[American Colony children in Fourth of July pageant, Jerusalem, showing boys lined up holding toy rifles and Anna Grace and Tanetta Vester holding flags]
American Colony, a non-denominational utopian Christian community was founded by a small group of American expatriates in Ottoman Palestine in 1881. The collection is a gift to the Library of Congress from the board of directors of the American Colony of Jerusalem, Ltd., which is made up of American, British, and Swedish descendants of the early colonists. The materials in the collection were initially retained by Bertha Vester in connection with her writing of the memoir Our Jerusalem (1950), and later by her daughter-in-law Valentine Vester and others at the American Colony Hotel. The collection focuses on the personal and business life of the colony from the waning years of the Ottoman Empire, through World War I and the British Mandate, and into the formation of the state of Israel. The bulk of the materials dates from 1870 to 1968 and relates to the leadership of the colony by members of the Spafford, Vester, and Whiting families.
The legal separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain in 1776 occurred on July 2, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence declaring the United States independent from Great Britain's. After voting for independence, Congress voted for Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author and approved it two days later on July 4. Most historians, however, have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed. Since that, Americans celebrate independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.