October 2015

This Day in History… October 25, 1940

U.S. #3121 pictures Davis on an inspection tour of the American front in France in 1944.

Benjamin Davis Becomes First African American General in the U.S. Army

On October 25, 1940, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. was appointed the first African American General in U.S. Army.

Born July 1, 1877 in Washington, D.C., Benjamin Davis was studying at Howard University when the Spanish-American War broke out in 1898. He enlisted in the Army as a private, starting a long and distinguished military career.

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This Day in History… October 24, 1861

U.S. #1232 pictures the current state capitol in Charleston. The original capitol was in Wheeling.

West Virgina Votes to Secede from Virginia

On October 24, 1861, the people of West Virginia voted to secede from the Confederate state of Virginia.

Although it was part of Virginia, the settlers in what is today West Virginia were separated from the rest of the colony by the Allegheny Mountains. The people in the West had a much different way of life than the wealthier people in the east. Also, the people in the West received less representation in the government. As early as 1776, this area had begun to demand its own government, but this effort stalled during the Revolutionary War.

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This Day in History… October 23, 1941

U.S. #4194Dumbo was Disney’s fourth animated feature film.

Dumbo Debuts to Positive Reception

On October 23, 1941, Walt Disney released Dumbo, based on the children’s book by Helen Aberson-Mayer.

Helen Aberson-Mayer (1907-99), born in Syracuse, New York (less than an hour from Mystic’s home in Camden), attended Syracuse University and was one of the city’s first female radio hosts. Always a creative thinker, Helen enjoyed inventing animal characters and plots that reflected people she knew or situations she had been in. By the late 1930s, she created a number of detailed story book characters. Among these characters was a flying elephant named Dumbo.

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This Day in History… October 22, 1836

U.S. #1242 – As president, much of Houston’s energy was focused on finance and keeping peace with Native Americans and Mexico.

Sam Houston – President of Texas

On October 22, 1836, Sam Houston became the first elected president of the Republic of Texas.

Following the Louisiana Purchase, France had made claims from Texas all the way to the Rio Grande. A treaty in 1819 fixed the southern boundary of the Louisiana Territory at the Sabine and Red rivers. Mexico became independent of Spain in 1821, and Texas became part of the Empire (and later Republic) of Mexico.

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This Day in History… October 21, 1959

U.S. #3910a – An inside view of the museum’s ramp from the central rotunda.

The Guggenheim Opens to the Public

On October 21, 1959, one of the world’s most renowned museums, the Guggenheim, opened in New York City.

Born into a wealthy mining family, Solomon R. Guggenheim founded the Yukon Gold Company in Alaska. He took an interest in art and started collecting it in the 1890s. Finding it to be his passion, Guggenheim retired from his business to dedicate his time to collecting art. He then met artist Hilla Rebay, who helped him to manage and expand his collection, including a trip to Wassily Kandinsky’s studio in Germany. In 1930, Guggenheim began inviting the public to his New York City apartment at the Plaza Hotel to view his impressive collection.

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This Day in History… October 20, 1944

U.S. #1424 – MacArthur considered the Philippines his second home, having married his wife and raised his child there.

MacArthur’s Triumphant Return to Philippines

On October 20, 1944, General Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his promise to return to the Philippines.

In 1935, MacArthur was made military advisor to the Philippines, tasked with helping them create an independent army. (The Philippines had been an American colony since the Spanish-American War at the turn of the century). MacArthur established a home there with his family and retired two years later. In July 1941, as tensions were rising around the globe as World War II escalated, President Roosevelt federalized the Philippine army and recalled MacArthur to active duty as commander of U.S. Army Forces in the Far East.

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