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March Historic Notes

24 Feb 2016 | Posted Under History


March 1, 1781 - Maryland ratified the Articles of Confederation which were the first form of government of the former American Colonies after the Declaration of Independence. It was supplanted by the Constitution. (See March 4th)

March 1, 1844 - Lillian M. N. Stevens who was a temperance reformer was born. She headed the Maine Women's Christian Temperance Union for many years.

 March 1, 1872 - President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law the act creating the first national park, Yellowstone, in Wyoming.

March 1, 1961 - The Peace Corps was established in President John F. Kennedy's administration.

March 4, 1781 - Rebecca Gratz was born. She started a Hebrew Sunday School in Philadelphia and also the Female Association for the Relief of Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances. In 1815 she founded the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum. She was a friend of Sarah Hoffman, a founder of the New York Orphan Asylum in New York City, today's Graham Windham. See March 15th.

March 4, 1789 - The first session of the United States Congress was held in Manhattan which was then the capital of the new Nation. At that point, NYC consisted only of Manhattan.

March 4, 1797 - The Articles of Confederation were replaced by the United States Constitution.

March 4, 1861 - President Abraham Lincoln's first inauguration. Inauguration Day used to be March 4th.

March 5, 1853 - Steinway & Sons, piano makers, formed a partnership and opened its first factory on Varick Street in Lower Manhattan.

March 9, 1976 - The first female cadets entered the United States Military Academy at West Point.

March 10, 1876 - Alexander Graham Bell tested the first telephone in his Boston home, calling his assistant who was in the next room.

March 11-12, 1888 - "The Great Blizzard of 1888" blanketed New York City (then only Manhattan). Many telegraph wires came down. This led to putting  wires underground in Manhattan. It affected the Northeast.  The only way for people in NYC to contact Boston or Washington was via the Atlantic Cable and London! The cable had been laid down in 1857, a monumental feat.

Google or Bing or Yahoo  "The Great Blizzard of 1888"  to see some wonderful photos! Really worth a look. No trucks to remove snow, no trains running, no long-term weather forecasts, no TV or radio for the news, just the papers if they got published and the newsboys shouting out the news of the day!  SO WORTH A LOOK AT THE PHOTOS!

And, ladies, imagine navigating the streets in long dresses and corsets! And men had their top hats, of course.

March 11, 1959 - Lorraine Hansberry's play, A Raisin in the Sun, opened on Broadway. It was the first play produced on Broadway written by an African-American woman. The director, Lloyd Richards, was the first African-American director to have a play on Broadway. Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee starred in it.

March 12, 1777 - The Continental Congress voted to buy blankets for the soldiers during the American Revolution.

March 12, 1871 - Jane Delano was born. She was a pioneer in women's nursing and worked extensively with the Red Cross. She was also Director of the Army Nurse Corps. After World War I ended, she went to France  to work there. She became ill and died. She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

March 12, 1993 - Janet Reno became the first female Attorney General of the United States.

March 14, 1629 - England granted a Royal Charter to the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. The Puritans arrived the next year and settled in Boston and surrounding towns. They were led by the first governor, John Winthrop.  The Colony was separate from Plymouth Colony. They later  joined to become Massachusetts, first as a colony and then a state.

Note: Reading Winthrop's diary is fascinating. I spent, so to speak, years with them. for my thesis. A good novel is Anya Seton's That Winthrop Woman, about his daughter-in-law Elizabeth  who had to leave because she was a follower of Anne Hutchinson in their "religious wars." She settled on Long Island and Hutchinson in more tolerant Rhode Island. His son had died. 

March 14, 1879 - Albert Einstein was born. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.

March 14, 1927 - Subway Service on the IRT Flushing Line was extended to Times Square in Manhattan.

March 15, 1806 - The Orphan Asylum Society was founded by Mrs. Isabella Graham, her daughter, Mrs. Joanna Bethune, and Mrs. Alexander Hamilton (the widow of the first Secretary of the Treasury who was killed in a duel in 1804.) In 1977, it merged with Windham which was originally The Society for the Relief of Half-Orphans which had been founded in 1835. Today it is Graham Windham , a child care agency, which assists thousands of children and families. 

March 15, 1913 - President Woodrow Wilson held the first presidential press conference.

March 20, 1778 - King Louis XVI of France officially received American dignitaries as allies during the American Revolution.

March 21, 1965 - More than 3,000 people, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., began the Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

March 22, 1972 - The Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution was passed by the Senate and sent to the states for ratification. It has never been ratified.

March 23, 1903 - Orville and Wilbur Wright filed a patent for their airplane design.

March 24, 1996 - Shannon Lucid, an American astronaut, boarded the Mir Space Station, becoming the first female astronaut to live on a space station. 

March 26, 1930 - Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, was born. Now there are three women Justices on the Court

March 26, 1953 - Dr. Jonas Salk successfully tested a vaccine against polio.

March 30,1776 -  Phillis Wheatley, the first African-American  published poet,  wrote a poem entitled:

"To His Excellency General Washington: Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side." At this time the Continental Congress was meeting in what came to be called Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It was four months after that the Declaration of Independence was voted on and passed.

March 30, 1867 - The United States bought Alaska from Russia. It was called Seward's Folly after Secretary of State William Seward.

HAPPY SPRING & Daylight Savings Time

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Historically yours,

Until next month,

Phyllis Barr




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