Son of Sam

David Berkowitz, who terrified New York between the summers of 1976 and 1977 by shooting strangers, usually young women, often sitting in parked cars, in eight separate incidents, and who claimed responsibility as “Son of Sam” in letters to the police, shot his first victims in the Bronx on this date in 1976. (The Christmas […]

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Florsheim Shoes

Milton Florsheim, a Chicago cobbler who transformed the shoe industry by slapping the family name on his shoe soles and pull-up straps and then launching a chain of brand-name retail stores, was born in Chicago on this date in 1868. His father owned a shoe store. Florsheim Shoes were marketed, says his great-grandson John Florsheim, as […]

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Why Berkman Shot Frick

Nine steelworkers and at least one Pinkerton guard were killed in battles that raged on this date in 1892 at Andrew Carnegie’s Homestead Steel Works in Pittsburgh. The Pinkertons had been brought in to protect scabs imported to replace striking workers; the conflict involved guns and a homemade cannon forged by the strikers. The strike would last for months until the courts crushed the […]

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Abie’s Irish Rose

Abie’s Irish Rose, a play about a young Irish woman and a young Jewish man who marry despite the objections of their families, premiered at Broadway’s Fulton Theater on this date in 1922. It would run for  2,327 performances until October 1, 1927, a record that would not be broken until Hello, Dolly! came to the stage in […]

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Newark’s No. 1 Philanthropist

Louis Bamberger, founder of one of the country’s first and largest department stories and co-founder with his sister Carrie of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies, was born in Baltimore on this date in 1855. Bamberger founded his store in Newark in 1892, and by 1912 he had turned it into a glamorous, block-square, 14-story enterprise […]

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Medals of Honor in the Civil War

Two Jewish soldiers in the Union Army received the Congressional Medal of Honor for the heroism they showed on this date in 1864 during the four-day Battle of the Wilderness, the first attempt by Ulysses S. Grant to use consolidated forces of the Union to destroy Robert E. Lee’s Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. Abraham […]

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The Anti-Semitic Congressman

On this date in 1934, Louis T. McFadden, nineteen years in the House of Representatives as a Republican from Pennsylvania, made one of his several speeches on the floor of the House that were filled with anti-Semitism. In these speeches, and in newsletters to his constituents, McFadden cited the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of […]

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The Man Who Invented Advertising

Albert Lasker, who moved the world of American advertising from simple informational announcements to what he called “salesmanship in print,” was born in Freiburg, Germany on this date in 1880. Lasker came to the U.S. as an infant, was raised in Galveston, Texas, and rose to head the Lord & Thomas Agency in Chicago by […]

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The Baltimore Slavery Riot

Pro-slavery forces in Baltimore, a city that had given Abraham Lincoln only 1,100 of more than 30,000 votes cast the previous November, rioted on this date in 1861 as Union soldiers from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts arrived to secure the town, situated dangerously close to Washington, DC. The riot erupted only six days after hostilities had […]

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America’s First Shokhet (Ritual Slaughterer)

Solomon Etting was licensed on this date in 1782 to serve as America’s first kosher slaughterer. In 1797, Etting and Bernard Gratz petitioned the Maryland Assembly to revoke the law that required swearing a Christian oath in order to take office, and they continued petitioning the legislature every year for twenty-nine years. When Maryland’s so-called […]

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