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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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  • What Was the U.S. Bracero Program?

    The Bracero Program was a guest worker program begun in a partnership between the United States and Mexico on August 4, 1942. It was a vital part of the development of the agricultural industry in the United States during...

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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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  • Louisa May Alcott’s Home: Orchard House

    Little Women is destined to be one of the big holiday movies of 2019, entertaining audiences with the warmth and love of the four March sisters and their beloved Marmee. What viewers may not realize is that director Greta...

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  • Creator of Tarzan: Edgar Rice Burroughs

    Edgar Rice Burroughs did not start writing until he was 36, but he eventually became one of the most successful authors of the 20th century. His Tarzan books sold 25 million copies worldwide, and the series spun off into...

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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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  • Cranberries and Thanksgiving: The Origin

    Cranberries are one of only a handful of commercially-farmed fruits that are native to North America. But the sweet relish we enjoy at Thanksgiving is quite a bit different from the original tart fruit eaten by Native Americans.

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  • Johnny Appleseed Debunked

    The Johnny Appleseed story we usually hear is a folk legend. However, his story is based on the life of John Chapman, a man who traveled through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana planting apple seeds.

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  • Marcelino Serna: Highly Honored Soldier in World War I

    Marcelino Serna was still a Mexican citizen when he fought for the United States in World War I. He was smart at battlefield tactics, felt loyal to his fellow soldiers, and his efforts for the U.S. saved countless American...

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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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  • Jim the Wonder Dog: Was He Psychic?

    Jim the Wonder Dog caused quite a sensation in Missouri in the 1930s. He was a Llewellyn setter and was a very impressive bird dog, known for the number of birds he could spot and retrieve. But that wasn’t...

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  • Phineas Banning, Father of the L.A. Harbor

    Phineas Banning is known as the “Father of the Los Angeles Harbor.” He deserves that title and more. He arrived in the San Pedro/Los Angeles area with nothing in 1851. He found that his calling in addressing the transportation...

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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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  • Miniature Golf: Its Beginning

    Miniature golf was first patented by Garnet Carter (1883-1954) in 1931. Carter owned a hotel called the Fairyland Inn on Lookout Mountain (Georgia) near Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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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 January 23, 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in the U.S. to earn an M.D. She was granted her degree from Geneva College in New York (now known as Hobart). In 1857, after several years of private practice, she and her sister (also a doctor) founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. In 1868, the institution expanded to include a women’s college to train nurses and doctors, the first of its kind in America.

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Who Thought of That?


The first commercially-sold chewing gum was the idea of John Curtis who began selling it in the early 1850s.

Learn More »

Heroes & Trailblazers

Helena Rubinstein (1870-1965), Extraordinarily Successful Businesswoman

Created a product that launched in international empire Helena Rubinstein was the eldest of eight daughters born to a store owner and his wife in... continue »

The Other Lincoln Movie: Saving Lincoln

Just as Steven Spielberg filmed a little-known story of Lincoln and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, two other filmmakers, screenwriting duo Nina and Salvador... 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