Category Archives: Historical

When Children Were Sent Through The Mail

My favorite law is the Law of Unintended Consequences. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, as today, private companies were doing a brisk business delivering packages. The Post Office’s answer to this competition was Parcel Post, shipping packages through the mail, which began on January 1, 1913. It was a major innovation. Now almost

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The Kidnapping Club

I’ve found another unknown chapter in the sordid U.S. history of systemic racism — in the 1830s until the Civil War, neither runaway slaves nor free Blacks were safe in New York City. This story actually begins with the Constitution. Article IV Section 2 contains the (now obsolete) “Fugitive Slave Clause” — “No Person held

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Transplanting Resistance to Change

How quickly the world changes! At one time, organ transplantation was just a dream. Yet, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), in calendar year 2019 there were 39,719 total transplants in the United States, up 8.7 percent from 2018 (https://unos.org/data/transplant-trends/). Of these, 3552 were heart transplants. The first heart transplant was performed

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Happy Birthday, Radio News

Monday, August 31, was the 100th anniversary of the first radio news program, a milestone worth commemorating in this election year. One hundred years ago, the users of radio were hobbyists. In Detroit, home of the Scripps newspaper family’s┬áThe Detroit News, the company faced a dilemma. Radio was a threat to newspapers, yet it was

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The First English Printer

I’m sure you know Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press with moveable type in Mainz, Germany in the 1450s. But who brought the printing press to England? Credit is given to William Caxton, who was born sometime between 1415 and 1424, most likely in Kent, England. His career path was set when he was apprenticed

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Who’s Buried in Grant’s Tomb?

I know that’s an old joke, but I thought of it while reading about how August 8 was the 135th anniversary of Ulysses S. Grant’s funeral. With all the talk about the statues of Confederate generals, I thought General Grant should have equal time. According to the print edition of The Writer’s Almanac (http://www.garrisonkeillor.com/radio/twa-the-writers-almanac-for-august-8-2020/): His

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