Little Bits of History

August 9

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 9, 2017

1842: The Webster-Ashburton Treaty is signed. The Aroostook War, aka the Pork and Beans War, was a conflict between the United States and the United Kingdom over the border between the US State of Maine and the British colony of New Brunswick. When the Revolutionary War ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783, there was no definitive mention of the actual border between the new country and her northern neighbor, still a part of the British Empire. Massachusetts began issuing land grants in its District of Maine to Americans even though some of the land was already owned and lived on by British North Americans (what would become Canadians). The Jay Treaty of 1794 was supposed to settle the question with the boundary being the St. Croix River.

There were still questions about a northern border and during the War of 1812, the British occupied much of eastern Maine for eight months. The Treaty of Ghent ended that war with the line held at the 1783 date which still was not entirely settled. Maine became separate from Massachusetts in 1820 and the state’s border was of concern. The British were of the opinion the state was claiming land far to the north of where they should be. The question remained a hot item with both sides laying claim to the same lands. In 1830, as America was gathering data for the census, the issue became even hotter. It was found that treaties and maps were in disagreement and there were many areas of concern. Although no actual fighting ever took place and this War had no casualties, militias were called out as tensions rose.

On this day a new treaty was signed by Daniel Webster, US Secretary of State, and British diplomat Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton. The treaty established the border between the British North American colonies, and later Canada, and the United States. It settled on a line from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. It gave shared use to the Great Lakes, named seven crimes subject to extradition, and called for an end to the slave trade on the high seas. The treaty also retroactively confirmed the southern boundary of Quebec which had been improperly surveyed in the late 1700s.

The crimes listed for extradition did not included slave revolt or mutiny which would allow an estimated 12,000 fugitive slaves to remain outside the US and safe on Canadian soil. As part of the treaty, the US was required to cede about 5,000 square miles to Britain along the Maine border – including the Halifax-Quebec Route. However, the US was allowed to keep 7,000 square miles of disputed wilderness territory in Maine and another 6,500 square miles of land along the Minnesota-Canada border. Most of the negotiations for the treaty, held over ten months’ time, were done at the Ashburton House on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. which is now a US National Historic Landmark.

Justice, sir, is the great interest of man on earth. It is the ligament which holds civilized beings and civilized nations together.

A country cannot subsist well without liberty, nor liberty without virtue.

Failure is more frequently from want of energy than want of capital.

We are all agents of the same supreme power, the people. – all from Daniel Webster




Crazy Times

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 9, 2015
Charles Manson's booking photo

Charles Manson’s booking photo

August 9, 1969: Charles Manson’s Family commit several murders. The most famous of the victims on this night was Sharon Tate, wife of film director and producer, Roman Polanski. Tate was only two weeks away from delivery of her first child. Also at the house were Jay Sebring (hairstylist and Tate’s former lover), Wojciech Frykowski (screenwriter), and Abigail Folger (heiress to the Folger coffee fortune). Steven Parent had been visiting William Garretson who lived in the caretaker’s house on the property in Benedict Canyon. He was leaving shortly after midnight on this date when he approached the gate and was murdered in his car.

Manson had directed his Family members to head to the house “where Melcher used to live” and then destroy everyone in it as gruesomely as possible. Charles Watson, nicknamed “Tex”, rounded up his people (Susan Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel) and Watson climbed a phone pole and cut the line. The group then entered the yard and saw headlights coming toward them. Watson approached the car and found Parent who begged for his life to no avail. They went up to the house and looked for an open window and cut a screen. Watson directed Kasabian to watch at the gate while he entered the house and then let in Atkins and Krenwinkel.

All four of the people in the house were brought to the living room. The four victims did their best to escape the assault, but they were unarmed and the killers were uncompromising. The victims were slashed, cut, and repeatedly shot. Folger was stabbed 28 times; Frykowski was stabbed 51 times. Tate bargained with her assailants in order to assure the safe delivery of her baby. Her pleas fell on deaf ears and she was stabbed 16 times. Manson had directed his Family to leave a sign after they killed all the people in the house. Atkins wrote the word “pig” using a towel and Tate’s blood. The next night, two more Family members joined the group with Manson accompanying them. They found a new target and killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

The two murder scenes were not immediately connected. All participants were arrested and came to trial beginning on June 15, 1970. Kasabian, by all accounts, had not committed any of the murders and her testimony was key in implicating the others. Manson originally was permitted to act as his own attorney, but the Judge rescinded his offer after witnessing Manson’s bizarre behavior in court. It took until January 25, 1971 but guilty verdicts were returned. They were all sentenced to death, but the death penalty was withdrawn and so Charles Manson remains in prison as do Charles Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel. Susan Atkins died in prison in 2009 at the age of 61.

