Little Bits of History

May 21

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 21, 2017

1881: The American Red Cross (ARC) is founded. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement was established in 1863 by Jean-Henri Dunant. The businessman was in Solferino on the evening after a battle was fought during the Austro-Sardinian War. There were about 40,000 soldiers dead or wounded that day and many of them were still in the fields. There was a near total lack of medical care available for either side’s casualties. Dunant abandoned his immediate business concern and began to help locals care of the wounded. Upon his return home, he wrote A  Memory of Solferino and sent copies to political and military men throughout Europe. He advocated for national voluntary relief organizations to help the wounded and treaties to help protect those offering medical care.

The Red Cross was the outcome. Established as a private humanitarian institution, politically neutral, and offering life-giving assistance to any wounded soldiers, the 25-member committee created this way to help casualties of war. Today, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies exist in almost every country in the world. There are 190 recognized National Societies with each working in their home country and following international humanitarian principles. Extra projects can also be carried out, if resources permit, and many times the Red Cross or Red Crescent are linked with the national health care system to help provide emergency medical services.

Clara Barton (1821-1912) was an American nurse during the US Civil War. She was also a teacher and a patent clerk. But her most noteworthy accomplishment was founding the ARC and acting as the first president. On May 12, Barton held a meeting at the home of Senator Omar Conger with fifteen people present. At the meeting was Congressman William Lawrence who would serve as ARC’s original vice-president. Barton had learned about the Red Cross in Geneva, Switzerland in 1869 when she traveled to help ease suffering in the Franco-Prussian War. After her return, she began work to establish the Red Cross in America. The first chapter was opened in upstate New York.

Today, the ARC is an integral part of the health care system. They are noted for their blood banks and research as well as disaster relief efforts. Disaster relief came early with their first major crisis taking place in September 1881 when over 5,000 people were left homeless after a fire in Michigan. The next major disaster was the Johnstown Flood in 1889. Each year, the ARC responds to more than 70,000 disasters ranging from private house fires to major catastrophes. Some of the most noted disasters of this millennium have been Hurricane Katrina, Comair Flight 5191 crash, the 2007 tornadoes in Florida and Kansas, and the I-35 Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man’s work for less than a man’s pay.

The surest test of discipline is its absence.

This conflict is one thing I’ve been waiting for. I’m well and strong and young – young enough to go to the front. If I can’t be a soldier, I’ll help soldiers.

I wonder if a soldier ever does mend a bullet hole in his coat? – all from Clara Barton

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Seven Days

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 21, 2015
James and Ellen White

James and Ellen White

May 21, 1863: The Seventh-day Adventist Church is founded. Adventism is a branch of Protestantism which began in the early 1800s during the movement of the Second Great Awakening revival. William Miller began the movement and predicted when the Second Coming of Jesus would take place with many people following his preachings. During the preparation for the coming of their Savior, many religious minorities formed. Some of these smaller groups merged their ideas and they came to be adopted by the Seventh-day Adventists. Many groups “did the math” to figure out the exact date of Jesus’ return based on Daniel 8:14. Miller was among those and predicted October 22, 1844 as the date. When the date passed without fanfare, many quit believing. Hiram Edson did not.

Edson believed that the date marked the moment in time when Jesus moved to the “second apartment” of the “heavenly sanctuary” and would continue to prepare for his Second Coming from there. He and his friends, O.R.L. Crosier and Franklin B. Hahn, continued to study scripture and published a paper with their results – Day-Dawn. They gathered a following and established guidelines for true believers to follow, rejecting many established church traditions, including the celebration of Sunday as the Sabbath. The true Seventh Day, according to them, was Saturday and liturgy would be celebrated on that day as proscribed in Scripture.

