The Year was 1955

Esther really wanted to win the contest and get the prize. But she had absolutely no credentials. She was sure that everyone else who was entering the contest did. She was right – big name newspaper people submitted entries. What was the prize? It was to take over the advice column that Ruth Crowley wrote…

The Year was 1946

“Those crazy enough to try to change the world often do.” This was not Gandhi. Not Martin Luther King. Not Churchill. Not even Shakespeare! It was Branch Rickey. Who was he? For you non-baseball fans, he was the president and general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers. And what he did in fact did change the…

The Year was 1300 BCE

Traders from the Mediterranean, returning home from the East with their treasures of spices, incense and silk, flocked to the city in the middle of the desert. Camels slaked their thirst at the gushing water troughs. Merchants slept safe from harm inside the complex. It was a brilliant plan, to carve this mysterious city out…

The Year was 1621

It was not November but October. The hosts provided a lot of wild turkey, but it was not the main dish. That was venison, courtesy of five deer brought by the guests. There were about 50 Pilgrims and some 90 Native Americans. When the Pilgrims had arrived the previous December, they had been met by…

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 1380

Twins Catherine and Giovanna were the 23rd and 24th children of Giacomo de Benincasa, a cloth dyer, and his wife, Lapa. Giovanna soon died. At seven, Catherine made a vow to remain a virgin for life. As a teenager, she advised, “Build a cell inside your mind, from which you can never flee.” When Catherine…

The Year was 1978

The 1978 Belmont – the third leg of the Triple Crown – saw two great horses fighting it out. Affirmed had just barely beaten Alydar in the Kentucky Derby and then again in the Preakness. Affirmed won – becoming the Triple Crown winner. But it was Alydar, the fabulous horse from Lexington Kentucky’s fabled Calumet…

The Year was 1972

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. It was being argued by no less than former Supreme Court justice Arthur Goldberg. What was at stake was Major League Baseball’s 1897 reserve clause: after a player played all the years of his original contract, a team owner could reserve that player for each new…

The Year was 1917

Facing the firing squad, Mata Hari refused the white blindfold. In a firing squad, all the shooters fire bullets except one, who fires blanks, so that no shooter knows who fires the fatal bullet. As the sun came up, Mata Hari smiled, seemingly unafraid, even blowing a kiss toward her executioners.   Born in Holland,…