Category Archives: History

Newly-released Margaret Thatcher documents shed light on relationship with Ronald Reagan

via CBS: 

 

(CBS) Declassified documents released Friday shed new light on 40th President Ronald Reagan and his special relationship with Britain’s former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The documents show moments of both affection and irritation between the president and Thatcher.

 

This was Thatcher’s public line on the Falkland Islands: “The United States came down firmly on our side over the Falklands and we are very grateful for them being such staunch allies.”

 

A tiny, British-ruled island group off South America was invaded by Argentina in 1982. The British sent troops and war ships to retake it.

 

But behind the scenes, there was conflict, with Mr. Reagan urging her to negotiate a truce during the conflict which she angrily rejected, and her asking for his support. “You are the only person who will understand,” she wrote.

 

She was not always happy with his responses, describing one of his late-night messages regarding the Falkland invasion as “so vague I didn’t think it was worth reading.”

 

But one letter shows the woman the British nicknamed “The Iron Lady” could have a velvet side, adding a P.S. to the president who was a bit under the weather: “Warm personal regards and a rapid recovery to full health and strength … the world needs you … yours sincerely, Margaret Thatcher.”

 

The documents released by the Britain’s National Archives also show the president’s advisers asking their British counterparts for fashion advice about what Mr. Reagan should wear for a horseback ride with the queen during a June, 1982, visit. The answer? “Smart but casual, not formal riding attire.” It was advice the president took.

 

As for that ride with the queen, the British were concerned that it took so long for the president to accept. A White House official said later he thought perhaps it was because Mrs. Reagan needed time to consult her astrologer and decide if it was an auspicious moment for such a trip.

 

 

Leaked Autopsy Report Reveals Graphic Details About Notorious B.I.G.’s Death

via Business Insider: 

 

A never-before-seen autopsy report has been discovered today, 15 years after one of the most iconic rappers was slain in Los Angeles.

TMZ has uncovered the report, which graphically details the MC’s death. According to the report, Notorious B.I.G. aka Christopher Wallace was shot a total of 4 times in a drive-by shooting.

Wallace was struck in the left forearm, which traveled down to his wrist, in the back, which missed all vital organs and exited through his left shoulder. A third gunshot hit his outer left thigh and exited through his inner left thigh. TMZ details the third gunshot further, “the projectile strikes the left side of the scrotum, causing a very shallow, 3/8 inch linear laceration.”

The fourth bullet was the fatal shot that took Wallace’s life. The gunshot entered his  body through his right hip and ripped its way through several vital organs…before coming to rest in his left shoulder area, perforating Wallace’s colon, liver, heart, and upper lobe of his left lung.

Here is the full document TMZ discovered:

 

Notorious BIG report TMZ

Is this the iceberg that sank Titanic? Picture of ice ‘that doomed 1,500 to die’ set to make $10,000 at auction

via Daily Mail: 

 

  • Experts claim iceberg in photograph taken two days before the sinking of Titanic is the ‘guilty’ one
  • Black-and-white picture of the iceberg set to make $8,000-$10,000 at U.S. auction next month
  • It is going on sale alongside over 400 items of Titanic memorabilia

 

A photograph of an iceberg claimed to be the one which sunk Titanic is being sold at auction for $10,000.

The black and white picture of the iceberg was taken two days before the sinking of the Titanic by the Captain of the S. S. Etonian on April 12, 1912.

The photograph is just one of over 400 Titanic memorabilia items included in American auction house RR Auction’s sale next month.

Scroll down for video

Mugshot: The photograph of the 'guilty' iceberg was taken two days before the sinking of the Titanic on April 12, 1912Mugshot: The photograph of the ‘guilty’ iceberg was taken two days before the sinking of the Titanic

Experts believe it is the ‘guilty’ one due to its unusual shape, which matches sketches and eyewitness descriptions of the iceberg which fatally collided with the ‘unsinkable’ vessel on April 14, 1912, killing 1,502 people.

The black and white picture of the floating ice berg is set to make $8,000-$10,000 (£5,016 – £6,270).

