This Day in History: Fort McHenry and our National Anthem

On this day in 1814, the British begin bombarding Fort McHenry. Famously, a young lawyer named Francis Scott Key watched the battle from a nearby ship. The next morning, Key was relieved to see the American flag waving proudly above the fort. Americans had not surrendered! Key was inspired to write a poem that would […]

This Day in History: The inspiration for “America the Beautiful”

On this day in 1893, a professor stands atop Pikes Peak in Colorado. She is struck by the beauty around her and is inspired to write a poem. Her poem is later set to music. Today, we all know that song as “America the Beautiful.” It nearly became America’s national anthem! The professor was Katharine […]

This Day in History: Jefferson and Adams renew their long-lost friendship

On this day in 1813, Abigail Adams sends a note to Thomas Jefferson. She had been upset and hadn’t communicated with him in years! Her husband, too, had only just begun writing to Jefferson after more than a decade of silence. It had taken Abigail longer to relent. “Abigail’s voice, as always,” historian Joseph Ellis […]

This Day in History: President James Garfield’s assassin is hanged

On this day in 1882, Charles J. Guiteau is hanged for the assassination of President James Garfield. Would you believe that Guiteau shot the President simply because he’d been denied a job in the Garfield administration? Guiteau was a seedy character, to say the least. He had a long history of running away from bill […]

This Day in History: Martha Washington passes away

On this day in 1802, Martha Washington passes away. Her family mourned her passing, but Martha herself was ready to go. She would finally join her beloved George! His death in December 1799 had been very hard on her. “The zest of life has departed,” one visitor to Mount Vernon would observe of her afterwards. […]