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Mark's Almanac

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Mark's Almanac

Mark's Almanac is a 90-second time travel that highlights the world's history from the very serious to the sometimes sublime. Listen during Morning Edition and 1A.


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  • It was on this date in 1911 that the Triangle Shirtwaist Company sweatshop fire occurred. The fire led to better legislation being passed that would improve working conditions.
  • It was on this date in 1839 that the term 'okay' was first used. Within a year, the term became so popular that presidential candidates began using it. And it was on this date in 1921 that Germany announced it couldn't pay reparations to the Allies as stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles.
  • It was on this date in 1892 that the first long-distance phone call took place. It was between the mayors of Chicago and New York City. It was also on this date in 1932 that the first radio broadcast from something moving took place on a train.
  • It was on this date in 1933 that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Cullen–Harrison Act. The act legalized the sale of beer and wine only containing up to 3.2% of alcohol. The 21st Amendment fully legalizing alcohol would be ratified later that year. And it was on this date in 1941 that Jimmy Stewart became the first major Hollywood actor to serve in WWII.
  • It was on this date in 1844 that Baptist preacher William Miller predicted the return of Christ and the end of the world. When it didn't come true, it became known as the Great Disappointment. And it was on this date in 1944 that the sale of an alarm clock nearly caused a riot in Chicago.
  • It was on this date in 1877 that President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Frederick Douglass the U.S. Marshal of the District of Columbia. And it was on this date in 1966 that the Scott Paper Company introduced a wearable disposable paper dress.
  • It was on this date in 461 that Saint Patrick is said to have died. Today we celebrate the day as St. Patrick's Day.
  • It was on this date in 1867 that Joseph Lister published his first article outlying the discovery of antiseptic surgery. And it was on this date in 1935 that Adolf Hitler openly ordered German rearmament, in direct violation of the Treaty of Versaille.
  • It was on this date in 44 BC that Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by Brutus, Cassius, and several other Roman Senators. And it was on this date in 1892 that Jesse Wilford Reno patented what would become the modern escalator.
  • It was on this date in 1794 that Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin. And it was on this date in 1971 that the Rolling Stones decided to leave England and move to France to avoid paying taxes.