Little Bits of History

Affordable Education

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 8, 2015
Mount Holyoke in 1837

Mount Holyoke in 1837

November 8, 1837: Mount Holyoke Female Seminary opens its doors to student. Mary Lyon was born in Massachusetts in 1797 to a farming family. Her father died when she was five and the entire family had to pitch in to make the farm successful. She was able to attend a variety of district school and in 1814 began teaching in the same types of schools. Her impoverished childhood led her to a lifelong commitment to creating educational opportunities for girls from middle and poor backgrounds. In 1834, Laban Wheaton and his daughter-in-law, Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton, came to Lyon to ask her to help found the Wheaton Female Seminary (today Wheaton College). Lyon created the curriculum to be equal to what was offered in male colleges of the time. The school opened in 1835 with 50 students.

As the new school took off, Lyon hoped to created another institution which would bring in students from wider socioeconomic backgrounds. Her new school was founded by people of modest means and was meant to serve the daughters of the founders rather the daughters of the rich. Joseph Emerson had written a treatise in 1822 stating women should be trained as teachers rather than just learn to please the other sex. Lyon took this message to heart. The entrance exam was difficult and given only to those “young ladies of adult age, and mature character” which helped maintain the rigorous educational standards. Tuition was just $60 per year (about $1,450 today) , about one-third the tuition charged at Ipswich Female Seminary.

She was also a believer in daily exercise and her students were required to walk after breakfast although during the cold winters, the time was reduced to 45 minutes. Calisthenics was also taught at the school. In order to keep costs low, the student body was required to perform domestic tasks which included cooking meals and cleaning living spaces. Lyon realized the role of women in society was changing and offered a comprehensive curriculum to better prepare her students for the demands to come. They were taught mathematics and science, including laboratory classes. They were taken on field trips in order to gather specimens which would later be studied in the labs in greater detail.

Today, Mount Holyoke College remains a liberal arts college for women. It was the first member of the Seven Sisters colleges and remains committed to the education of women to prepare them in an ever changing world. Their campus covers 2,000 acres, with the academic campus covering half that space, and they have an academic staff of 200 to educate their 2,183 students. Lynn Pasquerella is President and Marcella Runell Hall is Dean. They have a $717 million endowment. They offer 50 departmental and interdepartmental majors ans they also offer three master’s degree programs for those interested in furthering their education. The tuition today is $56,746 which includes tuition, room and board, as well as student fees. Mandatory heath insurance is an additional $1880 per year.

The highest culture is not obtained from the teacher when at school or college, so much as by our ever diligent self-education when we become men. – Samuel Smiles

If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library. – Frank Zappa

Academic education is the act of memorizing things read in books, and things told by college professors who got their education mostly by memorizing things read in books. – Elbert Hubbard

A university is what a college becomes when the faculty loses interest in students. – John Ciardi

Also on this day: Aerial Warfare – In 1950, the first jet-to-jet dogfight took place.
The Bod – In 1602, the main research library at the University of Oxford opened.
173rd Airborne – In 1965, Lawrence Joel attended to wounded soldiers on the ground.
Four – In 1971, Led Zeppelin released another album.
Playing Games – In 1836, the Game of Life went on sale.

Playing Games

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 8, 2014
The Checkered Game of Life

The Checkered Game of Life

November 8, 1836: Milton Bradley is born in Vienna, Maine. He grew up in a working-class household in Lowell, Massachusetts. He worked as a draftsman before entering Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge in 1856. He began a business as a mechanical draftsman and patent agent and then became interested in lithography. He set up the first color lithography shop in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1860. His business was failing after he printed Abraham Lincoln’s information during his run for the presidency. His picture included a beardless Lincoln and the candidate had since grown his beard. With this major loss of credibility, he turned to another way to use his drafting skills. He was inspired by an imported board game which he had received from a friend.

In the winter of 1860, Bradley released his new game, The Checkered Game of Life which eventually became known simply as the Game of Life. The game was an immediate success and he personally sold his first run of several hundred games in just a two day period. By 1861 he had sold over 45,000 copies of the game which followed similar structures to other American and British games of the time. Each square held a social position – good or bad, or sometimes a combination. One could gain influence and move ahead or get to poverty and slow progress. Even the best of positions such as “Fat Office” could hold dangers which included Prison, Ruin, and Suicide. The first player to get to 100 points won the game.

