Archive for the ‘History’ Category

A Mule is Born!

October 26, 2017

Today marks the day that the first mule was born in the United States (1785).

In addition, October 26th represents the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • Jewish weekly newspaper in English  (The Jew [monthly], New York, NY, 1849)
  • washing machine (Hamilton Erastus Smith, Philadelphia, PA, 1858)
  • steeplechase (American Jockey Club, Jerome Park, Westchester County, NY, 1869)
  • Army pilot to fly solo in an airplane (2nd Lieutenant Frederic Erastus Humphreys, College Park, MD, 1909)

Source: Famous First Facts, by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell

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First Female Supreme Court Justice!

September 25, 2017

Today marks the day (in 1981) that Sandra Day O’Connor took her seat on the Supreme Court of the United States after taking the oath of office (which was administered by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger).  She was originally nominated on July 7th by then President Ronald Reagan and was eventually approved by the Senate, in a 99-0 vote, on September 21st.

In addition, September 25th was the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • newspaper published in the British colonies (Publick Occurrences, Both Foreign and Domestic, Boston, MA, 1690)
  • newspaper publisher (Benjamin Harris, “the father of American newspapers,” 1690)
  • constitutional amendments to fail the ratification process (first two articles of the eventual Bill of Rights, 1789)
  • play presented by a Jewish professional acting troupe (Die Hexe, Hebrew Opera and Dramatic Company, New York, NY, 1880)
  • micropaleontology course at a college (Columbia University (Prof. Jesse James Galloway), New York, NY, 1924)
  • transatlantic telephone call carried by the transoceanic cable  (Cleo Frank Craig [Chairman, AT&T] in New York, NY, to British Postmaster General in London, UK, 1956)

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Time to Evacuate!

August 27, 2017

Do you recall which natural disaster caused the evacuation of an entire city?  It was Hurricane Katrina (a category 3 hurricane),  that caused the evacuation of the entire city of New Orleans on this date in 2005.  As the storm approached the then mayor, Ray Nagin, asked for voluntary departures, but the very next day (August 27th), he made the exodus mandatory.  Obviously, those without transportation were unable to comply and when Katrina hit (on August 29th), she destroyed levees and sunk the city under floodwaters up to twenty feet deep.

In addition, August 27th was the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • expedition of Englishmen to cross the Allegheny Mountains  (Fort Henry, VA, 1650)
  • theatrical performance (The Bare and the Cubb, Accomack, VA, 1665)
  • cyclone of record (Jamestown, VA, 1784)
  • major battle lost by American forces (Battle of Long Island, 1776)
  • steamboat to carry a man (built by John Fitch, Delaware River, 1898)
  • industrial school for girls (Lancaster, MA, 1898)
  • oil well that was commercially productive (Seneca Oil Company, Titusville, PA, 1859)
  • metal clarinet (Charles Gerard Conn, Elkhart, IN, 1889)
  • radio broadcast sent from an airplane (James A. Macready, above Sheepshead Bay, NY, 1910)
  • ship to fire a Polaris missile (Observation Island, 1959)
  • Ambassador assassinated in office (John Gordon Mein, ambassador to Guatemala, 1968)

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janel Podell.

“Kindred Spirits!”

August 21, 2017

 

Asher_Durand_Kindred_Spirits

“Kindred Spirits,” 1849 

This is the title of a painting by Asher Brown Durand, an American painter and one of the founders of the Hudson River School, who was born on this date in 1796.  Despite not taking up painting until her was 40 years of age, he was considered by some as the “father of American landscape painting,” and judging by the detail in this and his other paintings, I can see why.   This painting currently resides within a two-hour drive of my apartment — the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  Alice Walton supposedly paid $35 million (a record for the price paid for an American painting at the time) to acquire this piece in 2005; the museum wasn’t officially opened until late 2011.

 

A First-Time for Everything!

June 24, 2017

In addition to this being one of my older brothers’ birthday (Happy Birthday Jim!), and some friends’ anniversary (Happy Anniversary Tanya and Bob), and, the ninth anniversary of the creation of my blog, today also represents the day that the first European (after the Vikings) to set foot on the North American continent (John Cabot, 1497).   Cabot embarked from Bristol, England, on May 24th and arrived on the coast of either Newfoundland or Maine on June 24th.

In addition, June 24th was the day for several other “firsts,” such as the first . . .

  • Christian religious service in English on the Pacific Coast  (San Francisco Bay, CA, 1579)
  • woman in America to appeal for the right to vote (Margaret Brent, 1647)
  • tethered balloon flight (Baltimore, MD, 1784)
  • Episcopal bishop who was African-American (Reverand Samuel David Ferguson, 1885)
  • Army officer killed in battle in the Spanish-American war (Captain Allan Kissam Capron, 1898)
  • land battle in the Spanish-American war (Las Guasimas, Cuba, 1898
  • federal law requiring radios on ships (Wireless Ship Act, 1910)
  • radar detection of airplanes (Dr. Alberte Hoyt Taylor and Leo C. Young [Naval Aircraft Radio Laboratory], 1930)
  • federal administrator who was an African-American woman (Mary Jane McLeod Bethune, 1936)
  • political convention to be televised (22nd Republican Convention, 1940)
  • Presidential candidate who was renominated after a defeat (Thomas Edmund Dewey, 1948)
  • picturephone commercial service (New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, 1964)
  • cabinet member to serve in four different capacities (Elliott Lee Richardson, 1976)
  • internet camera showing the site of a presidential assassination (Dallas, TX, 1999

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janel Podell.

