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Fourth of July Celebrations: Topics in Chronicling America

Beginning July 2, 1876, American centennial celebrations sparked injuries and deaths. This guide provides access to material related to “Fourth of July Celebrations” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Ready to celebrate his birthday." June 28, 1900. The Hocking Sentinel (Logan, OH), Image 3. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Centennial celebrations of the Declaration of Independence spark increasingly dangerous revelries on July 4th each year. According to news reports of the day, the American Medical Association cited 1,531 deaths between 1903 and 1910 from fireworks and other incidents during July 4th celebrations, with more than 5,000 injuries in 1909 alone. Finally, pleas from social groups and President Taft for a "Sane Fourth" brought the festivities back under control. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


July 2, 1876 Centennial Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence is celebrated on July 2nd all over the country.
June 1900-July 1911 Articles annually warn against raucous Fourth of July celebrations and hearken back to “sane” celebrations of yesteryear.