American Red Cross formed …

The American Red Cross is a is a humanitarian organization that provides emergency assistance, disaster relief and education in the United States. It is the designated US affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies..

The organization offers services in four other areas: communications services and comfort for military service and family members; the collection, processing and distribution of blood and blood products; educational programs on preparedness, health and safety; and international relief and development programs.

The group was issued a corporate charter this date in 1881 by the United States Congress. It is governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, income from health and safety training and products and income from blood products. The group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. (from Wikipedia)

 

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Hubble Space Telescope ….

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into low Earth orbit and transmitted the first photographs from space this date in 1990. It remains in operation. Although not the first space telescope, Hubble is one of the largest and most versatile and is well known as both a vital research tool and a public relations boon for astronomy. The telescope is named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, and is one of NASA’s Great Observatories, along with the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Hubble’s four main instruments observe in the near ultraviolet, visible, ultraviolet, visible and near infrared spectra. Hubble’s orbit outside the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere allows it to take extremely high-resolution images, with substantially lower background light than ground-based telescopes. Hubble has recorded some of the most detailed visible light images ever, allowing a deep view into space and time. Many Hubble observations have led to breakthroughs in astrophysics,  such as accurately determining the rate of expansion of the universe. (from Wikipedia)

 

 

Ringling Brothers circus premieres…

Poster depicting the Ringling brothers, founders of the circus, c. 1899. The Ringling brothers are depicted in the upper left corner. (from Wikipedia)

In 1884, five of the seven Ringling brothers started a small circus this date in Baraboo, Wisconsin.This was about the same time that Barnum & Bailey were at the peak of their popularity. Similar to dozens of small circuses that toured the Midwest and the Northeast at the time, the brothers moved their circus from town to town in small animal-drawn caravans. Their circus rapidly grew and they were soon able to move their circus by train, which allowed them to have the largest traveling amusement enterprise of that time. Bailey’s European tour gave the Ringling brothers an opportunity to move their show from the Midwest to the eastern seaboard. Faced with the new competition, Bailey took his show west of the Rocky Mountains for the first time in 1905. He died the next year, and the circus was sold to the Ringling Brothers.

The Ringlings purchased the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth in 1907 and ran the circuses separately until 1919. By that time, Charles Edward Ringling and John Nicholas Ringling were the only remaining brothers of the five who founded the circus. They decided that it was too difficult to run the two circuses independently, and on March 29, 1919, “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows” debuted in New York City. The posters declared, “The Ringling Bros. World’s Greatest Shows and the Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth combined into one record-breaking giant of all exhibitions.”

On July 16, 1956, at the Heidelberg Race Track in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the circus ended its season early, with President John Ringling North announcing that it would no longer exhibit under their own portable “big top”  tents and, starting in 1957, would exhibit in permanent venues, such as sports stadiums and arenas that had the seating already in place. In 1967, the Feld brothers and a Houston Judge Hofheinz bought the circus from the Ringling family. In 1971, the Felds and Hofheinz sold the circus to Mattel, buying it back from the toy company in 1982. Since the death of Irvin Feld in 1984, the circus has been a part of Feld Entertainment, an international entertainment firm.

With weakening attendance and high operating costs, Feld Entertainment announced in 2017 that the circus would, and did, close after 234 years. (from Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

Napolean Bonaparte becomes Emperor of France

Napolean Bonaparte became the Emperor of France this date in 1804. He was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars.

From being an artillery officer in 1789, Bonaparte rose through the ranks and became a general at age twenty-four. At twenty-six, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and their Italian allies—winning virtually every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year and became a national hero. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He engineered a coup in November 1799, became First Consul of the Republic and then first Emperor of the French in 1804, which led to the elimination of the thousand-year-old Holy Roman Empire. He built a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its collapse in 1815.

One of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon’s political and cultural legacy has ensured his status as one of the most celebrated leaders in history. Napoleon had an extensive and powerful influence on the modern world, bringing liberal reforms to the numerous territories he conquered and controlled. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe.

His legal achievement, the Napoleonic Code, has influenced the legal systems of more than seventy nations. The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious tolerance, modern secular education, sound finances, etc.—were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the Roman Empire.  (from Wikipedia)

Root Beer invented …

Sassfras root beverages were made by Native Americans for culinary and medicinal purposes before the arrival of Europeans in North America, but European culinary techniques have been applied to making traditional sassafras-based beverages similar to root beer since the 16th and 17th centuries.

