Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater in 1964 employed the slogan, “In your heart you know he’s right”. Some Democratic opponents responded, “In your guts you know he’s nuts.” Public fear that Goldwater was an extremist helped Lyndon Johnson defeat him that year.
The composer Cole Porter wrote nearly 800 songs and two dozen musicals, including Kiss Me, Kate (1948) and Can-Can (1953).
What organization blocked the performance of Marian Anderson at Washington D.C.’s Constitution Hall?
The Daughters of the American Revolution refused to rent Constitution Hall to contralto Anderson for a concert in 1938 because she was black. Appalled by this action, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a DAR member, resigned from the organization and rallied support in Anderson’s behalf. Later that year, Roosevelt was able to arrange a performance for […]
The League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago in 1920 by Carrie Chapman Catt, along with other leaders of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. Its aim was to strengthen the political power of women following passage of the 19th Amendment (granting women the vote). Since then, the organization’s aims broadened to general advocacy […]
From left to right, the U.S. presidents are carved on Mount Rushmore are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
The man, John D. Rockefeller (1839-1937) who set up the Standard Oil Trust also founded the University of Chicago. What university did John D. Rockefeller, Jr., found? The son (1874-1960) of John D. Rockefeller founded Rockefeller University in New York.
Redware were earthenware containers used in 18th and early 19th-century America for everyday household needs, such as stew-pots, mixing bowls, and chamber pots.
Timothy Leary was fired from Harvard. He and fellow professor Richard Alpert were fired for LSD experiments with students.
The man who had been expelled from Harvard, William Randolph Hearst, bought or started 42 newspapers. Only a handful remained by the time of his death in 1951.
The first woman formally nominated for the U.S. presidency was Belva Ann Lockwood (1830-1917), feminist and lawyer, who was nominated in 1884 and 1888 as the candidate of the National Equal Rights Party. An advocate of equal rights for women and international peace, Lockwood was also the first woman admitted to practice law before the […]
The system of mail delivery by horse-and-rider relays lasted only 18 months, from April 1860 to October 1861. It connected Saint Joseph, Missouri, with Sacramento, California, a distance of 1,800 miles. The completion of the transcontinental telegraph system brought the Pony Express to an end.
Jimmy Carter (served 1977-81) was the first president to have more than one woman in his cabinet. His female cabinet members were: Patricia Roberts Harris – Housing and Urban Development; later moved to Health and Human Services Shirley Mount Hufstedler – Education Juanita Kreps – Commerce
Falwell disbanded the conservative Christian movement in 1989, ten years after founding it. After fighting for such positions as prayer in public schools and a ban on abortions, the organization ended about the same time as Ronald Reagan’s presidency, which its influence had helped bring about.
The name for the tribe Crow in their own Siouan language is Absaroke, meaning “crow, sparrowhawk, or bird people.” The French called these people of the Rocky Mountains gens des corbeaux, from which the English “Crow” is translated.
The Spanish-American War was called “that splendid little war” by then U.S. Secretary of State John Hays.
Who called George Washington “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen”?
Henry Lee, a fellow officer in the Revolutionary War and the father of Civil War general Robert E. Lee called George Washington “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen”.
The Yiddish word “chutzpa” meaning “gall, impudence” came over from Eastern Europe with the millions of Jews who immigrated to the U.S. beginning in the 1880s. By the 1970s, the Americanized term had taken on the positive connotation of “self-confidence, courage” and had made its way into British slang as well.
The comic book industry began to regulate itself with the Comics Code Authority in 1954. Among other rules, it required that “Policemen, judges, government officials and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority,” and “In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal […]
As depicted in some spy movies, the president would not press a button; he would make a phone call. To begin a nuclear attack, the president telephones the commander in chief at the Strategic Air Command in Omaha, Nebraska; several officers at SAC would verify the president’s orders. Once verified, instructions would go to bomber […]
The fire that killed 491 people at the Boston night club The Coconut Grove on November 28, 1942, may have been started by a 16-year-old boy named Stanley Tomaszewski who lit a match near a palm tree while trying to replace a light bulb. However, the fire commissioner could not prove that the boy had […]
In 1992, the biggest corporation in America was General Motors, with sales of $133 billion and assets of $191 billion. In second place was Exxon, with sales of $104 billion and assets of $85 billion.
Both Tin Lizzie and The Flivver were nicknames for the Model T, introduced by Henry Ford in 1908.