Their theology is based on 28 Fundamental Beliefs which were formalized by the General Conference in 1980 with an additional belief added in 2005. To be a member, one must accept one of the two baptismal vows. The 28 Beliefs are not meant to be recited as a creed as they believe in only one creed: “The Bible, and the Bible alone.” There are a few of their beliefs which are not shared by the majority of Christians. They do not believe in a separate body, mind, spirit, but a totality of being without a separate soul. The evil will not suffer damnation to hell; they will be completely destroyed at death. Ellen White, a spiritual leader, proposed a philosophy called the “Spirit of Prophecy” and her writings continue to be a source of inspiration.

Today, there are over 18 million practitioners of the faith. Their worldwide religion has 74,299 churches and 67,669 companies (not businesses, but a subset of churches). There are 175 Seventh-Day Adventist hospitals and 136 nursing homes. They support education through 5,714 primary schools, 1,969 secondary schools, and 113 tertiary institutions. They run the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, a humanitarian agency to provide individual and community help during a disaster. Their current leader is Ted Wilson who took office in 2010 as the 20th President of the General Conference.

We started, and while passing through a large field I was stopped about midway of the field. Heaven seemed opened to my view, and I saw distinctly and clearly that instead of our High Priest coming out of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth on the tenth day of the seventh month, at the end of the 2300 days [calculated to be October 22, 1844], He for the first time entered on that day the second apartment of that sanctuary; and that He had a work to perform in the Most Holy before coming to the earth. – Hiram Edson

From the beginning, the Adventists were regarded with grave suspicion by the great majority of evangelical Christians, principally because Seventh-day Adventists were premillennial in their teaching. That is they believed that Christ would come before the millennium. – Walter Martin

This misfortune, which for a time seemed so bitter and was so hard to bear, has proved to be a blessing in disguise. The cruel blow which blighted the joys of earth, was the means of turning my eyes to heaven. I might never had known Jesus Christ, had not the sorrow that clouded my early years led me to seek comfort in him. – Ellen White, after a childhood head injury

A man must not swallow more beliefs than he can digest. – Havelock Ellis

Also on this day: And leave the driving to us! – In 1914n Carl Wickman began busing.
Amelia – In 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
Bobby Franks – In 1924, Loeb and Leopold committed a murder.
St. Alex – In 1725, the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky was instituted.
Charles Lindbergh is First – In 1927, Lindbergh landed outside Paris.

Charles Lindbergh is First

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 21, 2014
Charles Lindbergh

Charles Lindbergh

May 21, 1927: Charles Lindbergh touches down. Raymond Orteig, a New York City hotel owner and aviation aficionado, offered a $25,000 reward to the first aviator(s) to fly non-stop from New York to Paris (or Paris to New York). That is about $340,000 today. He did so in a letter to Ramsay Hawley, then president of the Aero Club of America written on May 19, 1919. The details for the contest were left to the ACA and they replied in the affirmative on May 26. The offer stood for five years and after it expired, Orteig reissued the prize on June 1, 1925 and deposited the money in negotiable securities at the Bryant Bank. Many men tried to win the prize. They failed.

On this day, the relatively unknown US Mail pilot completed the flight. Lindbergh was 25 years old at the time of his flight and seated in the Spirit of St. Louis as he took off from Roosevelt Airfield. He followed in the footsteps of the World War I French flying ace, Rene Fonck who left from the same airport on September 21, 1926. Fonck’s plane was overloaded and it crashed and burned on takeoff when the landing gear collapsed. Fonck had wanted to land in Paris in style and loaded a sofa and refrigerator in his plane. Fonck survived the accident, but his two ground crew did not. Lindbergh did not have these amenities loaded into St. Louis.

On April, 26, 1927, US Navy pilots Noel Davis and Stanton Wooster were killed on takeoff from Langley Field, Virginia while testing a plane they had hoped to use for the flight across the ocean. American Legion, was a three engine Keystone Pathfinder biplane. On May 8, Frenchmen Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli, both World War I vets, managed to survive takeoff at Le Bourget Airport in Paris. Their seaplane, The White Bird was lost after crossing the coast of Ireland. With six aviators dead, Charles Lindbergh was next to take the chance at the big prize money. He was flying a custom-built (by Ryan Airlines) single engine, single seat monoplane.

