Slideshow

Fourth of July Celebrations From the 1870s to 1940

Photos from the Library of Congress show how Americans celebrated Independence Day through the years.

July 3, 2014, 9:16 a.m.

It wasn’t al­ways bar­be­cues and pool parties. Cel­eb­rat­ing the Fourth of Ju­ly has evolved through the years—ex­cept for the parades and fire­works. They’ve pretty much stayed the same. Here are some his­tor­ic­al im­ages from the Lib­rary of Con­gress chron­ic­ling In­de­pend­ence Day fest­iv­it­ies around the coun­try from 1876 to 1940. 

An 1876 newspaper shows the centennial celebration in Philadelphia as the seventh regiment, N.G.S. N.Y., passes under the arch on Chestnut Street..  National Journal
The great Hub-and-Hub race at Deadwood, Dakota Territory between the only two Chinese hose teams in the United States, on July 4, 1888. National Journal
A view of Escolta Street on the Fourth of July, 1899, in Manila, Philippines. The Phillipines was ceded by Spain to the United States in 1889 and was recognized as independant by the U.S. in 1946.  National Journal
A chariot race takes place during the Fourth of July celebration in Alaska sometime between 1900 and 1930. National Journal
A Fourth of July parade moves down the street in Nome, Alaska, in 1915. National Journal
A man on a horse competes in ring jousting in Vienna, Va. during the 1921 Fourth of July celebration.  National Journal
Three children dress in Revolutionary War attire during the Takoma Park, Md., 1922 Fourth of July celebration.  National Journal
Two children participate in the 1922 Takoma Park, Md. July 4th celebration.  National Journal
Some sharecroppers' families gather supplies for their Fourth of July celebration, in Hill House, Mississippi, in 1936. National Journal
People gather for some wrestling matches during the 1938 Fourth of July celebration in Ashville, Ohio. National Journal
The winners of the soapbox auto race duringthe Fourth of July celebration at Salisbury, Maryland, 1940. National Journal
A man in clown makeup in the Fourth of July celebration in Salisbury, Maryland, 1940. National Journal
Spectators watch a beauty contest held during Fourth of July celebration in Salisbury, Maryland, in 1940. National Journal
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