Little Bits of History

Madison Square Garden

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 31, 2015
Madison Square Garden - PT Barnum's Hippodrome

Madison Square Garden – PT Barnum’s Hippodrome

May 31, 1879: William Kissam Vanderbilt takes control. William was the second son of William Henry Vanderbilt and the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Gilmore’s Garden was originally the New York and Harlem Railroad depot but the depot moved uptown and the land was leased to PT Barnum in 1871. Barnum converted it into an oval arena measuring 270 feet along its longest axis. He added seats and benches and banked formation and called his arena the Great Roman Hippodrome. He presented circuses as well as other entertainment. His roofless building was also pejoratively called Barnum’s Monster Classical and Geological Hippodrome.

The building was next leased to Patrick Gilmore, an Irish-born American composer and bandmaster. He used the space to present flower shows, beauty contests, walking marathons, music concerts, temperance and revival meetings, and most prestigiously, the first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which in 1877 was called the First Annual N.Y. Bench Show. Because boxing was illegal at the time, exhibitions and illustrated lectures were offered which coincidentally looked exactly like boxing matches. William Tileston was the next to lease the space. He was an official of the dog show and he wished to bring in a more genteel crowd and offered tennis, a riding school, and an ice carnival. The arena had one of the first indoor ice rinks in the US.

When Cornelius Vanderbilt died, his grandson took back control of the land owned by his grandfather. On this date he announced it would be renamed Madison Square Garden since it was located at East 26th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan. William used the space for sporting events. He held indoor track and field meets and the National Horse Show. He held a convention for the Elks. He also used the space for boxing matches and featured John L Sullivan who began a four-year series of exhibitions in 1882. When Jumbo crossed the Brooklyn Bridge (see yesterday) he was coming to Madison Square Garden. Another use of the open air building was as a velodrome, an oval, banked track for bike racing – one of the biggest sports in the country at the time.

The roofless Garden was hot in the summer and freezing in the winter. It wasn’t well maintained and was starting to deteriorate. In was demolished in July 1889 and the second building to bear the name opened on June 6, 1890. The new building wasn’t any more profitable than the old and the mortgage holder opted to demolish it in 1925 and the New York Life Building opened in 1928. Today’s version of Madison Square Garden is located at 4 Pennsylvania Plaza in Manhattan. They opened at their new home on February 11, 1968 and continue to offer boxing events as well as basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, and pro wrestling. It is also the venue for many concerts.

All sports are time control demonstrations. – Buckminster Fuller

Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence. – George Will

Unlike any other business in the United States, sports must preserve an illusion of perfect innocence. – Lewis H. Lapham

I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures. – Earl Warren

Also on this day: Ready to Eat – In 1884, Kellogg patented corn flakes.
Johnstown Flood – In 1889, the South Fork Dam burst.
Pepys’s Diary – In 1669, Samuel made his last diary entry.
BEN – In 1859, Big Ben went on line.
Widest Recorded Tornado – In 2013, the El Reno tornado was filmed.

Brooklyn Bridge

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 30, 2015
Brooklyn Bridge *

Brooklyn Bridge *

May 30, 1883: A rumor causes a stampede which kills at least twelve. The New York and Brooklyn Bridge, aka the East River Bridge, opened on May 24, 1883. The event was witnessed by thousands on land and in ships in the water below. President Chester Arthur and Mayor Franklin Edson crossed the bridge as celebratory cannons were fired. They were met on the other side by Brooklyn Mayor Seth Low. On the first day of the bridge’s life 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed what was then the only land passage between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Emily Warren Roebling was the first to cross the bridge whose main span over the East River measures 1,595.5 feet. The bridge cost $15.5 million ($380 million today) to build and at least 27 people died building it.

