On This Day
On This Day

July 10, 1905

 

Mildred Wirt Benson born.

A dedicated journalist for 60 years who introduced the world to Nancy Drew.

On This Day

“I always wanted to be a writer from the time I could walk.”

  • Born in rural Iowa; few opportunities for women outside the home.
  • Her parents encouraged her writing pursuits; she won her 1st writing award at age 14.
  • First student (man or woman) to earn master’s in journalism at Univ. of Iowa.
  • Her first trip to NYC changed everything…
On This Day

Creating Nancy Drew

  • Benson met kids book publisher Edward Stratemeyer who had ideas, but needed ghost writers.
  • Benson wrote 23 of 30 original Nancy Drew stories, establishing Nancy’s determination & bravery.
  • She wrote the 2nd & 3rd stories in the series at age 24.
  • Paid $125 per booksigned away rights to royalties on books, movies & board games.
On This Day

Enduring Popularity

“The heroines of girls’ books back then were all namby-pamby. I wanted to do something different.”

  • Nancy Drew fans say the books allowed girls & young women to imagine anything was possible at a time when females struggled for equality.
  • Series still in print, selling over 200M books in 17 languages.
On This Day

Mystery Solved!

  • All of the Nancy Drew books written under the ghost name “Carolyn Keene” – chosen by the publisher.
  • Benson legally prevented from publicly revealing her identity as the series author.
  • In 1980 Benson testified in a court case involving the publisher and her name became known.
On This Day

Not only was she a writer & journalist for 58 years (at the AP, Toledo Times & Toledo Blade), Benson became a pilot, amateur archaeologist & adventurer much like Nancy Drew. She worked at the newspaper until the day she died - at age 96.

view sources

Read
On This Day

Still Turning Heads

 

 

 

The bikini turns 72 today.
Named for – of all things – a nuclear test site, it ended up making a bang of its own.

On This Day

Scandalous History

  • Bikini was invented by (who else?) a Frenchman, Louis Reard.
  • Named after a nuclear test site off the Bikini Atoll in Pacific Ocean.
  • No Parisian model would wear his revealing design so he got a nude dancer to model it.
  • NOT the first 2-piece swimsuit, but the first to show navel.
  • Banned in numerous countries, Vatican called it sinful.
On This Day

Less is Much, Much More

  • There were actually TWO French designers competing to make the tiniest swimsuit in 1946.
  • Reard’s winning design, two inverted triangles connected by string, used just 30 ins of fabric.
  • Reard shocked saying: 2-piece wasn’t a bikini “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.”
  • Fun fact: If the other design won out, we’d call a bikini an “atom.”
On This Day

The bikini didn't really catch on in America until the '60s, but by the '70s, it went from scandalous to ubiquitous. Last month, the Miss America contest said it will end its swimsuit competition which has been included since the 1st pageant in 1921.

view sources

Read
On This Day

Lady Liberty Arrives

June 19, 1885

 

 

The Statue of Liberty arrives into New York Harbor. Although 12M immigrants passed under her gaze, she was delivered (and constructed) years before Ellis Island opened.

On This Day

How Did Liberty Arrive?

  • 350 separate pieces; 214 crates.
  • A decade late. France wanted to gift “Liberty Enlightening the World” for the centennial of the Declaration of Independence (1776). Lack of funds held back production. Eventually both USA/FR raised enough $$ through charity, lottery, donation etc.
Click Here: Newspaper
On This Day

Liberty & Immigration

  • Statue of Liberty fully constructed in 1886; immigration wasn’t sole focus of statue, but celebration of American democracy overall.
  • Ellis Island Immigration Station opened in 1892.
  • Famous Lazarus poem “Give me your tired, your poor” written in 1883 and engraved on base 10 years later in 1903.
On This Day

"Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles" READ FULL POEM:

view sources

Read
On This Day

One Giant Leap for WOMANkind

 

 

 

 

On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the 1st American woman in space.

On This Day

“When I was a little girl, I dreamed of flying in space. Amazingly enough, and I still can’t believe it, that dream came true. And through hard work and a good education, all of you will reach for the stars and that dream will come true for you.”

Sally Ride at the 2002 Sally Ride Science Club's Boston Science Festival
On This Day

About Dr. Sally Ride:

  • Born in 1951 in Los Angeles.
  • Earned bachelor’s, master’s & a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford.
  • Founded the Sally Ride Science Club in 2001 to encourage girls to pursue careers in math & science.
  • Named into the Astronauts Hall of Fame in 2003 & awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, a year after her death.
On This Day

WOMEN IN SPACE

According to NASA, there have been at least 71 female astronauts in the history of space exploration.

