The Year was 1873

Margaret was four and Emma was fourteen when the U.S. Congress passed Anthony Conmstock’s 1873 Comstock Law, the “Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use.” It would put both Emma and Margaret in jail. Both women ended up in New York City. Emma came from Russia and then…

The Year was 1917

This was the year the unthinkable happened – a woman ran for Congress. And won! The state was Montana and the woman was Republican Jeannette Rankin. Her achievement was monumental because she was a lobbyist for the suffrage movement. In fact, because she had pushed Montana to give women the vote in 1914, they could…

The Year was 2007

Both prime ministers met death at the hands of their countrymen. The astounding thing is that they were father and daughter. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was born in the Raj of the British Commonwealth and went to college in California and then in England, where he studied law. In 1953, Bhutto married and Iranian beauty. Two…

The year was 1745

Sophie von Anhalt-Zerbst was supposed to change her language, her religion, and even her first name to be suitable for her prospective husband’s family. While he stayed in his rooms playing with his massive collection of tin soldier armies, Sophie, alone and friendless in her new country, was studying, often pacing her suite of rooms…

The year was 1938

Magda was fed up. She wanted a divorce. But she did not ask her husband. Instead, she asked Adolph Hitler. Not only had Hitler arranged her first meeting with Joseph, but years later, he had set up Magda and her husband and their six adorable blond, blue-eyed children as the poster family for the Third…

The year was 1948

Lyndon Johnson was a born wheeler-dealer.  While still in his 20s, Lyndon won election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas in 1938 and again in 1940.  But it quickly became apparent to him that the senate was where the power was.  Lyndon was in luck – in April of 1941, Morris Sheppard, after…

The year was 1968

Richard Nixon knew campaigning. Running for president in 1963, even though he was just out of the hospital (his knee, slammed in a car door, had become infected), Nixon pushed himself to campaign almost up to the moment he would appear on TV for the first-ever televised presidential debate. Nixon refused to be made-up for…

The year was 1884

What did the richest man in the world go to great lengths (pun intended) to hide? John D. Rockefeller, the world’s first billionaire, had not been a happy kid. The problem was his father, William, a wandering snake oil salesman and scam artist, who had two wives (plus a couple of kids by a mistress)….

The year was 1920

The Republican Party needed a candidate. Someone who looked “presidential” – Ohio senator, Warren G. Harding. Harding had a formidable secret weapon – his wife Florence, five years his senior. If Florence could not be president, she could be married to one. They hired a public relations guru, Albert Lasker. He emphasized Harding’s president-ability. But…

The Year was 1963

“Good eating, Mr. President,” said the sign around the 1963 Thanksgiving turkey’s neck. “We’ll let this one live,” John F. Kennedy said, in essence pardoning the turkey. The turkey lived, but Kennedy himself did not. He was assassinated four days later, six days before Thanksgiving. Where did the tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey come…