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Tag: random history

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

morse

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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Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

tube

"I am product #751600"

This week’s winner is PaulO, who won us over with his creepy and vaguely dystopian caption “I am product # 751600.” He wins 30% off a numbered product of his choosing at our eStore.

And if you think this tube is an escape route from child-shaped robots run amok, you would be partially right! This picture comes from the holdings of the National Archives at Kansas City. It’s actually a fire escape from 1924, and the caption tells us it “Drops from second story of brick building; small child is sitting in the end of the tube”–though this does not assure us that it is a human child.

This week’s photo is from America’s Heartland. Let us know what you think could possibly be going on here! As always, the winner recieves 30% off at our eStore.

Here’s a suggestion to get you started, “Myrtle knew a quality tablecloth when she saw it!” nose[ Read all ]

Escape and Evasion files at the National Archives

b-17

The B-17s, including this one, called the Big Yank, flew many raids from England into Europe (Roosevelt Library; ARC 195654).

Escape and evasion files are firsthand accounts of a military personnel’s escape from behind enemy lines. In World War II, thousands of U.S. troops crashed in Nazi territory and had to evade capture or escape from German prisons. The National Archives recently digitized 2,953 firsthand accounts of escape and evasion during the war.

Each account reads like a Hollywood script, and although each is a gripping tale of perseverance, there are some that stand out as truly remarkable. We here at POH have summarized and linked our 10 favorite tales, including emergency landings into soccer games, fake Nazi salutes, and Boy Scout disguises.

2nd Lt. John Dunbar – It was the Fourth of July in 1943 when Dunbar’s plane was shot out of the sky over La Pallice, France. After receiving assistance from local Frenchmen in the German-occupied territory he marched for 18 days through France dressed as a peasant. For five of those days he had no food. For the rest, he survived off beer and scraps of food that had fallen off carts along the road. Three weeks later he crossed the Pyrenees mountains on foot into Spain, where he was captured by the Guardia Civil and later released.

Sgt. William Davidson was taken … [ Read all ]

Fillmore, Utah. Population 2,150

Message of President Millard Fillmore nominating territorial officers of Utah, including Brigham Young to be Governor (Records of the U.S. Senate)

Message of President Millard Fillmore nominating territorial officers of Utah, including Brigham Young to be Governor (Records of the U.S. Senate, RG 46)

Between negotiating the Compromise of 1850, stymieing southern attempts to turn Cuba into a state, protecting Hawaii from French interests, and working to open up Japan for trade, President Millard Fillmore also appointed Brigham Young as the first governor of the Utah Territory. That was 160 years ago this week.

As a gesture of thanks to Fillmore, Young had the capital of the territory named Fillmore, and named the surrounding county Millard in 1851.

Young’s tenure as governor didn’t last long—James Buchanan replaced  him with a new governor, accompanied by Federal troops, in 1857. Fillmore’s status as the territorial capital was even shorter: by 1855, Salt Lake City was designated as Utah’s capital.

Despite this, Young’s legacy has certainly endured, as has the town of Fillmore, population 2,150.… [ Read all ]