Little Bits of History

July 5

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 5, 2017

1915: The US Liberty Bell leaves Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The iconic symbol of American Independence was commissioned in 1752 by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from the London firm of Lester and Pack (today Whitechapel Bell Foundry). It was cast with the phrase “Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof”. When it arrived in Philadelphia, the bell was rung in order to proclaim and instead, it cracked. It was recast twice by local workman John Pass and John Snow (who both added their names to the bell). It was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to let the citizenry know about public meetings and proclamations.

No immediate announcement was made when the Second Continental Congress voted for independence on July 4. When the word came out, bells across the land were rung on July 8, including the Liberty Bell. After the Revolutionary War, the bell fell into disuse and relative obscurity until the 1830s when abolitionists began to use the bell as a symbol of freedom for all and began calling it the Liberty Bell. At some point in the early 1800s, the bell developed the distinctive large crack up the side. Beginning in 1885, the City of Philadelphia, which owns the bell, began to let the Bell travel to various expositions and patriotic gatherings. The Bell attracted large crowds wherever it went. Always shipped by rail, people gathered at each stop along the way to see the symbol of America and Freedom.

The Bell made seven trips around the country. The first trip was to New Orleans for the World Cotton Centennial exposition. On that trip, while passing through Mississippi, Jefferson Davis, former President of the CSA, delivered a speech praising all the American Dream meant and asking for unity through the land. The trips were taking a toll on the bell and the crack was worsening. In 1912, a request was made to send the Bell to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915. There was some reluctance to let the Bell go, but in 1914, the city installed a metal support structure inside the Bell called the “spider”. It was tested in February 1915 and deemed fit to travel.

On this day, the Bell was loaded onto the train in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania aboard a specially constructed rail car. About 5 million people saw the Bell as she travelled across the country and it is thought another 2 million kissed the Bell while on display. It was taken back East via a different route and it is thought another 5 million were again given the chance to view the symbol of Freedom. It was never to travel again. It has been moved outdoors just five times in the since its return to Philadelphia. Although there have been requests for the Bell to be shipped elsewhere in the country, these have all been denied. In 1976, the Bell was moved to Independence Mall and in 2003 it was shipped to the larger Liberty Bell Center where it resides today.

Not far from here where we gather today is a symbol of freedom familiar to all Americans — the Liberty Bell. When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public, the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, and a witness said: “It rang as if it meant something.” – George W. Bush

Yes there’s a lady that stands in a harbor for what we believe. And there’s a bell that still echoes the price that it cost to be free. – Aaron Tippen

I ask you…to adopt the principles proclaimed by yourselves, by your revolutionary fathers, and by the old bell in Independence Hall…. – Frederick Douglass

The Liberty Bell is a very significant symbol for the entire democratic world. – Nelson Mandela

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Tennis, Anyone?

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 5, 2015
Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe*

July 5, 1975: Arthur Ashe wins. The 6’2” tennis player was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1943. He had a younger brother, five years his junior. His mother died from complications of her third pregnancy in March 1950. The slight young man was raised by his loving but disciplinarian father who forbade his slightly-built son to play football. As a child, Arthur was called “Skinny” and “Bones”. The family lived in the caretaker’s cottage in Brookfield park, Richmond’s largest blacks-only public playground. There were four tennis courts there and Arthur began playing when he was just seven years old. Ron Charity, a Virginia Union University student and part time tennis coach, noticed the child’s natural ability and began to mentor him. He taught him the intricacies of the game and entered Arthur in local championships. Charity introduced ten-year-old Arthur to Walter Johnson who took over his coaching.

In 1963, Ashe became the first black player ever selected for the United States Davis Cup team. Two years later, he was ranked No. 3 in the US and won both the National Collegiate Athletic Association singles title and the doubles title, playing with Ian Crookenden of New Zealand. In 1968, he won both the United States Amateur Championships and the US Open, becoming the first black to take the title and become the only player to win both the amateur and open titles, although he could not accept the prize money and retain his amateur status. He was unable to play in the South African Open in 1969 because of their strict apartheid policy and when refused, he used the opportunity to campaign for sanctions against them and their expulsion from the International Lawn Tennis Federation. He did not ask individual players to forfeit matches.

In 1970, he turned professional. His association with Wimbledon had been fraught with controversy, but he was once again playing there in 1975. He played in Section 5 and his first match was against Bob Hewitt of South Africa. He went on to play against Jun Kamiwazumi of Japan, Brian Gottfried of the US, and Graham Stilwell of the UK. In the quarterfinals he was up against Swedish legend Bjorn Borg and then Australian Tony Roche for the semifinals. For the last game, he met fellow American Jimmy Conners. Ashe had been seeded sixth and was a just shy of his 32 birthday when this final game was played. It was the first time two Americans met for the final round of Wimbledon since 1947. This was Ashe’s ninth attempt to win there and Connors was the defending champion and a strong favorite.