I have nothing against none of you. But it’s high time that you started looking at yourselves, and judging the lie you live in.

From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of scorpions to torment.

I will have you removed if you don’t stop. I have a little system of my own.

I never thought I was normal, never tried to be normal. – all from Charles Manson

Also on this day: Lean On Me – In 1173, construction on the world’s most famous bell tower began.
Much Brighter – In 1979, Brighton Beach was given permission as a nude beach.
Betty Boop – In 1930, Betty made her debut.
Walden – In 1854, Thoreau published his book.
YOU Can Prevent Wild Fires – In 1944, Smokey Bear’s first poster came out.

YOU Can Prevent Wild Fires

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 9, 2014
Smokey Bear's 1944 poster

Smokey Bear’s 1944 poster

August 9, 1944: Smokey Bear’s debut poster is released. The day is considered to be his anniversary date. The first poster was illustrated by Albert Staehle. Knickerbocker Bears received a license to produce Smokey Bear dolls in 1944 and later in the year, Forest Service worker Rudy Wendelin became the full-time campaign artist, a position he retained until his retirement in 1973. Even before the beginning of World War II, wildfires were an issue, but the war brought even greater concerns. With most able-bodied men already serving in the armed forces, there were none available to help contain forest fires on the West Coast. With greater care, it was hoped the number of fires could be drastically reduced.

The Walt Disney movie, Bambi, had been released on August 13, 1942. Disney permitted the characters from the movie to appear in fire prevention public service campaigns. But the deal lasted only for one year and then Bambi and friends were no longer available. The government needed to come up with a new symbol. A bear was chosen and his name was inspired by “Smokey” Joe Martin, a New York City Fire Department hero who had suffered burns and blindness after a 1922 rescue. In 1952, a song was written called “Smokey the Bear” and the authors included the “middle name” to help with the rhythm of the song. In 1955, Little Golden Books had a Smokey the Bear book, also with the central article added, and Smokey referred to himself with all three names. The name was intentionally not spelled the same as the adjectival smoky.

In 1947, the slogan used for more than the next half century was coined: “Remember … only YOU can prevent forest fires.” In 2001, it was officially changed and now we can prevent wildfires. In the spring of 1950, the Capitan Gap fire burned 17,000 acres in the Lincoln National Forest of New Mexico. A small black bear cub had climbed a tree to escape the flames but his paws and hind legs had been burned. Although legend says a game warden rescued the cub, New Mexico State Forestry Division’s story is that a group of soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas had come to help fight the fire and discovered the cub. They brought him back to camp where they named him Hotfoot Teddy but he eventually became known as Smokey, the real life symbol of the need to protect our land from spreading fires.

Today, Smokey is administered by three different US entities. First is the United States Forest Service. Next is the National Association of State Foresters, and lastly is the Ad Council. Both the name and image are protected by US federal law. About 95% of US adults and 77% of children recognize the icon and help spread his message of safety, something only WE can do.

We have at least 125 communities in Arizona at risk from wildfire, not because of review processes or litigation delays but because of a lack of federal funding on the ground to actually begin the projects. – Janet Napolitano

I’d rather fight 100 structure fires than a wildfire. With a structure fire you know where your flames are, but in the woods it can move anywhere; it can come right up behind you. – Tom Watson

Arizona’s forest fires are not waiting for April, and neither will we. That is why I am pushing for stepped up deployment for Hot Shot wildfire crews in March rather than April, in order to better prepare for the expected fires in northern Arizona. – Rick Renzi

Only You Can Prevent Wildfires. – Smokey Bear

Also on this day: Lean On Me – In 1173, construction on the world’s most famous bell tower begins.
Much Brighter – In 1979, Brighton Beach was given permission as a nude beach.
Betty Boop – In 1930, Betty made her debut.
Walden – In 1854, Thoreau published his book.

Much Brighter

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 9, 2013
Brighton Beach sign

Brighton Beach sign

August 9, 1979: Brighton Beach is given permission to go all natural. It was the first major resort in Britain to allow a portion of the beach to be designated for use by nude bathers. A 200 yard strip of land was set aside for the purpose. Councilor Eileen Jakes, a 47-year-old grandmother at the time, hoped the new ruling would increase tourism for the town. The beach officially opened in April 1, 1980 against strong opposition led by Councilor John Blackman. The area was screened from the road and signs were erected telling one and all a nudist beach was ahead.

In a follow up story 25 years later, the beach was still operating. By August 9, 2004 there were many naturalist beaches with ≈ 500,000 naturists in the UK. British Naturism supports a variety of events for Britons who prefer life sans clothing. There are times set aside for a nude night at the pub and nude shopping events, too. While there seemed to be less tittering over nudity, there was still some local opposition to Brighton’s policy. The beach remains one of the nearly 100 Sun Clubs in the UK.

In 2003 “naked rambler” John Gough rambled from Land’s End to John O’Groats – a 900 mile trek. He spent more time in jails for indecent exposure than time walking naked through the countryside. There is still controversy over public display of the naked body. Anthropologists suggest our need for clothing in cold weather has led to the sexualization of the nude form. There is some conjecture that by totally accepting nudity in public, there is a lessening of erotic stimulation in private, intimate settings.

If you choose to go to a nude beach, there are some simple rules to follow to make the experience more enjoyable. First, wait until you have arrived before shucking your clothing. Keep a cover-up handy (British law says you must cover yourself if it is requested). Bring all your supplies with you as there is seldom a place to purchase items at the beach itself. Don’t stare or ogle and don’t approach strangers – this is especially important regarding men approaching women. Do not take pictures of strangers without their permission – or children ever. And please, don’t litter – leave the beach as you found it.

“I believe that people have the right to their own beliefs. I do not feel people have got the right to stop me from expressing my beliefs by picking up the phone, calling the police and having me put in prison.” – Steve Gough

“Sure, some people might believe they are offended by nude bathers, but, if you never encounter anything that offends you in your community, you are not living in a free society.” – Corky Stanton

“I was born naked and I’m going to die naked so I don’t see anything wrong with it.” – Justin Timberlake

“Warning: Clothing has been shown to cause extreme psychological dependence. Wear it at your own risk.” – Ben Thornton

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Nude bathing isn’t restricted to the UK. However, these beaches weren’t popular until the middle of the last century. Ask Men helpfully posted their listing of the Ten Best Nude Beaches. According to them: Ocho Rios, Jamaica comes in at number ten. Although there are private nude beaches, most of the island itself requires clothing, so be prepared. At number nine is Little Beach, Maui, Hawaii, USA. This is not officially sanctioned as a nude beach, but the law is rarely enforced. Haulover Beach, Florida, USA is next and Praia Do Pinho, Cambori, Brazil comes in at number seven. Red Beach, Crete, Greece allows nudity everywhere except the dining room. Red, White, and Blue Beach, Santa Cruz, California, USA comes in fifth and the privately owned beach only demands respect toward others. Wreck Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada comes in fourth, with Samurai Beach, Australia in at number three. Hedonism, Negril, Jamaica which is aptly named comes in second place. And the best nude beach goes to Montalivet, France which is where some say nude bathing started in 1950.

Also on this day: Lean On Me – In 1173, construction on the world’s most famous bell tower begins.
Betty Boop – In 1930, Betty made her debut.
Walden – In 1854, Thoreau published his book.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 9, 2012

Henry David Thoreau

August 9, 1854: Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden. The book was first published under the title of Walden, or, Life in the Woods. Thoreau was an American author and poet along with being a philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. He was a leading transcendentalist, a philosophy movement that began in New England in the 1830s and 40s as a general protest of American culture and society. They firmly believed in the inherent goodness of mankind.

Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817. He studied at Harvard University between 1833 and 1837. There he studied rhetoric, classics, philosophy, mathematics, and science. After his schooling, he returned to Concord. There he met Ralph Waldo Emerson who took a paternal interest in the younger man. Thoreau was introduced to a group of writers and thinkers. Emerson encouraged Thoreau and pushed him into submitting essays and poems to a quarterly periodical, The Dial. Thoreau was first published there in the July 1840 issue.

Thoreau moved to Walden Pond on July 4, 1845. He moved into a roughly built house or cabin near the pond, nestled on fourteen acres of land owned by Emerson. Walden Pond was 1.5 miles from the Emerson family home. At the retreat, Thoreau lived a simply life and did much writing. Although he remained at Walden for two years, he did make trips to the outside world during the time. At Emerson’s request, Thoreau left Walden Pond and returned to the Emerson house on September 6, 1947.

Walden is a book about his time at the cabin perched on the edge of town. Thoreau wrote about the house, the region, and the wonder to be found when one simplifies his or her life. He wrote about the 25 or so visitors who came out to see him as well as the village he visited every day or two. In the final chapter, he soundly criticized conformity and encouraged readers to march to their own drummers and seek self-fulfillment.

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. – all by Henry David Thoreau, from Walden

Also on this day:

Lean On Me – In 1173, construction on the world’s most famous bell tower begins.
Much Brighter – In 1979, Brighton Beach was given permission as a nude beach.
Betty Boop – In 1930, Betty made her debut.

