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
  • Campbell Kids Creator Grace Drayton

    The creator of the iconic Campbell Kids was illustrator Grace Drayton (1877-1936), a highly successful artist, illustrator, and cartoonist. The Kids first appeared in 1904 and have been used on and off in advertising throughout Campbell Soup history. Today...

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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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  • Isabel González and U.S. Citizenship for Puerto Ricans

    Isabel González was 20 years old and pregnant in 1902. She was traveling from her home in Puerto Rico to the United States, where the baby’s father moved to find a job in advance of González’s arrival. But at...

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  • Howard Johnson: Host of the Highway

    Restaurateur Howard Johnson made a name for himself by building a chain of roadside restaurants and motor lodges throughout the country.  Johnson emphasized quality control and a consistently good experience for his guests.

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  • Alice S. Wells: Among First Policewomen

    Alice Stebbins Wells (1873-1957) was among the earliest women hired to work in law enforcement in the United States. She urged passage of a law that would let her join the police force in Los Angeles, and in 1910,...

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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...

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  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Its Origin

    Today Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is the star of a popular holiday television special and a live stage show. The song, based on the story, was written in the late 1940s and is still frequently played on radio or...

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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 First Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

    Today the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a worldwide symbol of opulence and the grand life of those who live in New York City, but this wasn’t how the tree began its story.

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  • The First Seeing Eye Dog is Used in America in 1928

    In the early twentieth century, those without sight were marginalized members of society. They had no job options and no mobility, and had to rely on the kindness of someone...

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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 December 13, 2000, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore reluctantly conceded defeat to Republican nominee George W. Bush. After the election, Gore led in the popular vote, but wrangling over votes in Florida led to a recount to determine how to cast the state’s electoral votes. The Supreme Court ruled in Bush’s favor, giving the Electoral College to Bush 271 to 266.

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Who Thought of That?


The concept of the presidential debates originated with Fred Kahn who was a Holocaust survivor. Kahn came to the U.S. and joined the Army. In 1956 while attending the University of Maryland on the G.I. Bill he began pushing for debates between the candidates to help educate voters.

Learn More »

Heroes & Trailblazers

Ice Cream Cones: The True Story

The ice cream cone is said to have originated at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, in... continue »

Patsy Matsu Takemoto Mink (1927-2002), Pressed for Passage of Title IX

First woman of color in U.S. Congress First Asian-American in Congress First woman to represent Hawaii Patsy Takemoto Mink served two separate stints in the... 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