The two men had met before and Ashe had never been victorious against Connors. On this day, Ashe played nearly perfect games of tactical tennis and won the match in four sets. The scores were 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, and 6-4. Ashe not only won the match, but it was the first win for a black man in the men’s singles at the event. In July 1979, Ashe suffered a heart attack. He underwent quadruple coronary bypass graft surgery in December 1979. He had further surgeries and in September 1988 was found to have symptoms found in people with HIV. It was found that he received contaminated blood transfusions during his second heart surgery. He died of AIDS-related pneumonia on February 6, 1993. He was 49 years old.

Drummed into me, above all, by my dad, by the whole family, was that without your good name, you would be nothing.

I don’t want to be remembered for my tennis accomplishments. That’s no contribution to society. [Tennis] was purely selfish; that was for me.

Every time you win, it diminishes the fear a little bit. You never really cancel the fear of losing; you keep challenging it.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. – all from Arthur Ashe

Also on this day: Salvation Army – In 1865, William Booth founded The Christian Mission, later to become The Salvation Army.
SPAM – In 1937, Hormel introduced SPAM.
Principia – In 1687, Newton first published his masterpiece.
Ooh La La – In 1946, new swimwear was revealed (and revealing).
Who is a Jew? – In 1950, the Law of Return was passed.

* “Arthur Ashe” by Bogaerts, Rob / Anefo – Nationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo Item number 927-7839. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 nl via Wikimedia Commons –

Who is a Jew?

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 5, 2014
Dome of the Rock and Wailing Wall

Dome of the Rock and Wailing Wall

July 5, 1950: The Law of Return is passed by the Knesset. Israel achieved independence from Mandatory Palestine in 1948. The Knesset is the parliamentary arm of the government. The purpose of the law was to put into practice the Zionist movement’s principle of establishing Israel as a Jewish state. The law permitted every Jew to come to Israel as an oleh (male) or olah (female). This means the person would be permitted to come to the new nation and settle and gain full citizenship. Aliyah is the return to the Promised land after the Diaspora and the culmination of returning “home” is the fulfillment of the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

There was follow up legislation passed with the Nationality Law of 1952 and in 1970 the law listed inclusion for those born Jewish (having a Jewish mother or grandmother), having Jewish ancestry (having a Jewish father or grandfather), or converts to Judaism (Orthodox, Reform, or Conservative denominations with some extra codicils for the last two). People who immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return are immediately entitled to citizenship. There is a difference of opinion as to whether or not to list all entrants to the country via this method as “Jewish” for census purposes. According to Halakhic rules, a person is Jewish if born that way or converting, but conversions performed by Reform or Conservative Judaism are not recognized by Orthodox Jews.

Children and spouses of Jews were eventually granted the same accord as that granted to full-fledged Jews on this day. There are exceptions. A Jew can be excluded from Israeli citizenship if the person is deemed dangerous to the welfare of the State of Israel. This includes Jews who have committed a serious crime (such as murder) or are fugitives from any country for any felony (unless they are persecution victims). This has been invoked rarely but some notable non-citizens are Robert Soblen, Meyer Lansky (who was initially permitted entry but extradited two years later), and Victor Vancier. Also excluded are any Jews who converted to a different religion.

The 1970 additions clarifying who was included in this law can be explained in several ways. The choice to remain Jewish or convert means one thing to Halakhic definitions while it means nothing to Nuremberg Laws. A response to a Polish anti-Semitic movement in 1968 would allow more Jews who had assimilated access to freedom in Israel. Another reason would be to simply bring more Jews to the country to offset the increase in Arab citizens. Also, as the leadership became more secular, the loosening of the definition of “Who is a Jew” was also relaxed. Since 1950 nearly 3 million Jews have immigrated to Israel.

Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom. – John F. Kennedy

We plan to eliminate the state of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian state. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem. – Yasser Arafat

I often hear them accuse Israel of Judaizing Jerusalem. That’s like accusing America of Americanizing Washington, or the British of Anglicizing London. You know why we’re called ‘Jews’? Because we come from Judea. – Benjamin Netanyahu

In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles. – David Ben-Gurion

Also on this day: Salvation Army – In 1865, William Booth founds The Christian Mission, later to become The Salvation Army.
SPAM – In 1937, Hormel introduced SPAM.
Principia – In 1687, Newton first published his masterpiece.
Ooh La La – In 1946, new swimwear was revealed (and revealing).


