Celebrating Independence Day with the American Colony in Jerusalem at the Turn of the 20th Century

In 1881, Anna and Horatio Spafford led a small American contingent to Jerusalem to form a Christian utopian society known as the “American Colony.” During and immediately after World War I, the American Colony played a critical role in supporting the people of Jerusalem by running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable ventures.

Though the religious community left in the 1940s, the Colony’s home was converted into a hotel where many meetings have been held, including some that led to the Oslo Peace Accord of 1993.

Though away from home, the members of the Colony celebrated Independence Day. The picture below shows the Colony’s pageant at the start of the 20th century.

Fourth of July pageant at the American Colony, Jerusalem, showing women wearing red, white, and blue costumes carrying flags and a man and woman dressed as Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty.

Learn more about the American Colony by exploring the online exhibit or viewing some of the images held by our Prints and Photographs Division.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday.

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