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 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

    The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was an all-female black military unit created in 1944. These women are among the unsung heroes of World War II. The work they accomplished—hand-processing warehouses-full of undelivered mail--brought comfort to countless American soldiers who longed fo »

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  • Allen Hoskins, Played Farina in Our Gang

    Allen Hoskins (1920-1980) was just 14 months old when he was cast as Farina in Hal Roach’s “Little Rascals.” (These film shorts became better known as the Our Gang comedies.) Because Hoskins was so young when he started, he outlasted many of the other players and provided stability to the film »

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  • Dr. May Chinn, Harlem Physician and Cancer Researcher

    May Edward Chinn made significant contributions to medicine in both cancer diagnosis and as the only woman doctor in Harlem in the 1920s. Early Life (more…) »

    Dr. May Chinn, Harlem Physician and Cancer Researcher Learn More »

  • Alice Cogswell: Bright Child Who Inspired Education for Deaf in U.S.

    Alice Cogswell (1805-1830) was two years old when she suffered “spotted fever” (likely meningitis). She recovered but lost her ability to hear. Her bright, inquisitive manner attracted the attention of neighbor Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787-1851).  After getting to know Alice, Gallaudet was in »

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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 sort of mirrors until the late 1920s.) We th »

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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 businessmen: George Brown, Alvin L. Bryan, and Jerome Desnoyers. George Warren Brown was the »

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  • Mar-a-Lago: The Winter White House

    Mar-a-Lago, owned by President Donald Trump, was built by Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887-1973) in the 1920s. The cereal heiress wanted a winter retreat for herself and her second husband, Edward F. Hutton. She was said to have climbed through the jungle-like undergrowth with a real estate agent in »

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  • The Triple Nickles: Army’s First Black Paratroopers

    The Triple Nickles, as the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion was known, were a remarkable, highly-disciplined company of African American paratroopers who paved the way for integration in the military. They also overcame military skepticism by proving that African Americans could excel at jobs that »

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  • Martin Luther King Jr. on The Declaration of Independence

    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left us with many inspirational thoughts, so it is never easy to pick just one. However, recently, I came upon part of a sermon he gave at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, on or near July 4 of 1965. In it, he references the second paragraph of The Declaration of… »

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  • Who Invented the Shopping Cart?

    The shopping cart was invented in the mid-1930s by Sylvan N. Goldman (1898-1984). Goldman ran a grocery store chain called Humpty Dumpty, and he observed that shoppers struggled with the “hand carry” shopping baskets. “They had a tendency to stop shopping when the baskets became too full or to »

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  • Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle’s Dog, Luke

    Fatty Arbuckle’s dog, Luke, was one of the most talented stars of silent films.  In a day when camera tricks were technologically not possible, Luke is seen jumping from one wall on a building rooftop to another narrow wall across the way. He climbs from ground to roof via ladders, leaps into win »

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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, Kansas in 1921. The restaurant was the start of what has become a multi-billion dollar fast food industry. (White Castle predated McDonald’s by many years. The first »

    White Castle Hamburgers: The Story Learn More »

  • Bubble Gum: How Dubble Bubble was Invented

    Bubble gum.  Few adults chew it, but all of us surely chewed the delightful pink stuff while growing up:  the sweet smell when unwrapping the paper, the powdery sugar that came off on one’s fingers, the fun  of reading the funnies wrapped inside, and the thrill of blowing giant bubbles or even »

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  • Abraham Lincoln’s Patent: The Only President-Inventor

    To read this patent application today is to be transported to a time before the name, Abraham Lincoln, carried such import---before he was the President who led our country through a war that literally could have torn the country in two. The application begins: “Be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln »

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  • The Invention of the Polygraph

    The lie detector—or polygraph machine--was first created by John Augustus Larson (1892-1965), a part-time employee of the Berkley Police Department who was earning his Ph.D. in physiology at the University of California at Berkeley. In studying interrogations taking place in the police department, »

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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 This Day


On February 25, 1870, Hiram Rhoades Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, was sworn in as a U.S. senator, becoming the first African American ever to sit in Congress. Revels was elected by the Mississippi legislature to fill the Senate seat once held by Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy.  Revels and some 15 other African American men served in Congress during Reconstruction, more than 600 served in state legislatures, and hun
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Who Thought of That?


The Pledge of Allegiance was written by the men behind a popular 19th century magazine, Youth's Companion.

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American Presidents and Their Families

Fala, FDR’s Beloved Dog

The year was 1940 and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), the 32nd president of the United States had been in office since 1933, governing through the... continue »

A Newfoundland in the White House with President Buchanan

The Newfoundland that had the run of the White House from 1857-1861 was the beloved pet of our 15th president, James Buchanan (1791-1868). The 170-pound... 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