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 5, 2013
Hormel Foods

Hormel Foods

July 5, 1937: Hormel Foods Corporation introduces a new product. George A. Hormel was born in Buffalo, New York in 1860. He worked in the Chicago slaughterhouses before becoming a buyer for wool and hides. He traveled while looking for suitable wares and decided to move to Austin, Minnesota. There, he borrowed $500 (≈ $15,000 in 2009 USD) and opened a meat business in 1891. His new eponymous company was located in an old creamery building. He continued to sell wool, hides, eggs, and poultry while trying to get established.

By year’s end George’s 14-year-old baby brother was helping with the business and they employed six. In 1893 they began using refrigerator cars to help move slaughtered meat to farther locations. By 1899 George was able to move to full-time management with an eye for increased production. The company incorporated in 1901 with four Hormel brothers on the Board of Directors along with A.L. Eberhart. They registered the name Dairy Brand in 1903 and opened a variety of new distribution centers throughout the decade. They went international in 1905 when they began exporting to England.

In 1937 they introduced a processed meat product. SPAM was originally called Hormel Spiced Ham in 1936 without much success. A naming contest was held and the $100 prize went to actor (and brother of Hormel VP) Kenneth Daigneau. Many backronyms have surfaced from “Shoulder of Pork and Ham” to “Something Posing as Meat,” “Stuff, Pork and Ham,” and “Spare Parts Animal Meat.” According to Hormel’s trademark, the word should be written in all caps and is an adjective so it should be SPAM luncheon meat. However, it is often used as a noun.

SPAM comes in the traditional mystery meat flavor as well as other varieties. Since 1937, over 6 billion cans of SPAM have been sold with 90 million sold yearly in the US alone. There are many ways to serve the food with thousands of recipes available online. Their official website claims SPAM lasts forever in a sealed can – “it’s like meat with a pause button.” SPAM was one of the few meat products excluded from British rationing during World War II. The Ubiquitous meat product was the basis for one of Monty Python’s most memorable skits. And that skit was the basis for our using the term “spam” for unwanted e-mail.

“If variety is the spice of life, marriage is the big can of leftover SPAM.” – Johnny Carson

“Processed pig is white trash meat. Some people call it SPAM.” – Scott Weiland

“If God didn’t want us to eat animals, He wouldn’t have made them out of meat.” – Lance Fuher

“SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM. / Hormel’s new miracle meat in a can. / Tastes fine, saves time. / If you want something grand, / Ask for SPAM!” – 1940s advertisement

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Hormel Foods Corporation was founded in 1891 and today they are a publicly traded company today. They are a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company. They sell under many brand names including Chi-Chi’s, Dinty Moore, Farmer John, Herdez, Jennie-O, Lloyd’s, SPAM and Stagg brands. Earlier this year (January 3) they also acquired Skippy peanut butter. They are headquartered in Austin, Minnesota and Jeffrey Ettinger is the Chairman, President, & CEO of the company. They had 18,500 employees in 2008 and a revenue of $7.895 billion in 2011. The company was listed on the Corporate Responsibility Officer Magazine’s list of 100 Best Corporate Citizens in 2010 and 2011.

Also on this day: Salvation Army – In 1865, William Booth founds The Christian Mission, later to become The Salvation Army.
Principia – In 1687, Newton first published his masterpiece.
Ooh La La – In 1946, new swimwear was revealed (and revealing).

Ooh La La

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 5, 2012

Micheline Bernardini in her bikini

July 5, 1946: A new type of swimwear is revealed in Paris. July 1, 1946 saw the first nuclear bomb explosion at an atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Car engineer and part-time designer Louis Réard claimed his new beachwear would cause as much excitement as one of the explosions in the Pacific. He named his creation after the detonation site and gave the world the bikini – again.

Bikinis, or two-piece bathing suits were first worn in antiquity during the Chalcolithic and the Greco-Roman eras. Çatalhöyük, a mother-goddess worshiped by inhabitants of Anatolia, was shown astride two leopards wearing the two piece suit. The same outfit is seen worn by women engaging in sporting event and painted on Greek urns. Romans of the Diocletian period were also known to scantily dress while exercising. Venus is seen wearing a bikini in the ruins of Pompeii. Annette Kellerman, an Australian swimmer, was arrested in Boston in 1907 for wearing a form-fitting one piece suit. The maillot became standard a few years later.

Suits were getting more revealing during the first half of the twentieth century. Even so, Réard had a difficult time finding anyone to model his new bathing suit. No self respecting model would be seen in his lurid costume so he hired Micheline Bernardini, a nude dancer for the Casino de Paris, to debut his suit. The first bikini was a string bikini with a g-string back. The entire suit was made with thirty square inches of fabric, cloth with newspaper type printed across it. Micheline appeared on this date at Piscine Molitor, a public pool in Paris.

