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Today in 1814, Francis Scott Key memorializes the experience of watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British forces during the War of 1812.
The sight of the lone United States flag still waving over the fort the following morning inspired Key, who later wrote theses lines which, paired with song, eventually became the U.S. national anthem.
On September 11, 2001, 2,997 people were killed and thousands more injured in a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks that at once shocked and unified the United States and the world.
On September 11, 2002, the first official Patriot Day was celebrated in the U.S. to remember those who perished in the attacks.
On September 11, 2009, the first official National Day of Service and Remembrance was observed to encourage the nation to volunteer and unite together. It has since become the largest day of charitable service in the U.S. anually.
Find more on the observance of this national day of service with a search on Newspapers.com, and be sure to keep a look out for volunteer opportunities near you!
On this day in 1985, the famous and much sought out wreck of the RMS Titanic was found miles beneath the ocean’s surface, 73 years after its sinking. The expedition, headed by Dr. Robert Ballard, used experimental technology in the form of an unmanned submersible that scanned the ocean floor until it passed over the Titanic’s boilers, and the rest is history.
Solar eclipses are remarkable natural phenomenons that reliably send humanity’s gaze skyward. The upcoming solar eclipse is particularly exciting, with the phrase “100 years” getting thrown around a lot. It’s not because this is the first solar eclipse to happen in 100 years—far from it. But it is the first solar eclipse in nearly 100 years to cross over the width of the United States, making it possible for millions to witness totality from within the arching pathway. The last time that happened, it was June 1918.
Traveling to the path of totality was just as expected then as it is now—and automobiles have definitely been in use for a while these days.
With any luck, good weather will allow clear observation of this century’s sequel to 1918’s eclipse, with all its similarities and differences.
Ah, romance. Methods of flirting sure have changed over the years, haven’t they? With the introduction of the internet, dating has become so impersonal, so informal. Just a glance at a face and a flick of the finger. So different from the way it used to be.
But perhaps not so different as it seems.
A mention of the 1920s brings with it visions of sparkling flapper dresses, ornate decor, city living, and some sweet jazzy tunes to dance to. Dating apps were a feature of the distant future, but in 1920s Berlin, the concept of dating from a distance was alive and well in the form of telephones and pneumatic tubes.
Two nightclubs in particular provided these handy services: The Resi and the Femina.
For the bold, there were the telephones—simply dial up the lady or lad who catches your eye and ask them to dance. For those more timid attendees, there were the tubes. Pencil down a message of admiration or wrap up a little gift, send it rocketing through the conveniently located tube to the table of your choice, and wait to see if they receive it well.
Sounds pretty familiar after all, doesn’t it?
On this day in history, the discovery of Marilyn Monroe’s unexpected death spread across headlines.
Though speculations and theories about her death spread like wildfire, the official cause of death was reported as a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs.
But before this sobering end of life there was a glittering and memorable career that—whether you care for her acting or not—turned Norma Jeane Mortenson (Baker) into a cultural icon whose memory and influence has yet to fade even 55 years later.
August marks of the deaths of two of the Wild West’s most famous figures: Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Hickok was killed August 2, 1876, at the age of 39, and Calamity Jane died of illness on August 1, 1903, at age 51; both died in South Dakota.
During his life, Hickok was a soldier, scout, stagecoach driver, lawman, gunfighter, showman, marksman, gambler, and more. He died after being shot from behind while playing poker in a saloon. Calamity Jane was a frontierswoman known for her men’s attire, hard drinking, and skill at profanity. She claimed to have been in love with Wild Bill Hickok and even to have gone after his killer with a meat cleaver—though there is no evidence to support this; she is, however, buried near him, as she requested.
Both Hickok and Calamity Jane were famous during their lifetimes, with their legends quickly outgrowing the actual facts of their lives. Hickok gained national fame in 1867, when he became the subject of an article in Harper’s Magazine. Calamity Jane similarly became well known around 1877, when she was used as the basis for a fictional character in the “Deadwood Dick” dime novels.
After the two gained fame, they were regularly mentioned in the newspapers of the time. An excerpt of one article about Hickok from 1870 reads:
“Wild Bill is a man of great physical power and an unerring marksman. He never comes out of a fight second-best. He was at one time surprised by ten guerrillas in a cabin, where he fought and killed them all, being himself pretty well cropped to pieces with their knives.”
While Hickok died at the height of his fame, Calamity Jane outlived hers. An article published in 1903, shortly before her death, describes it thus:
“It is not the Calamity Jane of today […] that you want to remember. She of today is old and poverty stricken and wretched. The country has outgrown her and her occupation is gone. […] It is the Calamity Jane of the old days, the Indian fighter, the scout, the mail carrier, the cow puncher, the man among men, who stands heroic.”
In both of the case of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, myth became more important than reality in the public’s perception of them, and they both still remain larger than life today.
If you’re interested in Wild Bill Hickok or Calamity Jane, look for more articles about them on Newspapers.com, especially in our South Dakota papers. Through cooperative projects with the Black Hills Pioneer and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, Newspapers.com has a large collection of papers from South Dakota, where both Wild Bill and Calamity Jane spent significant time.