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
  • Final Evacuation of Saigon Signaled by Song “White Christmas”

    By April 1975—after almost twenty years fighting in Vietnam–the United States began its pull-out. That winter the North Vietnamese pushed the South Vietnamese back forcefully and definitively. The Americans knew that it was over. They needed to pull out...

    Final Evacuation of Saigon Signaled by Song “White Christmas” Learn More »

  • White Christmas The Story Behind the Song

    Irving Berlin’s White Christmas has notched many top positions on “best-selling” and “most–recorded” lists. Exact numbers are difficult to pin down even by the careful staff of Guinness Book of World Records. The song—written in 1940-41 was introduced at...

    White Christmas  The Story Behind the Song Learn More »

  • Campbell Kids Creator Grace Drayton

    The creator of the iconic Campbell Kids was illustrator Grace Drayton (1877-1936), a highly successful artist, illustrator, and cartoonist. The Kids first appeared in 1904 and have been used on and off in advertising throughout Campbell Soup history. Today...

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  • Ronald Reagan’s Jelly Beans

    Ronald Reagan may have had a sweet tooth, but the true reason he began eating jelly beans was because he quit smoking.  Reagan, a former actor, was well-known for Chesterfield cigarette ads from the 1940s and ‘50s, but it...

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  • Isabel González and U.S. Citizenship for Puerto Ricans

    Isabel González was 20 years old and pregnant in 1902. She was traveling from her home in Puerto Rico to the United States, where the baby’s father moved to find a job in advance of González’s arrival. But at...

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  • Howard Johnson: Host of the Highway

    Restaurateur Howard Johnson made a name for himself by building a chain of roadside restaurants and motor lodges throughout the country.  Johnson emphasized quality control and a consistently good experience for his guests.

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  • Alice S. Wells: Among First Policewomen

    Alice Stebbins Wells (1873-1957) was among the earliest women hired to work in law enforcement in the United States. She urged passage of a law that would let her join the police force in Los Angeles, and in 1910,...

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  • First Rearview Mirror Marketed as “Cop-spotter”

    The first widely distributed rearview mirror for automobiles was sold as the “Cop-spotter” by a fellow named Elmer Berger. Available as an auto accessory, the “Cop-spotter” retailed in hardware stores for about $4. (Cars did not routinely have any...

    First Rearview Mirror Marketed as “Cop-spotter” Learn More »

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Its Origin

    Today Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the star of a popular holiday television special and a live stage show. The song, based on the story, was written in the late 1940s and is still frequently played on radio or...

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  • Buster Brown Shoes and Mary Janes

    “I’m Buster Brown, and I live in a shoe. That’s my dog, Tige, and he lives there, too,” went the jingle for Buster Brown shoes. The Brown Shoe Company began in 1878 as a partnership among three St. Louis...

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  • Mar-a-Lago: The Winter White House

    Mar-a-Lago, now owned by presidential candidate Donald Trump, was built by Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) in the 1920s.

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  • The Triple Nickles: Army’s First Black Paratroopers

    The Triple Nickles, as the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was Triple Nickleknown, were a remarkable, highly-disciplined company of African American paratroopers who paved the way for integration in...

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  • White Castle Hamburgers: The Story

    White Castle holds the title of being the first fast-food restaurant inthe world. Their original hamburger eatery opened in Wichita, White Castle BLOOMINGTON, MN
    Getty Images

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  • “Kilroy Was Here”-A Story from World War II

    Kilroy was hereThe words, “Kilroy was here,” alongside a drawing of a long-nosed, bald fellow peering over a fence still pop up occasionally on walls and buildings today....

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  • The First Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

    Today the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a worldwide symbol of opulence and the grand life of those who live in New York City, but this wasn’t how the tree began its story.

    The First Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Learn More »

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
This
Day

On December 16, 1773, Massachusetts colonists boarded three British tea ships in Boston Harbor and dumped overboard 342 chests of tea. The Boston Tea Party was in protest of what the colonists saw as taxation tyranny and manipulation of the American market. British Parliament was furious at the destruction of $18,000 worth of property. They passed the Intolerable Acts, which established British military rule in Massachusetts. The colonists

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Who Thought of That?


The home security camera was first patented by Marie Van Brittan Brown, a nurse, was concerned about her own home security. It was the forerunner of all home security systems today.

Learn More »

Heroes & Trailblazers

The All American Red Heads, Women’s Professional Basketball Team, 1936-1986

The All American Red Heads, a women's professional basketball... continue »

Mae West Life Preserver: Countless Owe Lives to It

Most of the time, it’s the little things that count. Anyone in the military knows that the mode of transport and the types of firepower... continue »
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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