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
  • 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...

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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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  • 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...

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  • 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...

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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 Rosenwald Schools: Schools for African-Americans in the Rural South

    Rosenwald SchoolsThe Rosenwald Schools  were built in the early 20th century as a solution to the scarcity of schools for African-Americans in the rural South at that time. ...

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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 April 27, 1865, the steamboat Sultana exploded on the Mississippi River, killing 1,700 passengers. During the Civil War, the Sultana carried troops along the lower Mississippi. On this trip, the steamboat left New Orleans, stopping at Vicksburg for repairs. The captain took on many Union soldiers heading north as the government paid well for them. They were soon carrying more than six times capacity. Just above Memphis, the boiler blew, killing hundreds. Only 600 people survived.
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Who Thought of That?


The story of Elmer's Glue is about the creation of a new product but also about the strength of a top-flight marketing campaign.

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Heroes & Trailblazers

First Animal Shelter in U.S. Due to Caroline Earle White

The first animal shelter in America came about due to the efforts of Caroline Earle White (1833-1916) of Philadelphia. White was also the power behind... continue »

Mary Lincoln’s Shopping Habits in Perspective

Mary Lincoln’s shopping habits and most other aspects of her life made news once Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) won the presidential election of 1860. Though Lincoln... 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