May 26 – July 28

CUL libraries will be CLOSED on

Independence Day-July 4th

   Fondren Library Center (FLC)

  • Monday-Thursday:    8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

  • Friday:    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

  • Saturday-Sunday:    1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.


  •       Monday-Friday:   8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

  •       Saturday-Sunday: CLOSED

DeGolyer Library

  •       Monday-Friday:   8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

  •       Saturday-Sunday: CLOSED

Hamon Library

  • Monday-Wednesday:    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

  • Thursday:    8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

  • Friday:    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

  • Saturday-Sunday:    CLOSED


  •       Monday-Friday:      8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

  •       Saturday-Sunday:    CLOSED

For other library hours see web page at 


Hamon Arts Library Book Sale
(Ongoing throughout the year. Our summer hours are 8 am - 5 pm, 10 pm on Thursdays.  )

New books and music in sale! Great bargains!

Most prices .25 - $3.00

Books dated 6 or more months out are ½ off!

Library staff get an additional 50% off.

Art, Music, Dance, Theater/Film, Fiction, Plays, Sheet Music & Other Subjects

Please see staff member for purchases.

After the two sessions on Active Shooters, library staff have expressed an interest in self defense training that Lieutenant Jemmott of the SMU Police Department offers. Lt. Jemmott teaches up to 5 sessions for groups of female SMU staff. He has mats that can be taken across campus so the classes can be here in the library. There is plenty of opportunity in the classes to practice the techniques and punches. Lt. Jemmott recommends that women attend all of the 5 sessions if possible. Gill has agreed that these classes can be during normal library hours.

If you are interested in this training, please send Carol Baker times and days of the week you could take the training during the summer months.


Please join the

Central University Libraries

for a

Farewell Party


Judy Searles

Tuesday, June 14, 11:00 am

Texana Room, DeGolyer Library

For information, call 214-768-1939.



ALA Brown Bag. Tentatively scheduled for July 6th around noon.  Please stay tuned for details.


Friends of the SMU Libraries

Grants 2005

The Friends of the SMU grants committee included Missy Collins, Pam Lange, Stephen Shepherd and Toni Terry.  They reviewed the grants and voted by email on May 3, 2005 to unanimously accept the grant proposals as submitted by the libraries.  The Friends board approved the recommendations on May 10, 2005.

$21,500 to Central University Libraries for the down payment (Archive Capital Fee) for ARTstor.  The libraries will pay the annual access fee out of their budget.  This year, the Central University Libraries pooled their grant resources and requested funding to support just one acquisition – access to ARTstor, a visual feast of digital images that contains more than 300,000 images.  Faculty from all SMU schools will be able to use these images instead of the old-fashioned slides, and present digital access and ‘slide shows’ both in their classroom lectures and when they are lecturing outside the University. Students will be able to access these images at any time of the day or night when they are doing their assignments. This database includes images from prehistoric art to the collections at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Users can save images and create and deliver presentations using them. Artistic details can be highlighted through zooming and panning features. For a live demonstration, please click on and search for ARTstor. To learn more about the ARTstor database itself, please look at  

$1,900 to Bridwell Library to purchase two lenses for viewing Bridwell Library’s extensive collection of microfilms and microfiches.   The much needed lenses, a 9-16 zoom lens for the Minolta RP 605Z Microfilm and Microfiche Reader and a 9-16 lens for the Canon Microfilm Scanner 400, would enable students, faculty, staff, and visiting scholars to more effectively view microfilms and microfiches by reducing larger print items to a more user-friendly size. 

$600 to the Business Information Center at the Cox School of Business for items to equip the Experimental Model Group Study Room.  The list of items for the project includes Microsoft Publisher software, Flex Cam USB Video Camera with software, a Portable Easel and a Countdown Timer.  In the workplace, environments have long been outfitted to be adaptable to the needs of teams who need to actively bring resources to bear as they work through various phases of projects.  Academia must also model those environments and provide the space groups of students require to actually perform as teams.  Currently at the Business Information Center, students are constrained by a limited number of group spaces that are minimally configured for their work. The Experimental Model Group Study Room proposal intends to improve one study room located in the Business Information Center with the resources necessary for group study and the preparation of sophisticated presentations.   

