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Tag: Prologue magazine

Where was the Navy born?

Beverly, Massachusetts, birthplace of the American Navy? Courtesy Beverly Historic Society

Beverly, Massachusetts, birthplace of the American Navy? (Courtesy Beverly Historical Society)

Tomorrow there will be a spirited debate at the USS Constitution Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. The Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, will be there. So will senior archivist Trevor Plante. They are convening at the museum that honors the world’s oldest floating commissioned Navy vessel to settle once and for all a centuries-old debate: where was the Navy born?

We here at POH want your input. We’ve laid out the arguments for each town that claims it is the true birthplace of the Navy. We need you to read them and then cast your vote or add your two cents into the mix. You can either respond on our blog here, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter with the hash tag #navybirth.

Let the debate begin!

Sign advertising Whitehall, New York, as the "birthplace of the United States Navy" (Whitehall Chamber of Commerce)

Sign advertising Whitehall, New York, as the "birthplace of the United States Navy" (Whitehall Chamber of Commerce)

  • Machias, Maine, June 1775: two small sloops armed with woodsmen capture the Royal Navy schooner Margaretta.
  • Beverly, Massachusetts, September 1775: George Washington authorizes a ship, Hannah, to harass British supply ships.
  • Marblehead, Massachusetts, September 1775: The Hannah is outfitted with a Marblehead crew, and owned by a Marblehead resident.
  • Providence, Rhode Island, October 1775: The small state’s delegates are the first to propose a resolution to build and equip an
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The orphan called Tokyo Rose

Iva Toguri (Records of US Attorneys, 296678)

Iva Toguri (Records of U.S. Attorneys, ARC 296678, National Archives at San Francisco 118-NCTR-31712-14)

The story of Tokyo Rose is the stuff of legends—an English-speaking Japanese woman who seduced the airwaves of the South Pacific with tales of Japanese success, Allied failures, and honest encouragement to give up the fight and return home. The trouble is, there never was a Tokyo Rose, the name was a GI term used to refer to a variety of female Japanese broadcasters. But that didn’t stop one American woman from being convicted of treason following the war for being the fictitious Tokyo Rose. Her name was Iva Toguri, and she broadcast under the name “Orphan Anne.”

After graduating from UCLA in 1941, Iva Toguri left the United States to visit a sick aunt in Japan. She was set to return to the United States, but didn’t make it before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

She became an American stuck in enemy territory. Many Japanese Americans renounced their U.S. citizenship after the bombing of Pearl Harbor to prevent harsh treatment from Imperial Japan. Toguri was a proud American and refused to renounce her citizenship.

She paid the price. Her neighbors threw stones at her and called her a horyo (“POW”). Food rations were so meager she was hospitalized in 1943 with malnutrition.

News from the home front was no … [ Read all ]

Beer = mc2

Albert Einstein's (

Albert Einstein (596270)

In 1885, Munich’s Oktoberfest was celebrated under the glow of the electric light for the first time. Who was responsible for that feat? None other than Albert Einstein himself.

Granted, it may have been his father and uncle who are truly due the credit (Albert was a teetotaling six-year-old at the time), but the math whiz extraordinaire was there checking wiring and ensuring that the Einstein Brothers lights stayed on at the world’s largest fair.

Despite this illuminating achievement, the future was not so bright for the young Einstein or his folks. By 1894, Albert’s uncle and father had mortgaged their home in a bid to grow their flourishing electric company. But the Oktoberfest contract was lost to Siemens, and the Einstein Brothers enterprise fell flat. The family moved to northern Italy to try their luck there, and instructed the  15-year-old Albert to remain in Munich to finish his schooling.

Albert had other ideas. By the next year, Albert had coaxed a doctor to diagnose him with nervous exhaustion which excused him from school (his teacher thought he was a nuisance anyway) and shortly thereafter he arrived on his parent’s doorstep in Italy. By his sixteenth birthday he had written his first essay on theoretical physics, “On the Investigation of the State of the Ether in a Magnetic Field.”

Still, school evaded … [ Read all ]

The price of freedom? About a $1.05

They say you can’t put a price on freedom, but you can put a price on savings bonds! Watch this compilation of famous celebrities plugging savings and stamp bonds, from Mr. Ed and Lassie all the way to the Duke and Bugs Bunny.

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Before there was broadband, there was a beard


Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, ca. 1860 - ca. 1865 (ARC 526779)

Long before the push to make high-speed Internet available across America, Samuel Morse was tap-tap-tapping information across America. By 1838, his telegraph machine was using a dot-and-dash system to send messages of up to 10 words a minute. He even convinced Congress to come to up with $30,000 to help him wire America.

Morse was born in 1791, more than 200 hundred years before Twitter was invented. But the telegraph was as radical as Twitter. Morse’s invention was a new, fast method for communicating across distances, and changed the way wars were fought.

Ever wonder how Lincoln communicated with his generals? He certainly wasn’t texting or twittering—but he was telegraphing during the Civil War, giving orders and making decisions. He even received a telegram from General Sherman announcing the surrender of Savannah, GA, as a Christmas present.

Virginia, Petersburg, Field Telegraph Battery Wagon, 09/1864 (ARC 533347)

Virginia, Petersburg, Field Telegraph Battery Wagon, 09/1864 (ARC 533347; 165-SB-73)

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