Electric lights were first used for a baseball game between Fort Wayne and Indianapolis teams on May 28, 1883, in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Senator Mark Hanna of Ohio said, “Now look! That damned cowboy is president of the United States” of Theodore Roosevelt in 1901.
General Winfield Scott, who also led troops in the Mexican War was “Old Fuss and Feathers”. Scott’s vain and blustering ways earned him his nickname.
Millard Fillmore (1850-53) was the last president from the Whig party. Three other presidents were Whigs: William Henry Harrison (1841), John Tyler (1841-45), and Zachary Taylor (1849-50).
The official name of the Wobblies is The Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW. Founded in Chicago in 1905 and composed mostly of unskilled workers, the union advocated direct action to further the cause of worker control of the means of production. Their aim was to create “one big union” for all workers.
The American word “buckaroo” comes from the Spanish vaquero, meaning cowboy. It was picked up as Americans moved into western lands once owned by Mexico.
The median age in the United States was 33 in 1990.
The two U.S. beachheads at Normandy in the D-Day invasion were Omaha Beach and Utah Beach. The beachheads were secured in the invasion of June 6, 1944.
The official name of the Statue of Liberty is “Liberty Enlightening the World.” A gift from France, the statue was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated in New York harbor in 1886.
Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the “I Have a Dream” address to more than 200,000 people on the mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.
There is no difference between Hoover Dam and Boulder Dam. Both are names for the same dam, erected in 1931-36 on the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona. The dam is over 700 feet high and 1,200 feet long.
The New York City department store Bloomingdale’s owned by Lyman, Joseph, and Gustave Bloomingdale opened in 1886 at Third Avenue and 59th Street, near a station of the Third Avenue El. By 1927, Bloomingdale’s occupied the entire block, where it is located to this day.
The highest tariff in U.S. history was the Hawley-Smoot Tariff, a 1930 protectionist bill that placed a duty of about 60 percent on imported goods. Aimed at alleviating the Depression, the tariff instead sparked a trade war and worsened economic conditions in the U.S. and Europe.
The 32,000-ton liner the Lusitania sunk by a German submarine on May 6, 1915, was British. Of the 1,200 passengers who lost their lives, 128 were Americans, a fact that aroused strong anti-German feeling in the U.S.
In 1904, German composer Richard Strauss conducted the world premiere of his work Symphonia Domestica in Wanamaker’s Department Store in New York City.
More Americans (19.6 percent) report German ancestry than any other. In second place is Irish ancestry (13.1 percent) and in third place English (11 percent).
NASCAR, headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida, was founded by William H. G. France in 1947.
General Matthew B. Ridgway replaced General Douglas MacArthur as commander of U.N. forces in South Korea during the Korean War. Truman removed MacArthur from command on April 11, 1951, for publicly criticizing Truman’s policy of limiting the war to the Korean peninsula.
President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1904 corollary to the Monroe Doctrine said that the U.S. could itself intervene in Latin America to correct what it considered “chronic wrongdoing.”
The importation of slaves was outlawed in the U.S. on January 1, 1808, nearly six decades before the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery in 1865. However, it is estimated that 54,000 additional slaves were brought illegally to the U.S. between 1808 and the Civil War.
Mary Katherine Goddard published the first official copies of the Declaration, the first to bear the names of all the signers, in January 1777. At the time, Goddard was the only printer in Baltimore, where the Continental Congress had fled from Philadelphia. She had taken over the print shop and the city’s only newspaper from … Read more
Most of the employees in the early years of the Boston Manufacturing Company, which was one of the first American cloth factories, were young, unmarried women. Founded at Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1814 by Francis Cabot Lowell, the company ran the first American factories to produce both yarn and finished textiles. Its employees were daughters of … Read more
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.
Potsdam was the setting of the July 1945 meeting between Truman, Churchill, and Stalin is near Berlin, Germany.
The 1793 invention, the cotton gin, by Eli Whitney mechanically removed seeds from a cotton bloom without harming its fiber. Previously, seeds had to be removed laboriously by hand. The invention led to an economic boom for the South by increasing the amount of cotton the southern states could provide to textile manufacturers. It also … Read more
The first protest was at a segregated lunch counter begun by four black college students at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, on February 1, 1960. In the next two weeks, sit-ins spread to 15 cities across the South.
