Primary Source

The Lemonade Stand [Advertisement]


The lemonade stand is a widely used and recognized symbol of capitalism and in particular entrepreneurship. The selling of lemonade on the streets of New York can be traced back to when a New York youngster sold it to thirsty street car riders over 130 years ago. Its connection to youthful entrepreneurship has endured. Today it is often the first entrepreneurial venture of young people and is frequently mentioned as a summertime activity. The operation of a lemonade stand is clearly established as a learning or teaching tool and translates well into games for children, simulations and classroom exercises in most grades. The lemonade stand as a symbol lends itself to story-telling and is the basis of plot development in many children's story-books. It is featured in newspaper and magazine cartoons, media stories every summer, web sites, books and television programs. The lemonade stand as a symbol of capitalism and entrepreneurship is relevant today and endures despite changes in beverage preferences and children's activities.


Electric Power and Light Company, Ad, Life Magazine, May 1947, 4. Annotated by Robert Sexty.

Primary Source Text

Captain of Industry

Butch wants a bicycle! Lots of lawn and lemonade and baby-sitting lie between Butch and that bike, but we’re betting on the boy. He has energy, vision, and our national habit of working hard for what he wants. He’s American business – in miniature.

There are many names for Butch’s philosophy. You can call it Free Enterprise, Opportunity, Democracy, or Capitalism, if you want.

But whatever the name, America owes it much. For our most valuable natural resource lies in the ambition and initiative of Americans like Butch.

As great publications have grown from the dreams of young men with old hand-presses – the electric industry had small beginnings, too. A few men with vision strung the first short lines. People with faith risked their savings. Better and better service, at lower and lower cost, created more and more jobs – and carried the benefits of electric living to more and more people.

Free enterprise—and hard work—will bring Butch and his bike together. They are what built America and the American way of life. No nation on earth has found a satisfactory substitute for that combination.”

Listen to the New Electric Hour – the HOUR OF CHARM. Sundays, 4:30 P.M., EDT, CBS.

America’s business-managed, tax-paying

How to Cite This Source

"The Lemonade Stand [Advertisement]," in Children and Youth in History, Item #245, (accessed August 10, 2021). Annotated by Robert W. Sexty