Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Origins of State Names!

March 13, 2017

Happy Monday!  Do you know how your state got its name?  Here is an informative infographic that details this very thing.  Enjoy!

How All 50 U.S. States Got Their Names[Source: Today I Found Out]

Happy Thanksgiving 2016!

November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving officially became a holiday 153 years ago (President Abraham Lincoln proclamation, October 3, 1863, declaring the last Thursday of November as the holiday).  I know you are curious and just dying to know some of the facts that follow, so sit back and relax, here is a list of some truly trivial Thanksgiving facts . . . Thanksgiving by the numbers:

  • 4 places as well as 11 townships in the U.S. with “Turkey” in their name
    • Turkey Creek village (Louisiana)
    • Turkey city (Texas)
    • Turkey Creek (Arizona)
    • Turkey town (North Carolina)
  • 7 places or townships with “Cranberry” in their name
  • 33 counties, places, and townships with “Plymouth” in their name.
  • 65,975 = the number of grocery stores in the U.S. (2014)
  • 3,109 = the number of bakeries in the U.S. (2014)
  • 2,798 = the number of fruits and vegetables markets in the U.S. (2014)
  • 243 million = the number of turkeys raised in the U.S. (2016)
    • 44 million (Minnesota)
    • 33 million (North Carolina)
    • 26 million (Arkansas)
    • 20 million (Indiana)
    • 19.7 million (Missouri)
    • 17 million (Virginia)
  • $19.3 million = value of live turkeys imported to the U.S. — mostly from Canada (2015)
  • 850 million pounds = cranberries produced in the U.S.  — 521 million in Wisconsin (2016)
  • 3.1 billion pounds = sweet potatoes produced in the U.S. (2015)

Source: U.S. Census,

It’s Been Half a Century!

August 12, 2016

Here is a list of “firsts” from fifty years ago (1966).  A fun stroll through history.

  • 1st civilian astronaut to orbit the earth (Neil Armstrong, March 16th)
  • 1st Black Panther Party organizational meeting (Oakland, CA, October 15th)
  • 1st Black Power advocate (Stokely Carmichael, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Atlanta, GA, in June)
  • 1st African-American cabinet member (Robert Clifton Weaver, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, January 18th)
  • 1st car with front-wheel drive (Oldsmobile Toronado)
  • 1st medical substitute for catgut (Dexon, a polyglycolic acid suture produced in April)
  • 1st African American professional basketball coach (Bill Russell, Boston Celtics)
  • 1st African American Coast Guard Academy graduate (Merle James Smith, Jr., Baltimore, MD, June 8th)
  • 1st computer modem that was practical (John van Geen, Stanford, CA)
  • 1st Department of Transportation (October 15th)
  • 1st endangered species list issued by the federal government
  • 1st federal district court judge who was an African-American woman (Constance Baker Motley, August 30th)
  • 1st hospital to offer a sex-change operation (John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD)
  • 1st Kwanzaa celebration (December 26th, California)
  • 1st manned docking of two spacecraft (March 16th, Gemeni 8 and an Agena target vehicle)
  • 1st female marathon runner from the United States (Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb, Boston Marathon)
  • 1st Medal of Honor awarded to a Seabee (Marvin Glen Shields of Port Townsend, WA, for heroism in the 14-hour battle at Dongzoal, Vietnam, awarded September 13th, posthumously)
  • 1st motorboat ocean race (Sam Griffith Memorial Race, Miami, FL to Bimini, Bahamas, February 22nd)
  • 1st National Endowment for the Humanities grants (American Society of Papyrologists, Cincinnati, OH)
  • 1st African-American Navy captain (Thomas David Parham, Jr., Newport News, VA, February 1st)
  • 1st open-reel video tape recorder for home use (Sony’s TCV-2010)
  • 1st parachute jumper snagged by an airplane in midair (Charles M. Alexander, Sussex County Airport, Georgetown, DE, August 29th)
  • 1st photograph of the earth taken from the moon (Lunar Orbiter 1, August 23rd)
  • 1st rocket-tracking ship (Vanguard [WWII tanker], January 31st)
  • 1st African-American Senator to be elected by popular vote (Edward William Brooke, Massachusetts, November 8th)
  • 1st Sergeant Major of the Army (William O. Wooldridge, Shawnee, OK, July 11th)
  • 1st space probe to achieve a lunar orbit (Lunar Orbiter 1, August 14th)
  • 1st space treaty signed by the United States (Treaty on Principles of Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies [endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly], December 19th)
  • 1st x-ray three-dimensional stereo fluoroscopic system (University of Oregon Medical Center, Portland, OR, April 15th)

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

Dog Days!

