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Fourth of July: A Look Back

Flags Galore
Fourth of July: A Look Back
These days, the Fourth of July seems to be all about the fireworks, poolside barbecues, and Pinterest-worthy dessert plates (which, admittedly, we love). But at the beginning of the 20th Century when the parade reigned supreme, the celebrations looked a little bit different. Here, a look back at the costumes and traditions that defined Independence Day celebrations around the United States.
By AFAR Editors, AFAR Staff
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    Flags Galore
    Flags Galore
    A sea of stars and stripes at a street parade in Watertown, Wisconsin, in 1941.

    Courtesy of Library of Congress
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    A Young Child! With Fireworks!
    A Young Child! With Fireworks!
    Apparently laws on firecrackers were a little more lax in 1906, as this little boy demonstrates.

    Courtesy of Library of Congress
  • 3 / 11
    Melting Pot Celebration
    Melting Pot Celebration
    The United States has long been a melting pot of cultures. At a Fourth of July parade in the early 20th century, the Americans of Belgian Origin celebrate their adopted home.

    Courtesy of Library of Congress
  • 4 / 11
    Lady Libertys
    Lady Libertys
    Two women dressed as iconic American symbols for a 1919 parade in Washington, D.C.

    Courtesy of Library of Congress
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    Two 1920s Ladies
    Two 1920s Ladies
    During a 1921 parade in Petworth, Maryland, these young women keep it festive and fashionable.

    Courtesy of Library of Congress
  • 6 / 11
    More Stripes
    More Stripes
    There’s no such thing as too many stripes on the Fourth. These lady liberties strike a pose in Takoma Park, Maryland, in 1922.

    Courtesy of Library of Congress
  • 7 / 11
    Pageant Queens
    Pageant Queens
    A beauty contest for girls of all ages during a 1940 celebration in Maryland. 

    Courtesy of Library of Congress
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    Soapbox Derby
    Soapbox Derby
    Contestants line up for a soapbox race at the same Maryland parade. The cars, typically homemade, are only propelled by gravity, must have brakes, and can reach speeds up to 30 mph.

    Courtesy of Library of Congress
  • 9 / 11
    Afternoon Snooze
    Afternoon Snooze
    Because sometimes you need a break from the festivities. These picnickers nap in a park during a 1941 celebration in Vale, Oregon.

    Courtesy of Library of Congress
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    Girl Scouts
    Girl Scouts
    At an Arizona parade in 1946, the Girl Scouts Drum and Bugle Corp keep the beat.

    Courtesy of National Archives
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    What’s Next . . .