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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
  • 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...

    Rinda, Daughter of Rin-Tin-Tin Learn More »

  • 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....

    President H.W. Bush’s Service Dog Learn More »

  • 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...

    St. Bernard in TV Show Topper Learn More »

  • 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...

    Sculptor of Rushmore Gutzon Borglum Learn More »

  • 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...

    Louis Armstrong’s Childhood Learn More »

  • 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...

    P.T. Barnum’s Early Career 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 September 20, 1973, Billie Jean King, 29, beat Bobby Riggs, 55, a former No. 1 ranked men’s player.  Riggs had long proclaimed that women could not play tennis as well as men, and this event was a well-publicized “Battle of the Sexes.”
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Who Thought of That?


Days of thanks date to colonial times, but Sarah J. Hale was the first person to campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.

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Heroes & Trailblazers

The Dogs of Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) served the country honorably and held to the reforms he believed in, yet he is best remembered as “Rutherfraud B. Hayes”... continue »

Women in Medicine: Little Known Crusaders Who Have Made a Difference

On March 4, 2014 I was invited to Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, to help them celebrate Women’s History Month.... 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