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.
In the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed on August 27, 1928, the US., France, Great Britain, Japan, Italy, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, and Poland all agreed to give up war as an instrument of foreign policy. However, the treaty lacked enforcement power, and within 14 years all the parties that signed it were fighting in World War II. The […]
The acute pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease is caused by a bacterium of the genus Legionella. The disease made headlines (and got its name) when it killed 29 people at an American Legion convention in Philadelphia, July 21-24, 1976. The causative agent was found a year later.
Famed for its Italian flavors, the Ragti line of products was founded in Rochester, New York, in 1937 by two Italian immigrants, Giovanni and Assunta Contisano. Ragii became the first nationally distributed brand of pasta sauce in the U.S. in 1989, after it was acquired by Chesebrough-Pond’s.
Timothy Leary was fired from Harvard. He and fellow professor Richard Alpert were fired for LSD experiments with students.
West Virginia was part of Virginia when that state seceded from the Union in 1861. The delegates of 40 western counties formed their own government and seceded from Virginia to join the Union side. These counties entered the Union as the state of West Virginia in 1863.
There have been 538 members of the Electoral College since 1964, when, in keeping with the 23rd Amendment, the District of Columbia acquired three electors. In addition, each state chooses as many electors as it has senators and representatives in Congress. At present, 270 electoral votes are needed to win, a majority of the 538 […]
Five, dating back to 1808, when the first Hamilton Fish was born to Nicholas Fish (1758-1833), Revolutionary War patriot and friend of Alexander Hamilton, for whom Nicholas named his son. Each Hamilton Fish was father to another one, in this order: Hamilton Fish (1808-93) Hamilton Fish (1849-1936) Hamilton Fish, Jr. (1888-1991) Hamilton Fish, Jr. (1926) […]
The leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad, was born Elijah Poole in 1897 near Sandersville, Georgia. He took over leadership of the Muslim sect (founded in Detroit in 1930 and commonly known as the Black Muslims) in 1934, expanding its reach and advocating black separatism until his death in 1975.
Sally Hemings was the name of the slave reputed to have been Thomas Jefferson’s mistress. The charge that he had fathered children by her while he was an envoy in Paris came up during the presidential election of 1804, which he won just the same.
Who signed his name as “X” to the article in the magazine Foreign Affairs that first outlined the policy of containing Soviet expansion?
George K. Kennan, then a member of the State Department’s policy planning staff, wrote the pseudonymous article in the magazine Foreign Affairs that first outlined the policy of containing Soviet expansion in 1947.
In 1916, the rebel leader Pancho Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico, and killed 18 people. Villa opposed U.S. influence in Mexico and was seeking to overthrow the Mexican government. In response, President Woodrow Wilson sent General John Pershing and 6,000 troops into northern Mexico on a mission to find Villa. Pershing’s expedition clashed with Mexican […]
James Naismith was teaching at The YMCA Training College, now Springfield College, in Springfield, Massachusetts when he invented basketball. Naismith invented the game for his students in the winter of 1891-92 to provide indoor exercise between the football and baseball seasons.
Odd-numbered highways move north and south, while those with even numbers move east and west. Highways with one or two digit numbers are through routes, often long ones used for distance driving. Three-digit routes that begin with an even number are usually beltways around a city. Three-digit routes that begin with an odd number are […]
Boston was the first American city to be admitted to the National Hockey League, in 1924. The Boston Bruins won their first Stanley Cup Championship in 1929 and have won it five times since then (1939, 1941, 1970, 1972, 1990).
Alexander Graham Bell first displayed his electric telephone in 1876 at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Instituted in 1897 and celebrated on June 14, Flag Day marks the day in 1777 that the Continental Congress adopted the “Stars and Stripes” as the American flag.
The motto Annuit Coeptis above the eye on the dollar bill means, “He [God] Favored Our Undertakings.” The eye represents the all-seeing deity. The pyramid symbolizes strength; it is unfinished to suggest the work ahead.
Every soldier defending the fort at the Alamo (about 182 in all) died in the fighting on March 6, 1836, or were killed as prisoners soon after. The dead included Travis, knife-inventor James Bowie, and frontiersman and former U.S. Congressman Davy Crockett.