The basic difference between Bradley’s game and those of Puritan-based games of the time was his position on morality. Earlier games had been concerned with ways to promote moral virtue. The Checkered Game of Life was a game based in secular business terms and not on personal virtues. The country was moving away from moral teaching for the sake of morals and moving toward a time when wealth was becoming a measure of success. The game has gone through several different versions and the board looks quite different today. Automobiles now move the player around the board and spouses and children are included. Today, instead of points, one collects money in the hopes of winning the Game of Life.

The Milton Bradley Company was founded in Springfield in 1860 and is now headquartered in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. In 1920, they included production of McLoughlin Brothers which had been the largest game manufacturer in the US at the time. In 1987, they purchased Selchow and Righter. They were taken over by Hasbro, Inc. in 1984 and they are now wholly owned by them as is Parker Brothers, one of their former arch-rivals in the game industry. Milton Bradley’s game list includes Battleship, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Twister, Yahtzee, and of course, The Game of Life. Hasbro brands also include Playskool and Tonka. The US toy company has an annual revenue of over $4 billion. Games are big business.

If you’re going to play at all, you’re out to win. Baseball, board games, playing Jeopardy, I hate to lose. – Derek Jeter

You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else. – Albert Einstein

Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it. – Sai Baba

It’s the game of life. Do I win or do I lose? One day they’re gonna shut the game down. I gotta have as much fun and go around the board as many times as I can before it’s my turn to leave. – Tupac Shakur

Also on this day: Aerial Warfare – In 1950, the first jet-to-jet dogfight took place.
The Bod – In 1602, the main research library at the University of Oxford opened.
173rd Airborne – In 1965, Lawrence Joel attended to wounded soldiers on the ground.
Four – In 1971, Led Zeppelin released another album.

The Bod

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 8, 2013
Thomas Bodley

Thomas Bodley

November 8, 1602: The main research library at the University of Oxford opens. The first Oxford collection of books and manuscripts was kept in a library built by Thomas Cobham in the 1300s. The collection was available for use only in the building as the books were chained to the bookcases. The precious manuscripts were safe and only the select were permitted entrance. Between 1435 and 1437 Duke Humphrey (King Henry V’s brother) donated a great number of manuscripts and a larger space was needed. A special room for the collection was built above the Divinity School. The library declined. The furniture was sold off and by the end of the 1500s only three of Humphrey’s manuscripts remained.

In 1598 Thomas Bodley wrote to the Vice Chancellor of Oxford and offered to support the development of a library. Bodley has been a Fellow at Merton College and their first Lecturer in Ancient Greek. Merton College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. He went abroad to continue his studies and to help with diplomatic relations between England and several European countries. He tired of the political intrigue and resigned from public service. He had married a wealthy widow and as a result was compelled to resign his fellowship at Merton. Regardless, he was feted at Oxford upon his return to England and took up the quest of restoring the library.

Bodley was able to donate his own considerable personal library as a starting point. He instituted the creation of the “Benefactors’ Book” in 1602 whereby donations were publically proclaimed. The book was bound and put on display in 1604. The concept was not original but for over 400 years the practice has helped to assure a steady stream of support from friends of the library. The Duke’s library grew and officially re-opened on this date renamed the Bodleian Library.

The library is one of the oldest in Europe and in Britain it is the second largest with only the British Library larger. Affectionately called “Bodley” or “the Bod” by Oxford scholars, it is one of the six legal deposit libraries in the United Kingdom. All books published in Great Britain and Ireland may receive a request for a copy to be placed in the stacks. There are over 11 million volumes held at the over 100 libraries at Oxford. Sarah Thomas is Bodley’s Librarian and Director. She is the first woman and first American to hold the post which she took on in February 2007.

