CLARKSBURG, Md. -- Historian James Heintze can tick off colorful accounts of how the nation has celebrated the Fourth of July over the years. In the 19th century, canons fired, church bells sounded and fireworks exploded. Indianapolis residents watched in 1911 as two trains purposely collided at full speed, the locomotive personnel bailing out before the crash.
The gray-haired academic has chronicled just about everything there is to know about commemorating the birth of the United States.
His 360-page, factoid-packed book, "The Fourth of July Encyclopedia," was published last year, and he's now moved on to researching a book about Fourth-related music.