Grand Expedition!

May 24, 2017

Did you know that on this day, May 24th (in 1869), was the beginning of the first exploration of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado by a man other than a Native American?  Major John Wesley Powell left Green River City (above the head of the Colorado River) with nine men and proceeded through the canyon and emerged from the lower end on August 29, 1869.  Only five of the nine men who started the trip completed the trip.

Some other “firsts” for today throughout history include:

  • Commercial telegraph service (1844)
  • State adoption law to consider the interests of the child (1851)
  • Civil War combat action that earned the Medal of Honor (1861)
  • Union Officer killed in the Civil War (1861)
  • Artillery fire to be directed from the air (1862)
  • Army field telegraph used in warfare (1862)
  • Steel arch bridge (1874)
  • National banking association (1875)
  • Anti-saloon organization (1893)
  • Public garage (1899)
  • Oil journal (1902)
  • Strike settlement mediated by the federal Department of Labor (1913)
  • Air combat arm of the Army (1918)
  • Croix de Guerre awarded to an American (1918)
  • Air-conditioned train (1931)
  • Baseball game at night by major league teams (1935)
  • Food-O-Mat (1945)
  • House with a built-in nuclear bomb shelter (1959)
  • Spy satellite (1960)
  • Transatlantic supersonic jet service (1976)
  • Senator to change political control of the Senate by switching parties (2001)

Source: Famous First Facts (6th ed.) by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Fun Fact Friday, Number Twenty-Two!

May 5, 2017

Did you know that the largest pyramid in the world in not located in Egypt?  Do you know which country in the has the most pyramids?  Again, it would not be Egypt (the country “known” for its pyramids).

The world’s largest pyramid is actually in Mexico (Real Fact #174)!  (Happy Cinco de Mayo!)  The Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtepetl, represents a huge complex located in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico.  This pyramid is 63 miles south-east of Mexico City and stands nearly 180 feet tall with a 1,300′ x 1,300′ base.

Source: http://www.snapple.com/real-facts/

And, the country of Sudan has 220 pyramids still in existence, nearly three-times tEgypt Monument Pyramids Giza Archeologyhe number of pyramids in Egypt.  Egypt only has about eighty (80) pyramids, but includes one of the largest and best preserved: the Great Pyramid of Giza which is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Photo courtesy of http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com

 

Breaking News!

April 24, 2017

On this day (in 1936) engineers from the RCA-Victor company provided the pictures/footage of firemen answering an alarm call in Camden, New Jersey.  This represents the first unscheduled event to be televised as it occurred.  It was shown in green tint, 5×7 inches, 24 pictures per second, on a 343-line screen.

Other “firsts” for April 24th include the following:

  • American naval victory in British waters during the Revolutionary War (1778)
  • College named after an American president (1783)
  • Health board established by a city (1795)
  • Docks owned by a state ((1863)
  • Organization to offer free lunches for the poor and sick (1873)
  • Medical society for African-Americans (1884)
  • African-American Catholic priest assigned to work in the United States (1886)
  • Round-the-world solo sailing journey (1895)
  • Skyscraper higher than 750 feet (1913)
  • Joint stock land bank (1917)
  • Army general to fly over enemy lines (1917)
  • Catholic nuns in a cloistered community (1922)
  • Fathometer (1928)
  • Pipeless organ (1934)
  • Glider commercial freight service (1946)
  • African-American professional basketball player (1950)
  • Civilian pilot wounded in Vietnam (1954)
  • Coast-to-coast telecast by satellite (1962)

Source: Famous First Facts (6th ed.) by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell.

Merely a Coincidence?!

April 20, 2017

Do you know the connections (or similarities) between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy (and their assassinations)?  Are these merely coincidences or is this a part of something bigger?

  • Lincoln was elected in 1860
  • Kennedy was elected in 1960
  • Each name has seven letters
  • Both Presidents were slain on a Friday
  • Both were slain in the presence of their wives
  • Both were directly concerned with Civil Rights
  • Both Presidents had had the legality of their elections contested
  • Kennedy’s secretary, Lincoln, warned him not to go to Dallas
  • Lincoln’s secretary, Kennedy, warned him not to go to the theater
  • Both of their successors were named Johnson
    • Andrew Johnson
    • Lyndon Johnson
    • Each name contains thirteen (13) letters
    • Both served in the U.S. Senate
    • Both were southern Democrats
    • Andrew Johnson was born in 1808
    • Lyndon Johnson was born in 1908
  • Booth and Oswald were both southerners favoring unpopular ideas
  • Booth shot Lincoln in a theater and hid in a warehouse
  • Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and hid in a theater
  • Booth and Oswald were murdered before their trials could be arranged
  • Lincoln and Kennedy were carried in death on the same caisson
  • Booth and Oswald were born 100 years apart
  • John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, each name has fifteen (15) letters

The Tax Man Cometh!

April 13, 2017

With the deadline for filing your 2016 individual returns right around the corner, here’s an infographic on “A Brief History of Taxes” that you just might find interesting.  It hasn’t been updated since 2011, but informative nonetheless.

https://images.turbotax.intuit.com/iqcms/marketing/lib/fun/historyoftaxes/history-of-US-taxes-infographic-657.jpg
Taxes Done Right with TurboTax