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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This Day in History… October 19, 1789

U.S. #1046 – While serving as chief justice, Jay went to Great Britain and negotiated the Jay Treaty, which settled many of the lingering post-war disputes.

John Jay Becomes First Supreme Court Chief Justice

On October 19, 1789, John Jay was sworn in as America’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

John Jay was one of America’s Founding Fathers, serving in the First and Second Continental Congress, drafting New York’s Constitution, and serving as New York’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Judicature. He was also American Ambassador to Spain, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and helped negotiate the Treaty of the Paris, in which Great Britain recognized America’s independence. Supporting a strong centralized government, Jay helped write the Federalist Papers with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, which promoted the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.

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This Day in History… October 18, 1867

U.S. #800 pictures Denali (formerly Mount McKinley), the highest mountain peak in North America.

U.S. Takes Possession of Alaska

On October 18, 1867, Alaska became part of America in a move dubbed “Seward’s Folly”.

The earliest known European presence in Alaska came in 1741 when Vitus Bering led an expedition for the Russian navy. Bering’s crew returned to Russia with some of the finest sea otter pelts in the world. Soon, fur traders began sailing from Siberia to the Aleutian Islands, establishing the first European settlement in 1784.

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