The four-stanza song was adopted as the national anthem by the U.S. Congress in 1931. Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics in 1814, taking the melody from an eighteenth-century drinking song called “To Anacreon in Heaven” by British composer John Stafford Smith. Anacreon was a Greek lyric poet [563-478 B.c.] associated with love and wine.
In 1992, the words “Pan Am” were replaced by “MetLife” on the crown of the Pan Am Building at 200 Park Avenue, New York City. The change marked the final end of Pan American World Airways, which ceased operations in December 1991 but had housed offices in the building. It was also more accurate, since … Read more
The annual Tulip Time Festival, featuring Dutch food, entertainment, and parades, has been held during mid-May in this mostly Dutch-American community since 1929. Former Presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush have all taken part in the festivities.
The moniker the “Cossacks of the Plains” was given to the Comanche, a Shoshonean-speaking people who lived in western Texas, western Oklahoma, and parts of Kansas and New Mexico. Masters of horsemanship and warfare, the Comanche clashed regularly with U.S. settlers until being forced onto reservations in the 1860s and 1870s.
Loving, Texas, population 107, has the lowest poverty rate, with a poverty rate of zero in 1989. Ozaukee, Wisconsin (population 72,800), is close behind, with a poverty rate of 2.2 percent.
Merchant Richard Sears and watchmaker Alvah C. Roebuck began their collaboration in 1887 by selling mail-order watches advertised in newspapers. In 1889, Sears produced his first catalog of watches and other jewelry. By 1893, when the name Sears, Roebuck & Co. was first used, the business included clothing, furniture, baby carriages, and more. A century … Read more
The third Olympiad, held in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904 was the first Olympics held in the United States.
The future U.S. president Bill Clinton was elected governor in 1978 at the age of 32, making him the youngest person to hold that office in Arkansas history. Two years later, he was voted out; he regained the governorship in 1982. Clinton became president in 1993.
The devastating march across Georgia known as Sherman’s March began in the occupied city of Atlanta on November 11, 1864, and ended with the capture of Savannah on the Atlantic Ocean on December 21. Along the way, Sherman ransacked the countryside, looting, burning, and tearing up railroads.
Captain Robert L. Crippen and John W. Young flew the space shuttle Columbia on its maiden voyage April 12-14, 1981.
The required nine of the thirteen states ratified the Constitution between January and June 1788. But it was not until after Washington was inaugurated in 1789 that all of the states ratified it. The last stragglers were North Carolina in November 1789 and Rhode Island in May 1790.
In 1841, an expedition of 300 people from the Republic of Texas (independent from 1836 to 1845) traveled to Santa Fe to encourage New Mexicans to revolt against Mexico. The Texans failed to convince anyone to revolt and were imprisoned as invaders. They were only released after strong protests from the U.S. and Britain.
President Calvin Coolidge, in a 1925 speech, said, “The business of America is business”.
It took eleven days for news of Custer’s last stand to be published in the press. The massacre of George Armstrong Custer and his Seventh Cavalry by the Sioux Indians took place on June 25, 1876, on the Little Big Horn River in Montana Territory. The news was first published by the Bozeman Times in … Read more
Forty-one people signed the Mayflower Compact, in 1620. How many signed the Declaration of Independence? Fifty-six delegates plus Secretary Charles Thomson, beginning in 1776. How many signed the U.S. Constitution? Thirty-nine delegates plus Secretary William Jackson, in 1787.
John F. Kennedy was the first president born in the 20th century, on May 29, 1917.
The 1950 Broadway musical Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser was inspired by the 1933 short story “The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown.” It chronicles the courtship and marriage of gambler Sky Masterson and mission worker Sarah Brown. A revival of Guys and Dolls opened on Broadway in spring 1992.
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 … Read more
Yes, Ford was the first incumbent president to agree to public debates. He gained that claim to fame in 1976 when he debated Jimmy Carter. The debates helped Ford to narrow Carter’s lead in the race, although he eventually lost the election.
Ellis Island in Upper New York Bay, named for its former owner Sam Ellis, operated as an immigration center from 1892 to 1943. It was a detention place for deportees until 1954. In 1965 it became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Following restoration of its Registry Room, the point of entry for … Read more
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.