  • Ride was the THIRD woman in space.
  • The first two were Soviet cosmonauts.
On This Day

Ride was a huge STEM advocate education. In 2010, she helped found the Change the Education initiative, a CEO-led effort to raise student engagement and improve education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

view sources

Read
On This Day

D-Day June 6, 1944

74 YEARS AGO TODAY

“Two kinds of people are staying on this beach—the dead and those who are going to die.”

Col. George A. Taylor, commanding the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment, First Infantry Division, on Omaha Beach.
On This Day

Why It Matters

  • Largest naval, air & land operation in history.
  • D-Day allowed the allies (U.S., England, New Zealand, Poland, Australia, etc.) to gain strategic position in Europe vs. Hitler’s Germany.
  • Est. 6,603 Americans died June 6, 1944 (for context: this is more than the total number of Americans killed in the entire Iraq War).
On This Day

“Operation Overlord”

General Eisenhower commanded the invasion.

The invasion involved 5,000 ships, 1,200 planes and 100,000 ground troops assaulting bunkered German forces across five beaches code named: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

On This Day

“Well, is it or isn’t it the invasion?”

Adolf Hitler

On the day of the invasion, Hitler slept until noon. His staff was too scared to tell him of the attack.

D-Day signifies the beginning of the end for Hitler.

On This Day

From U.S. Army: "D in D-Day merely stands for Day. This coded designation was used for the day of any important invasion or military operation." President Eisenhower had a different take. Read More:

view sources

Read
On This Day

99 Years Ago Today:
19th Amendment Passes

 

The amendment protecting a woman’s right to vote is not even 100 years old & yet today, not only are a greater % of women registered to vote, but more women than men vote in pres. elections.

 

On This Day

The Women’s Vote

In 2016, Hillary Clinton received 54% of female votes.

Pres. Trump received 52% of the white female vote – the largest female voting bloc. This helped secure his victory.

FYI: 56% of women (compared to 44% of men) identify with, or lean toward, the Democratic Party.

On This Day

Why did it take so long?

In 1919, 41 years after it was first introduced, Congress passed the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote.

1 year, 2 months & 2 weeks later, the necessary three-fourths of the states ratified the 19th Amendment.

On Aug 18, 1920, Tennessee became the 36th and final state to ratify.

On This Day

Did you know that during the last census the United States was almost 50/50 women:men? So when there are more women than men voting...there are really MORE women than men voting!

view sources

Read
On This Day

MOTHER’S DAY IN AMERICA

Americans will spend an average of $180 this Mother’s Day.

Anna Jarvis, founder of Mother’s Day, would hate that fact.

On This Day
  • In 1908, Jarvis organized the 1st Mother’s Day in West Virginia to honor her late mom who organized “Mothers’ Work Days” to improve women’s working conditions.
  • By 1910, West Virginia made it a holiday, other states followed.
  • In 1914, Congress declared the 2nd Sunday in May (anniversary of Jarvis’ mom’s death) as Mother’s Day.
On This Day

By the 1920s, mothers nationwide were showered with candy, flowers, cards, & other gifts to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Jarvis, frustrated with the commercialization of the holiday, that she intended as a day to honor the role mothers play in the family, church, and community, spent the rest of her life fighting against its commercial success.

On This Day

Jarvis handed out at carnations at the first Mother's Day celebration in 1908. Today, carnations are the official flower of Mother's Day. Americans are expected to spend a whopping $2.6B on flowers alone. For more on Mother's Day:

view sources

Read
On This Day

Victory In Europe Day

73 Years Ago

“Humility must be the measure of a man whose success was brought with the blood of his subordinates, and paid for with the lives of his friends.”

General Eisenhower's words to British Parliament following Victory in Europe.
Flip: "Mission Fulfilled"
On This Day

V-E Day Ended WWII in Europe But Not In Asia

  • May 8, 1945 Germany surrendered; Adolf Hitler committed suicide a week earlier.
  • “V-J Day” celebrated in September when Japan formerly surrendered; unofficial surrender happened in August 1945.
On This Day

Estimates place total deaths in WWII as over 50M...But some suggest it's even higher.

view sources

Read
On This Day

April 24, 1982

 

 

 

 

The Day the Workout World Changed Forever

 

 

On This Day

“Jane Fonda’s Workout”

Best-Selling VHS – EVER. 

$50K budget: Shot with 1 camera & DIY hair and makeup.

By 1989, Fonda’s workout tapes & books were worth an estimated $35M.

At first, she had “real misgivings”

Watch Now
On This Day

At 44-years-old, she was a 2-time Oscar-winning actress. She had a successful L.A. workout studio & book (#1 NYT’s Best Seller for 2 yrs!). But a workout video? It had never been done. Besides, no one she knew owned a VHS player.

