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Welcome to America Comes Alive!, a site I created to share little-known stories of America's past. These stories are about Americans - people just like you - who have made a difference and changed the course of history. Look around the site and find what inspires you. Kate Kelly
  • The Magic Lantern-Early Form of Slide Projector

    The magic lantern is a very old invention that served as a primitive slide projector. As improvements were made, the magic lantern eventually produced moving pictures as well.

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  • Rinda, Daughter of Rin-Tin-Tin

    Rin-Tinda (known as Rinda), the daughter of Rin-Tin-Tin IV, spent most of her life living with missionary Marguerite Lofthus at a religious retreat in Laguna Mountains, east of San Diego. The dog was brought to Loftus in 1956 or...

    Rinda, Daughter of Rin-Tin-Tin Learn More »

  • President H.W. Bush’s Service Dog

    The Bush family has always had dogs and loved them with great devotion. Dogs have always seen them through challenging times. President George H.W. Bush experienced the loss of a lifetime when his wife Barbara died in April 2018....

    President H.W. Bush’s Service Dog Learn More »

  • John Muir’s Dog Stickeen

    Stickeen wasn’t even naturalist John Muir’s dog, yet he was Muir’s faithful companion as the explorer made a treacherous journey across a glacier in the southeastern section of Alaska. Who Was John Muir?

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  • How Jumbo Joined the Circus

    Jumbo the elephant was identified as a possible “get” for the Barnum & Bailey circus in 1882 by a circus scout who found the elephant at the London Zoo. After learning of the elephant, James Bailey sent the man...

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  • Sculptor of Rushmore Gutzon Borglum

    Mount Rushmore towers commandingly over the Black Hills of South Dakota, beckoning visitors to come closer to see in detail the four faces of the U.S. presidents carved into the mountainside. The carvings themselves are so much a part...

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  • Barbara Jordan, Congresswoman and Trailblazer

    Barbara Jordan (1936-96) was a dynamic and forceful African American from Texas who made great strides for American citizens. She exhibited a positive outlook, great intelligence, a good sense of humor, and had an uncanny ability to fully engage...

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  • Louis Armstrong’s Childhood

    Louis Armstrong was one of the finest jazz musicians in the world. His work broke ground for a new style of popular American music for which he received worldwide acclaim. A virtuoso on trumpet, Louis Armstrong developed a performance...

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  • P.T. Barnum’s Early Career

    P.T. Barnum is remembered as a circus impresario and a huckster. Both those memories do him a disservice. He had a long and varied career prior to entering the circus business at the age of 67. And while he...

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  • Final Evacuation of Saigon Signaled by Song “White Christmas”

    By April 1975—after almost twenty years fighting in Vietnam–the United States began its pull-out. That winter the North Vietnamese pushed the South Vietnamese back forcefully and definitively. The Americans knew that it was over. They needed to pull out...

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  • Ronald Reagan’s Jelly Beans

    Ronald Reagan may have had a sweet tooth, but the true reason he began eating jelly beans was because he quit smoking.  Reagan, a former actor, was well-known for Chesterfield cigarette ads from the 1940s and ‘50s, but it...

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  • Sarah Keys Evans: Taking a Stand for Civil Rights

    Sarah Keys Evans did not intend to take a stand for civil rights in 1952 when she boarded an interstate bus in Trenton, New Jersey. She was on leave from Fort Dix where she served in the Women’s Army...

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  • The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

    The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was an all-female black military unit created in 1944. These women are among the unsung heroes of World War II. The work they accomplished—hand-processing warehouses-full of undelivered mail–brought comfort to countless American soldiers...

    The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion Learn More »

  • Ace Pilot Pete Fernandez: Korean War

    Ace pilot Pete Fernandez was one of the top fighter pilots in the Korean War, but he almost didn’t see combat. He was so valuable to the military as a flight instructor that their preference was to keep him...

    Ace Pilot Pete Fernandez: Korean War Learn More »

  • Buster Brown Shoes and Mary Janes

    “I’m Buster Brown, and I live in a shoe. That’s my dog, Tige, and he lives there, too,” went the jingle for Buster Brown shoes. The Brown Shoe Company began in 1878 as a partnership among three St. Louis...

    Buster Brown Shoes and Mary Janes Learn More »

Topics At America Comes Alive



Part of the inspiration for this site comes from a remark made by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams (1860-1935)
"People do not want to hear about simple things. They want to hear about great things - simply told."

On
This
Day

On September 21, 1938, a Category 3 hurricane slammed into Long Island and southern New England. At that time, there were few ways to predict this type of storm. Fishermen were still out in boats, and people along the coastline had not prepared. Ultimately, 700 people died; another 700 injured. Homes and businesses sustained heavy damage, and nearly 3000 ships were wrecked.  It was the most destructive storm to hit the region in over 100 years.
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Who Thought of That?


The bullet-resistant textile known as Kevlar was invented by Stephanie L. Kwolek for Dupont.

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Heroes & Trailblazers

Pedro Guerrero (1917-2012): The Only Photographer Trusted by Frank Lloyd Wright

Art school dropout who became Frank Lloyd Wright’s exclusive photographer Pedro Guerrero was born in Casa Grande, Arizona on September 5, 1917. His family had... continue »

Isabella Greenway: Entrepreneur and Congresswoman

Isabella Greenway (1886-1953) was the first woman to represent Arizona in Congress (1933-1936) at a time when Arizona had only a single representative to the... continue »
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What can one person do? Read some of the stories on this site; you'll see that they revolve around single individuals who worked toward change.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
Margaret Mead