This week we pause to commemorate and celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and Wednesday night will see people gathering around the Hatch Shell to hear the Boston Pops and to watch fireworks over the Charles River. We celebrate this day with so much pomp and circumstance that it's easy to forget 236 years ago July 4th was actually a day rather similar to those that had come before it (or the days that came after it -- the Declaration wasn't read publicly in Massachusetts until July 18th).
In fact, George Washington himself spent the day completing his household shopping. Among his purchases: a broom, mutton, veal, beef, cabbage, beets, beans, potatoes, and lobster. He also paid to have his carriage repaired. You can check out Washington's expenses for July 4, 1776, or learn more about the Library of Congress's George Washington Papers in their American Memory collections.
We would like to thank the Society of American Archivists twitter feed for pointing us towards this NPR blog post.