 

Through the years a number of photographs have been claimed to depict the one which sealed the fate of the famous vessel, but experts say this one is the definite mugshot.

Titanic expert Stanley Lehrer said: ‘In my professional judgement this iceberg is the one that sunk the Titanic.’

'Victim': The Titanic leaving Southampton on her maiden voyage on April 10, 1912, four days before the fatal collision with the iceberg‘Victim’: The Titanic leaving Southampton on her maiden voyage on April 10, 1912, four days before the fatal collision with the iceberg

‘Within the past two years, I discovered a photograph that had been taken by Captain Wood of the S.S. Etonian on 12th April 1912.

Fictional witnesses: Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson and Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater in the 1997 film 'Titanic'Fictional witnesses: Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson and Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater in the 1997 film ‘Titanic’

‘The captain took the pictures because he was fascinated with the unusual shape of the iceberg.

‘This particular iceberg had an ellipse on the top right of the iceberg.’

A handwritten caption, scrawled directly onto the developed picture states the coordinates of the iceberg as ‘Latitude 410 0 W Long 490 50 N’ – not far from the widely documented position where Titanic sunk.

The caption scribbled on the photo reads: ‘Blueberg taken by Captain Good S. S. Etonian on 12/4/12 in Lat 410 50 W Long 490 50 N. Titanic struck 14/4/12 and sank in three hours.”

Frederick Fleet, the lookout on duty who first spotted the iceberg, and Joseph Scarrott, an able-bodied seaman, both drew sketches of the ice which are eerily similar.

A spokesman for RR Auction, which are selling a total of 408 items in connection with Titanic said: ‘The story of the Titanic still resonates both here in America as well as in England.

‘To be able to auction a photo of the iceberg that sank the unsinkable is quite remarkable and something we are proud to offer to our clients from around the world.’

VIDEO: Titanic December 2012 Preview from RR Auction

 

 

The 88-Year Evolution Of The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

via Business Insider: 

 

Over the past 88 years, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become an irreplaceable staple of Thanksgiving festivities. macy's parade sonic

Every year, millions of Americans flock to the streets of Manhattan to see the parade in-person or gather around their television sets to watch the parade from home.

What began as a small Macy’s employee-run event has morphed into a huge production that requires almost an entire year’s worth of preparation.

Most years, the parade has gone on with little complications, but others, weather delays and balloon-related injuries have created a nightmare for parade officials.

 

The first Macy’s Day Parade was on November 27 in 1924 and was referred to as the Macy’s Christmas Parade. The parade originally featured Macy’s employees and live animals from the Central Park Zoo. Floats, instead of balloons, were the main attraction.

The first Macy's Day Parade was on November 27 in 1924 and was referred to as the Macy's Christmas Parade. The parade originally featured Macy's employees and live animals from the Central Park Zoo. Floats, instead of balloons, were the main attraction.

A Captain Nemo float makes it way through the streets of Manhattan during the 1929 Macy’s Day Parade.

AP Images

The parade began in Harlem at 145th Street and ended in front of the Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street. It was originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade, but was renamed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in 1927.

An estimated 250,000 spectators attended the first parade. Today, about 3.5 million people attend.

An estimated 250,000 spectators attended the first parade. Today, about 3.5 million people attend.

AP Images

In 1927, Marionette maker Tony Frederick Sarg’s large animal-shaped balloons replaced the live animals in the parade.

In 1927, Marionette maker Tony Frederick Sarg's large animal-shaped balloons replaced the live animals in the parade.

Note: This is not Tony Frederick Sarg.

AP Images

Macy’s first parade balloon, Felix the Cat, was filled with air, but balloons started to be inflated with helium the following year. The original balloons were made of rubber, but today’s balloons are made of polyurethane.

Balloons were released into the sky at the end of the parade until 1932.

Balloons were released into the sky at the end of the parade until 1932.

The parade passes down Broadway in 1930.

AP Images

Initially, the balloons didn’t have a safety valve to release the helium, so they were released into the air at the closing of each year’s parade. Each balloon had a return address label attached to it.

