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Stories of America’s Past

Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of regular people who made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around and see what inspires you! — Kate Kelly

Willis Carrier, Inventor of Air Conditioning

Today we take air conditioning for granted. There can be community “brown-outs,” household power outages, or families who prefer open windows. But for the most part, Americans are able to spend a good deal of their time in a climate-controlled environment.   However, the invention of air conditioning had little to …
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Borden Baby Book Returned by “Photo Angel”

Baby books, vintage photographs, partially filled photo albums—we’ve all seen these in antique stores and at flea markets. Photo from Borden Baby Book Who were these people? And how did their photos end up in a “for sale” bin? Kate Kelley (no relation) is a special education teacher who lives in Attleboro, Massachusetts, …
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University of Arizona Special Collections; Ina Gittings on the pole vault

Trailblazer For Women in Sports: Ina Gittings

Title IX–the law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in any programs or activities in all federally funded educational institutions—was instrumental to bringing women into athletics.  University of Arizona Special Collections But pioneers in women’s sports had to precede the hard-fought battle for a law.  Ina (pronounced Eena) Gittings was among the women …
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curb cut in use

Curb Cuts: They Have a History!

Curb cuts—the slight slope from a sidewalk to a roadway—are preferred by most people: walkers, bikers, and parents pushing children in strollers—yet they came about only because of a hard-fought battle by disability rights activists. Enjoy them, use them, just don’t ever take them for granted. The Issue With Curbs For most people, …
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Sacagawea: Only Woman to Accompany the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Sacagawea, a Native American woman from a Hidatsa Village in North Dakota, accompanied Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery in their exploration of the West. The journey was the first official opportunity to explore the Louisiana Purchase President Thomas Jefferson obtained from France in 1803. Sacagawea (1788-1869) was one of the …
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On
This
Day

On July 3, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg entered Day 3. Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s men made a final attempt to break the Union line. When Pickett’s Charge failed, the siege neared a conclusion. Both armies held their positions until the night of July 4, when Lee withdrew. The Confederates needed to regroup, and the Army of the Potomac was too weak to pursue them. Lee led his army out of the North, never to invade it again.

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Part of the inspiration for this site comes from this remark: “People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things – simply told.”

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
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