Amount of grants:  $24,000

Grants approved for yearly distribution:

$3,000 to CUL to assist in funding the production of the CUL annual report publication. 

$500 to fund the Continuing Excellence Library Staff Recognition Award.  This year’s recipient is Janet Allmon in the Center for Information Processing in Central University Libraries 

$500 each to support two Library School Scholarship Awards.  This year’s recipients are John Harvey and Julie Plummer, both in Central University Libraries.

TOTAL of all 2005 grants:  $28,500


Congratulations to this year's CUL Team Award winner
The Circulation Team
Carol Baker - Fondren Library Center Public Services
Jorge Cruz - SMU Library Systems
Chris Leamy - Hamon Library Circulation
Clyde Putman - Bridwell Library Circulation
Cindy Olson - Fondren Library Center Circulation
John Phinney - ISEM Reading Room
Winston Tubb - Underwood Library Circulation
Lisa Wall - CMIT Circulation & Acquisitions
 The team will receive a lunch at a restaurant of their choice compliments of the Central University Libraries.

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2004-2005 SMU Libraries Staff Recognition Awards

Continuing Excellence ~ Janet Allmon, Central University Libraries
Outstanding Achievement ~ Page Thomas, Bridwell Library
Employee of the Year ~ Christopher Molinar, Underwood Law Library
Outstanding Student Assistant - Steven Fratus, Central University Libraries
Dean's Eureka Award
Carol Baker and Bill Dworaczyk



HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! (to some of you)

5-Jun Wehring, Brad FLC Ref
13-Jun Ripley, Erika FLC Ref
13-Jun Stovall, Billie FLC ILL
14-Jun Graff, Sonia CIP
21-Jun Amy Carver CUL Development Officer
21-Jun Niewyk, Ellen Buie Hamon
22-Jun Wall, Lisa CMIT
23-Jun Golder, Melanie FLC ILL


HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2-Jul Bickston, Dev FLC IIS
6-Jul Olson, Cindy FLC Circ
17-Jul Horne, James CMIT
20-Jul Steve Barnett CIP/Collection Development
24-Jul Bellavance, Maria CIP
26-Jul Youngblood, Dawn FLC Maps
26-Jul Silcox, Tinsley Hamon
Stephen Short, former CUL Government Information Librarian, now Digital Project Coordinator for the Library of Congress, represented the LC as a guest speaker for the U.S. Department's Office in Pristina, Kosovo. He gave several speeches on the theme of technology and its role in transforming librarianship. He also discussed how technology is calling the future of traditional activities such as cataloging into question. In addition, he held a couple of workshops to help staff involved in the implementation of their new ILS. The U.S. State Department's photos are here:

Dallas Friends, 

Just wanted to say hello and send a reminder that I'll be performing with my friend, Lee Tyler Post, at Poor David's Pub ( in Dallas on Thursday evening, June 23rd 8:30pm to 10:30pm (right now it looks like I'll probably play from about 8:30 until about 9:00 or so. That may change to 9:15-9:45 but I'll let you know it that change comes about). Cover charge for the event is $7. I'll also have my new acoustic CD "Things I Used to Know" for $6 (Holy cow! What a bargain!!). I know you may not be able to make it out to a show on a weeknight but wanted to let you know I'll be in town. It would be great to see each of you if you can make it, though. 

This gig is pretty important since our turnout will help determine our ability to play this quality venue in the future. I'd really appreciate you passing on word of the show to your friends and co-workers. Also, if you're interested, I've got a flyer I can send you (or just the PDF if you want to print it out or email it to others). Back when I was in Dallas many of you asked what you could do to help with my music... and here's an opportunity. Yes, I'm groveling... but you learn to do that after living in Nashville for a year. I would like to make it worth your while though. For each of you who bring 2 or more people to the show, I'll give you a free copy of my CD (I'll even sign it if you like). You were all really important to my decision to return to music and I really want to share my "new life" with you all.  

Shannon Cain


Most of you probably didn't even notice I was gone, but today, June 13th, is my first day back at work since the close of my recent Thailand adventure. Actually I took a leave of absence to participate in UNT's Library School Study Abroad program during the May-mester, traveling with 2 Library School Professors and 9 other graduate students to visit two English Montessori school libraries in Thailand to assist them in their library system automation processes.

