Celebrating Independence at Independence Hall

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Etching and engraving of Independence Hall in 1926 by Childe Hassam.
Childe Hassam (American, 1839 – 1935), Independence Hall, Philadelphia, 1926. Etching and engraving. Gift of the Milch Galleries, New York City 1956.29

Late in his career, the American Impressionist painter Childe (pronounced “child”) Hassam turned his talents to printmaking. In 1926, in celebration of the 150th anniversary of our country’s birth, he made this etching and engraving of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the place where the original 13 colonies debated their break with Great Britain, and on July 4, 1776, approved the Declaration of Independence. On July 5, 1926, President Calvin Coolidge gave a speech at Independence Hall to mark the occasion, stating:

“It is little wonder that people at home and abroad consider Independence Hall as hallowed ground and revere the Liberty Bell as a sacred relic. That pile of bricks and mortar, that mass of metal, might appear to the uninstructed as only the outgrown meeting place and the shattered bell of a former time, useless now because of more modern conveniences, but to those who know they have become consecrated by the use which men have made of them. They have long been identified with a great cause. They are the framework of a spiritual event.”

As we mark this, the 240th anniversary of our country’s founding, the Birmingham Museum of Art wishes you a happy Fourth of July as you and your families celebrate “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”