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18 January
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A. A. Milne

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A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne was born 132 years ago today, January 18, 1882.  Alan Alexander was born in Hampstead, London to parents Vince and Sarah.  He is most well known for his children stories of a teddy bear named Winnie-the-Pooh.  One of his teachers growing up was actually H.G. Wells according to the wikipedia entry!  He wrote for the student magazine while enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge.  He was there studying on a Mathematics scholarship.  After the school magazine he wrote for Punch a British Humor magazine where he would later become a assistant editor.  He joined the military for World War I and served as a officer until a debilitating illness, at which time he was recruited by military intelligence to write propaganda.  He was discahrged from military service on Valentines Day 1919.

He denounced the war in his book Peace with Honour then retracted in War with Honour.  In 1913 he married Dorothy “Daphne” de Selincourt and had his son Christopher Robin in 1920.  In 1952 he had a stroke and then brain surgery which left him an invalid.  He died four years later at the age of 74.  His son Christopher had a short stint in the military during World War II, then married and opened two bookstores.  He lived most off the money from the Pooh books.  In 1974, Milne published the first of three autobiographical books:

  1. The Enchanted Places
  2. The Path Through the Trees
  3. Hollow on the Hill 

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25 December
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Christmas 2013

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Christmas Ornaments

Christmas Ornaments by Flickr user Joe Buckingham

We have celebrated many Christmas with our listeners from the podcast and the readers of this blog.  Back in 2005 we created a history podcast just for Christmas (number 39).  In the newsletter I sent out on Saturday night you also learned about Christmas Island.  There is much more to that story so follow the link for the whole thing.  In 2007 we ran an article about all the myths surrounding this holiday.  That was one of those Top 5 type post that are total link bait, I know.

In addition to all that cool stuff there is to read and listen to about Christmas history I thought this year I would add just a bit more for you to read up on.


Skip to 0:28.

In 1914 there was a Christmas Truce.  These were unofficial cease fires that took place across many different battle fields during Christmas day 1914 in the middle of World War I, or as it was called then, The Great War.  There is a movie about it called Joyeux Noel.  If you have Amazon Instant you can watch it right now for free.  I couldn’t find it on Netflix instant.

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12 November
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Ellis Island Closes

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Ellis Island

Image credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ellis_Island.JPG

On November 12, 1954 after 62 years of operation with more than 5,000 immigrants a day passing over through Ellis island closed, due much in part to reduced use and its disrepair.  12 million people entered during its operation.  Including its first visitor 15 year old Annie Moore from Cork, Ireland.  The last person through the gates saws a Norwegian merchant seaman named Arne Peterssen in 1954.

During World War I immigration slowed and Elis was used as a detention center for suspected enemies.  In 1924 the Immigration Act was passed which reduced the number of new comers allowed into the US and also enabled US consulates to process immigrants.  After 1924 the facility was used as a hospital in World War II and a Cost Guard training center.  In 1984 the island had a $160 million dollar face lift, the largest historic restoration in IS history.  In September 1990 the Ellis Island Immigration Museum opened to the public and today is visited by almost 2 million people a year.

Sources:

Read more:

American Passage: The History of Ellis Island

American Passage: The History of Ellis Island

American Passage: The History of Ellis Island

 

Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America's Immigrant Hospital

Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America’s Immigrant Hospital

Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America’s Immigrant Hospital

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