Blogs > Cliopatria > Fourth of July Celebrations Database

Jul 6, 2006 1:34 pm

Fourth of July Celebrations Database

This database was begun in 1995 by James Heintze, Librarian at American University, Washington, D.C. Its purpose is to bring together in one source selected examples of Fourth of July celebrations that have occurred throughout our nation's history from 1776 to 2002. The goal is to capture a slice of the American cultural tradition--its pageantry, spectacle, music, and symbol--in the hopes that an examination of these events will add to our understanding of the American character and heritage.

The range of observances is broad and include unique, unusual, and little-known events. The selections represent both major cities and small rural towns throughout the United States, as well as some foreign countries, and are arranged by year and alphabetically by location. Entries include outlandish and unusual pyrotechnic displays, parades and processions, speeches, battle enactments, musical events, information on rabble-rousing, gun-toting crowds and protesters, balls, artillery salutes, mishaps and accidents, and expressions by ethnic groups. Currently the database includes descriptions of over 200 different celebrations, and its content is continually under development. Examples of what readers may expect to find include one of the last parades of War of 1812 veterans and the staged battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac in New York (1862), a grand explosion on top of Pike's Peak (1901), the reunion of Confederate soldiers in Chattanooga (1890), the mock atomic bomb explosion before a crowd of 25,000 in Baltimore (1951), and the Oklahoma City Fourth that included the raising of the American flag back to full-staff after the bombing of the Federal Building earlier that year (1995). Citations are taken from primary sources and, in many cases, full quotations are provided.

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