The United Nations occupied four sites, three of them in New York. The first regular session of the General Assembly was held in October 1945 at Central Hall in London. The United Nations then moved to Hunter College in the Bronx, before establishing interim headquarters at Lake Success on Long Island in August 1946. The […]
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).
The first situation comedy on television was a live show called “Mary Kay and Johnny” (1947-50, Dumont). Forerunner to I Love Lucy, the live show concerned the adventurous life of New York newlyweds Johnny and Mary Kay Stearns. The couple’s real-life newborn son was worked into the show in 1948.
The Massachusetts militiamen won the Battle of Lexington and Concord when they forced the British to retreat from Concord back to Boston. This was the first battle of the War of Independence The British were trying to confiscate colonial arms from a depot at Concord. The battle, which took place on the night of April […]
The practice of using economic means to achieve foreign policy goals is known as “dollar diplomacy”. It was first associated with President William Howard Taft (served 1909-13) and his Secretary of State Philander C. Knox.
Operation Torch was the Allied invasion of French North Africa beginning on November 8, 1942. Assault troops, almost all American, captured Morocco and Algiers with mostly British naval support.
Explorer John Cabot was Italian. Born Giovanni Caboto in Genoa, Italy (c. 1450), he sailed under the English flag. He appears to have reached Newfoundland in 1497, a year before Columbus reached the American mainland. Cabot was lost at sea in 1498.
The electric sign on 1 Times Square at 42nd Street in New York that displays headlines was installed in 1928. At that time, the building housed offices of the New York Times and was known as the Times Tower. It is now owned by several general and limited partners and runs headlines from New York […]
The 50 U.S. states, with their dates of admission to the Union, are listed below. The original 13 states are marked with an asterisk. Alabama-1819 Montana-1889 Alaska-1959 Nebraska-1867 Arizona-1912 Nevada-1864 Arkansas-1836 New Hampshire-1788* California-1850 New Jersey-1787* Colorado-1876 New Mexico-1912 Connecticut-1788* New York-1788* Delaware-1787* North Carolina-1789* Florida-1845 North Dakota-1889 Georgia-1788* Ohio-1803 Hawaii-1959 Oklahoma-1907 Idaho-1890 Oregon-1859 Illinois-1818 […]
Directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg, E.T. The Extraterrestrial (1982) is the all-time money-making champ at $228.6 million. Star Wars (1977), directed by George Lucas, is in second place at $193.5 million. Either individually or together, Spielberg and Lucas have helped create seven of the top ten money-making movies.
The kingdom of Israel, formed in 930 B.C. by 10 of the original 12 Hebrew tribes, was conquered by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. Those 10 tribes were exiled and assimilated into other nations, and so vanished from history. The other two tribes, founders of the separate kingdom of Judah, lived on.
It was in 44 B.C. that Julius Caesar was assassinated. The date was March 15, the Ides of March.
The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed twice. The first Temple was razed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The second was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.
Abraham Lincoln was watching Our American Cousin, by Tom Taylor, on the evening of April 14, 1865. It was during this play when John Wilkes Booth entered Lincoln’s private box and fired his one-shot derringer. Lincoln’s bodyguard had stepped away for a drink of water.
Todt Hill, on Staten Island, at 426 feet is the highest natural elevation in the New York metropolitan area. In fact, it is the highest point on the eastern seaboard south of Maine. Cadillac Mountain in Maine is the highest point on the eastern seaboard.
Of the 22.4 million Hispanic-Americans counted in the 1990 census, more than 60 percent (13.5 million) are of Mexican heritage. Another 2.7 million are Puerto Rican, 1 million are Cuban, and the rest are “other.” All together, Hispanics, who can be of any race, account for 9 percent of the U.S. population.
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 […]
There are 13 stars, arrows, olive leaves, and olives in the Great Seal of the United States, symbolizing the original 13 colonies. The design of the seal was approved by Congress in 1782. As seen on the back of the dollar bill, the seal consists of an eagle holding olives and arrows in its talons, […]
The average time the 17th- and 18th-century peasants and laborers spent to pay off the debt incurred by their passage to America (about $100) was four years.
As of 1991, the top three leading NFL touchdown scorers are: Jim Brown-126 touchdowns Walter Payton-125 touchdowns John Riggins-116 touchdowns
In 1803, the U.S. Congress granted Lewis and Clark $2,500 for an expedition to explore the territory west of the Mississippi River. Selected by President Thomas Jefferson to lead the group of 50 people were Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Starting out from St. Louis, Missouri, the expedition crossed the Rockies and reached the Pacific […]
Mike Ditka was the coach of the Chicago Bears for 11 seasons. He took over as coach in 1982 and was relieved of his position in January 1993, at the close of the 1992 season. He led the Bears to victory in the 1986 Super Bowl.
Cost-of-living raises, based on the U.S. cost-of-living index, were first negotiated into General Motors-United Auto Workers Union contracts in 1948.
In 1989, 76.9 percent of the U.S. population aged 25 and over has completed high school. Only 21.1 percent has completed college.
The first American cookbook was the 1796 collection American Cookery by Amelia Simmons, whose pen name was “An American Orphan.” Four editions of the book appeared between 1796 and 1808.
In World War II, over three times as many Americans died: 405,399, including 291,557 in battle and 113,842 from other causes. An additional 670,846 Americans received nonlethal wounds.
