Florida Laughing
Celebrating World Laughter Day

Florida Memory presents images of joy and fun from our state's historic records in celebration of World Laughter Day. Dr. Madan Kataria first introduced this day in 1998 to broaden understanding and friendship throughout the world. World Laughter Day takes place annually on the first Sunday of May. It has now spread to 60 countries and led to the creation of thousands of laughter clubs. Whether having fun with politics, expressing the pleasure of work and performance, or simply seeing the humor in everyday life—Floridians have found reason to laugh at it all.

Portrait of 3-year-old Duncan Dashiff: Tallahassee, Florida (1971)

Image number: RP04285

Photo by Richard Parks.

Golf Pro Alec Smith (left) and others posing with caddies: Miami, Florida (1920s)

Image number: PHF032

Photo by William A. Fishbaugh.

Little Bub Ahern having a good laugh: Babson Park, Florida (1920s)

Image number: N047697

Young women making fun of sign at a beach requiring full bathing suits: Miami, Florida (1934)

Image number: RC04815

Photo by G.W. Romer.

Laughing in Florida at ol' man winter up North (1938)

Image number: PC0043

Publication information: Jacksonville, Florida, Florida Post Card Co., [1938] Curt Teich

William Keye and Mary Jane Roberts making straw hats: Riviera Beach, Florida (1939)

Image number: Pr25422

Accompanying note: 7. plaiting the stuff from which his hat is made or laughing with Mary Jane at a visitor's remark.

Olive Hines (later Norman) with a friend: Tallahassee, Florida (1940s)

Image number: PR76780

Strobe shot of Joseph Janney Steinmetz "taking a photo the hard way": Sarasota, Florida (1947)

Image number: JJS1355

Ringling Circus clowns: Emmett Kelly (standing right), Paul Jerome (seated right), Alder Felix and Harry Dann: Sarasota, Florida (1947)

Image number: JJS1374

Photo by Joseph Janney Steinmetz.

Seminole mother with her children: Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation, Florida (1949)

Image number: JJS0592

Photo by Joseph Janney Steinmetz.

Unidentified children playing with make up at George Brunette's School of Art: Jacksonville, Florida (1949)

Image number: RF01083

Photo by Robert E. Fisher.

Helen Johnson: Key West, Florida (ca. 1950)

Image number: N045533

Only child of Winifred Sands Johnson.

Mari Aldon makes Governor Fuller Warren laugh at the celebration for the premiere of Distant Drums: Saint Augustine, Florida (1951)

Image number: C015702

Unidentified boy with a goliath grouper: Boca Grande, Florida (1955)

Image number: C021724

Photo by Francis P. Johnson.

U.S. Senator George A. Smathers sharing a laugh with Governor LeRoy Collins and President John F. Kennedy (1961)

Image number: GV011246

Tallahassee family, Florida (1960s)

Image number: N042945

Crowd greeting President John F. Kennedy: Miami, Florida (November 18, 1963)

Image number: RC09172

Photo by Joe Rimkus.

Riding with the President is U.S. Senator George Smathers. This photograph was taken four days before President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

Allen Morris and co-author Ann Waldron sharing a laugh: Tallahassee, Florida (1965)

Image number: PT04267

Photographed during the signing of their book, Your Florida Government, 500 Questions and Answers.

Portrait of 2 ½-year-old Greg Hansen: Tallahassee, Florida (July 1967)

Image number: RP02292

Photo by Richard Parks.

Florida Governor Claude Kirk speaking at campaign beach party for Republican presidential candidate Nelson Rockefeller: Miami Beach, Florida (August 1968)

Image number: GOV0087

Supporter of Richard Nixon at the Republican National Convention: Miami Beach, Florida (1968)

Image number: C800000-119

Dog receiving a treat at the Coral Ridge National Bank drive-thru window: Fort Lauderdale, Florida (ca. 1969)

Image number: PR21247

Photo by Roy Erickson.

Apollo 11 Astronauts (left to right) Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin greeted by President Richard M. Nixon upon their return from space: Aboard the U.S. S. Hornet in the Pacific Ocean (July 24, 1969)

Image number: PR10181A

Portrait of Caroline Leddick: Tallahassee, Florida (August 1969)

Image number: RP03300

Photo by Richard Parks.

Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, Florida House of Representatives (left), and Shirley Chisholm, United States Congress, at the Democratic National Convention: Miami Beach, Florida (1972)

Image number: RC14294

Florida legislative representatives Dr. Gene Tubbs and Dr. Dick Hodes: Tallahassee, Florida (1974)

Image number: PT01999

Photo by Donn Dughi.

The Scull sisters, Haydee and Sahara, dance with Facundo Rivera at Club Basque: Little Havana, Miami, Florida (1985)

Image number: FA5696

Photo by L.K. Sommers.

Supporters of Michael Dukakis on the steps of Florida's Historic Capitol: Tallahassee, Florida (1988)

Image number: MF0649

Photo by Mark Foley.

Accompanying note: Florida Democratic Party Chairman Charles Whitehead quips "A Dukakis in the hand is worth more than a Quayle in the Bush." Attorney General Bob Butterworth, left, lines up with Dukakis campaign co-chairs: Senator Carrie Meek, center, Speaker pro-tempore James Burke, and Education Commissioner Betty Castor, far right, on the capitol steps Wednesday.

Seminole children playing stick ball: Big Cypress Reservation, Florida (1989)

Image number: FS89354

Stickball is a very old game among Native Americans. Some of the earliest sketches by European explorers depict the game being played. The game has elements of a team sport, but also involves individual skill and endurance. The stickball game is one of the social highlights of the Green Corn Dance, but may be played for fun at other times during the year as well.

Representative Scott Clemons introducing his bill on automobile window tinting: Tallahassee, Florida (1991)

Image number: DND0721

Photo by Donn Dughi.

Accompanying note: A bill dealing with car window tinting by Rep. Scott Clemons (center) brought a ribbing by fellow legislators. It was Clemons' first bill.

Celebration for Patricia A. Seitz (center), first woman President of the Florida Bar Association. Also pictured are United States Attorney General Janet Reno (left) and Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court Rosemary Barkett: Tallahassee, Florida (1993)

Image number: RC16567

Governor Lawton Chiles and his dog, Tess: Tallahassee, Florida (1998)

Image number: MF1015

Photo by Mark Foley.

Harry Anstead putting rabbit ears on Charles Wells prior to formal en banc portrait of Florida Supreme Court Justices: Tallahassee, Florida (2000)

Image number: SC00288

Seated (L-R): Leander Shaw, Chief Justice Charles Wells, Major Harding. Standing: R. Fred Lewis, Harry Anstead, Barbara Pariente, Peggy Quince.