Our purpose was a continuing one in Phuket (southern Thailand island) from previous class visits, where this time they only needed a few modifications and updates installed to help their system operate better. In Chiang Rai, where we spent most of two weeks, their school library had experienced a catastrophic hardware and software failure during this past year, so we were challenged to start from almost step 1 to re-configure hardware, re-install software, re-enter all bibliographic data, and revise the school's library policies and procedures to ensure that proper back-up procedures are now in place. At both schools, large donations of books had not been classified or entered into the system - we were able to get all of these classified and a good number of them entered, with hands-on training provided to interested teachers and parents for assistance to the librarian.

No air-conditioning - - - always leave your shoes at the door - - - because of malaria and dengue fever must wear insect repellent even to bed at night! We were told that on Saturday, May 28th the temperature where we were in Mai Sai (far north Thailand in the mountains, which should have been a little cooler) reached 112 degrees F - not taking into consideration the heat index from the humidity...since it's always an extremely high humidity this time of year, I guess they just call it "hot" , "hotter", and "hottest"?

Soon, I will have more information on what we did, what we saw, and how we reacted to the challenges of interacting with a culture so very different from our own - it's very different trying to communicate with this different culture in their own homeland than trying to communicate with them while we are here in our homeland. The body language and "cues" that we look for to see if someone is understanding what we say do not mean the same thing to the Thai people - this creates a lot of confusion - you just have to know how to laugh at yourself, and start all over again!

This was one experience I'm very glad I was able to participate in, and I have learned a lot about not only libraries and how to construct one from the bottom up, but also about myself and how I look at others, their potential, their abilities, and their limitations.

I was challenged by Gillian before I left for Thailand, to come back prepared to give a LEAD presentation - as soon as this is arranged, I will bring in some of the handicrafts and souvenirs I picked up while in Thailand.

I even brought back a small something for everyone!!!!

Click here for a few photos just to get your interest peaked - many more to come!


This is a new section in which a CUL staff member will be featured each month.  The purpose is to get to know each other a little better.  Please feel free to send me the profiles of your newest staff members ( so that we can introduce them to the rest of CUL. If you have a staff member in your area that you would like to nominate (new or old) please contact me.  (You can even volunteer yourself :) )


Stacey Beach
Center For Information Processing

1. Professional/Educational Background: I got my BA in History from SMU in 2000 and my MLS from UNT in 2004. I worked at the SMU Bookstore from 1998-2005 in various positions, including Department Manager of trade books. I'm now a cataloger in CIP.

2. Hobbies: I read manga, watch anime, and spend way too much time playing video games. I also enjoy cooking, and as a new home owner am about to make my first feeble attempts at gardening.

3. One or two interesting facts that not many people know about you: I can touch my nose with my tongue, but I don't prove it upon request, because that's gross.

4. Family: My husband Rhett and I got married in January of this year, and we're raising a cat, Charlie, who's starting to turn out okay. I just became an aunt for the first time, and my nephew's name is also Charlie, which causes a lot of confusion.


Robbie Sittel
CUL User Education

    1. Professional/Educational background info:  I recently completed my MLS at Univ. of North Texas where I also worked as a Graduate Library Assistant in the Willis Library General Reference Department. I am lacking a language credit for my MA in English, which I hope to complete by December.

    2. Hobbies:  I am a crafter -- knitting, sewing, and book arts among others. However, it seems I spend more time purchasing the supplies than doing the actual crafting. I also enjoy cooking and gardening.

    3. One or two interesting facts that not many people know about you: As I have just begun my career at SMU most of you know nothing of me. I encourage anyone to stop by my office (SIC 145) or stop me in the library to say hello. That way, I can get to know you as you get to know me.

    4. Family: I have a son, Jarvis, who will be 4 in August. His hobbies include trips to Target and trains, which have also become mine.



Currently: A collection of classic lunchboxes belonging to Dave Schmidt.

Later in the Summer: A collection of  recent digital photography works, including a series on the Richard Serra sculpture “Vortex” at the Fort Worth Modern Museum of Art, selected urban landscapes of Houston and Dallas, some of the graffiti, murals, and building signs of Houston, and a series of four tongue-in-cheek digital photographic collages by Dennis Moser. This will be the first public viewing of his work since shifting over to almost exclusively digital photography approximately two years ago.