Less than one week later, a rumor began stating the bridge was unstable and would collapse. People scrambled to get off the bridge and in doing so, at least 12 people were crushed to death. The rumor proved to be false and yet doubts lingered. On May 17, 1884, the greatest showman on Earth, PT Barnum proved the bridge’s stability with one of his famous publicity stunts. He brought his circus across the bridge and included in that parade was Jumbo leading a trail of 21 elephants across it. Jumbo was the largest elephant in captivity and weight a whopping 13,000 pounds and stood just over 13 feet high. Even with this much traffic, the bridge remained intact.

At the time of its opening and for several more years, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, which helped to perpetuate the rumor. It was half again as long as any suspension bridge ever built. At the time of construction, aerodynamics was not part of the engineering process and bridges were not tested in wind tunnels until the 1950s after the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed. It is by luck then and not be design that the open truss structure supporting the deck is less susceptible to these types of problems. It was so designed because John Augustus Roebling made it to be six times as strong as he thought it would need to be by using this method. Roebling suffered an injury while surveying the site for the Brooklyn side tower and died before completing the bridge. His son (Washington) and daughter-in-law (Emily – the first to cross the bridge) continued the project.

Because of the sturdy construction (rumors aside) it is one of the few bridges built during this era which remains standing today. Elevated trains used the bridge until 1944 and streetcars until 1950. Today it is six lanes of roadway maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation. It spans the river 276.5 feet above mean high water mark and has a 135 foot clearance. The suspension/cable-stay hybrid bridge is 132 years old. There is no toll to cross and 123,781 vehicles (as of 2008) take advantage of the shortcut. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and National Historic Civil Engineering landmark in 1972.

I would rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it. – Will Rogers

You can find your way across this country using burger joint the way a navigatior uses stars…. We have munched Bridge burgers in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge and Cable burgers hard by the Golden Gate, Dixie burgers in the sunny South and Yankee Doodle burgers in the North…. We had a Capitol Burger – guess where. And so help us, in the inner courtyard of the Pentagon, a Penta burger. – Charles Kuralt

Everyone should walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I did it three days in a row because it was one of the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had. The view is breathtaking. – Seann William Scott

I remember perfectly my first trip to New York, when I was on the bridge between Brooklyn and Manhattan, when I saw the skyscrapers. It was like an incredible dream. – Diego Della Valle

Also on this day: Start Your Engines – In 1911, the first Indianapolis 500 was held.
Chinese Democracy – In 1989, the Goddess of Democracy was unveiled
Fan Club – In 1933, Sally Rand danced in Chicago.
Duel – In 1806, Charles Dickenson was killed in a duel.
Pearl’s Perils – In 1899, Pearl Hart robbed a stagecoach.

* “Brooklyn Bridge Postdlf” by Postdlf at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Tagged with: ,

Fourth Unsuccessful Try

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 29, 2015
Benito Mussolini

Benito Mussolini

May 29, 1931: Michele Schirru is executed. He was born in 1899 in Sardinia, the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea (after Sicily) which remains an autonomous region of Italy. He was raised in Pozzomaggiore, in the northwest part of the island. He was able to attend school through the sixth grade at which time he was hired by a blacksmith as an apprentice. His father left for the US and settled in New York City. Michele was admitted to the Maritime School of La Spezia. He was forced to quit school after an illness. He served in World War I with fourteen months of active service. After the war, he returned to Pozzomaggiaore.

During 1919-1920, the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) participated in a series of occupations of factories. The workers took over the control of the factories making them “recovered” and self-managed them. This allowed them to continue to earn a living rather than staging a strike or incurring a lock out. Schirru was disappointed at the abandonment of this practice and felt betrayed by the PSI. He wrote a manifesto regarding his disillusionment of both the Socialist Party and the General Confederation of Labour leaders. He decided to leave Italy and first moved to France. In November 1920, he came to the US and became a naturalized citizen in 1926. He worked in New York City as a vendor on Arthur Avenue.

Benito Mussolini was leader of the National Fascist Party and ruled as Prime Minister from 1922 until 1943. He ruled legally until 1925 and then abandoned the fiction of a democracy. He set up a legal dictatorship with himself as leader and known as Il Duce. He was one of the key people in the creation of fascism. His rule and ideology were directly opposed to the socialist and anarchist views of Schirru. Many people did not agree with Mussolini. Violet Gibson was the first to try to assassinate the leader. In 1926, the Irish daughter of Lord Ashbourne attempted to get rid of Mussolini and after her failure, she was deported.