Yes, there really was a John Deere. In 1839, he invented the steel plow, which, along with Cyrus McCormick’s 1834 invention, the reaper, changed the face of American agriculture.
1876 Centennial Exposition—Philadelphia 1901—Pan-American Exposition—Buffalo, New York 1905—Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition—Portland, Oregon 1926—Sesquicentennial Exposition—Philadelphia 1933-34–Century of Progress International Exposition—Chicago 1935 California Pacific International Exposition—San Di- ego 1939-40—New York World’s Fair—New York City 1939-40—Golden Gate International Exposition—Treasure Island, San Francisco 1962—Century 21 Exposition—Seattle 1964-65—New York World’s Fair—New York City 1974—Expo ’74—Spokane, Washington 1982—World’s Fair—Knoxville, Tennessee […]
The first president to hold a doctorate was Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), the 28th president. He received a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1886. His thesis was entitled “Congressional Government, a Study in American Politics.”
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 […]
Written by Milton Ager and Jack Yellen, the Depression-era Democratic party theme song “Happy Days Are Here Again” first appeared in the 1930 MGM musical Chasing Rainbows, starring Bessie Love and Charles King. The movie opened after the 1929 stock market crash and was a flop.
The Socialist Party of America was born in 1901 under the leadership of Eugene V. Debs. Instead of emphasizing state control of the economy, it advocated worker-protection laws, many of which later came to be enacted. Among the party’s goals were the reduction of hours in the workday, nationalization of railroads, and the creation of […]
Fort Necessity—Pennsylvania Fort Duquesne—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Fort Ticonderoga—New York State Fort Laramie—Wyoming Fort Sumter—Charleston, South Carolina Fort Corregidor—Manila Bay, Philippines
Bellevue, on New York City’s East Side, is the oldest general hospital in North America. Plans for the hospital date back to 1736, although at that time the building was meant to be only a “Publick Workhouse and House of Correction” near City Hall (located on the site of present-day City Hall Park). In 1816, […]
The real first names of the following musicians are: Duke Ellington—Edward Tommy Dorsey—Francis Glenn Miller—Alton Count Basie—William
World War II general Douglas MacArthur was ranked first of 93 in the class of 1903 at West Point. How highly ranked was Civil War officer George Armstrong Custer? He was 35th of 35 in the class of 1861.
About 15 million Model Ts were sold when the iconic car was being produced.
Ronald Reagan, at 69 in 1980 and at 73 in 1984, was the oldest man to be elected president.
When the Civil War broke out, a West Point graduate, Ulysses S. Grant (1822-85) had fallen into alcoholism and hard times after his service in the Mexican War. He was working as a clerk in his father’s leather shop in Galena, Illinois, when the Civil War began. Obtaining a commission as a colonel of volunteers, […]
According to Forbes magazine’s 1992 list of richest Americans, they are: William Henry Gates 3rd ($6.3 billion) John Werner Kluge ($5.5 billion) Helen Walton, S. Robson Walton, Jim C. Walton, John T. Walton, Alice L. Walton (tied at $5.1 billion each) Gates is the founder of Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest personal computer software company. […]
The first commercially successful plastic was celluloid, developed by American John Wesley Hyatt in 1869. It was made from a material that had first been produced by British chemist Alexander Parkes in 1855. Hyatt originally intended the synthetic organic substance as a cheap alternative to ivory for the manufacture of billiard balls, but other commercial […]
Benjamin Harrison, Republican, in 1888, was the last president to be elected without winning the largest share of the popular vote. Fewer ballots were cast for him at the polling booth than for Democrat Grover Cleveland. But Harrison carried the day by winning 233 votes in the Electoral College to Cleveland’s 168.
No U.S. ships were fired on in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964. The U.S. Navy reported that month that the USS Maddox and the USS Turner had been fired upon by three North Vietnamese patrol boats. Later investigations showed no evidence of any such attacks.
The first theatrical performance in America north of Mexico took place in 1598 in a Spanish settlement near present-day El Paso, Texas. The play was a comedy about a military expedition.