The “Five Civilized Tribes” were the five southern American Indian tribes forced into exile in Oklahoma as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830: the Choctaw of Mississippi, the Creek of Alabama, the Cherokee of Georgia, the Chickasaw of Mississippi, and the Seminole of Florida. The act required all Indian tribes east of … Read more
The initial jewel in the Triple Crown known as the Kentucky Derby was first held in 1875 at Churchill Downs.
The first movie at Radio City Music Hall was The Bitter Tea of General Yen, directed by Frank Capra and starring Barbara Stanwyck and Nils Asther. It opened in January 1934. The final movie was The Promise, directed by Gilbert Cates and starring Kathleen Quinlan and Stephen Collins. The final showing was on April 25, … Read more
The freshwater and cypress swamp called Okefenokee Swamp, best known as the locale of Walt Kelly’s comic strip “Pogo,” begins near Waycross, Georgia, and extends into Florida. Its name is a variation of the Indian term “Owaquaphenoga,” or “trembling earth.”
It was during and just after the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1871). So called for its materialism and political corruption, the period was given its name in a satirical novel, The Gilded Age (1873), written by Mark Twain with Charles Dudley Warner.
Cartoonist and illustrator Thomas Nast (1840-1902) popularized both symbols but invented only one of them. Democrat Andrew Jackson first used the donkey as a symbol for his party after his opponents in the 1828 presidential election called him a “jackass”; Nast’s cartoons later helped to make the symbol famous. Nast himself introduced the Republican elephant … Read more
Yes and no, the U.S. and France almost went to war with each other. From 1798 to 1800, the U.S. and France clashed in a series of naval hostilities but never formally declared war. At issue was France’s resentment at what it viewed as American partiality to France’s enemy Britain. The U.S. was angry because … Read more
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 … Read more
In 1843, a Congressional committee put forth a resolution of impeachment against President John Tyler, for abusing the power of the veto. The resolution was defeated 127 to 83, and Tyler was not impeached.
The symbol © a circled U on kosher food represents the approval of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.
“The Phil Silvers Show” (CBS, 1955-59)–Camp Fremont Army Base, Fort Baxter, Roseville, Kansas “Leave It To Beaver” (CBS/ABC, 1957-63)—Mayfield, USA “The Andy Griffith Show” (CBS, 1960-68)—Mayberry, North Carolina “The Dick Van Dyke Show” (CBS, 1961-66)—New Rochelle, New York “Bewitched” (ABC, 1964-72)—Westport, Connecticut “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (CBS, 1970-77)—Minneapolis, Minnesota “All in the Family” (CBS, … Read more
Red stands for the blood of the dead. Black represents pride in the color of the skin. Green is for the promise of a new and better life in Africa.
Casey Stengel was born Charles Dillon Stengel in Kansas City, Missouri (c. 1890-1975). Stengel managed the New York Yankees from 1949 to 1960 and the Mets from 1962 to 1965.
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 … Read more
The first black candidate to launch a major presidential campaign, Jesse Jackson ran twice for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidency, in 1984 and 1988.
The seven people killed in the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986, 73 seconds after lift-off, were: Gregory B. Jarvis Christa McAuliffe Ronald E. McNair Ellison S. Onizuka Judith A. Resnick Francis R. Scobee Michael J. Smith
James J. “Gene” Tunney sent Harrison “Jack” Dempsey against the ropes for the heavyweight boxing championship in 1926. Dempsey had held the title since 1919, when he defeated Jess Willard.
Native to New Mexico and Arizona, both tribes, the Apache and Navajo, are members of the Athapascan language family. This language family also includes the Kiowa-Apache of the Southwest and several tribes in Alaska and western Canada.
The Star-Spangled Banner was played in 1862 at a baseball game in Brooklyn at a field built by sports developer William Commeyer.
Located in Wyoming, Teapot Dome was one of two naval oil reserve sites improperly leased in 1922 to private oil companies by Albert B. Fall, President Harding’s secretary of the interior. After the scandal broke in 1923, Fall paid a heavy fine and served a year in prison for bribery. The other oil reserve site … Read more