Two x Two: the Stanford and McLaurin Stereograph Collections

On the occasion of the National Stereoscopic Association’s Annual Meeting, the DeGolyer Library presents an exhibit of treasures from Robin Stanford’s extensive vintage stereo view collection and Banks McLaurin, Jr.’s large collection of stereographs, stereoscopes, Tru-Vue and View-Master reels. You won’t want to miss this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to see two unique approaches to stereo collecting side-by-side!

Exhibit Opening: Thursday, July 14, 2005

Reception at 6:00 p.m.

The exhibition is open to the public from July 14 to September 2, 2005, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Call 214.768.3231 to arrange group tours.

We are located in the center of the SMU campus on the east side facing the fountain in the old Fondren Library building at 6404 Hilltop.

 For more information, check web addresses:  and

Michael O’Keefe

Drawings and Sculpture

June 17, 2005 – July 31, 2005

Currently on view in the Mildred Hawn Gallery at Southern Methodist University are 29 individual works by sculptor Michael O’Keefe.  These works include 22 small-scale drawings and seven sculptures, each about three feet in height.  All are recent works, made within the past six months.  Having recently moved from Brooklyn N.Y., O’Keefe is currently working toward his MFA at SMU.     

Within this exhibition O’Keefe works exclusively with the figure- the isolated head and the full figure.  These works reveal an interest in a historical tradition of drawing and sculpture, a decidedly non-mainstream aesthetic, and a seriousness of craft and content.  This exhibition demands more than casual perusal.  The viewer is asked to draw connections between one drawing and another, between one sculpture and the next, and between the drawings and the sculpture as a whole.  Some works echo artists of the past such as Rodin, Michelangelo, El Greco, and various modernist masters.

For the artist, this body of work is part of a larger exploration that began by asking the questions: Who is Abraham?, how does the figure of Abraham function for religious practitioners of today?, does Abraham have a face and what about those artists of the past who did personify Abraham?, and can a body or form be given to the figure of Abraham?  According to O’Keefe this exploration (and the way he now views these works) opened back up onto larger, more general concerns of his regarding contemporary religious struggles, contemporary social and geo-political struggles, and the many other internal collisions within the individual psyche.


Gallery hours:

M-W and F: 9:00 A.M. -5:00 P.M.

Thursdays: 9:00 A.M.-10:00 P.M.

The gallery will be closed on Monday, July 4.



1 The term "Don't give up the ship!' is coined by Captain James Lawrence, U.S. Chesapeake. (1813)

1 Snow falls in Buffalo and Rochester, NY, Cleveland, Ohio and other places. (1843)

1 Superman Comic is published (1938)

1 Ed Sullivan's final show. (1971)

2 PT Barnum's circus begins first tour of US (1835)

2 Grover Cleveland is married while in serving as U.S. president.(1886)

2 Congress grants U.S. citizenship to people of American Indian descent.(1924)

3 The Rolling Stones begin their first US tour. (1964)

4 China becomes the first to record a solar eclipse. (780 BC)

4 After winning 122 straight races, hurdler Edwin Moses' winning streak is broken. (1987)

5 Bobby Kennedy is assassinated. (1968)

6 Chrysler Corporation is founded. (1925)

7 The United Colonies make a name change and become The United States. (1775)

8 "The Milton Berle Show" premieres on NBC TV. (1948)

