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Archive for May, 2009

14 May
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Lewis and Clark depart [On This Day]

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On this day in 1804 Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition.

The Lewis and Clark expedition was only the third recorded transcontinental crossing of North America north of Mexico by a person not of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, having been preceded to the Pacific coast (on July 20, 1793) by a Canadian expedition led by explorer Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Mackenzie had previously crossed North America in 1789 as well, but had turned north at the Continental Divide, also becoming the first European to reach the western Arctic Ocean. In 1536 Cabeza de Vaca and four others of the Narváez expedition reached the Pacific Ocean after crossing the continent through parts of present-day USA. [Wikipedia]

Image credit: Shmaktyc ['?m?k-tus]

Learn more:
The Journals of Lewis and Clark (Lewis & Clark Expedition)
Lewis & Clark – The Journey of the Corps of Discovery DVD
National Geographic – Lewis & Clark – Great Journey West DVD
The Essential Lewis and Clark (Lewis & Clark Expedition)

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13 May
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Pope John Paul II was shot [On This Day]

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On this day in 1981 Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.

According to A?ca’s later testimony, he met with three accomplices in Rome, one a fellow Turk and two Bulgarians, with operation being commanded by Zilo Vassilev, the Bulgarian military attaché in Italy. He said that he was assigned this mission by Turkish mafioso Bekir Çelenk in Bulgaria. Le Monde diplomatique, however, has alleged that the assassination attempt was organized by Abdullah Çatl? ”in exchange for the sum of 3 million marks”, paid by Bekir Çelenk to the Grey Wolves.[Wikipedia]

Image credit  lman1138

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12 May
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Katharine Hepburn [On This Day]

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On this day in 1907 Katharine Hepburn was born.

Acclaimed throughout her 73-year career, Hepburn holds the record for the most Best Actress Oscar wins with four, from 12 nominations. Hepburn won an Emmy Award in 1976 for her lead role in Love Among the Ruins, and was nominated for four other Emmys, two Tony Awards and eight Golden Globes. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Hepburn as the greatest female star in the history of American cinema.[Wikipedia]

Image credit: MDH in Houston

Katharine Hepburn on IMDB.
More:
Me : Stories of My Life
Katharine Hepburn Collection (Morning Glory / Undercurrent / Sylvia Scarlett / Without Love / Dragon Seed / The Corn Is Green [1979])
At Home with Kate: Growing up in Katharine Hepburn’s Household
Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn

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11 May
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Last Spike of the Transcontinental Railroad

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Another great article from mental_floss:

Before the transcontinental railroad, travel from the East to the West Coast took many moons and at least a thousand dollars. If you journeyed overland, bandits and belligerent natives might ravage your wagons, foul weather or unexpected hazards might strand you in mountains, and for any number of reasons — up to and including Divine Wrath — your party might drop from thirst, hunger, or pestilence, leaving bones for strange rodents to gnaw and scatter. If you went by water, the trip would be long and you might get bored, which is a drag.

Image credit: ShortStuf7

Learn More:
American Experience – Transcontinental Railroad
Empire Express: Building the First Transcontinental Railroad
Modern Marvels – Transcontinental Railroad (History Channel)
Nothing Like It In the World : The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869

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08 May
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Great Videos about Lincoln

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Eric Langhorst from Speaking of History blog and podcast posting some great videos about Lincoln. Check out the channel at YouTube for more of the interview.

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07 May
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Auschwitz note leads to survivor

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Follow the link to read the whole article.

Auschwitz survivor Albert Veissid does not know who put his name on a list that remained hidden inside a bottle for more than 60 years. [BBC News]

Image credit: vm_ramos

Learn more:
Survivors: True Stories of Children in the Holocaust
Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers
I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up In The Holocaust

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06 May
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Hindenburg Disaster [On This Day]

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One on the worst air disasters in history.

LZ 129 Hindenburg (Deutsche Luftschiff Zeppelin #129; Registration: D-LZ 129) was a large German commercial passenger-carrying rigid airship, the lead ship of the Hindenburg class, the largest flying machines of any kind (by dimension) ever built. The airship flew from March 1936 until destroyed by fire 14 months later on May 6, 1937, at the end of the first North American transatlantic journey of its second season of service. Thirty-six people died in the accident, which occurred while landing at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey. The event was widely reported by film, photography and radio media. [Wikipedia]

Image credit: e-strategyblog.com

Learn more:
The Hindenburg
The Hindenburg Disaster (Code Red)

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05 May
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Worst Jobs in History

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Be sure to check out this story by 

The job of a fuller was to make the wool cloth nice and soft and pliable—easy to work with and smooth against the skin. Well break out the nose-pins, gas masks and vomit buckets, because today your work begins! A fuller’s job was to walk up and down huge vats of nasty stale urine in which the wool sat. And they had to do it ALL DAY! I shudder just thinking about it…no thanks!

Image credit: Tom Parrott

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04 May
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Kent State Massacre [On This Day]

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The Kent State shootings, also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre, occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 41970. Four students were killed and nine others were wounded, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.  Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. However, other students who were shot had merely been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.  There was a significant national response to the shootings: hundreds of universitiescolleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike of eight million students, and the event further divided the country, at this already socially contentious time, along political lines. [Wikipedia]

Image credit: amerune

Learn more from History Podcast episode 78 and from the below:
13 Seconds: A Look Back at the Kent State Shootings
Four Dead in Ohio: Was There a Conspiracy at Kent State

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01 May
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Happy May Day

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My family has always celebrated May Day in one form or another.  We used to go and leave baskets of candy on our friends porches when I was little.  You ring their doorbell and then run.  If they catch you they get to kiss you.  Now that I am older with my own little family, I usually just call my mother and sister to wish them a happy May Day.  I hope to have my daughter celebrate May Day when she is old enough though.  Happy May Day to you all!

Update!  mental_floss did a great article today about the meanings of May Day to different groups.  Definitely worth reading!

What is May Day:

From wikipedia…  [In America...]May Day was also celebrated by some early European settlers of the American continent. In some parts of the United States, May Baskets are made. These baskets are small and usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someone’s doorstep. The basket giver would ring the bell and run away. The person receiving the basket would try to catch the fleeing giver. If they caught the person, a kiss was to be exchanged.

Image credit:  Ennor (unwell-resting)

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