About six months after the first attempt, in October of 1926, a 15-year-old in Bologna tried to shoot Mussolini. Anteo Zamboni was captured immediately and lynched on the spot. Anarchist Gino Lucetti tried to assassinate the leader while in Rome. He, too, failed. Schirru was the next person to try. He was captured and executed on this date. After Zamboni’s failed attempt, other political parties were outlawed, making the state officially one-party – something it had been in practice since 1925. Mussolini and his mistress were captured on April 27, 1945 as they tried to escape to Spain via Switzerland. They, along with most of the members of their 15-man train which were made up of mostly ministers and officials of the Italian Social Republic, were summarily shot on April 28. The next day, their corpses were loaded into a van and taken to Milan.

When the workers, submitting to the cowardly betrayal of the Socialist Party and General Confederation of Labour leadership, returned the factories to their legal owners, I was one of those who felt disgusted and humiliated at the missed opportunity and for the precious energies that had been squandered in vain. So I decided to expatriate, feeling that there was nothing more to be done in Italy. – Michele Schirru

War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon peoples who have courage to face it. – Benito Mussolini

If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal. – Fidel Castro

In times of anarchy, one may seem a despot in order to be a savior. – Honore Mirabeau

Also on this day: The Top of the World – In 1953, Mount Everest was conquered.
Running the World – In 1954, the Bilderberg Group held their first conference.
Empress of Ireland – In 1914, nearly a thousand people died when the ship sank.
I’m Dreaming – In 1942, Bing Crosby recorded a song.
Jenny Lind – In 1852, the singer left the US.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 28, 2015
Mathias Rust coming in for a landing

Mathias Rust coming in for a landing

May 28, 1987: Mathias Rust lands in Moscow. Rust was a fairly inexperienced pilot with about 50 hours of flying time and from Wedel, Germany. He was 18 years old and rented a Reims Cessna F 172P D-ECJB on May 13. He flew out of Uetersen in northern Germany and near his hometown and headed northwest. His first stop was the Faroe Islands and then he spent a week in Iceland. While in Iceland, he visited Hofdi House where the year before the US and USSR had met for unsuccessful peace talks. After he left Iceland and headed east again, he landed in Bergen, Norway and Helsinki, Finland. The two week trip was a way for him to test his piloting skills.

He refueled at the Helsinki-Malmi Airport and told air traffic control he was planning on Stockholm, Sweden as his next stop which was west of his current location. He took off at 12.21 PM and as soon as he made his final communication with air traffic control, he turned his plane and headed east. Air traffic control tried to contact him as he was entering busy space near the Helsinki-Moscow route, but Rust had turned off his radio and was incommunicado. After disappearing from Finnish radar near Sipoo, it was presumed the young pilot had encountered an emergency and search and rescue was instituted. A Finnish Border Guard patrol boat located an oil slick in the approximate area where the plane went missing. An underwater search was performed without finding the plane.

Rust was still in the air and crossed the Baltic coastline over Estonia and turned towards Moscow. At 2.29 PM local time he appeared on Soviet Air Defense (PVO) radar. He did not respond to an IFF signal and was assigned combat number 8255. He was tracked by three different SAM divisions but there was no authorization to launch anything to stop him. All air defense was brought to readiness and two interceptors were sent to investigate. At 2.48 PM a white sport plane was found and yet there were orders to not engage the plane. The fighters soon lost contact with Rust. Two more times, he was investigated but not halted.