9 Disney's Donald Duck makes his debut. (1934)

10 Dutch colonists settle on Manhattan Island (1610)

10 Benjamin Franklin flies a kite in a lightening storm and discovers electricity.  (1752)

11 The movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was released (1982)

12 John Lee Richmond pitches baseball's first "Perfect Game". (1880)

13 Pioneer 10 becomes the first satellite to leave the solar system. (1983)

14  The U. S. Army is formed. (1775)

14 Isaac Fischer Jr. patents sandpaper. (1834)

14 Benjamin Grushkin patents Chlorophyll (1938)

14 Walt Disney's Bambi is released (1942)

15 George Washington is appointed the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Army(1775)

16 The premiere of Ghostbusters II (1989)

17 The Statute of Liberty arrive in New York City. (1885)

17 King John signs the Magna Carta. (1215)

18 Women's rights advocate Susan B. Anthony is arrested for voting in Rochester, N.Y. (1873)

19 After a 83 day filibuster, the Civil Rights act of 1964 is approved. (1964)

20  The first rocket plane to use liquid propellants is tested (1939)

20 Muhammad Ali is convicted refusing induction into armed services. (1967)

21 Cyrus McCormick patents the reaping machine. (1834)

22  Doughnuts are created. (1847)

23 US Secret Service is created. (1860)

24 Henry VII is crowned the King of England. (1509)

25 Lt Colonel George Custer and the 7th Cavalry are wiped out by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of Little Big Horn. (1876) 

26 The Saint Lawrence Seaway is opened. (1959)

27 The Federal Savings and Loan Association is created. (1934)

28 Treaty of Versailles is signed, ending WW I (1919)

29 Shakespeare' Globe Theater burns down. (1613)

30 French acrobat Blondin crosses over the Niagara Falls on a tightrope. (1859)


1 U.S. postage stamps went on sale for the first time. (1847)

1 Taxes begin to be withheld from paychecks. (1943)

1 ZIP codes go into use. (1963)

2. President Garfield is shot. His struggle to survive lasted 80 days until his death on September 19th. (1881)

2 The Lawrence Welk show premieres on television.(1955)

3 The first cultivated strawberry is displayed by Michael Kent (1806)

4 After being displayed or over a century, the torch on the Statue of Liberty is removed so it ca be replaced. (1984)

5 Baseball great Joe DiMaggio hits his first grand slam. (1937)

5  The bikini makes it's debut at a Paris fashion show. (1946)

6 In the very first All Star Baseball game, the American League wins 5-2. (1933)

7 The United States annexes Hawaii. (1898)

8 The U.S. State Department issues the first passport. (1796)

9 Dick Clark hosts American Bandstand for the very first time. (1956)

10 After an unsuccessful attempt to change it's formula, Coca-Cola brings back the ever popular original formula as" Classic Coke". (1985)

11 Former Vice President Aaron Burr kills Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. (1804)

11 Skylab space station re-enters the earth's atmosphere. Pieces land in the Indian Ocean and in Australia. (1979)

12 Etch-a-Sketch goes on sale. (1960)

13 The radio is patented by Guglielmo Marconi. (1898)

14  Alfred Nobel demonstrates dynamite. (1867)

14 Liquid rocket fuel is patented. (1914)

15 Vulcanized rubber is patented by Goodyear. (1844)

15 Margarine is patented. (1869)

16 John F. Kennedy Jr. dies in a plane crash off Martha's Vineyard. (1999)

17 The Harvard School of Dentistry becomes the first dental school in the U.S. (1867)

17 The air conditioner was invented. (1902)

17 Walt Disney's Disneyland opens in Anaheim, Ca. (1955)

18 Adolph Hitler publishes Mein Kampf (1925)

19 Winston Churchill uses the two finger "V" for victory sign. (1940)

20 In "one small step for man, one giant step for mankind", Astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes teh first person to walk on the moon.  (1969)

21 Jesse James and his gang rob their first train (1873)

22 An act of Congress restores Civil War Confederate General Robert E. Lee's citizenship. (1975)

23 Charles E. Minches of St. Louis, Missouri fills a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream, and the ice cream cone is invented.(1904)

23 Air Force Colonel Eileen M. Collins becomes the first woman to command a space shuttle. (1999)

24 Pres Hoover announces the Kellogg-Briand Pact which renounces war. (A lot of good that did....) (1929)

25 American forces defeat the British at the Battle of Niagara Falls (Lundy's Lane) (1814)

26 Benjamin Franklin became the first Postmaster General. (1775)

26 Mickey Mantle hits his first "Grand Slam". (1952)

27 Bugs Bunny debuts in Warner Brothers animated cartoon "A Wild Hare" (1940)

28 World War I began. (1914)

29 Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willie" premieres. (1928)

