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.

Exploring the Bolshevik Revolution with Historic Newspapers

This year marks the centennial anniversary of both the U.S. entry into World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution, the events that led to the fall of Russia’s tsarist government and the eventual birth of the U.S.S.R. By analyzing reports in historic newspapers, students can explore the Great War’s role as a possible catalyst in starting the revolution and U.S. responses to the rise of communism in Russia.

Mobilizing Diversity During World War I

When the United States entered World War I, it was also grappling with issues related to suffrage, immigration, and social inequality. The country needed the work of the entire populace to fuel its efforts in the Great War, and the nation’s leadership tried to rally all people of the country around the war, urging all to unite against a common enemy. Students can examine primary sources from the Library of Congress to better understand how minority groups were recruited to help support the war effort.

World War I Recruiting Songs: Building the Military with Music

Music is one way to get a message out or to encourage support for a cause, especially during wartime. In the first years of World War I, when the United States was neutral, songs supported the country staying out of the war. After the U.S. entered the war in 1917, songs encouraged or discouraged citizens to enlist and join the battle. Others encouraged those on the home front to support those who were on the battlefield.