Around 7 PM, Rust arrived in the air space over Moscow. He had intended to land at the Kremlin but changed his mind, thinking of security issues. Instead, he chose the Red Square but heavy pedestrian traffic made that impossible. He set down on a bridge by St. Basil’s Cathedral. Rust was arrested two hours later. He was charged with many small crimes and was finally released in August 1988 as a goodwill gesture to the West. He was fined €7,500 by the Finnish government for the dive and the oil slick was never explained. Mikhail Gorbachev used the stunt as a way to clean house and fired several military leaders who let the teen through their “impregnable” defenses. It helped to bring an end to the Cold War. Rust has led a checkered life since, imprisoned for attempted manslaughter as well as other misadventures with the legal system.

An unbelievable dream had come true.

Something must be done to improve the situation (Cold War).

I shouldn’t have done it; otherwise I would have had an easier life.

Without that experience, I would have turned out like have today. – all from Mathias Rust

Also on this day: It Can’t Be Done – In 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to traffic.
Beautiful Dining – In 1999, The Last Supper’s restoration was completed.
Sierra Club – In 1892, John Muir became the club’s first president.
Five – In 1934, the Dionne quintuplets were born.
Exact Date – Maybe – In 585 BC, a solar eclipse took place.

Who’s Afraid

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 27, 2015
The Three Little Pigs poster *

The Three Little Pigs poster *

May 27, 1933: Walt Disney releases a cartoon. Disney produced the short animated film directed by Burt Gillett. It was based on the fairy tale of the same name: The Three Little Pigs. The United Artists film cost $22,000 to create and the Technicolor cartoon ran for eight minutes. Animation was provided by Fred Moore, Art Babbitt, Dick Lundy, and Norm Ferguson. Voices were provided by Pinto Colvig, Billy Bletcher, Mary Moder, and Dorothy Compton. Music was by Carl W. Stalling and Frank Churchill. The film grossed $250,000 and in 1994 was listed as #11 of the 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field. The Three Little Pigs was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Both the cartoon and the fairy tale tell the story of three little pigs. Practical Pig is practical and in the cartoon plays a piano and builds his sturdy house of bricks. Fiddler Pig plays a fiddle and dances after quickly building his stick house. Fifer Pig plays a flute after his shoddy construction on his straw house is complete. The pigs play and then the antagonist shows up – the Big Bad Wolf. He destroys the sloppily built houses in turn with each pig making it safely to the next house to hide until he comes to the brick house. When his prior method of blowing down the house fails, he tries to climb down the chimney. The pigs play a catchy tune between being pursued and “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” was a musical hit from the film.

The cartoon was a big hit with the audiences of the day. Instead of a short run, it played for months and continued to bring in revenue. It remains one of the most successful animated shorts ever made. It was one of the first attempts to bring cartoon characters to life. Each of the pigs looked the same but each had a particular personality and behaved in a particular way. Even at this early stage in his career, Disney had already learned that successful cartooning depended on telling emotionally gripping stories. Because of this, while this short was in production, a “story department” separate from the animators was created. The storyboard artists worked on story development rather than cartooning.

Frank Churchill’s song became a single and “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” gave those living through the Great Depression a rallying cry. When Hitler’s Germany began expanding pre-World War II, the song was used to bring focus to the complacency about the invasions in Europe. Disney went on to create more cartoons with another of his stars – Mickey Mouse. His first appearance pre-dated this cartoon. This film made it possible for Disney to parley his success into making Mickey a top merchandise item by the end of 1934. Mickey appeared in over 130 films and became known worldwide.

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.

I never called my work an ‘art’ It’s part of show business, the business of building entertainment.

People don’t care what you know. They just want to know that you care.

A man should never neglect his family for business. – all from Walt Disney

Also on this day: No More Burnt Toast – In 1919, a toaster with a timer was patented.
St. Pete – In 1703, St. Petersburg, Russia was founded.
Model T & A – In 1927, Ford Motor Co. began the switch from Model T to Model A.
Centralia – In 1962, a fire that is still burning was started.
Le Paradis Massacre – In 1940, the massacre took place.

