Today in History
What happened today? Let the New-York Historical Society's collections tell the story!
Happy West Virginia Day! On June 20, 1863, West Virginia was formally admitted to the Union. In 1927 the date was made a formal holiday in the state. West Virginia State Capitol, South Elevation, ink on trace. Cass Gilbert Architecture Collection, PR 021, New-York Historical Society, 85867d.
Juneteenth, Freedom Day, or Emancipation Day, commemorating June 19, 1865 when the abolition of slavery was announced and enforced in the state of Texas, over two years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. Isaac and Rosa, emancipated slave children, from the Free Schools of Louisiana; cabinet card photograph by M.H. Kimball, 1863. New-York Historical Society, 78327d.
November 29, 1832: Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Best-known as the author of Little Women (1868), Alcott was also a noted abolitionist and feminist. Cabinet card photograph, J. Notman, Boston, n.d. PR 052, New-York Historical Society, 70276.
October 28, 1886: President Grover Cleveland dedicates the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor following a parade from Madison Square to Battery Park, during which traders at the Stock Exchange threw ticker tape, initiating that tradition. Invitation to the Inauguration of the Statue of Liberty, New-York Historical Society Library, 92215d.
August 30, 1999: In a United Nations-sponsored referendum, the citizens of East Timor voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Indonesia. In retribution, a scorched earth campaign followed, wherein Indonesian-sponsored militias killed nearly 1,400 Timorese. East Timor finally achieved international recognition as an independent nation on May 20, 2002. Photo: Timorese Resistance Archive & Museum.
August 5, 1906: John Huston was born in Nevada, Missouri. His first movie, as writer and director, was The Maltese Falcon (1941). Larry Silver, Times Square, NYC, 1952 [Movie theatre ads for The Maltese Falcon and Dark Victory, additional movie theatres, I. Miller shoe store, Planters Peanut ad, CBS-TV]. Gelatin silver photograph. Gift of William and Jeryl Silverstein, Collection of the New-York Historical Society, 90402d.
August 5, 1850: Henri René Albert Guy de Maupassant is born in Tourville-sur-Arques, France. A protégé of Flaubert, Maupassant's output includes the famous twist-ending short story, "The Necklace." Necklace, part of a parure, 1840-1880. Pearls, mother-of-pearl, gold, string. Gift of Mrs. J. Harper Skillin, New-York Historical Society, 1956.47a-i.
July 22, 1846: Emma Lazarus was born in New York City. Her 1883 poem "The New Colossus," on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty, helped to give the monument its identify as a welcoming beacon to immigrants. Liberty [Bedloe's] Island, undated photograph. New-York Historical Society, 82144d.
July 19-20, 1848: The Seneca Falls Convention, purported to be the first women's rights convention, was held in upstate New York. The meeting was organized by Female Quakers, including Lucretia Mott, along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Lucretia Mott, engraving by Geo. E. Perine & Co., 1868, New-York Historical Society, 91397d. #neverthelessshepersisted
June 6, 1755: Birthday of Nathan Hale. Last Words of Captain Nathan Hale [purportedly "I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country."], the Hero-Martyr of the American Revolution, engraving by A.H. Ritchie, F.O.C. Darley, del.; published by Henry Howe, 1858. NYHS Image #5865.
May 31, 1879: William Kissam Vanderbilt renames Gilmore's Garden as Madison Square Garden. This open-air arena is replaced in 1890 by a Stanford White designed MSG, which is in turn replaced in 1928, by the Cass Gilbert-designed New York Life Building. Madison Square Garden, plastered with Barnum posters, 1886; photograph by R.H. Lawrence, New-York Historical Society, 84662d.