Early on Friday morning, May 20, 1927, Lindbergh’s plane with 450 gallons of fuel lifted off. The gasoline weight 2,710 pounds and the field was muddy making takeoff even more challenging. Liftoff was at 7:52 and he was able to clear the telephone lines at the end of the field with about twenty feet to spare. It took him 33.5 hours to fly across the Atlantic. He skimmed storm clouds at 10,000 feet and wave tops at 10 feet. He was in blinding fog for hours along the way. He used the stars to steer by – when they were visible – and was left with dead reckoning when they weren’t. He landed at le Bourget Airport at 10:22 PM on this day even though it was not marked on any map. A crowd of about 150,000 people stormed the airfield and carried Lindbergh into the city. He flew 3,610 miles on the first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic and into the history books.

Living in dreams of yesterday, we find ourselves still dreaming of impossible future conquests.

It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane.

Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.

If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. –  all from Charles Lindbergh

Also on this day: And leave the driving to us! – In 1914 Carl Wickman begins busing.
Amelia – In 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
Bobby Franks – In 1924, Loeb and Leopold committed a murder.
St. Alex – In 1725, the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky was instituted.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 21, 2013
Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

May 21, 1932: Amelia Earhart sets her plane down in a field in Derry, Northern Ireland, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. She chose the five year anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s first solo flight and she, too, planned to land in Paris. She encountered strong northerly winds, icy conditions, and mechanical problems en route. She took off from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland and 14 hours and 56 minutes later landed in Ireland. A farm hand came upon her plane and asked if she had flown far. “From America,” she answered. She was sometimes called “Lady Lindy” because of her great flying skills.

Earhart was born in 1897 and was the first woman to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was awarded for this Atlantic crossing. She was the first to fly solo from Honolulu, Hawaii to Oakland, California. She soloed from Los Angeles to Mexico City and made a non-stop flight from Mexico City to New York City. She set many records and wrote a book about her experiences. And she did it all while outfitted in a suit or dress, shunning the typical flying gear. She waited until she was at the end of the runway before putting on her goggles and removed them as soon as possible after landing.

Frank Hawks gave young Amelia an airplane ride on December 28, 1920 and changed her life. She took her first flying lesson on January 3, 1921 and within six months not only could she fly, she purchased her first plane. She was the 16th woman to receive a pilot’s license (No. 6017). She married George P. Putnam on February 7, 1931, but as a woman’s rights activist, she referred to the union as a “partnership” with “dual controls.” She also became friends with Eleanor Roosevelt and promised to give the First Lady flying lessons, so Eleanor purchased a student permit.

In 1937, Earhart made attempts to fly around the world, twice. Earhart, Fred Noonan, a navigator, and stunt pilot Harry Manning left from California on March 17 and made it to Hawaii but no further before abandoning the project. A second attempt with only Earhart and Noonan and heading due east left from Miami on June 1. There were several stops in South America, Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. Nearly 22,000 miles had been covered with only 7,000 miles left, all across the Pacific Ocean. They left Lae, New Guinea on July 2 and were never seen again. The US government spent $4 million looking for Earhart and speculation about her disappearance continues to this day.

“After midnight the moon set and I was alone with the stars. I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, and I need no other flight to convince me that the reason flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the esthetic appeal of flying.”

“Flying may not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.”

“Worry retards reaction and makes clear-cut decisions impossible.”

“The woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune.” – all from Amelia Earhart

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The most widely accepted theory of the fate of Amelia Earhart and her plane, Electra, is that she ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean near Howard Island. Experts studying the flight and radio transmissions believe this occurred around 10 AM on July 2, 1937. It is believed that wreckage may rest on the bottom of the ocean somewhere between 17,000 and 18,000 feet below the surface. Some 350 miles away at Gardner Island another theory, if not Amelia Earhart, can be found. It is surmised that the pair flew for another two and a half hours without any radio communication and attempted a landing on a reef flat located there. They may have survived the landing but died on the uninhabited island. There is some anecdotal evidence to support this theory.