About 300,000 persons lived in the city of Athens during the Age of Pericles. Slightly less populous than modern Albuquerque, New Mexico, with its 330,000-plus inhabitants.
The Watts riots of 1965 lasted six days, beginning on August 12, 1965. The riot in the largely black Watts district of Los Angeles involved up to 10,000 people. Thirty-four people, most of them black, were killed. Nearly 4,000 people were arrested. Whole blocks were burned, with nearly 1,000 buildings damaged or destroyed. Damage was […]
President Teddy Roosevelt drew this unflattering nickname “muckraker” for early 20th-century investigative reporters from the 17th-century allegory Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. In this book, a muckraker is a worker too busy gathering dirt and debris to see the celestial crown overhead.
In 1992, 98 percent of U.S. households had a TV set. Sixty-five percent had two or more. Seventy-seven percent had videocassette recorders.
Influenza was responsible for the most deadly epidemic in U.S. history. An epidemic from March to November 1918 killed over 500,000 people nationwide.
The first political party in America was the Federalist Party, founded in 1790 by Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. Around the same time, Thomas Jefferson built a rival organization that became known as the Republican or Democratic-Republican Party.
The first presidential mansion was located at One Cherry Street in New York City. It was not called the White House. George Washington lived there from April 23, 1789, to February 23, 1790.
Bill Clinton was born in the small town of Hope, Arkansas, but was raised in the city of Hot Springs from the age of four.
Henry Ford adopted the eight-hour day and five-day week to alleviate a depression in the auto industry in 1926. The move to reduce working hours curbed overproduction and unemployment in the industry.
The average credit card holder in the U.S. owes $2,317 on credit cards, according to the Nilson Report, Santa Monica, California. About 60 percent of American adults own at least one credit card.
General Zachary Taylor, hero of the Mexican War (1846-48) and president from 1849 to 1850 was “Old Rough and Ready”. Taylor got the nickname for his plain habits and blunt demeanor.
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 […]
D Day is a standard military term referring to the day set for the beginning of an attack. The D stands for “Day” (Day-Day). Similarly, the time for an attack is H-Hour (Hour-Hour). The most famous D Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy, took place on June 6, 1944.
Yes, an airplane has indeed crashed into the Empire State Building. On July 28, 1945, a U.S. Army bomber crashed into the New York landmark, killing 13.
Central Park in New York first opened to the public in October 1858.
In the early United States, the “Old Northwest” represented much of what we would now call the Midwest. Organized as the Northwest Territory in 1787, it was the area bounded by the Appalachian Mountains, the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Britain had acquired it from France in the French and Indian War, […]
American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson originated the phrase “the shot heard round the world” in his poem “Concord Hymn” (1836). The poem memorialized the Battle of Lexington and Concord of 1775, the first battle of the War of Independence.
The quote “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it” refers to the bombardment of the city of Ben Tre, South Vietnam, during the Tet Offensive in 1968. The army major who said it was unidentified.
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.
The rockets that the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner” refers to were Congreve rockets, invented by Sir Thomas Congreve and used by the British in the War of 1812. The noisy, hissing missiles, 42 inches long, were used throughout the British campaigns in Maryland in 1813-14. The rockets initially terrified the Americans but proved to […]
Growing out of a 19th-century social group called the Jolly Cooks, the association, the Elks, now known as the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was formed in 1868 from a desire to broaden their pursuits to include patriotism and public service. They chose the name Elk to project a wholly American image and to […]
Four state capitals are named after presidents. They are Jackson, Mississippi; Jefferson City, Missouri; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Madison, Wisconsin.
Albert Goodwill Spalding (1850-1915) co-founded the sporting goods firm “A. G. Spalding and Brothers” in 1876. Born in Byron, Illinois, Spalding pitched for Boston and Chicago and helped to found the National League.
David Wilmot was a congressman from Pennsylvania who in 1846 proposed an amendment to a military appropriations bill that slavery be forbidden in any territory obtained from Mexico during or after the Mexican War (1846-48). The amendment passed in the House but not the Senate.
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.
From left to right, the U.S. presidents are carved on Mount Rushmore are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
The first African-American to play in the major leagues, Jackie Robinson had no hits in three at-bats in his first game on April 15, 1947. Playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, Robinson fielded 11 balls in the 5-3 win against the Boston Braves. That season, Robinson maintained a .297 average and was […]
The Heisman Trophy has been awarded since 1935 by the Downtown Athletic Club of New York City to the country’s top college football player.
In President Franklin Roosevelt’s January 6, 1941, message to Congress, Roosevelt called for a world where these “Four Freedoms” were protected: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
In 1901, John Pierpont Morgan financed the merger that resulted in the formation of U.S. Steel, the first billion-dollar company.
Detroit is French for “the strait.” It refers to the strait formed by the Detroit River between Lake Erie and lake St. Clair. Originally founded as a French fort and trading post in 1701, Detroit was incorporated as a city in 1815.
Arnold Palmer was the first U.S. professional male golfer to win over $1 million during his career, in 1963. No U.S. professional female golfer earned this much money until Kathy Wentworth in 1981.
“What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar” was uttered by Thomas R. Marshall, vice-president under Woodrow Wilson (1913-21), in response to a senator’s long speech about the country’s needs.
There are more than 97 million items are in the collections of the Library of Congress, including books, films, photographs, manuscripts, and records.