This Day in History

This Day in History… July 27, 1940

Bugs Bunny Makes His Cartoon Debut 

U.S. #3137

On July 27, 1940, the world first met Bugs Bunny and heard him utter his now famous phrase, “Eh, what’s up, Doc?”

Earlier versions of an animated rabbit had been used in cartoons during the late 1930s that were directed by Ben “Bugs” Hardaway and Cal Dalton. One day, designer Charlie Thorson labeled one of the drawings “Bugs’ bunny” (after the cartoon’s director) and the name stuck. Continue reading

Posted in July 2015, This Day in History | 4 Comments

This Day in History… July 26, 1775

Ben Franklin Appointed America’s First Postmaster General 

U.S. #3139

As America waged war with the United Kingdom in the summer of 1775, the need arose for an independent mail service, not controlled by the British. On July 26, 1775, the Second Continental Congress established America’s first postal system and selected Benjamin Franklin as its first leader.

Franklin had a long history with mail service in the colonies and was an obvious choice. In 1753, he had been appointed deputy postmaster general of the American Colonies. He greatly improved the frequency and reliability of mail service. By 1761, the post office showed a profit for the first time. Continue reading

Posted in July 2015, This Day in History | 3 Comments

This Day in History… July 25, 1866

‘General of the Army’ Rank Created for Ulysses S. Grant 

U.S. #281

Ulysses S. Grant became a household name and was considered a hero following his leadership during the Civil War. In recognition of this, Congress created an entirely new rank for him on July 25, 1866 – the four-star General of the Army of the United States.

Nothing in Grant’s early life predicted his eventual success. Grant’s father arranged a West Point appointment for his son, who did not want to be a soldier. But when the call for volunteers came at the start of the Civil War, Grant answered.

Grant impressed early on, capturing Fort Donelson and taking control of the Mississippi River during the Vicksburg Campaign. Further successes earned Grant command of the entire Union Army in 1863. In that role he worked closely with President Lincoln in developing a strategy to win the war. Continue reading

Posted in July 2015, This Day in History | 4 Comments

This Day in History… July 24, 1847

Brigham Young Establishes Mormon Homeland in Salt Lake City, Utah 

U.S. #950

After 17 months of travel searching for a new home for his persecuted people, Brigham Young found Utah’s Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847 and proclaimed, “This is the place” (as pictured on this stamp).

The Church of Christ (later known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) was founded in 1830 when Joseph Smith published his Book of Mormon. The religion grew fast in his New York community and spread to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. However, it included controversial practices, including polygamy, that made its followers targets of mob violence. Continue reading

Posted in July 2015, This Day in History | 6 Comments

This Day in History… July 23, 1904

Ice Cream Cone is Popularized at St. Louis World’s Fair 

U.S. #3720

The St. Louis World’s Fair (also known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition) ran for seven months in 1904 and saw the introduction of a number of foods we still eat today. These included hamburgers, hot dogs, peanut butter, cotton candy, and ice cream cones.

Several people in attendance at the fair claim to have been the first to create edible containers for ice cream, but Charles Menches is often considered the inventor. According to Menches, while at the fair on July 23, he watched little girls put their ice cream into the holes of small cakes. Inspired, he ran to the nearest confectioner’s booth and bought a round cake (some accounts say a waffle), rolled it around his finger and then filled it with ice cream. Continue reading

Posted in July 2015, This Day in History | 1 Comment

This Day in History… July 22, 1933

Wiley Post Completes First Solo Trip Around the Globe 

U.S. #C95-96

Having already broken the record for flying around the planet, Wiley Post set out to do it again, this time without the aid of a navigator. Not only did he succeed, but he completed the flight in less time, while also experimenting with new technologies.

Post had dreamt of a life in the clouds since the first time he saw an airplane at a county fair when he was 15. He got his start as a skydiver and quickly moved up to pilot. In 1931, he and his navigator, Harold Gatty, broke the record for traveling around the world previously set by the Graf Zeppelin.

In spite of this great accomplishment, Post often heard suggestions that Gatty had directed the effort, and earned more acclaim. Post set out immediately to prove his critics wrong. Equipping his plane with new technology – an early form of autopilot and a radio direction finder – he left Floyd Bennett Field in New York on July 15, 1933. Continue reading

Posted in July 2015, This Day in History | 1 Comment