January 2016

This Day in History… January 25, 1945

Allies Win the Battle of the Bulge

U.S. #2838j – The only stamp in all of the U.S. WWII sheets to picture a winter scene.

On January 25, 1945, the Battle of the Bulge came to an end.

On July 25, 1944, Allied troops broke through German lines at Saint-Lo, France, and a month later, Paris was liberated after four long years of Nazi occupation.  Driving forward, General George S. Patton pushed eastward toward the Rhine River, while British commander Bernard Montgomery swept into Belgium, capturing Antwerp on September 4th.  By the late fall, U.S. and British forces had managed to drive the Germans back to their own borders.
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This Day in History… January 24, 1848

Start of the California Gold Rush

U.S. #954 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the gold rush.

On January 24, 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, beginning the California Gold Rush.

The first group of American settlers reached Mexican-owned California in 1841.  Wagon trains of settlers soon followed.  So many American settlers poured into California that the United States offered to buy the land, but Mexico refused to sell and the two nations eventually went to war in 1846.
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This Day in History… January 23, 1943

Ellington’s Carnegie Hall Debut 

U.S. #2211 – Ellington wrote over 1,000 songs in his life.

On January 23, 1943, Duke Ellington made his first of many performances at Carnegie Hall.

The jazz legend was born Edward Kennedy Ellington on April 29, 1899, in Washington, D.C. His mother surrounded him with dignified women and taught him proper manners and how to live elegantly. Ellington’s friends thought, “his casual, offhand manner, his easy grace, and his dapper dress gave him the bearing of a young nobleman” and nicknamed him “Duke.”

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This Day in History… January 22, 1909

Birth of U.N. Leader U Thant

Item #UN974 – “As a Buddhist, I was trained to be tolerant of everything except intolerance.”

U Thant was born in Pantanaw, British Burma, on January 22, 1909.

The oldest of four sons, Thant was born into a successful family of landowners and rice merchants.  After attending Rangoon’s University College (currently called the University of Yangon), U Thant returned to his hometown to teach at the National School and serve as headmaster when he was 25.  During his time there, U Thant befriended Burma’s future prime minister, U Nu.
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This Day in History… January 21, 1813

Birth of Explorer John C. Frémont

U.S. #288 pictures Frémont raising the U.S. flag over the Rocky Mountains.

John C. Frémont was born on January 21, 1813 in Savannah, Georgia.

As a child, Frémont was described as “precious, handsome, and daring.”  After his father died when Frémont was just five years old, a family friend helped to pay for his education.  Frémont attended Charleston College, but didn’t graduate despite his talent for math and natural sciences.
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This Day in History… January 20, 1993

Death of Hollywood Icon Audrey Hepburn

U.S. #3786 – Hepburn won a record three BAFTA Awards.

Audrey Hepburn was born on May 4, 1929, in Brussels, Belgium.

Hepburn spent her childhood in Belgium, England, and the Netherlands.  During World War II, she lived in German-occupied Arnhem.  Conditions for her family were so difficult they ate tulip bulbs just to stay alive.  In spite of this, Hepburn helped the resistance movement by delivering messages and raising funds.

From a young age, Hepburn loved to dance.  She studied ballet in Amsterdam and London before making her stage debut as a chorus girl in High Button Shoes in 1948.  Her dancing career flourished over the next two years, earning a featured role in Sauce Piquante in 1950.
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Posted in January 2016, This Day in History | 9 Comments