This Day in History… December 28, 1903

Birth of John von Neumann

US #3908 – from the 2005 American Scientists Issue

Mathematician and scientist John von Neumann was born on December 28, 1903, in Budapest, Hungary.

Von Neumann was considered a child prodigy.  At only six years old, he could divide two eight-digit numbers in his head and joke with his father in classical Greek.  He also learned English, French, German, and Italian and took a particular interest in history. 

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This Day in History… December 27, 1947

US #4414d – from the Early TV Memories Sheet

It’s Howdy Doody Time! 

On December 27, 1947, Howdy Doody made his television debut on Puppet Playhouse.  Howdy Doody was one of the first TV programs made for children and produced in color.

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This Day in History… December 26, 1805

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts 

US #1064 was issued for the 150th anniversary of the academy. 

On December 26, 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts was founded – the first and oldest art museum and art school in the country.  The Academy was the brainchild of artist Charles Willson Peale, sculptor Benjamin Rush, and other artists and businessmen.

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This Day in History… December 25, 1830

First Run of the Best Friend of Charleston

US #2363 – from the 1987 Steam Locomotives Issue

On December 25, 1830, the Best Friend of Charleston completed its first run.

During the 1820s, the once busy and prosperous harbor town of Charleston, South Carolina began to suffer from an economic recession.  It was the result of increased settlement to the west that drew people away from the town.

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This Day in History… December 24, 1955

NORAD Tracks Santa

US #2585 was one of five Santa stamps issued in 1991.

On December 24, 1955, NORAD’s predecessor tracked Santa Claus for the first time. 

Prior to this, on December 24, 1948, the US Air Force released a statement that an “early warning radar net to the north” was tracking “one unidentified sleigh, powered by eight reindeer, at 14,000 feet, heading 180 degrees.”  The report was shared with the public, marking the first time the US Armed Forces made a public statement about tracking Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.  No additional reports were released for several years.

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This Day in History… December 23, 1986

First Non-Stop Non-Refueled Flight Around the Globe 

US #C44 was issued for the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union.

On December 23, 1986, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager completed the first non-stop flight around the world without refueling.

As far back as the 1500s, daring explorers have sought to circumnavigate the globe.  In the 1520s, a crew of 18 was the first to circle the globe by sea in a single expedition.  The journey took a little over three years.

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