On March 4, 1841, President William Henry Harrison gave the longest address, at about 8,500 words. Harrison delivered the 100-minute speech outdoors without an overcoat in bitterly cold weather. He caught pneumonia and died on April 4, 1841, one month after taking office. What president gave the shortest inaugural address? At his second inaugural in … Read more
Yes, the man behind the “Sherman Anti-Trust Act” was related to the man behind “Sherman’s March to the Sea”. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act, passed in 1890, was sponsored by John Sherman, the younger brother of William Tecumseh Sherman. It was the latter Sherman who, as a Union general, led the destructive march across Georgia in … Read more
In alphabetical order, the executive departments are: Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs.
A United Nations mission that visited Iraq on March 10-17, 1991 after the Gulf War, made this report, saying: “the recent conflict has wrought near-apocalyptic results upon the infrastructure of what had been until January 1991 a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society.”
Between 1850 and 1860, when it was generating 3 to 4.8 million bales of cotton per year, the South provided over 75 percent of the cotton in the world.
Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry first brought an armed squadron to Tokyo Bay in 1853, when he delivered a letter from President Millard Fillmore to the emperor of Japan. In 1854, on a second expedition, Perry succeeded in persuading the Japanese to open their previously isolated society to U.S. trade.
According to many historians, the single bloodiest day of the Civil War was September 17, 1862, when General George McClellan’s Union forces and Robert E. Lee’s Confederate troops clashed in the Battle of Antietam. The savage struggle took place at Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg, Maryland, ending with the retreat of Lee’s army into Virginia on … Read more
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.
De Tocqueville based his work, Democracy in America, on a ten-month visit to study the American prison system for the French government, from May 1831 to February 1832. A study of American social and political institutions, Democracy in America was published in two parts in 1835 and 1840.
The Great Fire of London happened in September 1666. The worst fire in London’s history, it destroyed many civic buildings and churches, along with 13,000 houses.
Truman said, “He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he’d lie just to keep his hand in” of Richard Nixon.
The surprise Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii began at 7:55 A.M. local time on December 7, 1941, and lasted nearly two hours. Over 2,300 Americans were killed; an additional 1,100 were wounded. More than ten ships were sunk or severely damaged; more than 140 aircraft were destroyed.
This first great Chinese empire the Chin dynasty ran from about 221 to 206 B.C. It established the approximate boundaries and governmental system of China for the next 2,000 years, and gave its name to the nation. The effects of the dynasty lasted until the 1911 revolution, which overthrew the empire and created a republic.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924) was born V. I. Ulyanov. Leon Trotsky (1879-1940) was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein. Josef Stalin (1879-1953) was born Josef Dzhugashvili.
Spiro Agnew resign from the vice-presidency on October 10, 1973. Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency less than a year later, on August 9, 1974, at 11:35 A.M. Gerald R. Ford replaced both of them. As representative from Michigan and House minority leader, Ford was chosen to replace Agnew as vice-president, then succeeded to the … Read more
Sony introduced the Betamax (or Beta) videocassette recorder in 1975. In 1976, JVC (the Victor Company of Japan) introduced the competing VHS system. By the end of the 1980s, VHS had pushed Beta out of the market, and VCRs had spread across the U.S.
Popularized by baseball announcer Red Barber, “sittin’ in the catbird seat” means sitting pretty or being in an enviable position. The Mississippi-born Barber used this 19th-century Southern expression while announcing games for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s and 1950s, and in the 1950s and 1960s for the New York Yankees. A catbird is the … Read more
In President Eisenhower’s farewell address of January 17, 1961, a few days before Kennedy took office, Eisenhower said: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
The middle names of the following U.S. Presidents are: Dwight D. Eisenhower—David Gerald R. Ford—Rudolph James A. Garfield—Abram Ulysses S. Grant—Simpson Warren G. Harding—Gamaliel Rutherford B. Hayes—Birchard James K. Polk—Knox Ronald W. Reagan—Wilson
A bestseller in its time, the 1931 “informal history” Only Yesterday by Frederick Lewis Allen was the first popular recreation of the Jazz Age and the 1920s. The book is still in print.
