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.

Mary Lincoln’s Shopping Habits in Perspective

Mary LincolnMary 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 would not take office until March of 1861, Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882) found herself under constant scrutiny for where she went, what she purchased, and what she said from November 1860 forward. Mary, who came from a well-to-do family, understood the pressure she was under and wanted to succeed at fulfilling the role of First Lady.

Press reports then and now have subjected Mary to great criticism for her spending habits. While she ultimately caused great stress for herself and the President over her expenditures, her shopping can be better understood when examined in context. Continue reading

cute baby in diaper
Inventions are the ultimate result of successful problem-solving. But how on earth did people come up with the first ideas for luxuries (and now necessities) as disposable diapers, the dishwasher, the cell phone, and blue jeans? Recently I have been asked to speak on this topic to… Continue reading »

Hispanic leader
America Comes Alive has profiled several Latino leaders during the past few weeks as part of Hispanic Heritage Month. Today I would like to point out a few of the impressive people we’ve highlighted: Adelina Otero-Warren (1881-1965) was active in the suffrage movement in New Mexico. She became… Continue reading »

Rosenwald Schools
The 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.  The school-building program was the idea of educator Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) who approached Julius Rosenwald, (1862-1932), the president of… Continue reading »

Ellen Ochoa
Ellen Ochoa (1958-   ) is a veteran astronaut who was chosen for four space flights and has almost one thousand flight hours to her credit.  She was the first Latina to be chosen as an astronaut, and she is now director… Continue reading »

Carlos Finlay
The cause of yellow fever was identified by Dr. Carlos Finlay (1833-1915), a Cuban physician who was instrumental in reducing the incidence of yellow fever in tropical climates throughout the world. In the United States, this was important in the southern states where the weather was often… Continue reading »

Pedro-Guerrero
Art school dropout who became Frank Lloyd Wright’s exclusive photographer Pedro Guerrero was born in Casa Grande, Arizona on September 5, 1917. His family had been in Arizona for several generations before the territory achieved statehood. His great-grandfather had settled in a little town known as Florence in… Continue reading »

oterowarren_350
One of first female government officials in New Mexico First New Mexican woman and the first Latina to run for national office Suffragist Born into a well-to-do family that traced its heritage to eleventh-century Spain, Adelina “Nina” Maria Isabel Emilia Otero was born in 1881 in Las Lunas, New Mexico. Otero-Warren was… Continue reading »

MARY
We often read stories of families traveling west by wagon train. However, recently I was introduced to a reminiscence of a woman’s childhood journey to California from Ohio via the Isthmus of Panama.  The family opted for the route that took the least time, traveling from Ohio to… Continue reading »

George Washington
George Washington’s teeth were bad, and he lost many of them while still young. This fact about our first president is generally well-known as much has been written about his dentures. The story of his teeth reveals a great deal about the state of dentistry during his lifetime,… Continue reading »

458324551 (1)
Those of us who were alive on September 11, 2001 will never live long enough to forget that day.  Whether we witnessed it on television, from the streets of Manhattan or D.C. or from farther away, there was the horror of watching the extraordinarily bright blue skies… Continue reading »



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."

This Day in History

On November 4, 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter and his workmen discovered the entrance to the tomb of Egypt’s boy-king, King Tutankhamen. Explorers before Carter had looked for Tut’s tomb but until 1922 it remained hidden from view.  Most of the contents of the tomb are now housed in the Cairo Museum.

 

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