* “Three Little Pigs poster” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –


Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 26, 2015
24 Hours of Le Mans poster for 1923

24 Hours of Le Mans poster for 1923

May 26, 1923: A new endurance race hits the streets of France. The 24 Hours of Le Mans began on this date and after a 24 hour race was run, it would take another two years of racing to come up with a declared winner based on the greatest number of miles traveled during the entire three year run. The Rudge-Whitworth Cup would go to the team with the most miles, but not until 1925. Very few teams had selected names and drivers worked in pairs. Most of the teams came from France, but a few other countries were represented – Switzerland, Germany, and Great Britain. There were 33 teams at the start of the race, three of them unable to finish. André Lagache and France René Léonard, driving a Chenard Et Walker Sport with a 3.0 L I4 engine made 128 laps.

The first race was run through public roads. The idea of not awarding a winner each years was soon abandoned and a winner was declared each year as racers showed up to test themselves and their cars. It has become one of the most prestigious races and is sometimes called the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency. Teams balance speed and the cars’ ability to last 24 hours of punishing racing. Drivers now race in teams of three and may switch out after two hours while the car is making a pit stop. Consumables must be wisely managed and fuel, tires, and brakes need to be carefully maintained. Drivers eat and rest while teammates take the wheel.

The race was organized by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and today runs on the Circuit de la Sarthe which is made up of some public roads and a specialized racing circuit. With its current configuration, it covers 8.47 miles and is one of the longest racing circuits in the world. The race stadium has a capacity to seat 100,000. With long straightaways, up to 85% of the race is run at full throttle causing wear and tear on the engine and drive train as well as on the drivers themselves. When coming into a curve or turn, cars much slow from over 200 mph to around 65 mph which also places wear and tear on the brakes. The highest speed on the course was reached in 1988 with roger Dorchy driving a Peugeot 2.8L V6 turbo charged car. He reached a goal of over 400 km/h when he hit 405 km/h or 251.1 mph. Unfortunately, the car lasted only a few more laps before an overheated engine caused it to quit.

Today, the race is held in June, beginning at mid-afternoon and finishing the next day. It is often hot and cars are not built for ride or comfort, but for speed and handling. Weather conditions are immaterial and the race is often run in the rain. In the 2010s, the drivers have made distances over 5,000 km (3,110 mi) and the longest drive was 5,410 km or 3,360 miles (over six times the Indianapolis 500 and 18 times longer that a Formula One Grand Prix). Tom Kristensen has been the driver to win the most times (9) and Joest Racing is the team with the most wins (13). Porsche has had the most wins with 16. Tom is a Danish driver who won with the Joest team while driving a Porsche. The German Audi Sport Team Joest team won in 2014 with 379 laps. The race for 2015 will be held on June 13-14 and will be the 83rd running of Le Mans.

There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games. – Ernest Hemingway

In racing, the fastest person wins. It is very simple. – Paul Newman

Racing takes everything you’ve got — intellectually, emotionally, physically — and then you have to find about ten percent more and use that too. – Janet Guthrie

Auto racing is boring except when a car is going at least 172 miles per hour upside down. – Dave Barry

Also on this day: Who Was That? – In 1828, a strange teenager was found on the streets.
Complex Napoleon – In 1805, Napoleon was crowned King of Italy.
Sailing to Oblivion – In 1854, Khufu or Cheops’ ship was discovered.
Alse Young – In 1647, Alse was hung as a witch.
From Property to Human – In 1857, Dred Scott was freed.

Old Bay Line

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 25, 2015
District of Columbia steamship

District of Columbia steamship

May 25, 1962: The vote to liquidate comes through. The Baltimore Steam Packet Company, called the Old Bay Line, was one of the last operating steamship lines in the US. Two other lines operated past them, but Old Bay was the last overnight passenger steamship service in the country. The company began business just seven years after Robert Fulton proved the commercial opportunities available with the vehicle. Overland travel was difficult and dangerous. Using natural waterways, and eventually manmade waterways, increased both the efficiency and speed of travel. Most cities were built along rivers and the widespread country needed a better way to move from one city to another. While railroads were being built, each line was unique and it was difficult to get from one major city to another, usually having to switch lines.