Betty Boop

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 9, 2011

Betty Boop opening title screen

August 9, 1930: Betty Boop makes her screen debut. She was created by Max Fleischer and animator Grim Natwick. Her premiere in Dizzy Dishes was produced by Fleischer Studios and released by Paramount Pictures, the sixth in a series. In this, her first performance, she was a side character. She was originally drawn as an anthropomorphized dog. While her ears were quite different than the Betty Boop we all know today, she was relatively similar to her later version.

Dizzy Dishes stars Bimbo, a cartoon dog who first appeared earlier in the year. Betty was Bimbo’s girlfriend. In their first cartoon together, Bimbo wa serving a hungry gorilla. Instead of bringing the food out, Bimbo spied the-creature-who-would-become-Betty and fell in love. This did not amuse the gorilla who chased Bimbo who finally escaped in a wooden train. From this ignominious beginning, Betty Boop became a worldwide sensation.

Betty lost her French poodle ears and turned into the more flamboyant Betty we all know today back in 1932 in Any Rags. She took on a flapper girl appearance and turned her floppy ears into hoop earrings and her black poodle nose became her petite pug nose of today. Her voice was first provided by Margie Hines but many others followed. As Betty’s popularity grew, she was given more cartoons in which to star.

Betty Boop is considered one of the first and most famous sex symbols to come out of the animated screen. She became a symbol for the Depression era, reminding those suffering hardships of the better, golden days of the Jazz Age flappers of the past. Many of her cartoons contained adult innuendos and were enjoyed largely by an adult audience. She was one of the first sexualized female cartoon characters and while on screen she remained chaste, it wasn’t always easy.

In the decades since her creation, Betty Boop has also made appearances on television and even gone from VHS to Laser Disc collector sets. Her two television specials are also available on DVD. Betty Boop was also a comic strip from 1934-1937 with a revival from 1984-1988. Paramount sold the rights to Betty Boop to syndication in 1955 and she has made a comeback since then. There are also many Betty Boop memorabilia items available for the collectors. She made a brief return to the big screen back in 1988, as well.

“All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.” – Walt Disney

“Kids cannot follow stories. They don’t know what the hell is going on in a cartoon. They like to see funny visual things happening.” – John Kricfalusi

“Making a cartoon occupied usually about three full days, two spent in labour and one in removing the appearance of labour.” – David Low

“Making cartoons means very hard work at every step of the way, but creating a successful cartoon character is the hardest work of all.” – Joseph Barbera

Also on this day:
Lean On Me – In 1173, construction on the world’s most famous bell tower begins.
Much Brighter – In 1979, Brighton Beach was given permission as a nude beach.

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Lean On Me

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 9, 2010

The world-famous leaning bell tower

August 9, 1173: Construction on the most famous bell tower in the world begins. Construction on the tower continued – with two interruptions – for close to two hundred years. The architect for the project is unknown at this remove. It was customary for bell towers to be built adjacent to the cathedral rather than as a free standing tower. This tower is off to one side of the Cathedral in the area of Piazza dei Miracoli.

The sculptured decoration is beautifully rendered. It blends with the Cathedral, but is singular to the tower. The circular form mirrors the curvature of the two apses of the Cathedral. There are a total of seven bells in the tower tuned to the musical scale. The heaviest of these weighs an impressive 7,981 pounds and the lightest is a mere 661 pounds. In total they add 23,139 pounds to the weight of the entire structure’s entire weight of 16,200 tons. There are 296 steps leading upward.

The reason this particular bell tower is so famous isn’t entirely due to its height at 183.27 feet nor to its beauty, but because it has acquired a tilt. The tower was noticeably leaning by the year 1178, when construction was at the third of its eight stories. By 1275, even with corrections to the building, it was found that the list could not be stopped. Current efforts have been more successful. The lean of the tower today is approximately what it was in the year 1700.

At one time, it was thought that perhaps the tilt was part of the design by the original unnamed architect. However, with more modern means of measurement, the subterranean strata can be seen as causing the problem. As more weight was added with the subsequent layers of the building, it began to slant. The Leaning Tower of Pisa still lists, and it is still beautiful.

“Men in general judge more from appearances than from reality.  All men have eyes, but few have the gift of penetration.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” – Mary Engelbreit

“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” – Don Wilder and Bill Rechin

“One must be a god to be able to tell successes from failures without making a mistake.” – Anton Pavlovich Chekhov

Also on this day, in 1979 Brighton, England becomes the site of the first nude beach in the UK.

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