The 16th president Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County (now Larue County), Kentucky on February 12, 1809. He eventually settled in Springfield, Illinois. He was assassinated on April 15, 1865.
On October 1, 1946, in Nuremberg, 12 of the original 24 defendants were condemned to death by hanging. They were: Hermann Goring, Joachim Ribbentrop, Field Marshal General Wilhelm Keitel, Ernest Kaltenbrunner, Dr. Albert Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Streicher, Fritz Sauckel, Colonel General Alfred Jodl, and Arthur Seyss-Inquart. Martin Bormann, who succeeded Rudolf Hess … Read more
In November 1775, the Continental Congress advised that a regiment have eight companies of 91 officers and men apiece, for a total of 728. The actual size of the regiments varied per state.
The Hotel Pennsylvania was located at Seventh Avenue and Thirty-third Street in Manhattan. It was built in 1918. The phone number Pennsylvania 6-5000 was that of the hotel’s Club Rouge, where Miller and his band often appeared. The hotel is now the New York Penta Hotel.
The last Americans, about 1,000, were evacuated from Saigon on April 29, 1975. The Saigon government surrendered a few hours later.
James K. Polk, photographed by Matthew Brady in 1849, was the first president photographed while in office. The first president of whom there is any known photograph was John Quincy Adams.
Harry Truman was the first president to make a televised speech from the White House.
The Supreme Court decided that it was unconstitutional to require recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance not in the 1960s but in 1943, in the midst of World War II. In that year, the Supreme Court struck down a West Virginia law requiring recitation of the pledge.
Richard M. Nixon’s running mate in 1960 was Henry Cabot Lodge.
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 … Read more
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 … Read more
In Ronald Reagan’s first job after college, the future president (served 198189) broadcasted play-by-play accounts of major league baseball games from Station WHO in Des Moines, Iowa.
President Reagan fired all of the 11,600 air traffic controller strikers after they refused to obey a court order to return to work. By decade’s end, there were 2,500 fewer air traffic controllers employed in the industry. Meanwhile, U.S. air traffic had increased by a third and safety records had worsened.
The Molly Maguires were a secret militant organization of Irish miners working in the Pennsylvania anthracite coal mines in the 19th century. They organized in 1854 to fight the mine operators. In 1875, a Pinkerton spy working for the owners infiltrated the group. That led to the conviction and hanging of 20 Molly Maguires on … Read more
The no-hitter was pitched by Don Larsen of the New York Yankees against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the fifth game of the 1956 World Series.
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 … Read more
In an 1889 speech, the 54-year old steel baron and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie outlined his “Gospel,” a set of principles for amassing and sharing wealth. He wrote, “The millionaire will be but a trustee for the poor; entrusted for a season with a great part of the increased wealth of the community, but administering it … Read more
In the early 20th century, these three Chicago Cubs filled the following infield positions: Joe Tinker, shortstop; Johnny Evers, second base; Frank Chance, first base. Their fielding, immortalized in a popular sportswriter’s phase, “Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance,” has become synonymous with crack teamwork.
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 … Read more
Kilroy was the hero of graffiti scrawled by countless U.S. servicemen during World War II, proclaiming “Kilroy was here,” but he may never have existed in person. Sergeant Francis J. Kilroy of the U.S. Air Corps and James J. Kilroy, an inspector in a Massachusetts shipyard, have both been suggested as the namesake of the … Read more
Peoria, Illinois, got its name from the Peoria tribe of the Illinois Confederacy. The name means “carrying a pack on his back.”
Virginia has the honor of being the birthplace of the most presidents, with eight: Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, William Henry Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, and Wilson. Ohio is second, with seven: Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, McKinley, Taft, and Harding.