Beginning in 1929, Macy’s began offering a $50 reward to anyone who returned a balloon. This only lasted until 1932, when Macy’s found it to be a safety hazard. Pilots were beginning to attempt to catch balloons mid-flight, which was obviously not a smart idea.

Floats were pulled by horses up until 1939.

Here’s video footage of the 1939 parade, the first year horses stopped being used.

Over the parade’s history, three main types of balloons have been used: Novelty, full-sized, and Blue Sky Gallery characters

superman balloon macys parade 1940

Novelty balloons: Smaller balloons that can fit onto performer’s heads. These are not widely used today.

Full-sized balloons: Normally about five to six stories high, 60 feet long, and 30 feet wide. Most depict licensed pop-culture characters.

Blue Sky Gallery characters: This more recently-developed balloon type depicts the work of contemporary artists in a full-sized balloon. Examples include 2005’s Humpty Dumpty balloon.

(To the right, a full-sized Superman balloon passes through Times Square in 1940.)

The first Mickey Mouse balloon debuted in 1934, while fellow Disney character Donald Duck was introduced in 1962.

The first Mickey Mouse balloon debuted in 1934, while fellow Disney character Donald Duck was introduced in 1962.

Getty Images, Scott Cornell / Shutterstock

Today, about 2-3 thousand volunteers are needed to handle the balloons. Each volunteer must weigh at least 120 pounds and be in good health. Each balloon is handled by about 50 volunteers. A police officer also marches alongside each balloon.

Today, about 2-3 thousand volunteers are needed to handle the balloons. Each volunteer must weigh at least 120 pounds and be in good health.   Each balloon is handled by about 50 volunteers. A police officer also marches alongside each balloon.

The Rugrats balloon passes through Times Square during its 1997 debut.

AP Images

This year’s parade will feature the debut of Papa Smurf and Elf on the Shelf balloons.

Since 1984, a majority of the parade’s balloons have been made by Raven Industries of Sioux Falls, SD.

Since 1984, a majority of the parade's balloons have been made by Raven Industries of Sioux Falls, SD.

AP Images

The parade was suspended during WWII from 1942-1944 because rubber and helium were needed for the war.

world war 2 rubber posterTo contribute to the war effort, parade balloons were melted into 650 pounds of rubber.

Since 1945, the parade has started at 77th Street and Central Park West and ended in Herald Square in front of Macy’s. The parade’s original route began at 145th Street and Covenant Avenue.

Since 1945, the parade has started at 77th Street and Central Park West and ended in Herald Square in front of Macy's. The parade's original route began at 145th Street and Covenant Avenue.

A Teddy Bear balloon passes through Times Square in 1945.

AP Images

This year, the parade is following a slightly new route that includes 6th Avenue.

The parade became a more prominent part of American culture after footage from the 1946 parade was featured in the movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street.’

In 1948, the parade was broadcast for the first time on network television.

parade macys

According to Nielsen, an estimated 14.2 percent of American households watched the CBS coverage of the parade in 1951. In recent years, approximately 30 million people tune into CBS’s and NBC’s coverage of the parade.

NBC has been the official television broadcaster of the parade since 1952.

betty-white macy's thanksgiving parade

CBS was the original network to air the event. Though both networks still broadcast the parade, CBS’s coverage is considered “unauthorized,” so they are not able to run the Macy’s name due to lack of an official license. Their broadcast is called “The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS.”

CBS is also not able to air live Broadway and music performances from the parade, so they instead show pre-recorded performances.

Initially, the telecasts were only an hour long. In 1961, the telecast expanded to two hours, then 90 minutes between 1962 and 1964, back to two hours in 1965, and by 1969, three hours of it were being televised.

Initially, the telecasts were only an hour long. In 1961, the telecast expanded to two hours, then 90 minutes between 1962 and 1964, back to two hours in 1965, and by 1969, three hours of it were being televised.

Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

The Radio City Rockettes appeared in the parade for the first time in 1957.

