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What Happened in Past Januarys?

31 Dec 2012 | Posted Under History


January 1, 1787 - Benjamin Franklin published "Thoughts Upon Female Education."  It was Franklin, by the way, who had proposed the turkey rather than the eagle as the national bird!


January 1, 1863 - The Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.


January 1, 1892 - Ellis Island Immigrant Station opened. Many years before he became Mayor of New York City, Fiorello LaGuardia was an interpreter there.


January 1, 1898 - Greater New York was created by joining together what are now the five boroughs. Before that New York City referred only to Manhattan. Brooklyn had been one of the largest cities in America before that date. Many Brooklynites did not want to join Greater New York. Parts of what is now the Bronx had joined earlier.


January 2, 1831 - "The Liberator," an abolitionist newspaper, was published for the first time.


January 3, 1793 - Lucretia Mott, a reformer, antislavery and women's rights activist was born. She was an organizer of the Women's Rights conference in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, the beginning of the women's rights movement.


January 5, 1925  - The first woman governor in the United Sates, Mrs. Nellie Ross, took office in Wyoming, completing her husband's term of office.


January 5, 1943, George Washington Carver, an African-American agricultural scientist and educator, died. He was an inventor who found hundreds of uses for peanuts and soybeans, etc.  His discoveries and inventions had an impact on products from peanut butter to cosmetics, and many others as well.


January 8, 1778 - France offered an alliance with the American states during the American Revolution.


January 9, 1788 - Connecticut was the fifth state to ratify the United States Constitution.


January 9, 1866 - Fisk University was founded.


January 10, 1776 - Thomas Paine published "Common Sense." This pamphlet rallied people to the cause of the Patriots in the months after the Battle of Bunker Hill and before the Declaration of Independence.


January 10, 1866 - The Georgia Equal Right Association was organized.


January 10, 1902 - The cornerstone of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street was laid. The Library is about to undergo a controversial renovation.


January 10, 1879 - Marie Younger, a reformer and suffragette, was born.


January 11, 1755 - The first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, was born. His wife Elisabeth Schuyler Hamilton was one of the founders of the Orphan Asylum Society in 1806, today's Graham Windham.


January 12, 1737 - John Hancock was born. He was President of the Continental Congress. His signature is the largest on the Declaration of Independence and led to the saying when someone wants someone's signature: "Give me your John Hancock."


January 15, 1929 - Civil Rights leader the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born. One of his most famous speeches is his "I Have a Dream" speech.


January 16, 1920 -  Prohibition went into effect in the United States. It was repealed in December 1934.


Editor's Note: It is interesting to read Elliott Roosevelt's mysteries about his mother, Eleanor Roosevelt, during Prohibition and the nightly drinks!


January 18, 1778 - Capt. James Cook was the first European to sight the Hawaiian Islands.


January 23, 1779 - Congress offered $100 to every man who enlisted in the army during the American Revolution.


January 21, 1928 - The IRT elevated subway to Flushing was completed.


January 22, 1832 - Molly McCauley, aka Molly Pitcher, a heroine of the American battlefield during the American Revolution, died. She had carried water to the soldiers.


January 25, 1915 - Alexander Graham Bell, who was in New York City, called Dr. Thomas Watson in San Francisco -- the first transcontinental telephone call. (What would he think about cell phones?)


January 25, 1961 - President John Fitzgerald Kennedy held the first live presidential news conference before a television audience.


January 27, 1961 - Leontyne Price made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in Manhattan. She was the first African-American to sing on that stage. (Editor's Note: I got to go to one of her performances which was extraordinary!)


January 27, 1849 - The Free Academy, the forerunner of the City College of New York, opened.


January 30, 1836 - Betsy Ross, legendary maker of the first American flag, was born. This "fact" is in dispute. Some believe that the design was based on the Washington family seal from George Washington's ancestors who lived in England.  (Editor's Note: I saw a window in his family's ancestral home which had a stained glass section with stars and stripes.)


January 30, 1882 - Future Governor of New York and the only President elected to four terms as President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was born.



Until next month,


Historically yours,



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