Congress website. And, to get started with your historic reading, click on a book cover below to be taken to a link.