Rockettes Macys Day Parade 1958For the past 55 years, the Rockettes have been a staple of the Macy’s Day Parade.

In order to be a Rockette, a dancer must be between 5’6″ and 5’10½” and demonstrate proficiency in tap, jazz, modern dance, and ballet. They must also be able to perform the signature eye-high kick.

Helium shortages in both 1958 and 2006 led to less balloons in the parade.

Helium shortages in both 1958 and 2006 led to less balloons in the parade.

AP Images

Many of the balloons that were used had to be hoisted by cranes onto trucks.

After the U.S. government, Macy’s is currently the second-largest consumer of helium in the country.

In 1971, due to heavy wind and rain, balloons were not used in the parade.

Broadway appearances have been a parade regular since 1980 when the cast of “The Pirates of Penzance” were featured.

the pirates of penzance 1980 macys thanksgiving

This year’s parade will feature a total of five Broadway performances, including ‘Annie,’ ‘Bring It On,’ and ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It.’

Over the 88-year history of the parade, there have been numerous injuries caused by balloon issues. The most serious injury occurred in 1997 and resulted in the implementation of balloon size restrictions.

cat in the hatIn 1997, the Cat in the Hat balloon was pushed into a lamp post by high winds. Falling debris fractured 33-year-old Kathleen Caronna’s skull and put her in a month-long coma.

In 2006, wind measurement devices were installed to alert parade organizers to any unsafe balloon-flying conditions.

After 9/11, Macy’s reintroduced an old Harold the Fireman balloon from 1948 to commemorate those who helped in the aftermath of the attacks.

Starting in 2005, the original parade logo was swapped out for a new logo every year.

Macys parade logo

The classic “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade” logo was last used in 2005. Since then, a new logo has been created every year. The only place the original logo can still be found is on the jackets of the parade staff.

Besides being used in publicity material and the ID badges worn by the parade staff, the official parade logo is rarely seen. NBC’s coverage does not even show the official Macy’s parade logo. They create their own.

Here’s this year’s logo.

This year’s parade lineup includes…

smurfs, macy's 85th annual thanksgiving day parade, nyc, parades, november 24 2011, bi, dng

16 giant character balloons; 40 novelty/ornament balloons, balloonicles, balloonheads and trycaloons; 28 floats; 1,600 cheerleaders and dancers; 900 clowns; 11 marching bands; a host of celebrity performers, including Carly Rae Jepsen and Neon Trees, and of course, Santa Clause.

 

Lincoln document on sale in Philly for $900,000

via Yahoo: 

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A document signed by President Abraham Lincoln ordering Union blockades of Confederate ports, marking the official start of the Civil War, is for sale.

The Raab Collection in Philadelphia said Tuesday it is selling the document, which it calls one of the most important in American history. The asking price is $900,000.

Lincoln’s proclamation is dated April 19, 1861 — a week after the first shots of the conflict were fired at South Carolina’s Fort Sumter. After the Civil War ended in 1865, the U.S. Supreme Court in an opinion ascribed Lincoln’s April 19 blockade order as the official beginning of the war.

“This action was bold and with great risk,” said Nathan Raab, vice president of The Raab Collection. “Lincoln was aware that the blockading of ports was an act of war.”

Some of the president’s cabinet objected the move, saying it could be seen as a de facto recognition of the Confederate States of America as a sovereign nation because countries do not blockade their own ports. Lincoln, however, “was less interested in the legal definitions of ‘war’ than in victory, and he approved it despite the objections,” Raab said.

The document, which has been owned by a private collector who wishes to remain anonymous, was exhibited recently at museums including the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and theAbraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library in Springfield, Ill.

The single-page manuscript authorizes Lincoln’s secretary of state to “affix the Seal of the United States to a Proclamation setting on foot a Blockade of the ports of the States of South Carolina,Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.” The seal was affixed to the blockade proclamation announced that day, effectively declaring war on the Confederacy.

