This Day in History… October 17, 1777

U.S. #644 is based on an 1821 painting by John Trumbull. You can view the full painting and find out who’s pictured here.

Burgoyne Surrenders at Saratoga

On October 17, 1777, British General Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga – one of the major American victories of the American Revolution.

After the first two years of fighting, the British changed their strategy. Rather than trying to conquer the New England colonies, they planned to separate them from what they considered to be the more loyal middle and southern colonies. British General John Burgoyne believed New York’s Hudson River Valley was the perfect route for an invasion and developed a three-prong attack.

Continue reading

Posted in October 2015, This Day in History | 16 Comments

This Day in History… October 16, 1962

Item #M8728 – President Kennedy helped avoid war in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Cuban Missile Crisis Begins

On October 16, 1962, missiles were discovered in Cuba that could easily reach the U.S., beginning the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In April 1961, a group of CIA-trained soldiers attempted to overthrow Fidel Castro’s communist government in Cuba. Dubbed the Bay of Pigs Invasion (after one of the landing sites), it ultimately failed and strengthened Castro’s leadership and Soviet support. In fact, Castro met secretly with Soviet leader Nikita Kruschev to request nuclear missiles to prevent future actions against them. Construction on these missile launch facilities began that summer.

Continue reading

Posted in October 2015, This Day in History | 19 Comments

This Day in History… October 15, 1860

U.S. #1113 – Lincoln received Grace’s letter while sitting for this painting, which was the last to picture him without a beard.

Did an 11-Year-Old Girl Convince Lincoln to Grow a Beard?

On October 15, 1860, 11-year-old Grace Bedell wrote a letter to Republican presidential nominee Abraham Lincoln. She suggested he grow a beard – which he did shortly after!

During the 1860 election season, young Grace Bedell saw a picture of Abraham Lincoln and told her mother he’d look better with a beard and that she intended to tell him so. And in fact, she did. On October 15, she wrote a letter to Lincoln, telling him she wanted him to be president and that she would vote for him if she could. She also urged him to grow a beard. Grace told Lincoln he would be “much improved in appearance, provided you would cultivate whiskers.”

Continue reading

Posted in October 2015, This Day in History | 16 Comments

This Day in History… October 14, 1912

U.S. #830 – Of the shooting, Roosevelt said “It takes more than that to kill a bull moose.”

Roosevelt Delivers Speech After Being Shot

Shortly after being shot in the chest by an attempted assassin, Theodore Roosevelt delivered a ninety-minute campaign speech on October 14, 1912.

After serving as President from 1901 to 1909, Theodore Roosevelt groomed his friend, William Howard Taft, to lead the country. However, after returning from a safari trip, Roosevelt was unhappy with Taft’s agenda.  After failing to win the Republican party’s nomination, he formed the Progressive Bull Moose Party and embarked on a rigorous campaign tour.

Continue reading

Posted in October 2015, This Day in History | 10 Comments

This Day in History… October 13, 1792

U.S. #1338 – John Adams was the first President to occupy the mansion in 1800.

White House Cornerstone Laid

On October 13, 1792, the cornerstone of the White House was laid, though its exact location remains a mystery today.

President George Washington announced in January 1791, that the location of America’s capital would be located where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers met, with land provided by Virginia and Maryland. The capital city, which became known as the District of Columbia, was designed by Pierre Charles L’Enfant, who helped President Washington select the site for the executive mansion.

Continue reading

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

This Day in History… October 12, 1492

U.S. #118 – Picturing Columbus’ landing, this image is based on John Vanderlyn’s painting that hangs in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol. View and read about the original painting here.

Christopher Columbus Makes Landfall

After more than two months at sea, Christopher Columbus reached what he believed was East Asia on October 12, 1492.

Born in 1451 and having spent much of his adult life at sea, Christopher Columbus was determined to find a western water route to China, India, and Asia’s gold and spice islands. After the King of Portugal refused to fund his “Enterprise to the Indies,” Columbus met with the king and queen of Spain. They refused him at least two times before they finally agreed to fund this trip.

Continue reading

Posted in October 2015, This Day in History | 18 Comments