The large rivers and large bodies of water made transportation easier. The Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay made travel to port cities comfortable and fast. The first steamboat to serve Baltimore was built in 1813 and linked the city to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a stagecoach covering the overland portion of the journey. The Maryland & Virginia Steam Packet Company was formed in 1828 but they closed in 1839. Later that year, the Maryland legislature granted a charter to the Baltimore Steam Packet Company (the “packet” in the name referred to mail packets which were delivered at ports of call). The company was formed to provide overnight service on the Chesapeake Bay.

The ships plied the waters between what ended up being Union and Confederate territories and the US Civil War interfered with trade between the two sides. Passenger and cargo traffic was diminished and one line was discontinued throughout the war years. After the war, trade once again resumed and the ships were again sailing. Other ships also offered the same service and a price war ensued with fares dropping to $3 for one way. The older line positioned itself as the Old Established Bay Line and its name unofficially changed. The company’s best years were the 1890s when shipping throughout the Bay area increased.

The Baltimore, Maryland to Norfolk, Virginia line was both the first and last trip the company offered. One could also travel from either Baltimore or Norfolk to Old Point Comfort, Virginia from 1840 but those lines stopped service in 1859. In 1874, it was possible to get from Baltimore to Richmond, Virginia, a line that ran until 1897. Trips between Washington, D.C. and Norfolk were available from 1949 to 1957. Other methods of transportation took over the steamships and numbers declined. The company had 54 ships over its 122 year history, many of them smaller cargo ships. Three ships remained when they finally cut service in April 1962. On this day, the company voted to liquidate and end an era.

If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them. – Amelia Barr

A modern fleet of ships does not so much make use of the sea as exploit a highway. – Joseph Conrad

Some people could look at a mud puddle and see an ocean with ships. – Zora Neale Hurston

Also on this day: “Swede” Momsen – In 1967, submariner Swede Momsen died.
Nuking Ourselves – In 1953, the US continued testing with nuclear artillery.
Halley’s Comet – In 240 BC, Halley’s Comet was first documented.
The Fastest Man in the World – In 1935, Jesse Owens ran quickly.
Not a Weight Loss Diet – In 1521, the Edict of Worms was issued.

John Wesley

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 24, 2015
John Wesley

John Wesley

May 24, 1738: John Wesley experiences an evangelical conversion. He was born in 1703 in Epworth, England. He was the fifteenth child born to his parents. His father was a rector and his mother’s father had been a Dissenting minister. All the children were home schooled and even the girls were taught to read as soon as possible. They were expected to become proficient in both Latin and Greek and to memorize most of the New Testament. A highlight of his childhood was the fire at the rectory where his parents were able to get all the children, except for John, out safely. He was trapped on the second floor and was grabbed to safety by a parishioner standing on the shoulders of a second man. This story became part of the legend of John Wesley and his mission.

He graduated with a Master of Arts from Christ Church, Oxford and was ordained a deacon in 1725. The following year he read Thomas a Kempis and Jeremy Taylor and began his search for greater truths. He became a fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford in 1726 and the next year left his position to lead a church at Wroote, the neighboring town to Epworth. He was ordained a priest in 1728 and returned to teach in November 1729. In the meantime his brother had come to Oxford. The brothers and two other friends began a small club to study and pursue a devout Christian life. John became the leader of the group on his return.

The Holy Club met daily for three hours to pray and study. They also spent several minutes every waking hour in prayer. The church at the time required attendance three times a year but the members of the club took communion every Sunday. They fasted on Wednesday and Friday until 3 PM, as was usual in early church practices. They visited jailed prisoners and preached to them as well as offered education. They cared for the sick. The times were not particularly religious and they were met with negativity. Outsiders gave the club its name as a form of insult. In 1735, the Wesley brothers sailed to Savannah, Georgia in the colonies and were introduced to Moravians on the journey and taken with their devotion and piety.

