On this day in 1814, first lady Dolley Madison saves a portrait of George Washington from being looted by British troops during the war of 1812.
According to the White House Historical Society and Dolley’s personal letters, President James Madison left the White House on August 22 to meet with his generals on the battlefield, as British troops threatened to enter the capitol…Dolley wrote to her sister on the night of August 23 that a friend who came to help her escape was exasperated at her insistence on saving the portrait. Since the painting was screwed to the wall she ordered the frame to be broken and the canvas pulled out and rolled up. Two unidentified “gentlemen from New York” hustled it away for safe-keeping. (Unbeknownst to Dolley, the portrait was actually a copy of Gilbert Stuart’s original). http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/dolley-madison-saves-portrait-from-british
The picture above shows the copy of the painting that Dolley Madison saved on the left, and the original painting which can still be seen in the National Portrait Gallery on the right.
You can learn more about Dolley Madison by checking out a biography, Juvenile Biography section jBiog. Madison.
On this day in 1869 the transcontinental railroad was completed. Two railroad companies, Union Pacific and Central Pacific, connected their railways in Promontory, Utah. This made it possible to travel by train across the United States!
You can learn more about the transcontinental railroad at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/transcontinental-railroad-completed or by checking out books at the library such as:
Iron Rails, Iron Men, and the Race to Link the Nation by Martin W. Sandler: (Juvenile Nonfiction j385.097 SANDLER) In one great race between iron men with iron wills, tens of thousands of workers blasted the longest tunnels that had ever been constructed, built the highest bridges that had ever been created, and finally linked the nation by two bands of steel, changing America forever.
Today we recommend: Secrets of a Civil War Submarine: Solving the Mysteries of the H. L. Hunley by Sally M. Walker.
When the Union blockade of all ports in the South stopped supplies from reaching the Confederate Army, Horace L. Hunley decided to create a submarine that would be able to sneak up on enemy ships and blow them up. After many years of trial and error, the H. L. Hunley actually succeeded in sinking the USS Housatonic in February of 1864. But the submarine never returned to port, and her crew perished in the Charleston Harbor. This book presents the history of the Civil War submarine the H.L. Hunley, including the construction, mysterious sinking, recovery, and restoration.
This book was the 2006 winner for the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal. This book hooked me right from the start, and the numerous pictures, sketches, and maps made it easy to picture the submarine. This book is perfect for those interested in the Civil War or archaelogy. It is a great nonfiction book packed with information that avoids being dry or dull. You can find it in the Juvenile Nonfiction section at j973.757 WALKER or as an audiobook in the Juvenile Audiobook section j973.757 WAL.
Of course, the first ever recorded Olympic Games was in 776 B.C. but the games were banned in 393 A.D. So, April 6th, 1896 was the date that the first modern Olympic Games was held:
The Olympic Games, a long-lost tradition of ancient Greece, are reborn in Athens 1,500 years after being banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I. At the opening of the Athens Games, King Georgios I of Greece and a crowd of 60,000 spectators welcomed athletes from 13 nations to the international competition.
You can read more about these first modern Olympic Games at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/first-modern-olympic-games and you can check out our books on the Olympics!
Happy Groundhog Day! On February 2nd, we will be waiting to find out if the groundhog sees his shadow. Hopefully not since we’re already tired of winter. The first Groundhog Day was in 1887, and you can find out more at here at History.com and you can learn more about groundhogs with any of these books!
Two hundred and twenty eight years ago, on this day in 1789, the United States held it’s first ever presidential election. George Washington won the election and was sworn into office on April 30th, 1789.
(George Washington Portrait from the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek – Austrian National Library)
History.com has more information about the first presidential election including this description:
As it did in 1789, the United States still uses the Electoral College system, established by the U.S. Constitution …. The president and vice president are the only elected federal officials chosen by the Electoral College instead of by direct popular vote.
Curious to learn more about the electoral college? CLICK HERE to see what books we have about the election process in the United States.