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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
  • 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.

    Water Safety Taught by This Man in 1900s Learn More »

  • 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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  • 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 »

  • 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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  • Sarah Keys Evans: Taking a Stand for Civil Rights

    Sarah Keys Evans did not intend to take a stand for civil rights in 1952 when she boarded an interstate bus in Trenton, New Jersey. She was on leave from Fort Dix where she served in the Women’s Army...

    Sarah Keys Evans: Taking a Stand for Civil Rights Learn More »

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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."

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Who Thought of That?


Hattie Carnegie pioneered the idea of head-to-hem shops in the 1920s.

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Heroes & Trailblazers

Sarah E. Goode, (ca.1850-1909), Inventor

First African-American woman to get a patent Sarah Jacob was born into slavery in about 1850; she gained her freedom at the end of the... continue »

First American Woman to Build a Cosmetics Empire: Harriet Hubbard Ayer

How many innovative and important women from the late 19th and early 20th century remain in the shadows of history? In the field of cosmetics,... 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