Wesley joined the Moravians and found a place to worship. He fell in love with a young woman who married William Williamson. He then deemed her to have lost her faith and refused her communion. This led to his being called to trial. Instead, he fled and returned to England. Moravians in England helped him refocus. On this day, while at a Moravian meeting on Aldersgate Street, London, he heard a reading of Martin Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans and felt his “heart strangely warmed”. It was this moment that led Wesley to a new type of ministry and eventually would lead to a new sect. Methodists today number approximately 80 million and they continue to help the poor and spread the Good News.

The righteousness of Christ is necessary to entitle us to Heaven, personal holiness to qualify us for it.

I can’t think that when God sent us into the world He had irreversibly decreed that we should be perpetually miserable in it.

Sour godliness is the devil’s religion.

Beware you are not a fiery, persecuting enthusiast. Do not imagine that God has called you (just contrary to the spirit of Him you style your Master) to destroy men’s lives, and not to save them. Never dream of forcing men into the ways of God. Think yourself, and let think. Use no constraint in matters of religion. Even those who are farthest out of the way, never compel to come in by any other means than reason, truth, and love. – all from John Wesley

Also on this day: Caveat Emptor – In 1626, Peter Minuit bought Manhattan.
News – In 1958, the UPI was formed.
Wedding Disaster – In 2001, the Versailles wedding hall collapsed.
Mary’s Poem – In 1830, Sarah Hale published a poem.
Dot Dot Dash Dash – In 1844, Samuel Morse sent a message to Washington, DC via telegraph.

Tagged with: , ,

Federal Labor Union

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 23, 2015
Louis F. Budenz - 1947 *

Louis F. Budenz – 1947 *

May 23, 1934: The Battle of Toledo begins. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was the first federation of labor unions in the US, founded in 1886 in Columbus, Ohio. The National Industrial Recovery Act passed on June 16, 1933 and it led to an increase in unions organizing throughout the country. AFL President William Green wanted to focus on the automotive industry since they had been able to get more attention in the press. The AFL began with the merging of craftsmen and auto workers who were using mass production methods and industrial unionism appealed to them. The AFL wished to be their voice and in that attempt were successful in getting an FLU (Federal Labor Union) at Buick and Hudson Motor Car Company in March 1934. They also had two FLUs at Fisher Body for a total of about 32,500 workers under their protection.

The four automotive FLUs threatened to strike if they were not recognized by management and demands met. President Roosevelt was afraid that an automotive strike would cripple efforts to end the Great Depression and so offered to negotiate. A solution was reached, but the AFL’s weak stance led to more than 14,000 workers leaving the union. The city of Toledo, Ohio had been devastated by the Depression when their largest employer, Willy-Overland, a car manufacturer, declared bankruptcy and the largest bank in the city collapsed. The city itself was near bankrupt and laid off hundreds of workers including 150 police. Toledo had a 70% unemployment rate.

Electric Auto-Lite Company was represented by FLU 18384 who also represented two other companies, both subsidiaries of Auto-Lite, and a third company which was unrelated. Because of this, if one company had a strike, the others would remain working and the union would remain solvent. FLU 18384 authorized a strike against Auto-Lite on April 12, 1934 and they were joined by the American Workers Party where Louis Budenz was executive secretary. He was a leading force in the strike in Toledo. The striking workers were joined by unemployed men from the AWP and effectively blockaded the company’s facility.

On this day, with about 10,000 people picketing or watching the picketers, the sheriff had Budenz and four picketers arrested. As they were led away, a policemen began beating an old man and the crowd retaliated by throwing bricks and rocks. Soon an outright riot was in progress. The next day, at 5.30 AM, the Ohio National Guard was called out. Former President Taft’s son was brought in to mediate, unsuccessfully. The rioting continued for five days with two people killed and more than 200 injured. Other unions throughout the area backed up the strikers. Taft continued to work with both sides to reach an agreement which finally came on June 3. The union won some wage increases and when the company agreed to rehire all striking workers, a second strike was averted.

It is not the job of the Civil Service to get unions to accept government policy. Since governments change their policy all the time and unions never change theirs at all, it makes much more sense for us to get the government to accept union policy. – Sir Humphrey Appleby

Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts. – Molly Ivins

When you have people together who believe in something very strongly — whether it’s religion or politics or unions – things happen. – Cesar Chavez

With all their faults, trade-unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. – Clarence Darrow

Also on this day: Patience and Fortitude – In 1911, the main Research Library of the New York Public Library was dedicated.
Aaagh, Pirates – In 1701, Captain Kidd was hanged for piracy.
Two for the Price of One – In 1785, Ben Franklin claimed to have invented bifocals.
Squeezebox – In 1829, a patent for an accordion was granted to Cyrill Demian.
Bonnie and Clyde – In 1934, the two criminals were killed in an ambush.

* “Louis F. Budenz (1947)” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

Tagged with: , , ,

Operation Paperclip

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 22, 2015
Operation Paperclip team at Fort Bliss

Operation Paperclip team at Fort Bliss

May 22, 1945: Major Robert Staver sends a telegram. He was the Chief of the Jet Propulsion Section of the Research and Development Branch of the US Army Ordnance Corps at the time. Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II. When they failed miserably, their resources and military-industrial complex was unprepared to defend itself from a counterstrike and invasion by the Red Army. By early 1943, Germany recalled from combat many of its scientists, engineers, and technicians to help with R&D and bolster flagging war initiatives. The intellectuals who had been a scourge to the Third Reich, were now sought out and put to work using their brains. But only if they were cleared by the Nazi party were their names put on the Osenberg List.

In March 1945, a Polish lab tech found pieces of the Osenberg List stuffed in a toilet. The names reached MI6 and then made its way to US Intelligence. Staver came into possession of the list and was sent to interrogate captured scientists from the list. The first on his list was Wernher von Braun. They met but after a few interviews, Staver telegrammed the US Pentagon with a new plan. He wanted to evacuate the German scientists and their families in order to help the US with the Pacific war effort. Many of the men on the list had been working on developing the German V-2 rockets and their capture placed them and their families under Allied protection.

Beginning on July 19, 1945, captured ARC rocketeers were under US Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) jurisdiction under Operation Overcast. When the name of their area, Camp Overcast, became locally known, the codename changed to Operation Paperclip. Regardless of the need for secrecy and the attempts to maintain it, several of the scientists were interviewed. Nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg was named as being particularly useful in helping the projects in the US move forward. The brain drain was not met with open arms by the German scientists. By 1947 about 1,800 technicians and scientists and 3,700 of their family members had come under scrutiny.

Many of the Germans, still held in Germany and under confined conditions did not work with the Americans but were held regardless. They reported twice a week to local authorities. They were not able to work with anyone else and were kept under surveillance. Between 1949 and 1990 over 1,500 German scientists, technicians, and engineers from Nazi Germany and other foreign countries were brought to the US for employment. The joint purpose was both to enhance US scientific output and to keep the Germans from rebuilding using the German expertise of the men who had made the Nazi fighting machine. The USSR had a competing program taking scientists from the region to help with their programs as well.

Overnight, Ph.D.s were liberated from KP duty, masters of science were recalled from orderly service, mathematicians were hauled out of bakeries, and precision mechanics ceased to be truck drivers. – Dieter K. Huzel

On orders of Military Government you are to report with your family and baggage as much as you can carry tomorrow noon at 1300 hours (Friday, 22 June 1945) at the town square in Bitterfeld.

There is no need to bring winter clothing. Easily carried possessions, such as family documents, jewelry, and the like should be taken along.

You will be transported by motor vehicle to the nearest railway station. From there you will travel on to the West. Please tell the bearer of this letter how large your family is. – orders of evacuation

Also on this day: Now We Can Play Solitaire – In 1990, Windows 3.0 was released.
Howe’s That? – In 1842, Howe Caverns were discovered.
SS Savannah – In 1819, the SS Savannah set sail for the first transatlantic steamship crossing.
Air Fleet – In 1936, Aer Lingus Teoranta registered as an airline.
Pac-Man – In 1980, the video arcade game was released.