30 President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Medicare bill. (1965)

31 Mariner 6 flies past Mars (1969)



Aquarium Month

Candy Month

Dairy Month

Fight the Filthy Fly Month

Gay Pride Month

National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month

Rose Month

Turkey Lovers Month

1st Flip a Coin Day

2nd National Rocky Road Day

4th Applesauce Cake Day

6th National Yo-Yo Day

7th National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

10th Iced Tea Day

13th National Juggling Day

15th Smile Power Day

16th National Hollering' Contest Day

17th Eat Your Vegetables Day

18th International Panic Day

20th Ice Cream Soda Day

22nd National Chocolate Éclair Day

26th National Forgiveness Day

29th Camera Day




National Anti-Boredom Month

Unlucky Month for weddings

National Hot Dog Month

National Ice Cream Month

1st Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day
2nd  I Forgot Day

3rd Disobedience Day

6th National Fried Chicken Day

7th Chocolate Day
7th National Strawberry Sundae Day

9th National Sugar Cookie Day

13th Embrace Your Geekness Day

15th Cow Appreciation Day- Go out and give a cow a hug

17th National Ice Cream Day (third Sunday of the month)

21st National Junk Food Day

23rd National Hot Dog Day

24th Cousins Day

25th Threading the Needle Day

26th All or Nothing Day

27th Take a Plant for A Walk Day

28th National Milk Chocolate Day

30th National Cheesecake Day


4th of July Caribbean Style-Plano

Granbury's Old-Fashioned 4th of July

Kaboom Town!-Addison

Lone Stars and Stripes Fireworks Celebration-Lone Star Park

Star Spangled Fourth-Garland

Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic-Forth Worth Stockyards

11th Annual Festival of Freedom-Rowlett

Camp Valley View Red, White and Blue- Valley View Center

Arlington, Texas 4th of July Parade

Plano's Independence Day Parade

Links to other July events


The Fourth of July celebration is the main summer festival. It is a time when most families get together (other than Christmas) because the kids are out of school, and for most the weather is nice.  The Fourth of July was the date that our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence  by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776.

Americans just celebrated this event for centuries on their own.  But in 1941, Congress finally established the Fourth of July (Independence Day) as a legal holiday.

Now many have said that the Congress actually approved it on July 2, or August 2, the date they really did sign the document. So why the 4th?  That was the day the final draft of the Declaration was finished for the August 2nd signing.  Confused?  They approved the entire idea on July 2, with a rough outline.  But on July 4 they actually had their finished drafted after a lot of discussion and ratified it.  And it takes a while for everyone to get it signed (remember we didn't have fax machine then!), so that was done on August 2.

It was John Adams who wrote his wife and said that the event should be celebrated with pomp and circumstance, parades, shows, games and other stuff.  Was he ahead of his time?  What he described is the Fourth of July Celebration as we know it today.

The first official 4th of July party was in 1777 ( a year later) in Philadelphia.  Warships along the docks fired a 13-gun salute in honor of the 13 states.  The soldiers who were in the area, paraded through the streets.  

By 1788, the 4th of July celebration also commemorated the U.S. Constitution as well, which was recently approved by 10 out of the 13 states.  That year was the first 4th of July parade, with horse-drawn floats, one of which was a huge eagle carrying the Justices of the US Supreme Court.

In 1790, the nation's capitol moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.  President Thomas Jefferson celebrated the 4th of July by opening the White House to guests.  This custom continued under other presidents as well, until the British burnt the White House in 1814.

Another memorable 4th of July was one held in 1865 on a battlefield at Gettysburg;  at the end of the Civil War with a procession of black salves parading through the streets of Richmond, Virginia in 1866;  and a Bi-centennial celebration in New York City on July 4, 1976.

The Fourth of July today is a day most Americans stop to celebrate their freedom, appreciate their country, pay respect to those that died to protect us and fly the flag or display it's red, white and blue colors in any fashion they choose.  The Fourth of July usually a combination of our other patriotic holidays:  Memorial Day, Flag Day, Veteran's Day rolled into one.  Although some Americans also celebrate those separately from The Fourth of July.

The Fourth of July was extremely popular in the early 1900's and became more  popular at the end of each war.  It became more of a family or church picnic time in the 1950's.  Then the 1960's came and the Vietnam Conflict caused such a division in this country that many just did not feel like celebrating.  And then around the 1980's, for some reason America went through this phase of civil liberties, affirmative action and so with the removal of The Pledge of Allegiance out of the schools, in some cases so went the flag from the schools.  And there was this stigma created by a small group that it was simply uncool to show patriotism.   

