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Tag: random history

FHF: The Beard Gap

Two beards have never competed for the office of the President. Pictured here is Rutherford Hayes, a bearded president who beat the clean-shaven Samuel Tilden (111-B-5739)

Two beards have never competed for the Presidency. Pictured here is Rutherford Hayes, a bearded President who beat the clean-shaven Samuel Tilden. (111-B-5739)




In the history of Presidential elections, there has never been a battle of the beards. Beards have challenged mustaches. Mustaches have challenged clean-shaven candidates. Clean-shaven candidates have challenged beards. But never in the history of our republic, have two bearded candidates duked it out on the campaign trail.

This is startling for many reasons. One, beards are awesome, and have experienced a sort of renaissance as of late. Two, statistically speaking, the beard is more “electable” than a baby face.

Look at the numbers. In Presidential elections, bearded candidates have only faced off (ha!) with clean-shaven candidates in five elections. In three of them—1868, 1872, and 1876—beards took the White House. That means the odds are with you if you run with a beard.

Year Victor Runner-up
1856 Clean-shaven Beards
1864 Beard Mustache
1868 Beard Clean-shaven
1872 Beard Clean-shaven
1876 Beard Clean-shaven
1880 Beard Mustache
1884 Mustache Beard
1888 Beard Mustache
1892 Mustache Beard
1908 Mustache Clean-shaven
1912 Clean-shaven Mustache
1916 Clean-shaven Beard
1944 Clean-shaven Mustache
1948 Clean-shaven Mustache



History buffs will be quick to point out that the 1876 beard win was something of a technicality. The oh-so-heavily bearded Rutherford Hayes lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote (Florida … [ Read all ]

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
[ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

Rosemary Clooney will star in a remake of the famed “Men who stare at Goats” titled “Women who stare at tables.”

Rosemary Clooney will star in a remake of the famed “Men who stare at Goats” titled “Women who stare at tables.”

The results are in! Our guest judge Tim Walch, director of the Hoover Presidential Library in Iowa, decided that Shannon’s caption takes the prize. “This a wonderful, unexpected, quirky caption-and a great plug for a funny film. Also, we don’t think about Rosemary Clooney enough these days!” he said.

Congratulations, Shannon, you’ve won 30% off at the National Archives eStore! While you won this week’s photo caption contest, this photo’s real caption may take the cake as the longest caption in our holdings. It reads:

Shelby County, Iowa. Informal get-togethers are still very popular in Irwin. Shown here is a group of people playing “Truth and Consequences” at a party given for a boy who is about to be drafted. All the questions used were Biblical. This room is in the basement of the Christian church. The party was preceded by a short prayer, hymn-singing and recitation in the auditorium upstairs. Penalties for those who failed to answer questions correctly were meted out by the minister’s wife. Here, a girl is pushing a bottle top down the table with her nose. All such penalties were answered in good part. A group of ladies took charge of the refreshment quarters. Most of the guests brought something, so that the

[ Read all ]

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 ]