Also on this day And leave the driving to us! – In 1914 Carl Wickman begins busing.
Bobby Franks – In 1924, Loeb and Leopold committed a murder.
St. Alex – In 1725, the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky was instituted.

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St. Alex

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 21, 2012

Alexander Nevsky

May 21, 1725: Catherine I of Russia begins the Order of St. Alexander Nevsky. The Imperial Order was planned by Emperor Peter I or Peter the Great, Catherine’s husband. She was his second wife and he married her twice; once in secret and again for the public. They had nine children together and helped to bring Russia into the modern era. She was named co-ruler of Russia in 1724 and when Peter died in early 1725 without naming a successor, she took over rule. The new order was established to distinguish Russian citizens for exemplary service to their country. It was abolished in 1917 after the Bolshevik Revolution and reinstated as the Order of Alexander Nevsky, a military decoration now, in 1942.

Alexander Nevsky was the Grand Prince of Novgorod and Vladimir, the latter was one of the most powerful Rus states in the late 12th century. He was Russia’s “knight in shining armor” and his valor was only surpassed by his virtue. He was only four when Ghengis Khan first rolled into Western Europe. While conquered by the Khan, the land was left mostly free, but heavily taxed. Nevsky was still a teen when his father became Grand Prince of Kiev. Alexander was thus left in charge of Novgorod.

The Germans and Swedes were invading, encouraged by the Roman Catholic Pope who hoped to convert the area to Roman Catholicism. Nevsky was pivotal to the defense of the area. Fierce battles were fought on the shores, but the invaders were repelled. He impressed the Khan with his courage, bowing before him and refusing to bow to any other gods. Nevsky was glorified or made a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547. His feast day, November 23, is the date on which he died.

A movie was made about his life in 1938. Aleksandr Nevskiy was written by Sergie M. Eisenstein and Pyotr Pavlenko. The title role was played by Nikolai Cherkasov. Produced by Soviet Russia, it ran for 112 minutes, but only 90 minuets for the French version. Filmed in black and white by Mosfilm, the movie was made in Moscow. One particularly chilling scene was inspired by D.W. Griffith’s film Way Down East. During a battle scene, Nevsky is chased over a large river of melting ice, heading toward a waterfall.

God is not in might but in Truth. ‘Some trust in princes and some in horses, but we will call upon the Lord our God.’  – Alexander Nevsky

O King, I bow before you because God has favored you with authority, but I shall not bow before any created thing. I serve the One God. Him alone do I honor and Him alone do I worship. – Alexander Nevsky

I haven’t come to Novgorod as a lover, but as a military commander! – Alexander Nevsky, from the movie

The strength of a sword is measured by the arm that wields it! – Alexander Nevsky, from the movie

Also on this day:

And leave the driving to us! – In 1914 Carl Wickman begins busing.
Amelia – In 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
Bobby Franks – In 1924, Loeb and Leopold committed a murder.

Bobby Franks

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 21, 2011

Bobby Franks

May 21, 1924: Bobby Franks dies at the hands of two teenaged University of Chicago students who wish to commit the “perfect crime.” Richard Loeb, 18 years old, and Nathan Leopold, aged 19, were both bright, energetic, and wealthy young men. They had both skipped grades and entered college early. Loeb had already finished his undergrad studies and was said to have an IQ of 160. Leopold was a child prodigy who had studied 15 languages speaking 5 fluently and gave lectures on ornithology. His IQ was said to be 200.

Both boys came from over-indulgent families. Loeb’s weekly allowance was $250 while Leopold’s was $125 in an age when the average worker made only $1,228 in a year. Leopold was a fan of Nietzsche and believed he was the famed Superman of that philosophy. Leopold and Loeb had been friends since they were 14 and 13 and they were inseparable. Loeb was interested in breaking laws while Leopold was interested in sex. They traded favors with each other to meet these needs.