But with the Bi-Centennial,  and the Statue of Liberty renovation celebrations, patriotism has slowly come back into the hearts of the American people.  

For some people the Fourth of July is a day of whimsy. In Maine on July 3rd it is customary for pulling pranks like stealing outhouses or removing porch steps.  

But most people celebrate the 4th with family picnics, church gatherings, community parades and fireworks displays at night. 
Some states have banned all fireworks for public use. Other states have not.  Whatever state you live in, please be careful when dealing with fireworks.  

Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence died on July 4, 1826  at noon in his home in Virginia.  The day he died was the 50th anniversary of the document's signing.

Ironically, John Adams of Massachusetts who supported the Declaration of Independence and is also the father of President John Quincy Adams died just a few hours later on the same day, July 4, 1826.



The term fireworks didn't come about until 1777 when the first Fourth of July celebration took place.  Before that, they were simply called "rockets."  Because they were more visual than anything, they called them "fireworks."   Later on, the ones that were made for noise (and not beauty) were called "fire crackers."  And in 1880  "sparklers" were created.  What child hasn't held a sparkler in their hand?  If not, those are long thin wands that spit out bursts of sparks in waterfall-style patterns.

In the Middle Ages, they had "firemasters" who designed and put on elaborate fireworks displays for military victories, religious festivals and crowning of kings and queens.  Because this became so popular, by the 1700's they needed help, and so the assistants were known as "wild men" or "green men" because they wore caps made of green leaves.

They were much like jesters, flitting among the crowds telling stories, jokes and warning people to stand back.  Then they would set off the fireworks with lighted sticks called "fire clubs."  This was a dangerous job and many "green men" were injured or killed when a firecracker mis-fired or didn't shoot high enough in the air to be safe.

When fireworks came to America they were used for both domestic and public celebrations.  By 1870, American companies were marketing fireworks for private use by renaming them Roman Candles, Flying Dragons, Sun Wheels and Prismatic Fountains.  And the popularity of the "at home in your backyard" fireworks fun meant many people didn't have to deal with huge crowds to enjoy them.  But, it meant they had to pay for them, whereas the public displays were usually paid for by the town and free to view.

Only 35 states as of right now have fireworks legal for the public to use.  The other 15 states make it illegal totally. And in the case of *some* states, they allow only certain kinds of fireworks to be legal.  All states since 1966 have banned Cherry Bombs and other large firecrackers due to the large number of injuries.

Although sold in America, most of them are made in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.


When was the first 4th of July parade?  It actually wasn't a parade on a street at all.  It really was a parade of boats on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.  President John Quincy Adams (1825 to 1829) and a group of Americans and foreign dignitaries boarded a steamboat and led a procession of barges and other boats up the river to the site today known as The Tidal Basin.  They then transferred to smaller boats, and floated up the old Washington Canal to the place that had been selected for the new Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. (It's now a park in Maryland and a great place to visit.) President Adams did the groundbreaking there for the waterway canal to cut straight through the heart of Washington, D.C. between the Capitol building and Washington Monument.

Today, most every city holds a Fourth of July Parade down it's main street in town.  Marching bands play patriotic music, most commonly by John Phillips Sousa, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts walk down the street, members of clubs and organizations usually have a float, their often is a Miss ____ on a float also.

Fourth of July Picnics

Fourth of July and food have always gone hand in hand. In 1777 grand banquets were held in Philadelphia to commemorate the first anniversary of the approval of the Declaration of Independence.  Other towns followed.  And because it grew in popularity, the feasting then was taken outdoors.  My the mid 1900's the annual Fourth of July picnic was a national tradition, often being paid for by the company you worked for and often called "The Company Picnic."  (Some companies today have their own picnic separate from the 4th of July time since many employees often take that time off for vacation.)

By the end of the 19th century, political campaigns often began on the 4th of July.  So the local politician is the one who often sponsored the 4th of July picnic, with free food and entertainment as long as you also listened to his campaign speech!  Today, political campaigns usually don't get started until Labor Day.


This is a new section where staff can list things that they are selling or giving away.  Send items to ( well, not the actual item just a picture or brief description) 


Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University

Page author: Theresa Van Goethem Meyers