Jefferson Davis wearing women’s clothing when he was captured was the unsubstantiated rumor that spread among Union soldiers after the president of the Confederacy was captured near Irwinville, Georgia, on May 10, 1865. Supposedly Davis had donned his wife’s cloak and shawl to disguise himself from the enemy.
Until the late 19th century, Americans used sales catalogues, newspapers, pamphlets, fliers, or whatever other paper they could find for toilet paper. The materials were kept in the bathroom or outhouse, where they provided reading matter as well as sanitation. Toilet paper in rolls, sold in plain brown wrappers, was first marketed in the U.S. […]
The Bataan Peninsula is in the Philippines. Following the Allied surrender of Bataan to the Japanese in April 1942, it was the site of the infamous “death march” in which thousands of American and Filipino prisoners died.
The Battle of Bunker Hill took place not on Bunker Hill but on Breed’s Hill, on June 17, 1775. The opposing forces were supposed to engage on Bunker Hill, but for unknown reasons the soldiers dug in on the smaller site, about 2,000 feet away. To straighten things out for visitors, Breed’s Hill was later […]
The 71-year-old head of the Gambino crime family Paul Castellano was shot dead on December 16, 1985, on 46th Street near Third Avenue in New York City. His successor, John Gotti, reputedly masterminded the killing.
The famous shootout on October 26, 1881, happened in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, at a photographer’s studio just to the east of the O.K. Corral, Camillus Fly’s studio. The Earp brothers, Wyatt, Virgil, Morgan, and friend Doc Holliday shot Billy Clanton and neighbors Tom and Frank McLaury. Although there was bad blood between the Earps, the […]
After experimenting with thousands of materials, Thomas Edison discovered in 1879 that a scorched cotton thread, the equivalent of a carbon wire, was the filament he needed. It was one that would glow for a long period without melting in an electric light bulb. Edison’s discovery ushered in the age of electric lighting.
The name “Alaska” comes from an Aleutian word meaning “mainland,” distinguishing it from the islands on which the Aleutian people lived.
The federal government founded the National Rail Passenger Corporation Amtrak in 1970 to prevent the imminent extinction of passenger railroads in the U.S. Unable to compete with airlines, the commercial railroads had been eliminating most of their passenger service and concentrating on freight. Railroad passenger-miles traveled in a single year had declined from a height […]
When was the starting point of the 20-year period described by Jane Addams in Twenty Years at Hull-House?
The score of years described by Jane Addams in Twenty Years at Hull-House began in 1889 when Addams (1860-1935) and her friend Ellen Starr moved into an old mansion in a poor neighborhood of Chicago. Hull-House became a center for social and political activism. In 1910, Addams published her autobiography, Twenty Years at Hull-House. She […]
The company IBM, now known as International Business Machines was originally founded as the Computing Tabulating Recording Company in 1911.
Four major “French and Indian Wars” were fought in colonial times by Britain and France for control of North America. Each was part of a larger struggle involving shifting alliances, fighting in Europe, and colonial battles in other parts of the world. The struggle ended in 1763 with Britain winning most of France’s American empire, […]
Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton or “Mother Seton” (1774-1821) was the first native-born American to become a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Born into a wealthy Episcopalian family in New York City, Seton converted to Roman Catholicism after her husband died. She founded the American Sisters of Charity, an order dedicated to helping the poor […]
Though born into slavery, Sojourner Truth was born not in the South but in Ulster County, New York, before slavery was abolished in that state in 1827. After being sold to a master who set her free, she worked as a domestic. She later became a preacher of Christianity, abolitionism, and women’s rights.
The Granite Railway was the first chartered railroad in the United States. It began running from Quincy, Massachusetts, to the Neponset River, a distance of three miles, on October 7, 1826. Its principal cargo consisted of blocks of granite for use in building the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. The railway later became part of […]
The Catholic anarchist and pacifist newspaper The Catholic Worker founded by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin has been published since May 1933. The cost, then and now, is one cent per copy.
