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 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.
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
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.
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
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
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 “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 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
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
“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
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
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