July 23, 2016

Welcome to the midpoint of the dog days of summer!  The “dog days” of summer generally refers to the hottest and most sultry days occurring in July and August (more specifically, the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of the star Sirius with the Sun).  Sirius, the star that is the brightest and most visible from the earth is also known as the “dog star” due to its position within the Canis Major constellation.  This span of days falls between July 3rd and August 11th.

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, “in the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. On July 23rd, specifically, it is in conjunction with the Sun, and because the star is so bright, the ancient Romans believed it actually gave off heat and added to the Sun’s warmth, accounting for the long stretch of sultry weather. They referred to this time as diēs caniculārēs, or ‘dog days.'”

I hope you can stay cool by finding some shade or air conditioning!


The Circus is Coming!

July 16, 2016

Summer, the time of hot days, baseball and apple pie, and the circus coming to town.  Just what was the draw of the circus?  The big tents, the clowns, the exotic animals, the trapeze and high wire acrobatics, jugglers, etc. . . . they were just plain fun!   Did you know that sixty years ago today (in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) was the last time that the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus did a show in a “big tent?”  It all boiled down to the economics (cost) of putting on the shows.  All subsequent shows were to be held in arenas.


And speaking of circuses, did you know that there is a circus cemetery in Hugo, Oklahoma?  A mere two-and-a-half hour drive south (and a little east) of Tulsa will bring you to this historical gem of a town.

According to, “This southeastern Oklahoma town first caught the eye of the Kelly Miller Circus, back in 1937.  Hugo’s central location and temperate climate proved an ideal base for a caravan of performers, and through the years the idea caught on.  More than 20 different circuses have called Hugo home, and three still do.”


July 10th . . . !

July 10, 2016

A number of “firsts” occurred on July 10th.  Here’s a brief rundown:

  • 1st Catholic seminary (1791, St. Mary’s – Roland Park, Baltimore, MD)
  • 1st Presidential amnesty issued to rebellious citizens (1795, George Washington, participants in the Whiskey Rebellion)
  • 1st antiquarian book business (1830, Boston, MA, Samuel Gardner Drake)
  • 1st Medal of Honor awarded to a Marine (1863, Sgt. John Freeman Mackie)
  • 1st indelible pencil (1866, Edson P. Clark, Northampton, MA)
  • 1st election law enacted by a state to grant voting rights to women after the adoption of the Constitution (1890, Wyoming)
  • 1st steel seven-masted schooner (1902, the Thomas W. Lawson)
  • 1st Presidential candidate to appear in movie footage (1908, William Jennings Bryan)
  • 1st police radio system (1933, Eastchester Township, NY)
  • 1st President to visit South America while in office (1934, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Cartagena, Columbia)
  • 1st rectangular television tube (1949, Kimble Glass Company, Toledo, OH)
  • 1st telephone call conveyed by a privately owned satellite (1962, Frederick Russell Kappel [board chairman of AT&T] to President Lyndon Baines Johnson, Telstar 1)
  • 1st transoceanic telecast by satellite (1962, from Andover, ME to various stations in Europe)
  • 1st commercial satellite (1962, Telstar 1)
  • 1st swimmer to swim the English Channel underwater (1962, Fred Baldasare)

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

“The Artist’s Dream!”

June 12, 2016

On June 12, 1913, The Artist’s Dream (aka The Dachshund) was the first animated cartoon created with cel animation.  Produced by John Randolph Bray, and using clear sheets of acetate, the cartoon depicted Bray drawing a dachshund that continued to eat sausages to the point of exploding.

For more information and history re: animation, visit this link.

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

Internet Firsts!

June 5, 2016

Being the “first” to do something always carries some inherent worth (at least to that person).  So, here is an infographic that has captured many “firsts” of the internet.  Enjoy this trip down memory lane.   Can you remember your firsts as they relate to these firsts?


Centennial Anniversary of American Indian Day!

May 13, 2016


The Society of American Indians,  Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, Inaugural Conference, 1911

The first American Indian Day celebration was held on this date in 1916, in New York State.  It was sponsored by the Society of American Indians, the first national American Indian rights organization run by and for American Indians (in existence from 1911–1923 only);  its purpose was to recognize and honor the Native Americans and to improve their conditions.

The British Are Coming!

April 18, 2016

Did you know that today . . .
. . . marks the anniversary of Paul Revere’s famous ride from Charlestown to Lexington to warn Massachusetts colonists of the arrival of British troops during the American Revolution (1775)?

. . . also marks the 110th anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake that destroyed four square miles and killed more than 500 people (1906)?

. . . marks the day the first baseball game was played in Yankee Stadium in 1923?

. . . Grace Kelly married the Prince Ranier of Monaco in 1956?

. . . the London Bridge was sold to an American in 1968?