Archive for the Harper’s Weekly Category

The Glorious Fourth, Wishing all a Happy Independence Day

Posted in 19th cent., Harper's Weekly, Independence Day on July 2, 2010 by babylonbaroque

I haven’t thought of myself as particularly patriotic, I enjoyed the holiday as a child, watermelon, barbeque and of course fire-work displays.

Upon finishing a United States history course, I have a new found respect for our forefathers and what they accomplished that fourth of July so long ago.  Their convictions and astounding foresight has great impact to this very day, that is truly remarkable.

I found myself deeply dismayed that as I wished the Trader Joe’s cashier, the parking lot attendant, and the gardener a Happy 4th, that they were all unaware of a holiday  approaching or the holiday’s significance.

As a tribute to our forefathers and a appreciation of a more patriotic time, I would like to present the following illustrations from the popular Harper’s Weekly. I am unsure if the Harper’s covers were reflecting a national mood, or instructing the newly immigrated  how to assimilate and partake of this nation’s greatness. Take note of the folks in the images, Germans , Irish, newly freed slaves, Lady Liberty even has Indian feathers in her crown.

The Glorious Fourth-Sending up the FireBalloon

C.S. Reinhart

1871

Have to love an explosive fire balloon.

“The Nation’s Birthday-One Touch of Nature makes the whole World Kin”

1876

I think this is a powerful and rather radical image. Long before Martin Luther King’s dream of a rainbow society, is this image of Lady Liberty surrounded by the Children of God.

It is also striking how the artist avoided stereotype when rendering the black child. Often 19th century illustrators, even when well intentioned, exaggerated   features to comic/racist proportions. This artists portrayed each child as sweetly as the next.

“The Glorious Day we Celebrate”

by Thomas Worth

1876

“The Fourth of July-Eighty Years Ago”

1860

I find it fascinating that the Victorian reality of our nation’s birth was only recent history. Looking at the costumes in this illustration, you know this is a scene from a very distant past. So  much is foreign to our eyes, yet to the reader in 1860, cows in the street and long dresses, not so inconceivable.

“Patriotic Education”

by F. Beard

1872

“Dream of the Glorious Fourth”

drawn by Percival DeLuce

1874

Love the name Percival, love the animated firecrackers.

“Fire-works in the Country”

by C.G. Bush

1869

Immensely charming image and sentiment.

“Hoisting the Old Flag”

by Sol Eytinge

1871

Another really charming image, I love the freed slave and Union soldier boy.

“The Fourth of July-Nowadays”

1860

Picture perfect, my own childhood had very faint echoes of this enthusiasm , are there 4th of July parades anymore?

“The Day We Celebrate”

by S. Werner

1903

You really see the emergence of our modern society in this image, the way the fire-works are rendered, the naturalistic poses, the charming clumsiness has been replaced with technical finesse.

I love the frantic pooch.

Have a very Glorious Fourth!