The five-month Homestead strike was begun in July 1892 by workers at Andrew Carnegie’s steelworks in Homestead, Pennsylvania. It began when Carnegie refused to recognize the workers’ right to negotiate as a union. Steelworks manager Henry Clay Frick brought in 300 Pinkerton guards to break the strike, but the workers drove them off in a […]
The government-owned land known as Teapot Dome, rich in oil, was located in Wyoming. The scandal began when a Senate investigating committee discovered that the Teapot Dome and Elk Hills, California, reserves had been secretly leased by Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall to private oil companies in 1922. Fall was eventually convicted of […]
Carol Moseley Braun (Democrat, Illinois), whose term began in 1993, was the first black woman senator. The first black senator was Hiram Revels of Mississippi, who served during Reconstruction, 1870-71.
At what baseball game did TV star Roseanne Arnold make an obscene gesture to cap her rendition of the national anthem?
The comedienne made headlines for her performance at the July 25, 1990, game of the San Diego Padres-Cincinnati Reds. Arnold grabbed her crotch in response to boos at her handling of the anthem.
The College Board first administered the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) in June 1926. More than 8,000 applicants took the test, most of them applicants to elite colleges such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale. The test, intended to help predict subsequent academic performance, was modeled on intelligence tests administered by the U.S. Army in World War […]
Sargent Shriver, director of the Peace Corps during John F. Kennedy’s term (1961-63), was Kennedy’s brother-in-law.
Electric lights were first used for a baseball game between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis teams on May 28, 1883, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
As of 1992, the honor goes to Richard (Dick) Button, who held the title for seven years from 1946 to 1952. Four skaters have held the title for four years: Hayes Jenkins-1953-56 David Jenkins-1957-60 Scott Hamilton-1981-84 Brian Boitano-1985-88 What female figure skater has most often won the U.S. Skating Championship? As of 1992, the honor […]
American Nintendo Company employees took the name “Mario” for Super Mario Brothers from the landlord of their building. The Nintendo system first appeared in the U.S. in 1986.
The score at the end of the game in “Casey at the Bat” was two to four, with the “Mudville nine” losing to an anonymous team thanks to “Mighty Casey” striking out in the ninth inning. Written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer (1863-1940), the poem was first published pseudonymously in the San Francisco Examiner on June […]
People of Mexican descent founded the city of Los Angeles in 1781. Mexicans remained the major population group in Los Angeles (named for Our Lady of the Angels) until the Gold Rush of 1849 brought Anglo-Americans to California in droves. By then, as a result of the Mexican War in 1846-48, California had passed from […]
Pennsylvania, founded by William Penn, a Quaker, in 1682 was one of the 13 Colonies was founded by pacifists. Members of the Society of Friends, or Quaker movement, rejected formal sacraments and clergy, trusted in the inspiration of an “inner light,” and forbade violence and war. Penn hoped Pennsylvania’s government would embody Quaker principles, practicing […]
The total American death count in World War I was 116,516, including 53,402 deaths in battle and 63,114 from other causes, mostly disease. An additional 204,002 soldiers received nonlethal wounds.
The federal income tax in the U.S. has been permanent since 1913, with the passage of the 16th Amendment. As established in that year, the bottom rate was 1 percent on taxable net income over $3,000 for an individual, $4,000 for a married couple. The top rate, for those making more than $500,000, was 7 […]
William Safire wrote the phrase “nattering nabobs of negativism” for Vice-President Spiro Agnew in 1970. Agnew speechwriter Pat Buchanan, came up with “pusillanimous pussyfooters”, also in 1970.
The duties assigned to the vice-president by the Constitution are: To be president of the Senate; to cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate when needed; and to replace the president of the U.S. in the event that the latter’s term ends prematurely.
The women’s rights group, the National Organization for Women, was founded in 1966 by Betty Friedan. Friedan was author of the 1963 book, The Feminine Mystique.
Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, a French explorer and administrator, founded Fort Pontchartrain du Detroit in 1701. The Cadillac automobile is named for him.
The women’s rights leader Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) did not live to see the 19th Amendment adopted in 1920 guaranteeing women the right to vote. But Anthony had voted illegally in a Rochester, New York, election in 1872, and refused to pay the fine that followed.
President Calvin Coolidge, in a 1925 speech, said, “The business of America is business”.
According to the 1860 census, only 4 percent of the white population of the South owned plantations large enough to be farmed by 20 or more slaves. About 1 percent owned plantations needing 50 or more slaves. Seventy-five percent of white families owned no slaves.
The Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi first played the role onstage in the 1927 Broadway production of Dracula. It was adapted by Hamilton Deane and John Balderston from Bram Stoker’s novel. Lugosi became famous by playing Dracula in the 1931 movie version.