Soon Leopold was to leave for a trip to Europe and then go on to Harvard. The pair was splitting up. For one last thrill, they meticulously planned the perfect crime. They plotted for weeks, covering every contingency. They “randomly” chose their victim, but they wanted a male who was Jewish [they were both Jews] and they needed the family of the victim to be wealthy in order to collect the ransom for the planned kidnapping and murder.

They carried out their plan making mistakes almost from the outset. They got Bobby in the car and then hit him in the head and stuffed a rag in his mouth. He died immediately rather than as the young men planned. Their “perfect” hiding place for the body was discovered within hours. Instead of collecting a ransom, headlines from a special edition newspaper cried that the body of Bobby had been found. Leopold dropped his specially made glasses at the scene. Both murderers confessed within weeks. They were defended by Clarence Darrow who managed to get life imprisonment for murder and 99 years for kidnapping rather than the death sentence. Loeb was attacked by another inmate and died of his wounds in 1936. Leopold was released from prison after 33 years in 1958 and died at the age of 66 from a heart attack.

“From Jesse James to Loeb and Leopold, from the perpetrators of the St Valentine’s Day’s massacre to the Lindbergh kidnapper and beyond, our celebrated delinquents have become a part of the national heritage.” – F. W. Dupree

“What a rotten writer of detective stories life is!” – Nathan Leopold

“No other offense has ever been visited with such severe penalties as seeking to help the oppressed.” – Clarence Darrow

“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” – Clarence Darrow

Also on this day:
And leave the driving to us! – In 1914 Carl Wickman begins busing.
Amelia – In 1932, Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

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And leave the driving to us!

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 21, 2010

Carl Wickman

May 21, 1914: Carl Wickman, a Swedish immigrant, begins driving mine workers from Hibbing to Alice, Minnesota. A one-way fare was fifteen cents, round-trip was a quarter. Wickman was transporting iron ore miners in a 1914 Hupmobile – a seven seat precursor to the SUV. Ralph Bogan was also running a service from Hibbing, but going to Duluth. The two men formed a partnership called the Mesaba Transportation Co. in 1915 and turned an $8000 profit the first year.

At the closing of World War I, Wickman owned 18 buses and quintupled his profits. By 1922 he was partnering with Orville Caesar who owned Superior White Bus Lines. In 1926, two more lines were added to the system – Pickwick Lines and Pioneer Yelloway System. That same year the name was changed to Greyhound Lines and within a year Greyhound buses were traveling from California to New York. The Depression hurt business leaving Wickman $1 million in debt. With improvement in the economy, he was back on his feet and by 1935 showed an $8 million profit.

An Interstate Highway System was built starting in 1956. With improved roads and more people owning their own cars, business lagged. There has been much change at the company, buying, selling, and merging with other mass transit companies. Today, Greyhound still buses people across the country. After 9/11, buses were considered a safer way to travel but many bus stations are in out-of-the-way spaces in the “wrong” parts of town. Today, buses are used as a cheap means of travel as well as chartered vehicles used for sightseeing.

Today’s elite buses can have many amenities. There are buses for charter either for short trips or long. These luxury buses can be rented as tour buses, executive coaches, or party buses.  They have GPS systems, wireless Internet connections, leather seating and activity tables (for your laptop), and if you would rather, you can watch direct TV. Rates depend on distance traveled, type of bus chartered, amenities included, and number of riders and range from mere hundreds to several thousands dollars.

“Never run after a bus or a man. There will always be another one.” – unknown

“Art has to move you and design does not, unless it’s a good design for a bus.” – David Hockney

“Most travel is best of all in the anticipation or the remembering; the reality has more to do with losing your luggage.” – Regina Nadelson

“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” – Charles Kuralt

Also on this date:
In 1932,
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, solo.
In 1924, Leopold and Loeb kidnapped and murdered
Bobby Franks.