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  • The Gettysburg Cyclorama: The Movie of Its Day

    Most of us love going to the movies. Whether we are there to be entertained, enlightened, or to be exposed to other worlds, we love sitting in the darkened theater to “be told a new story.” One hundred and...

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  • Gas Station to Gas Empire: Gilmore

    In the 1870s, Arthur Gilmore and Julius Carter first met in Southern California where they were both prospecting for gold. As it became clear that their “get rich quick” plan wasn’t working, the two of them bought a dairy...

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  • Reckless: The Horse That Was a Marine

    One of America’s heroes in the Korean War was a horse that was a Marine. With no rider and no escort, the horse—called Reckless—carried munitions to American soldiers on the front line. On her return to the base (also...

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  • Eugene Bullard, First Black Military Pilot

    Eugene Bullard was the world’s first black military pilot, but he didn’t fly for his own country. He was born in the United States–Columbus, Georgia–in 1895 and fought for France during World War I. He was living in Paris...

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  • Cherry Trees Brought to D.C. By Helen Taft

    The cherry blossom trees that bloom so beautifully along the Potomac in Washington, D.C. are a huge and very deserving tourist attraction each spring. The story of these trees is that they were given to the U.S. by the...

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  • Alice Dunnigan: First Black Woman Reporter to Cover White House

    Alice Dunnigan broke new ground by becoming one of the first black White House correspondents; she was the first to travel with a U.S. president (but she had to pay her own way); and she was also first to...

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  • Garrett A. Morgan: Successful Inventor of Safety Hood/Traffic Signal

    Garrett A. Morgan was a prolific inventor who should be remembered for the safety devices he created. Both the safety hood (forerunner of a gas mask) he patented and the three-way traffic signal provided the basis for designs we...

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  • President Taft’s Cow

    When President Taft took office, Mrs. Taft insisted they buy a cow to be kept at the White House. She knew that Washington, D.C. did not have dairies nearby. Her husband was well-known for his appetite, and their youngest...

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  • Bill Mauldin: WWII Cartoonist Won 2 Pulitzer Prizes

    Bill Mauldin was a young artist in World War II who created a cartoon featuring two mud-covered, combat-weary infantrymen, Willie and Joe. Mauldin’s work appeared in U.S. military newspapers where his foxhole-level view of the military brightened the spirits...

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  • Gideon Sundback’s Invention of the Zipper

    Gideon Sundback is credited with inventing the first zipper, but he was not the first to patent the device.  Sundback, however, created the first zipper to work well, and he also invented the machine that could make these fasteners...

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  • Ida Rosenthal: Pioneered Bra Industry with Maidenform

    Ida Rosenthal emigrated from Russia in the early 1900s and supported her family as a dressmaker. As she responded to the marketplace, she and a partner soon crafted dresses with built-in bras—freeing women from corsets. Because the dress designs...

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  • Yukon King, Dog Star of “Sgt. Preston of the Yukon”

    A dog named King, an Alaskan malamute, played the heroic companion to Royal Canadian Mountie Sergeant Preston on the 1955 television show, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.  The TV show was based on a long-running radio program called Challenge...

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  • Helen Keller’s Dogs

    Helen Keller’s life was filled with dogs. Though she was born before dogs were being trained as guide dogs for the blind, Keller knew what dog lovers around the world know—dogs are great companions. “A dog never let me...

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  • Collie Travels 2500 Miles to Return to Oregon Home

    In the 1920s, a collie mix was separated from his family in Wolcott, Indiana, where the family vacationed the summer of 1923. Frank and Elizabeth Brazier and their two daughters, Nova and Leona, lived in Silverton, Oregon, along the...

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  • WWII WASP Mascot Created by Roald Dahl and Disney Studios

    Roald Dahl and Walt Disney Studios collaborated to create what became the mascot for the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). She was a fairy-like female gremlin known as Fifinella.

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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 July 8, 1776, the Liberty Bell rang from the tower of Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall) to summon citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. The document had been approved by the Continental Congress on July 4, but the bell was not rung to announce its completion until July 8 when printed copies were delivered. (The bell had been used for Pennsylvania state matters, but this tolling  is the one for which it is famous.)

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Who Thought of That?


Amanda Theodsia Jones invented a new way to preserve and can food; she also improved the oil burner.

Learn More »

Heroes & Trailblazers

Jane Addams (1860-1935), Advocate for the Poor and Activist for Peace

Jane AddamsFounder of the settlement house movementRecognized worldwide for her work with the poorFirst American woman to receive the Nobel Peace... continue »

Eighty Years to Right a Wrong

Baseball, Politics and the Press A significant... 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