The Knitting Spies of War

When it comes to subterfuge, success can often be found by hiding in plain sight. Take, for example, the lady spies who, over the years, communicated secret information through their knitting. They turned knitting patterns into codes, overheard conversations as their needles clicked, dropped stitches intentionally to conceal messages in scarves and hats. It was clever and perfectly concealed by the stereotype that women’s hobbies—especially those of older women—were silly and harmless.

In Molly “Old Mom” Rinker’s case, she found she was able to hide quite comfortably in the role of “old woman knitting” while she spied on British forces during the Revolutionary War.

Old Mom Rinker uses knitting to her advantage

Enough daring ladies took advantage of this method, especially during WWI, that by the time WWII came around, specific precautions were taken to keep knitted codes from slipping through unnoticed (among other things):

Knitting Spies

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Happy Monday!

The weekend is over and the workweek is back at it again. Not a big fan of Mondays? You’re not alone. Here’s a little 1995 article from the Wausau Daily Herald all about the Monday blues and surviving the workweek:

Monday Morning Blues

“Just kind of hope for the best. Don’t expect too much.” – Jim Beem.

Happy Monday!

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The Strange Death of Harry Houdini

On October 24, 1926, the famed magician Harry Houdini finished a show, walked off the stage, and collapsed.

Collapses after Stunt, Temperature at 104 Degrees

Details of Houdini's Collapse

The above-mentioned “delay in applying for medical attention” was a span of several days. The exact reasons for his unexpected death haven’t been confirmed, exactly, but it is pretty likely a result of being punched in the stomach after a lecture on October 22nd. Houdini was chatting with some students in his dressing room when one student decided to test his claim that he could withstand any blow to the stomach.

Damage to the Appendix Happened Days Earlier

The student’s blow came without warning, and Houdini, with no time to prepare, found himself with a ruptured appendix as a result. But it was his insistence that the show must go on, as they say, that did him in. He survived for a week after the operation for his appendicitis, but eventually died that Halloween at the age of 52.

But before he died, he is said to have made a promise with his wife. If there was a way to contact her from the Beyond, he would find it. And thus, the annual Halloween Houdini seances began.

Houdini's Post-Death Plan

Annual Houdini Seance

Seances not successful

After ten years of attempting to receive a message from her husband, Bess Houdini finally gave up the effort. She died in 1943. She is pictured below next to a small collection of her husbands things a few days before the October 1936 seance, the final attempt she would make.

Bess Houdini and her husband's

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On This Day: Completion of the Famous Gateway Arch

On this day in 1965, the 630 foot tall curve of St. Louis’ Gateway Arch was completed.

Ready to Complete

On Topping Out Day

32 Years of Planning & 3 Years of Construction

The Arch

Interesting, related tidbit of history: it seems that while in town for the arch’s monumental completion, Aline Saarinen—wife of the architect who designed the building—was robbed.

Robbed while in town for the arch

Eero Saarinen, sadly, died in 1961, two years before construction of the arch began.

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Guggenheim Museum Opens

On this day in 1959, the doors of the strange, spiraling Guggenheim Museum open to the public.

Guggenheim

Guggenheim design by Frank Lloyd Wright

Guggenheim Description

The Guggenheim displayed (and continues to display) a large and expanding collection of contemporary art. It has since become one of the most visited of New York City’s many attractions. Have you had a chance to go?

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Oktoberfest

The first week of October has come and gone, and with it fades the final days of this year’s Oktoberfest celebrations. Celebrated annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany since 1810, Oktoberfest has since spread to various cities across the world for obvious reasons. A two week-long party (or longer) complete with music, festivities, traditional foods, and beer? That’s a recipe for a good time wherever you are.

Oktoberfest

So how did it all start?
Oktoberfest origins

Yep—you’ve got to admire a wedding reception that’s so good it’s re-celebrated every year.

Oktoberfest, 2006

Oktoberfest, 1970

Oktoberfest 1969

Happy October!

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The Banner Yet Waves

Today in 1814, Francis Scott Key memorializes the experience of watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British forces during the War of 1812.

Defence of Fort M'Henry

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.

First Verse

Verse Two

Verse Three

Verse Four

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Patriot Day, National Day of Service and Remembrance

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.

9-11 officially a National Day of Service and Remembrance

First official National Day of Service and Remembrance

National Day of Service and Remembrance drive

One Volunteer Project at a Time

Volunteers gladly do service work in memory of 9/11

National Day of Service and Remembrance, 2016

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!

Discovering the Titanic

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.

Titanic

Titanic remains found

Robert Ballard, man who found the Titanic

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