She finally agreed, with all proceeds going to Campaign for Economic Democracy, a progressive group run by then-husband Tom Hayden.

On This Day

It Changed Everything.

Exercise: Sparked aerobics craze, especially among baby boomers approaching middle age. By mid-1980s, 20M people doing aerobics.

Fashion: Leg warmers. Spandex. Leotards.

Tech: Before “Workout” debuted, less than 10% of households had a VCR. By 1985, 30% had one.

 

 

On This Day

Feel the Burn: By the #s

$59.95: Cost of VHS copy of Jane Fonda’s “Workout” in 1982.

$8.20: Cost of DVD copy on Amazon today.

29: VHS & DVD workouts made by Jane Fonda.

17M: Fonda workout videos sold.

On This Day

Copycat Moves

Others tried to capitalize on the workout movement, including Richard Simmons, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and creator of Jazzercise, Judi Missett.

Nothing topped Fonda’s innovation: In 1985, three of her tapes topped Billboard’s VHS sales chart. The original had been there for 145 weeks.

On This Day

Advice For Her
30-Year-Old Self?

“I would have wanted to learn to meditate earlier…. I didn’t know how to discover and believe in my real self and not try to be what other people wanted me to be…. I can’t pretend that it’s easy to still your mind; it’s not easy…. Don’t give up; it takes time!

Jane Fonda to Shape Magazine in 2014
On This Day

What about those leg warmers? For why she wore them & what the now 80-year-old thinks of "athleisure wear" like Lululemon, click here.

view sources

Read
On This Day

 

 

 

Honoring a light extinguished too soon:

Martin Luther King Jr.

On This Day

The Day Before MLK Died:

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. …. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will…. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”

MLK, April 3, 1968
On This Day

Assassination & Aftermath

  • MLK was in Memphis on April 4, 1968 helping sanitation workers on strike when he was killed.
  • Despite MLK’s dedication to nonviolent protest, riots broke out across the U.S. after his murder.
  • Lone gunman convicted for MLK’s murder, but his family never believed he worked alone.
Click: Who Did It?
On This Day

MLK’s Lasting Legacy

His leadership changed America…
leading to the end of segregation, the 1964 Civil Rights Act (ending discrimination based on race, gender, creed) & the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

MLK delivered his famous “I have a dream speech” in 1963.

Watch Now
On This Day

MLK is one of only two people with a federal holiday honoring their birth (the other one is George Washington). How it became a holiday (and how it almost didn't):

view sources

Read
On This Day

 

 

 

 

First Woman Sworn Into Congress

On This Day

“I may be the first woman member of Congress, but I won’t be the last.”

Jeannette Rankin (R-MT), first woman elected in U.S. Congress' 128-year history
On This Day

About Jeanette Rankin:

  • Suffrage leader & pacifist.
  • The only Member of Congress to vote against the entrance to World War I and World War II. Voted out of her position each time.
  • Since 1978, her scholarship foundation has awarded more than $2.5 million in scholarships to 1,000 women.
On This Day

Rankin Was Right!

In 2018, women make up 19.6% of the U.S. Congress.

2018: 22 women serve in the Senate & 83 women serve in the House.

Since Rankin’s election, 327 women have served as U.S. Representatives, Delegates, or Senators.

On This Day
Read
On This Day

March 30, 1981

Attempted Assassination of President Reagan

On his 69th day in office, President Reagan was shot outside a D.C. hotel by John Hinckley Jr., a 25-year-old man who said he wanted “impress” actress Jodie Foster.

 

 

Watch Now
On This Day

6 Shots Fired; 4 Men Shot

  • Pres. Reagan: bullet hit close to his heart, but he made a full recovery months later.
  • A D.C. officer shot in the back.
  • A Secret Service Agent who threw himself in front Pres. Reagan shot in the stomach.
  • WH Press Secretary James Brady was severely injured. He was shot in the head, leaving him partially paralyzed & in a wheelchair.
On This Day

“The verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity was a bad verdict.”

Patti Davis, President Reagan’s daughter to NPR in 2015

In 2016, 34 years after a jury found him insane, a federal judge released Hinckley into the custody of his mother after doctors at the mental hospital where he lived for decades said he was no longer a threat.

On This Day

Jim Brady’s Lasting Legacy

After he recovered, Jim & his wife Sarah became advocates for stricter gun control laws in the U.S.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act into law. The Act requires federally licensed firearms dealer (about 60% of all gun sales) to conduct background checks of potential gun buyers.

On This Day

In 2014, when James Brady died his death was ruled a homicide because he died as a result of the injuries he sustained 33 years earlier when he was shot, but prosecutors decided against charging Hinckley, and he was released just two years later.

view sources

Read