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

Business Ventures

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... continue »

Jelly Beans: Candy History

Jelly beans in America probably date to the early 19th century. The first known mention of this candy was in a Boston newspaper in 1861.... continue »

Walter Knott: Farmer and Theme Park Pioneer

Walter Knott (1889-1981) is best remembered for creating Knott’s Berry Farm, now a popular amusement park. He deserves to be remembered for many more contributions... continue »

X-Ray Shoe-Fitting Machine

The X-ray shoe-fitting machine (fluoroscope) was a common fixture in American shoe stores during the 1930s-50s. In ads, the machines were touted as a new... continue »

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.... continue »

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... continue »

The Fuller Brush Man

The Fuller Brush man is an iconic part of America’s past.  He became part of popular culture via movies and cartoon characters, and during his... continue »

Animal Photographer Harry Whittier Frees

Harry Whittier Frees (1879-1953) became an animal photographer solely by accident. When Harry was a teen, the Frees family gathered for a birthday celebration. Someone... continue »

Borden Dairy: The Beginning

The Borden Dairy company is an extraordinarily old American company. It was started by Gail Borden, Jr. (1801-1874) in the decade before the Civil War.... continue »

Elsie the Cow, Borden Marketing Mascot

Elsie the Cow is one of the most famous marketing mascots ever created. She has been more popular than the Pillsbury Doughboy, better than the... continue »

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, BLOOMINGTON,... continue »

Amanda Theodosia Jones, Inventor and Owner of All-Woman Business

Amanda Theodosia Jones (1835-1914) was a multi-talented woman who was a prolific inventor and a frequently published writer.  Her inventions were in two very different... continue »