The tradition of brewing root beer is thought to have evolved out of small beer traditions that produced fermented drinks with very low alcohol content that were thought to be healthier to drink than possibly tainted local sources of drinking water and enhanced by the medicinal and nutritional qualities of the ingredients used. Druggists began marketing root beer for its medicinal qualities.

Pharmacist Chares Hires was the first to successfully market a commercial brand of root beer. Hires developed his root tea made from sassafras in 1875, debuted a commercial version of root beer at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, and began selling his extract. Hires was a teetotaler who wanted to call the beverage “root tea.” However, his desire to market the product to Pennsylvania coal miners caused him to call his product “root beer” instead. In 1886, Hires began to bottle a beverage made from his famous extract. By 1893, root beer was distributed widely across the U.S. Non-alcoholic versions of root beer became commercially successful, especially during Prohibition.

Not all traditional or commercial root beers were sassafras based. One of Hires’s early competitors was Barq’s, which began selling its sasparilla-based root beer in 1898 and was simply labeled as “Barq’s.” In 1919, Roy Allen opened his root beer stand in Lodi, California, which led to the development of A&W Root Beer. One of Allen’s innovations was that he served his homemade root beer in cold, frosty mugs. IBS Root Beer is another brand of commercially produced root beer that emerged during this time and is still well-known today.

Safrole, the aromatic oil found in sassafras roots and bark that gave traditional root beer its distinctive flavor, was banned by the FDA in 1960 for commercially mass-produced foods and drugs. Large doses of safrole produced liver damage in laboratory animals or various types of cancer. So while small does may have been used for medicinal purposes, apparently larger does are not good for you. (from Wikipedia)

 

Some more firsts ….

Regular airmail service was inaugurated between New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. this date in 1918.

 

 

Nylon stockings hit the market this date in 1940 for the first time.

 

 

 

And this is National Chocolate Chip Day.  The chocolate chip cookie was invented by the American chef Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1938. She invented the recipe during the period when she owned the Toll House Inn, in Whitman, Massachusetts. In this era, the Toll House Inn was a popular restaurant that featured home cooking. And that’s why at one time, the cookies were known as Toll House Cookies.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is celebrated the second Sunday in May.

In 1907, Anna Reeves Jarvis launched Mother’s Day in memory of her mother as a tribute to all mothers, living and deceased. Several others before Anna Reeves Jarvis suggested an observance of Mother’s Day. But it was not until Jarvis enlisted the help of John Wanamaker, the Philadelphia merchant and philanthropist, that the idea gained national appeal. Born in West Virginia, Jarvis grew up in the shadow of the Civil War among a family dedicated to service in the cause of Civil War veterans. In the early 1900’s, the Jarvis family moved north to Philadelphia, where her mother died in 1905. It was a loss from which she never recovered. Two years later, the still-mourning daughter announced to some friends her determination to campaign for a nation-wide observance of Mother’s Day. She chose the second Sunday in May and began wearing a carnation.

With the help of Wanamaker, churches in Grafton, West Virginia and Philadelphia held Mother’s Day celebrations in 1908. The service at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton honored the memory Jarvis’s mother, and the country church still stands as a public shrine.

Jarvis hoped that sons and daughters would take time to write their mother a special note, pay an extra visit on Mother’s Day, and give her a wildflower to commemorate the event. The idea took hold. Mother’s Day received national recognition in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution of Congress to recognize Mother’s Day. The following year, he was authorized to proclaim Mother’s Day as an annual national observance. Mother’s Day is now recognized by nations on every continent. And its founder? Jarvis never married and thus never experienced the joy of motherhood, the institution in which she devoted a lifetime to see so honored.

But her concept of a special note to mothers has become an avalanche of more than 145 million greeting cards each year. From the remembrance of a wildflower has come the tradition of giving mothers a floral tribute on Mother’s Day. In fact, spending nearly eight billion dollars each year giving mother’s jewelry, fragrances, apparel and labor-saving appliances is now part of our culture.

Almost anyone can have a child, but it takes someone special to be a mother. What better tribute than that, for this one day at least, we pay homage to the person who dried our tears, fixed scraped knees and wounded egos, and times without number offering a consoling shoulder …mother.