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Fourth of July Photographs: A Century of Celebration

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

The Southampton History Museum has a large collection of photographs documenting the Fourth of July celebrations that have taken place in the town. The oldest of these photographs is dated from 1922, and many of the July 4th events have been documented and stored in our archives all the way up to 2008. Two key locations where these celebrations took place are both Agawam Park, and of course Main Street of Southampton where the parades took place. Quite a few of these photos are from the Bert Morgan Photography Collection, owned by the Southampton History Museum. One significant group is also featured in many of the photographs seen throughout the years: the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Divided into each year these documented celebrations took place, we will explore the extensive Fourth of July photographs from our collection.


This is the DAR float for the July 4th parade during that year. Starting from the left to the right, the participants standing in front are Mrs. Frank Corwith, Miss Betsy Bush, Mrs. C. E. Foster, Mrs. Lewis E. Downs, Mrs. Eli Fordham, Mrs. J.M. Jagger, Mrs. H. H. Hildreth and Mrs. Raymond Corwith. And from left to right onboard the float, the participants are Mrs. R. Kendrick, Mrs. A. W. Tunnell, John M. Nugent as a child, Helen C. Bishop as a child, a young Edward. H. Foster, a young E. Halsey Howell, Adelaide Corwith and a young Mercator Cooper Kendrick. The driver of the float seen next to the young Mercator is unknown.


The following year's July 4th DAR float is featured in this photo. The participants are all dressed in puritans attire accompanying a spinning wheel while sewing. From left to right, the participants are Natalie Howell, Clarice Phillips, Amanda Ruland, Mrs. R.M. Corwith, Madeline Blackburn, Dorothy Schwenk, Edna Elliston, Adelaide Corwith dressed as Liberty while holding the American Flag, and Richard Fowler operating the vehicle.


This year's DAR float features participants dressed in festive colonial attire while assembling an American flag. Three women are holding the flag, working on individual ends of the cloth. They are accompanied by two young girls, a small boy with a large bow tie, and a man dressed in colonial costume. It's implied that this float was intended to depict Betsy Ross.


This particular year saw an explosion in photographic documentation regarding the July 4th celebration, taking place at Agawam Park.

An audience is seen gathering in this postcard reproduction, assembled in front of the World War Monument.

This is taken from a different angle of the World War Monument, this time featuring participants dressed in Colonial attire.

This photo shows participants in Colonial attire once again, this time launching a boat in Lake Agawam itself.

Another shot of the Lake's edge, with the people on shore waving back at those on the boat.

A large audience seated at Agawam Park, either in chairs or - in the case of the children - directly on the ground.

This photo emphasizes one particular participant in the celebration, with the details of his outfit being on full display. The designs of his coat, vest, pantaloons, cane and tricorn hat indicate the quality of the costumes they wore during this time.

This photo shows many participants riding on horseback, all the while wearing colonial attire.

A view of additional Colonial participants, some of which are seen bearing arms.

Here is another photo depicting the front of the World War Monument, this time with several participants gathering while in Colonial attire. One man in the foreground is seen hurrying across the shot, thus the blurriness of his limbs.

This photo depicts a march taking place, being performed by those in Colonial costume. Drummers are seen in the front as they're followed by rows of armed soldiers.

Here is a group photo of many of the participants in the celebration. Many of the small children are seen in the front of the group, flanked on both sides by men on horseback. Additionally, this photo is the work of the Morris Studio.

Another photograph from the Morris Studio, this one depicts one Wesley Bailey dressed as a soldier. Once again the detail of the elaborate costume - from the hat, coat, sleeves and boots - are on full display.

This is another Morris Studio group photo, albeit now with three figures in focus. These are Leland Burnett, Huntting Jessup and Wesley Bailey once again.


This photo from the 1936 celebration depicts Clarice Jagger and her father. They are both dressed as Puritans for the festivities of this year.

This is the Girl Scouts float for that years parade, with several of the girls from Troop 6 on board the vehicle.


From the 1940 parade, a platoon of military personnel - both men and women - are performing as the marching band. They are led by three (potentially four) women dressed in white coming down the street.

Also from that year, some of what appear to be the local Girl Scout troop are also marching as onlookers watch them along the vehicles. Two of the girls are carrying flags, one of the United States, and the other with the words "Southampton, NY" written on the bottom.

An unknown man is seen walking down the street during the parade, carrying an American flag himself. You can see he's moving quickly due to the blur on his torso and feet. Onlookers are viewing both him and presumably additional parade personnel following him.

This appears to be the Rotary International float for that year's celebration. The most prominent wording seen on the wheel is the word "International", albeit upside down as the wheel on the float spins. Onlookers can be seen to the right of the man on board the float, accompanied by an American flag on the right.

A vintage automobile is seen driving down the street as onlookers watch. A man, woman and two children can be seen on board the vehicle. The side of the car shows a banner reading "Long Island Automotive Museum - Opening in August".


The 1941 parade included the Old Town Garden Club as their participants. In the center of the march, a woman is pushing what appears to be pushing a cart or a wheel barrow full of flowers and foliage, while in front of her are two girls holding a sign that reads "Old Town", and two behind her with a sign saying "Garden Club". Both these signs appear to be made of flowers due to their soft appearence. One of the stores seen in the background amongst the viewers is Hildreth's.