Between 1861 and 1865, the Union Navy blockade successfully crippled the Confederate economy by largely preventing the import of supplies and ammunition and the export of cotton and other trade goods to and from ports along 3,500 miles of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The strategy, part of Gen. Winfield Scott’s so-called Anaconda Plan, is seen by historians as a key factor in the Union’s victory.

Current Petraeus affair has nothing on nation’s first sex scandal

via Constitution Daily:

 

The current sex scandal involving the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the military, and possibly several private citizens isn’t the first in Washington, but it has some things in common with the huge scandal that hit Alexander Hamilton more than 200 years ago.

Alexander Hamilton in 1792.

The Maria Reynolds affair was the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell-John Allen triangle of its day in the 1790s, with its admission of adultery, scandalous mail exchanges, and a high-profile resignation.

The Hamilton scandal also involved some elements that have nothing in common with the current situation: blackmail, a potential Founding Fathers duel, and a key role by two future U.S. presidents, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

And Aaron Burr, the man who eventually killed Hamilton in 1804, made two cameo appearances as the events unfolded.

In the 1790s, Hamilton was arguably the second- or third-most powerful politician in the United States, after his mentor, Washington, and Hamilton’s arch-enemy, Jefferson.

But Hamilton had many foes due to his aggressive role in government. Hamilton had started the first political party in the nation, the Federalists and battled leaders within his own party as well as Jefferson and his followers.

Hamilton became the first treasury secretary of the United States in 1789 and was President Washington’s most-trusted adviser. But he resigned in early 1795, reportedly to seek a lucrative private sector career working as a lawyer in New York.

But Hamilton was harboring a secret.

During Washington’s first term in office, Secretary Hamilton started an affair in 1791 with Maria Reynolds, a Philadelphia woman seeking money to leave her abusive husband and return to New York.

Unknown to Hamilton, Reynolds’ husband knew of the affair. James Reynolds forced the married Hamilton to pay him blackmail if he wanted to continue the liaison. Hamilton did.

James Reynolds was then caught in a separate financial scheme and tried to implicate Hamilton in that plot in 1792. The speaker of the House, Frederick Muhlenberg; Monroe; and a third Congress member confronted Hamilton.

Not only did the treasury secretary confirm the affair, Hamilton also handed over much of his mail correspondence with Reynolds to the men. The letters apparently proved that Hamilton wasn’t involved in the second financial scheme involving Reynolds.

Monroe and Muhlenberg agreed to keep the incident quiet, but Jefferson may have known of the affair. Monroe had given copies of the letters and records of the meetings with Hamilton to John Beckley, the clerk of the House of Representatives, to be sealed.

Five year later, Beckley was fired as House clerk by the Federalists, and all of the papers were suddenly made public in 1797 in what we would call a tabloid publication run by Philadelphia publisher James Callender.

Furious, Hamilton responded by publishing a denial and marching to Monroe’s house to ask him how the confidential papers became public. Monroe and Hamilton argued, and dueling challenges were exchanged.

A deadly battle between the future president and Hamilton seemed destined to happen, but Monroe’s second intervened in a series of letters and calmed down the two men. The second was Aaron Burr.

Burr was also the divorce attorney for Maria Reynolds.

Hamilton responded by publishing more correspondence on the matter, including 50 letters from Reynolds and fellow politicians and the dueling threats with Monroe.

The Maria Reynolds affair ended Hamilton’s likelihood of holding political office again. He remained a behind-the-scenes player in the Federalist Party, but would never become president–and his party wouldn’t win the presidency again in his lifetime.

But one lingering question remains today: What was Hamilton’s true role in the affair?

One theory that emerged in the 1970s, from a Jeffersonian scholar, was that some of the letters from Reynolds, depicting Hamilton’s innocence in the financial part of the scandal, were forged.

American Heritage magazine has a detailed account of the story online.

It also has an interesting footnote about those 50 papers that Hamilton published in 1797, which allegedly proved his innocence. The originals were supposed to be in the possession of William Bingham, a U.S. senator in Philadelphia who was one of America’s wealthiest men.

Bingham said he never received the papers in Philadelphia and the originals have been missing since then.