This Day in History… July 27, 1909

Wright Brothers Set Flight Record

US #C45 was issued for the 46th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first successful flight of a heavier-than-air powered aircraft.

On July 27, 1909, Orville Wright flew a plane a record one hour and 12 minutes.

Born in 1867 and 1871, Wilbur and Orville Wright had been interested in science and technology from a young age.  After receiving a flying toy as a gift from their father in 1878, they became fascinated with flight and sought to develop a heavier-than-air flying machine that could carry a man.

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This Day in History… July 26, 1948

Executive Order 9981

US #3937a from the To Form a More Perfect Union sheet.

On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, calling for the end of racial discrimination in the US armed forces.

Early American laws barred African Americans from the military, but in times of war, white leaders recruited both slave and free blacks. The Continental Army had 5,000 African-Americans, and at least 216,000 black men served in the Union forces during the Civil War.

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This Day in History… July 25, 1909

First Flight Across the English Channel

Hungary #C59 from an issue honoring inventors and explorers.

On July 25, 1909, Louis Blériot became the first person to fly across the English Channel.

Born in Cambrai, France on July 1, 1872, Blériot was the first of five children.  At the age of 10, he attended the Institute of Notre Dame in Cambrai, where he often won prizes for his engineering drawings.

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This Day in History… July 24, 1897

Happy Birthday Amelia Earhart 

US #C68 was issued on Earhart’s 66th birthday.

Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison Kansas.

Earhart had a taste for adventure from a young age. In 1904, she saw a roller coaster for the first time during a family trip to St. Louis.   When she returned home, Earhart and an uncle built a homemade version and attached it to the roof of a shed. Though Amelia ended up bruised and the wooden box she rode in was destroyed, she exclaimed, “It’s just like flying!”

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This Day in History… July 23, 1930

Death of Glenn Curtiss

US #C100 – 1980 Glenn Curtiss airmail stamp.

Aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss died on July 23, 1930, in Buffalo, New York.

Glenn Hammond Curtiss was born on May 21, 1878, in Hammondsport, New York.  He became interested in bicycles as a young man and was a champion racer, riding bikes he had designed and built.

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This Day in History… July 22, 1898

Birth of Alexander Calder

US #3198-3203 – This strip of five stamps was issued for Calder’s 100th birthday in 1998.

Alexander Calder was born on July 22, 1898, in Lawnton, Pennsylvania.  There’s been some confusion over the years though, as members of his family suggest he was born one month later, on August 22.

Calder came from a family of artists – his father and grandfather produced numerous sculptures in Philadelphia and his mother was a portrait painter.  Calder produced his first sculpture in 1902 when he was four years old.

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