Accompanied by the First Price ribbon for the Patriotic Gasless Parade, this photo is of the Daughters of the American Revolution float for that year. The wheel on top of the float shows the name of the organization circling around, while the float reads "D.A.R" on the side. The ribbon to the left of the photo reads "First Price, Patriotic Gasless Parade, July 4, 1942, Southampton New York".


In a brief departure from the parades and outdoor celebrations we've seen so far, this year's July 4th celebrations depicts the Andrews-Wanamaker Supper Dance from the Bert Morgan collection. This photo features a few key individuals from this event. Sitting at the table are Mrs. Richard Newton and Mrs. Germaine Gossler. Standing behind them are Henry Rogers Benjamin and Mrs. Livingston Sullivan.

At the same event, this photo depicts Mrs. Patterson Wanamaker and Mrs. Beatrice Bixby Andrews, two women whose surnames the party is named after.

On the dancefloor at the event, we see Mrs. Beatrice Bixby Andrews on the dance floor, accompanied by an unidentified man with additional dancers in the background.

Two unidentified men are also photographed from the Supper Dance, both of whom are seen standing outside with grass beneath their feet and tables around them. Both men are smoking cigarettes, with the man on the left wearing a white tuxedo as the man on the right wears a plaid suit.


Returning to the Daughters of the American Revolution, here we see the float assembled on the flatbed of a truck for 1965's parade. On board the float is Mrs. Raymond Ellis, accompanied by a spinning wheel, crib, chest, basket, and a rocking chair with a quilt draped across. The D.A.R. flag is seen to the right of her, and what appears to be an American flag to the left.

1970's (exact year unknown):

Joining the 4th of July celebration taking place in the 1970s is the Southampton Hospital, with their own float using a pickup truck as the base. A large heart is seen standing in the back alongside one of Hospital's representatives. They are accompanied by balloons and plants. Onlookers watch as the truck drives up the road, with the words "We Care For You" on a banner on the side of the truck.

1990's (exact year unknown):

The 4th of July parades would continue into the 1990's, with this photo depicting an all-girls marching band traveling down the street, with instruments such as flutes and drums being visible.

A few of the vehicles from this unknown year's celebration included steamrollers, as seen in this photo. The driver sits beneath an umbrella to shield him from the sun, while his vehicle features a smokestack, bell and payload of firewood. On a small sign on the side of the steamroller, it reads "Buffalo Springfield 1927".

This steamroller is painted a bright red and appears to be operated by two men in the back. The sign on the roof that hangs over the vehicle is sadly blurred due to the development of the photograph. This steamroller also features a smoke stack - this time more towards the front - a bell, an American flag on the front side, and chains on both sides.

Six individuals - four men and two women - are featured in this photograph, all of them wearing kilts. Three of the flags on display appear to be the American flag, Irish flag (as indicated by the Green and Orange on both ends) and the Scottish flag (blue with a white X in the center). The fourth flag on the end is difficult to decipher.

Additional men and women adorned in kilts are seen marching up the street here. Many of these individuals are carrying and playing bagpipes, with a few drummers seen behind them. At least one of the individuals in the rear is carrying the American flag.

An addition to the parade of this year is a horse and buggy. Two women and two children are seen in the buggy, one of each in the front and back. The rear of the vehicle appears to have balloons attached to it.

The Bridgehampton Historical Society also had their own float for this year, depicted via a large red tractor pulling a smaller green John Deer tractor on a trailer. The green tractor is accompanied by a variety of flowers and garden boxes and pots.

This photo depicts the Fife and Drum Corps dressed in Colonial costumes, marching down North Main Street. Two of the men in the front are carrying large American flags, leading a multitude of drummers and flute players in the rear.

This photo features at least three tractors in total, one in the center, one to the left entering the shot, and one obscured up the road towing bales of hay. The tractors are traveling down North Main Street and entering North Sea Road. The Spire of the Methodist Church can be seen in the background. A sign on the back of the trailer carrying hay reads "Farms - We're Being Consumed".


We now move on to 2008, the last year we'll be exploring within our 4th of July collection. This photo depicts Kaley Kerr at the parade, riding on board one of the vehicles that took part in the parade. Kaley is the granddaughter of Southampton's Mrs. Elizabeth (Robert) Skinner, Co-President of the Southampton History Museum during this year.

This photo shows Dennis Schmidt driving a 1934 Ford automobile at the parade. A sign that reads "Southampton Historical Museums, Est. 1889" is seen on the side next to the spare tire. Kaley Kerr appears once again, this time visible in the rumble seat as seen in the previous photo.

Joining in this years celebration is Anne Bishop Rachel, accompanied by a friend. They are both dressed in patriotic attire, with Anne's friend dressed in Colonial attire.

And finally we have a photo of several prominent members of Southampton dressed in Colonial-era attire. From left to right, we see Katie Milligan dressed in blue, Delaney Jones, Kyla Seymore, Jamie White wearing a bonnet, Brian Darcy carrying a pitchfork, Katherine Burton, and Isabel Milligan holding a sign obscured by those in the foreground.

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