“What is more important in a library than anything else – than everything else – is the fact that it exists.” – Archibald MacLeish

“Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul.” – Library at Thebes, inscription over the door

“We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth.” – John Lubbock

“A great library contains the diary of the human race.” – George Mercer Dawson

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: The Bodleian Library of today is located in five buildings which range in dates of construction from the earliest medieval building of Duke Humfrey’s Library to the New Bodleian built in the late 1930s. For two hundred years, many underground stores have been built beneath these five buildings and there are also many off-site storage areas to house the more than 11 million pieces to their collection. These consist of books, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound recordings of both voice and music, maps, prints, drawings, and manuscripts. The library can be accessed by students and non-students alike. However, before being given access the new reader must agree to a formal declaration. This was usually oral but today, there are often written attestations required. The reader promises not to remove books from the library not to deface them in any way. They also promise not to bring any fire of any sort into the buildings, promising not to smoke. They must agree to follow all rules of the Library. Originally written in Latin, it has been translated into many different languages for the modern user.

Also on this day: Aerial Warfare – In 1950, the first jet-to-jet dogfight took place.
173rd Airborne – In 1965, Lawrence Joel attended to wounded soldiers on the ground.
Four – In 1971, Led Zeppelin released another album.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 8, 2012

Led Zeppelin IV

November 8, 1971: Led Zeppelin IV is released. Led Zeppelin was a British rock band made up of John Bonham (drummer), John Paul Jones (bassist/keyboardist), Jimmy Page (guitarist), and Robert Plant (vocalist). They formed as New Yardbirds in 1968 and changed their name soon after. They disbanded after Bonham’s sudden death in 1980. Some consider them to be one of the most successful, innovative, and influential rock bands in history. They signed with Atlantic Records and were given great latitude in their music. They disliked releasing singles and considered their albums to be complete listening experiences. They are sometimes considered as the precursors of heavy metal or hard rock. They drew from many different genres to produce their cutting edge music.

Their 1971 album was one of the best-selling albums worldwide, selling 32 million units. They shipped over 23 million units to the US alone, which makes this the third best-selling album in the US. Thriller, by Michael Jackson released in 1982, is the top selling album, followed by Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) by the Eagles and released in 1976 taking second. In 2003, Led Zeppelin IV, also referred by four symbols, or called Four Symbols, The Fourth Album, Untitled, The Runes, The Hermit, and ZoSo was ranked 66th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

Recording began at Island Record’s Basing Street Studios in London. The venue had only recently opened and was in the process of recording Jethro Tull’s Aqualung. Fleetwood Mac, another band, recommended that Led Zeppelin move to Headley Grange, a remote spot in East Hampshire. There, they used the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio which offered a much more relaxed setting as well as an opportunity to commit songs to tape almost immediately. After the basic tracks were laid down, the group then added overdubs at Island Studios and took the completed master tapes to Los Angeles where Sunset Sound was used for mixing. Unsatisfied with the result, they returned to London and further mixing was done which set the release date back.

Led Zeppelin III had not met with rave reviews in 1970. Page wanted this album to not have a title. Each band member selected a hand-drawn symbol to represent himself and these were placed on the inner sleeve and record label. There were no titles or names on the cover. Teasers were broadcast before the official release on this date. The album, when it finally hit the stores, was in instant success. It received high ratings from the officials and the fans loved the music. There were four tracks on each side, with the final track on side one “Stairway to Heaven” which in this long version ran for 8 minutes and two seconds. The song was written by Page and Plant, as were all the songs on the album, although half had others helping in that respect. “Stairway to Heaven” and the album in total helped cement the group’s superstar rating.

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven.

If the sun refused to shine, I’d still be loving you. If mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

Then as it was, then again it will be, and though the course will change sometimes, rivers always reach the sea.

So tonight you better stop and rebuild all your ruins, because peace and trust can win the day despite all your losing. – all from Led Zeppelin

Also on this day:

Aerial Warfare – In 1950, the first jet-to-jet dogfight took place.
The Bod – In 1602, the main research library at the University of Oxford opened.
173rd Airborne – In 1965, Lawrence Joel attended to wounded soldiers on the ground.

173rd Airborne

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 8, 2011

Lawrence Joel with President Johnson

November 8, 1965: Specialist Five Lawrence Joel defies orders to stay his ground. Joel was a medic working in the 173rd Airborne when the paratroopers were sent on a patrol for Viet Cong soldiers during Operation Hump. The men walked into an ambush and were outnumbered six to one. Taking heavy casualties, Joel did his job as the medic in the field. Almost every soldier in the lead squad was either wounded or killed. Joel tended the wounded even after being shot twice himself. He not only tended men from his own unit, but assisted with men from another company.

