Fascinating Facts

  • Happy Birthday to Will Rogers, motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, and American cowboy

    William Penn Adair “Will” Rogers (November 4, 1879 – August 15, 1935) was a stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, American cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator. His earthy anecdotes and folksy style allowed him to poke fun at gangsters, prohibition, politicians, government programs, and a host of other controversial topics in a way that was appreciated by a national audience, with no one offended. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday to 2nd US President John Adams

    John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American patriot who served as the second President of the United States (1797–1801) and the first Vice President (1789–97). He was a lawyer, diplomat, statesman, political theorist, and, as a Founding Father, a leader of the movement for American independence from Great Britain. He was also a dedicated diarist and correspondent, particularly with his wife and closest advisor Abigail. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday Jonas Salk

    Jonas Edward Salk (October 28, 1914 – June 23, 1995) was an American medical researcher and virologist. He discovered and developed one of the first successful polio vaccines. Born in New York City, he attended New York University School of Medicine, later choosing to do medical research instead of becoming a practicing physician. In 1939, after earning his medical degree, Salk began an internship as a scientist physician at Mount Sinai Hospital. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday President Teddy Roosevelt

    Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an American statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer who served as the 26th President of the United States from 1901 to 1909. As a leader of the Republican Party during this time, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday Hillary Clinton

    Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born October 26, 1947) is an American politician who was the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, U.S. Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009, First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, and the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election. (more…)

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  • Rosa Parks Dies Today in 2005

    Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an American civil rights activist, whom the United States Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.” (more…)

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  • Thomas Edison Dies Today in 1931

    Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 – October 18, 1931) was an American inventor and businessman, who has been described as America’s greatest inventor. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday Oscar Wilde

    Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900) was an Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London’s most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. He is remembered for his epigrams, his novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” his plays, as well as the circumstances of his imprisonment and early death. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday to Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th US President

    October 14, 1890 — Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower (died March 28, 1969) was an American politician and Army general who served as the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961.

    He was a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful invasion of France and Germany in 1944–45 from the Western Front. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday Margaret Thatcher, born today in 1925

    Margaret Hilda Thatcher, (October 13, 1925 – 8 April 2013) was a British stateswoman who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and the Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990.

    She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, and the first woman to have held the office. A Soviet journalist dubbed her The Iron Lady, a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies that have come to be known as Thatcherism.

    A research chemist before becoming a barrister, Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his 1970 government.

    In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition and became the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.

    On moving into 10 Downing Street, Thatcher introduced a series of political and economic initiatives intended to reverse high unemployment and Britain’s struggles in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and an ongoing recession.

    Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher’s popularity during her first years in office waned amid recession and high unemployment, until victory in the 1982 Falklands War and the recovering economy brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her re-election in 1983. She narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in 1984.

    Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987. During this period her support for a Community Charge (referred to as the “poll tax”) was widely unpopular, and her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership.

    After retiring from the Commons in 1992, she was given a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher (of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire) which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords. After a series of small strokes in 2002, she was advised to withdraw from public speaking. Despite this, she managed to pre-record a eulogy to Ronald Reagan prior to his death, which was broadcast at his funeral in 2004.

    In 2013, she died of another stroke in London, at the age of 87. She is regarded as a controversial yet epochal figure of British politics, and arguments over the ramifications of Thatcherism persist.

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  • Happy Birthday Eleanor Roosevelt

    Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (October 11, 1884 – November 7, 1962) was an American politician, diplomat, and activist. She was the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, having held the post from March 1933 to April 1945 during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office, and served as United States Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly from 1945 to 1952. (more…)

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  • Happy Birthday James Marshall

    James Wilson Marshall (October 8, 1810 – August 10, 1885) was an American carpenter and sawmill operator, who reported the finding of gold at Coloma on the American River in California on January 24, 1848, the impetus for the California Gold Rush.

    The mill property was owned by Johan (John) Sutter who employed Marshall to build his mill. The wave of gold seekers turned everyone’s attention away from the mill which eventually fell into disrepair and was never used as intended. Neither Marshall nor Sutter ever profited from the gold find.

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