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
Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia Denton Grant are buried in Grant’s Tomb on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
H. L. Mencken said, “Puritanism is the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy”.
At least 146 women, mainly young immigrants, died in the sweatshop fire in the Triangle Waist Company that occurred on April 20, 1911. The sprinkler system was inadequate, the 500 female workers stood back-to-back on the crowded work floors, and the fire doors were kept locked to prevent theft. The company owners were later acquitted … Read more
The first known case of wiretapping in American politics occurred at the Republican convention in Chicago in 1912, when opponents of Teddy Roosevelt tapped the phones he used to communicate with his managers. When Roosevelt learned of it, he left his home in Oyster Bay, New York, and came to Chicago to talk to his … Read more
Federally funded health insurance for the disabled and those over 65 called Medicare was part of the Social Security Amendments of 1965. The Amendments also saw the beginning of Medicaid.
The young Republican congressmen from southern and western states known as the “War Hawks”, including Henry Clay of Kentucky and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, demanded war against Great Britain in 1810-11. They got their wish in the War of 1812. Dubbed “War Hawks” by their opponents, they wanted to stop Great Britain from … Read more
President John F. Kennedy said the line at his inaugural speech. Another form of the quote was spoken by the young Kennedy’s headmaster at Choate, a prep school in Wallingford, Connecticut. The headmaster told his students, “Ask not what your school can do for you; ask what you can do for your school”; and Kennedy … Read more
The famous mining town Deadwood, South Dakota from the gold rush days that now stands as the final resting place for Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, has 1,830 inhabitants. Every August it relives its frontier past in a three-day “Days of ’76” celebration, featuring a historical parade and rodeos. In 1992, Deadwood held its … Read more
The woman who sued the state of Texas for denying her the right to abort a fetus was named Norma McGorvey. In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that women had the right to abort a fetus during the first trimester of pregnancy. Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the majority opinion in that case. Justices William … Read more
American Revolutionary patriots Samuel (1722-1803) and John Adams (1735-1826) were cousins. John Quincy Adams (17671848) was John’s son. Two of these men served as president of the U.S.: John (served 1797-1801) and John Quincy (served 1825-29).
The Revolutionary War patriot Paul Revere (1735-1818) was only 50 percent British. Revere’s father was French silversmith Apollos Rivoire, a Huguenot (Protestant) refugee from persecution by the Catholic authorities in France. Revere’s mother, Deborah Hitchbourn, was of English descent.
As written by Francis Bellamy, editor of The Youth’s Companion, where is first appeared on September 8, 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance read: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.” In its present text (established by Congress in 1954), it … Read more
American forces took six months to capture Guadalcanal Island, from the landing of the First Marine Division on August 7, 1942, to the evacuation of the last Japanese on February 8, 1943. In the fighting, the Japanese lost about 10,000 men, the Americans about 1,600.
The tradition with writing autobiographies began with the nation’s second president, John Adams.
Born Joseph Louis Barrow (1914-83) near Lafayette, Louisiana, the African-American boxer defeated James J. Braddock for the world heavyweight championship on June 22, 1937. Known as the “Brown Bomber,” Louis held the title for 12 years, from 1937 until he retired in 1949. During this period, he defended his title a record 25 times.
That’s what it sounds like on the tape that was recorded at 10:56 P.M. (EST) on July 20, 1969. But what he intended to say was, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” The a was somehow lost in the transmission.
The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, founded in 1925 by A. Philip Randolph and other labor leaders, was the first African-American union. The Pullman Company, at first opposed to the Brotherhood, awarded the union its first contract in 1937. Later the Brotherhood became best known for its civil rights activism.
The original “action figure,” G.I. Joe, was introduced in 1964 by Hassenfeld Bros. (later Hasbro) of Newport, Rhode Island. G.I. Joe was 12 inches tall. By 1982, G.I. Joe had shrunk down to three inches.
Formed in 1834 to oppose President Andrew Jackson, the Whig Party took its name from the British anti-monarchical party, the Whigs, to underline their conflict with the man they viewed as “King Andrew.” The word “Whig” itself was an old pejorative term meaning “cattle-driver.” In the 1836 presidential election, the party offered three regional candidates, … Read more
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 … Read more
They began as the “Eight” but were reduced to the “Seven” when defendant Bobby Seale’s case was declared a mistrial. Tried in 1969-70 for crossing state lines to riot and conspiring to use interstate commerce to induce rioting at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago, the remaining seven were: Rennie Davis David Dellinger John Froines … Read more