Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America's past. These stories are about Americans - people just like you - who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you. Kate Kelly
  • The Magic Lantern-Early Form of Slide Projector

    The magic lantern is a very old invention that served as a primitive slide projector. As improvements were made, the magic lantern eventually produced moving pictures as well.

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  • Rinda, Daughter of Rin-Tin-Tin

    Rin-Tinda (known as Rinda), the daughter of Rin-Tin-Tin IV, spent most of her life living with missionary Marguerite Lofthus at a religious retreat in Laguna Mountains, east of San Diego. The dog was brought to Loftus in 1956 or...

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  • President H.W. Bush’s Service Dog

    The Bush family has always had dogs and loved them with great devotion. Dogs have always seen them through challenging times. President George H.W. Bush experienced the loss of a lifetime when his wife Barbara died in April 2018....

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  • Water Safety Taught by This Man in 1900s

    “Water is a good friend or a deadly enemy,” said Wilbert E. Longfellow (1882-1947), a man who invested most of his life in teaching Americans the importance of water safety.

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  • St. Bernard in TV Show Topper

    A big, goofy Saint Bernard named Neil starred in the television show Topper in the 1950s. Topper was the first fantasy sitcom on television. While shows like Bewitched and The Addams Family came along in the 1960s, Topper led...

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  • John Muir’s Dog Stickeen

    Stickeen wasn’t even naturalist John Muir’s dog, yet he was Muir’s faithful companion as the explorer made a treacherous journey across a glacier in the southeastern section of Alaska. Who Was John Muir?

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  • Zachary Taylor’s White House Pet–a Horse

    Zachary Taylor, a well-known war hero, arrived in Washington, D.C. to be President of the United States in 1849 after serving for many years in the military. He fought in the War of 1812, the Second Seminole War (Florida),...

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  • Presidential Trivia- 10 Interesting Facts

    Eight presidents have been left-handed: Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Harry S. Truman, Herbert Hoover, James Garfield, and Grover Cleveland. Because using one’s left hand was actively discouraged until recently, there may have...

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  • How Jumbo Joined the Circus

    Jumbo the elephant was identified as a possible “get” for the Barnum & Bailey circus in 1882 by a circus scout who found the elephant at the London Zoo. After learning of the elephant, James Bailey sent the man...

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  • Sculptor of Rushmore Gutzon Borglum

    Mount Rushmore towers commandingly over the Black Hills of South Dakota, beckoning visitors to come closer to see in detail the four faces of the U.S. presidents carved into the mountainside. The carvings themselves are so much a part...

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  • Isabella Greenway: Entrepreneur and Congresswoman

    Isabella Greenway (1886-1953) was the first woman to represent Arizona in Congress (1933-1936) at a time when Arizona had only a single representative to the House of Representatives. A lifelong association with Teddy Roosevelt brought her into politics. Before...

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  • Race of Mercy to Nome, Alaska, 1925

    The “race of mercy” was a daring and difficult trip to deliver medicine to Nome, Alaska in 1925. High numbers of children in Nome were suffering from diphtheria. Because the town was so remote, there was no good way...

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  • Barbara Jordan, Congresswoman and Trailblazer

    Barbara Jordan (1936-96) was a dynamic and forceful African American from Texas who made great strides for American citizens. She exhibited a positive outlook, great intelligence, a good sense of humor, and had an uncanny ability to fully engage...

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  • Louis Armstrong’s Childhood

    Louis Armstrong was one of the finest jazz musicians in the world. His work broke ground for a new style of popular American music for which he received worldwide acclaim. A virtuoso on trumpet, Louis Armstrong developed a performance...

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  • P.T. Barnum’s Early Career

    P.T. Barnum is remembered as a circus impresario and a huckster. Both those memories do him a disservice. He had a long and varied career prior to entering the circus business at the age of 67. And while he...

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Topics At America Comes Alive

Part of the inspiration for this site comes from a remark made by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
"People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things - simply told."


On September 19, 1957, the United States detonated a 1.7 kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a 1,375 square mile research center located 65 miles north of Las Vegas. This first-ever underground test was part of a series of 29 nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons safety tests conducted at the NTS between May 28, 1957, and October 7, 1957. At the time, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were engaged in a Cold War and a nuclear weapons arms race. In the 1996,the United States signed a Test Ban
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Who Thought of That?

<Disposable razor blades were invented by King C. Gillette (1855-1932)

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Heroes & Trailblazers

Women in Politics: An Equality Emergency

While the mid-term elections involved the constant media coverage of several female candidates (O'Donnell, Angle, McMahon, et al), the current tally shows that even when... continue »

Gold Rush Dog: Nero

Nero was a big St. Bernard who became an important figure during the... continue »
What can one person do? Read some of the stories on this site; you'll see that they revolve around single individuals who worked toward change.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead