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Tag: Philadelphia

Medal of Honor is now on display at the National Archives

The Medal of Honor for Sgt. James Hill in its presentation box.


The Medal of Honor is the highest honor in recognition of “gallantry in action.” Yet when President Abraham Lincoln signed “An act to further promote the efficiency of the Navy” into law on December 21, 1861, the creation of this honor is just a paragraph in section seven.

Only 200 “medals of honor” were authorized by Lincoln to be awarded to enlisted members of the Navy “during the present war.”  Over the years, the medal has changed, going through revisions to the design, the rules under which it was awarded, and the inclusion of officers and members of the other branches of service. 

It has been awarded fewer than 3,500 times.

One medal is currently on display through January 17, 2012, in the Rotunda of the National Archives.

This Medal of Honor was awarded to Sgt. James Hill, 14th New York Artillery, for extraordinary heroism on July 30, 1864, at Petersburg, Virginia, for capturing a flag and shooting a Confederate officer who was rallying his men.  Hill died in captivity at Andersonville, Georgia, before the medal could be presented.  The medal was designed by William Wilson & Sons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1862.

The display also includes a letter of recommendation to another soldier. After the Civil War ended, the historian of the 37th Massachusetts Regimental Association, … [ Read all ]

Cold Wars: Popsicle v. Good Humor

Roller Exhibit # 3 "Popsicle - A Drink on a Stick" ARC ID 5916727

Today’s “What’s Cooking Wednesday” guest post is from Jefferson Moak, an archivist at the National Archives at Philadelphia.

On a hot summer day, who’s not looking for an ice cream vendor or a Rita’s Water . . . Ice? Ice creams and water ices have been with Americans for over 100 years. In the early 1920s, two men, Frank Epperson and Harry Burt, separately patented what would become famous as the Popsicle and the Good Humor Bar.

The Popsicle is what would be called a sherbet or water ice on a stick; the Good Humor Bar was an ice cream bar covered with chocolate on a stick. Both were instantly successful, as was the Eskimo Pie, patented about the same time. As one reviewer of the Eskimo Pie stated: “although nobody knew it until it happened, it seems that everybody in these United States was waiting for someone to come along and invent a bar of ice cream coated with sweet chocolate.”

The instant success of both the Popsicle and the Good Humor Bar eventually led to a series of courtroom battles regarding the validity of both patents as both Epperson and Burt claimed invention of an ice convention on a stick. What emerged from the first round of battles … [ Read all ]