The suit became an immediate hit – especially among the men. Micheline received about 50,000 fan letters after wearing this daring outfit. Not everyone approved of the risqué suit. American Bebe Shopp arrived in Paris in 1949. She, herself, was a “bathing beauty queen.” She didn’t change her mind about the suit’s appropriateness for her countrywomen. Bathing fashions continued to change. There are bikinis with more or less fabric, some with g-string or thong bottoms, some with briefs or square cut bottoms. Tankinis show less skin (sometimes no skin) between the top and bottom portion. The mankini was popularized after Sacha Baron Cohen wore one in Borat.

A two-piece suit wasn’t a genuine bikini unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.  – Louis Réard, in advertisements

The French girls can wear them if they want to, but I still don’t approve of them on American girls. – Bebe Shopp

A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded pistol on your coffee table – There’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s hard to stop thinking about it. – Garrison Keillor

Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital. – Aaron Levenstein

Also on this day:

Salvation Army – In 1865, William Booth founds The Christian Mission, later to become The Salvation Army.
SPAM – In 1937, Hormel introduced SPAM.
Principia – In 1687, Newton first published his masterpiece.

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Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 5, 2011

Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (photo by dullhunk)

July 5, 1687: Isaac Newton first publishes his masterpiece, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. The book is usually just called Principia today. It is actually three books and was published in two later editions as well, in 1713 and again in 1726. The book contains Newton’s laws of motion – the foundation of classical mechanics. Also included in the book was Newton’s law of universal gravitation and a derivation of Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. It is regarded as one of the most important works in the history of science.

Newton used new mathematics in formulating his physical theories. These methods are now part of the field of calculus. Although our current vocabulary for calculus is missing from the work, the methodology is present. Newton’s work is based on great thinkers from his past. Most notably, he studied Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Huygens. He also met with renowned thinkers of the time and discussed many of the leading questions of the time. Robert Hooke and Newton eventually became embattled in a controversy of priority.

Newton was born in 1634 in England. Newton was prematurely born three months after the death of his father. His mother remarried when Isaac was three and left the toddler in the care of his grandmother. Newton himself never married and remained engrossed in his studies all his life. He was educated at The King’s School, then went to Trinity College, Cambridge. He was a physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian.

Newton build the first practical reflecting telescope.  He worked with color theory based on observations from a prism. He formulated an empirical law of cooling and studied the speed of sound. He is given co-credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the development of differential and integral calculus. He worked to develop a generalized binomial theorem. Obviously, he developed the Newton method for approximating the roots of a function and contributed to the study of power series. As a theologian, he was an unorthodox Christian and wrote on Biblical hermeneutics as well as occult issues. His works literally covered topics from heaven to Earth.

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

“I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

“No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.”

“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.” – all from Isaac Newton

Also on this day:
Salvation Army – In 1865, William Booth founds The Christian Mission, later to become The Salvation Army.
SPAM – In 1937, Hormel introduced SPAM.

Salvation Army

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 6, 2010

William Booth

July 5, 1865: The Christian Mission is founded by William Booth. Booth was born into wealth, but due to poor investments, his father lost the money. He was born in 1829 in Sneinton, Nottingham, England and was the only surviving son of the  Booth family. In 1842, Samuel Booth was bankrupt and William was apprenticed to a pawnbroker at the age of 13, a job he disliked. Samuel died that same year. While still a teen, William was converted to the Methodist faith and studied to become a lay preacher.

When his apprenticeship was over in 1848, Booth tried to find work locally, but ended up moving to London. In spite of the move he still could only find work as a pawnbroker. He spent his free time preaching on street corners. This eventually led to his becoming a prominent Methodist evangelist. By 1851 he had joined the Methodist Reform Church and on his 23rd birthday, left pawnbroking and became a full-time preacher at Binfield Chapel in Clapham. He longed to serve in a more evangelical manner rather than the pastorate assignments he was given.

On this date, he and his wife, Catherine,  opened The Christian Revival Society to the poorest of the poor: the alcoholics, criminals and prostitutes. He tended his flock in the East End of London. Meetings were held nightly and on Sundays offering repentance, Salvation and Christian morality. The Booths opened soup kitchens for their charges.

After changing the name to The Salvation Army in 1878 and using some military modeling he met with some resistance. Booth’s unflagging zeal led to his work being brought to 58 countries in his lifetime. Eventually, he gained the respect of his peers. The national headquarters is in London and the Army currently works in 111 countries.

“People need to continue to call the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, … The support we have received from the community has been great, but we need more help.” – Ken Olson

“They know what a red kettle means to people. People know that a Salvation Army kettle is a pretty safe donation place.” – Annette Bauer

“Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.” – Albert Camus

“Those who would administer wisely must, indeed, be wise, for one of the serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate charity.” – Andrew Carnegie

Also on this day, in 1937 Hormel introduces SPAM to the world.