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) at six feet, four inches was the tallest U.S. president. James Madison (1809-1817) at five feet, four inches was the shortest U.S. president.
The source of the term “hoosier” for Indiana residents is often said to be Samuel Hoosier, a contractor for the Ohio Falls Canal in Louisville, Ohio, in 1825. Hoosier’s employees, recruited from Indiana, were known as the “Hoosier men” or simply “Hoosiers.” By 1833, the term was being used in local periodicals, for example, in […]
D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation in 1916 was the first movie shown in the White House. Woodrow Wilson was president at the time.
A U-2 was an American high-altitude reconnaissance plane. The plane became infamous when a U-2 flown by Francis Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960, sparking an international incident.
Ten hours before the surprise attack on December 7, 1941, Americans intercepted a 14-part Japanese message. They deciphered it at 4:37 A.M., Washington time, just hours before the attack, but the message remained in the code room; not until three hours later was it delivered to President Roosevelt. By 11:00 A.M., the U.S. chief of […]
Super Bowl XII was played in the Superdome in New Orleans on January 15, 1978. Dallas beat Denver 27 to 10. The largest arena in human history, the Superdome covers 13 acres and reaches a height of 27 stories.
The U.S. fielded about 540,000 troops, by far the most of any nation in the coalition it led against Iraq in the Gulf War. Iraqi ground forces in the Kuwaiti theater of operations were estimated at 545,000.
The opening words of the Declaration of Independence are as follows: When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature […]
The major political parties held their national conventions in Los Angeles only once. The Democratic Party nominated John F. Kennedy in Los Angeles in July 1960.
The self-improvement program called the Chautauqua Movement was designed “to promote habits of reading and study in nature, art, science, and in secular and sacred literature, in connection with the routine of daily life”. It was first proposed at a Methodist Episcopal camp meeting at Lake Chautauqua, New York, in 1873 by Bishop John H. […]
Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of Robert Kennedy, was a Jordanian-born American. He shot Kennedy, then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, on June 5, 1968.
Hattie T. Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, was elected to the Senate in 1932, making her the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.
Stephen A. Douglas (1813-61), the short but politically powerful congressman from Illinois, was known as “The Little Giant”. A Democrat, he represented Illinois in the House of Representatives (1843-47) and the Senate (184761). He lost the 1860 presidential election to Abraham Lincoln.
The royal governor of New York Henry Sloughter with the murderous name was responsible for hanging Jacob Leisler in 1691. Leisler was a New York City wine merchant who led a rebellion against royal rule in 1689. As acting governor, Leisler set up an assembly and reformed tax laws until the new governor, Sloughter, stopped […]
National Airlines began the first domestic jet airliner passenger service in the U.S. on December 10, 1958, between New York and Miami.
Ronald Reagan served as host and commercial spokesman on the CBS dramatic anthology “General Electric Theater” from 1954 to 1962. The show aired Sundays from 9:00-9:30 P.M. Reagan occasionally starred in the dramas showcased in the series, including “Money and the Minister,” where he acted opposite his wife, Nancy Davis.
The U.S. frontier officially closed in 1890. That was the year in which the Bureau of the Census announced there was no difference between frontier and settlement, meaning that the frontier was now closed.
The American-born dancer and choreographer Isadora Duncan (1878-1927), long an advocate of radical politics, went to Moscow in 1921 at the invitation of Anatoly Lunacharsky, Soviet commissar of enlightenment. In Moscow, she founded a school and married poet Sergei Essenin.
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 […]
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.
Franklin Roosevelt first used it in his acceptance speech for the presidential nomination at the 1932 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
The “Trail of Tears” refers to the “removal,” or forced exile, of 17,000 Cherokee from Georgia in 1838-39, under the terms of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. About 4,000 people, one in four Cherokees, died of hunger and disease on their way to Oklahoma.
In the mid-1890s, Mr. and Mrs. Pearl B. Wait of LeRoy, New York, adapted a gelatin dessert that had been patented by inventor Peter Cooper and named it Jell-O. In 1899, the Waits sold the business to Francis Woodward, founder of the Genessee Pure Food Company. By 1906, Woodward had sold $1 million worth of […]