One of Joel’s injuries was a gunshot wound to his calf. He bandaged this and kept working. As the day wore on, he used a makeshift crutch and Sp4c Randy Eickhoff provided covering fire while Joel limped around the battlefield searching for supplies to help with his depleted stock. Joel attended to 13 wounded men and saved the life of a man with a severe chest wound by improvising and using a plastic bag to seal the wound. The battle lasted for over 24 hours. After Joel’s own hospitalization and recovery in both Saigon and Tokyo, he was awarded the Silver Star for his efforts on this day.

On March 9, 1967, Joel stood on the White House lawn and President Lyndon Johnson presented him with the Medal of Honor. The last time a living African-American had received this honor was during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Nearly a month later, on April 8, the city of Winston-Salem held a parade in honor of the local hero. It was said to have been the largest tribute the city had every staged. Joel retired from the military in 1978 and died in 1984. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team is an airborne infantry brigade of the US Army. It was activated in 1915 and saw service first in World War I. They are most famously known for their service in the Vietnam War, especially for Operation Hump and Operation Junction City. Between 1965 and 1971, they lost nearly 1,800 men with many falling at the Battle of Dak To. During this time, there were 7,700 decorations, including over 6,000 Purple Hearts awarded to this unit’s soldiers.

“A country grows in history not only because of the heroism of its troops on the field of battle, it grows also when it turns to justice and to right for the conservation of its interests.” – Aristide Briand

“Heroism is endurance for one moment more.” – George F. Kennan

“It is not tolerable, it is not possible, that from so much death, so much sacrifice and ruin, so much heroism, a greater and better humanity shall not emerge.” – Charles de Gaulle

“I don’t believe in war as a solution to any kind of conflict, nor do I believe in heroism on the battlefield because I have never seen any.” – Thor Heyerdahl

Also on this day:
Aerial Warfare – In 1950, the first jet-to-jet dogfight took place.
The Bod – In 1602, the main research library at the University of Oxford opened.

Aerial Warfare

Posted in History by patriciahysell on November 8, 2010
shooting star

Shooting Star (P-80 / F-80)

November 8, 1950: The first jet-to-jet dogfight occurs during the Korean war with US Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown, flying an F-80 Shooting Star. He shot down two North Korean MiG-15s. Aerial warfare began during the French Revolution in 1794 when balloons were used to direct ground fire from the advantageous position in the air. During the US Civil War, balloons were used to direct artillery fire. However, they were not easily steered and this caused substantial difficulty.

Dirigibles or zeppelins were large balloons attached to first steam and then gasoline powered engines. The steam version invented in 1859 first allowed for steering. The Wright Brothers build the first US military airplane in 1909, but the idea was initially rebuffed. The first use of an airplane in warfare was when the Italians used it against the Turks near Tripoli in 1911.

At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Germans and the Allies each had about 200 planes. They were used for reconnaissance. At first pilots waved to each other, then opposing pilots began throwing bricks, grenades, or rope to tangle the propellers. Anthony Fokker developed a machine gun that could shoot through the propellers. In 1915, French ace Roland Garros was the first person to shoot down a plane. Oswald Boelcke, a German ace, devised the first air-to-air strategies.

Between the two world wars, planes became faster and more maneuverable. For the next world war, guns and cannons were mounted on the wings and bomb bays were added. Bombs could be dropped on targets with more accuracy, including atomic bombs. Jet aircraft were being developed by the end of World War II. Missiles were added to the arsenals carried by planes. Today, warfare superiority is greatly influenced by aerial warfare.

“Once the command of the air is obtained by one of the contended armies, the war must become a conflict between a seeing host and one that is blind.” – H. G. Wells

“We were once told that the aeroplane had ‘abolished frontiers.’ Actually it is only since the aeroplane became a serious weapon that frontiers have become definitely impassable.” – George Orwell

“Not to have an adequate air force in the present state of the world is to compromise the foundations of national freedom and independence.” – Winston Churchill

“You can shoot down every MiG the Soviets employ, but if you return to base and the lead Soviet tank commander is eating breakfast in your snack bar, Jack, you’ve lost the war.” – Anonymous A-10 Pilot, USAF

Also on this day, in 1602 the Bodleian Library opened at the University of Oxford.