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Topps Baseball Cards

Sy Berger, who revitalized baseball cards after World War II by introducing Topps cards in 1951, died at 91 on this date in 2014. The first cards were packaged with taffy inside instead of bubble gum, a nearly disastrous marketing error because the taffy ended up tasting like the varnish on the cards. But the […]

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Radical or Liberal in 2017?

REGARDING FEMINISM AND LOTS MORE by Raina Lipsitz from the Autumn 2017 issue of Jewish Currents   WHEN I WAS 17, I yearned for the “real” feminism of my mother’s era, the kind chronicled in Susan Brownmiller’s In Our Time: Memoir of a Revolution, which came out in 2000, during my senior year of high […]

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The Last Resort: Woke and Sleep

by Albert Vorspan   SOMEHOW, I am always out of step with the spirit of the times. For example, in the 1960s our kids were hip and dressed in ragamuffin clothes, with hair down to their knees. My wife Shirley and I marched with them for civil rights and against the war in Vietnam, but we […]

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Moving Class Politics Centerstage

by George Salamon   “Today, with your support and the support of millions of people throughout this country, we begin a political revolution to transform our country economically, socially and environmentally.” —Bernie Sanders, presidential campaign announcement, May 26, 2015 “Every time we are confronted with a new revolution we take to the opium pipes of […]

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A Singer in Every Category

Georgia Gibbs (Frieda Lipschitz), a tremendously versatile singer who found steady work on radio and vaudeville stages in the 1940s and in the recording studio and television studios in the 1950s and ’60s, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on this date in 1919. She landed her first singing gig at age 13, and was a […]

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Bagels and Bongos

Irving Fields (Schwartz), who infused beloved Jewish songs (such as “Raisins and Almonds”) with the Cuban rhythms that he learned as a Caribbean cruise ship pianist, then sold two million copies of his 1959 album, “Bagels and Bongos,” was born in New York on this date in 1915. He began playing piano as a child and quickly […]

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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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Barbara Bergmann’s Feminist Economics

Barbara Bergmann, a senior staffer for President Kennedy’s Council of Economic Advisors, a senior economist at the Agency for International Development, and an advisor to the Congressional Budget Office and the Census Bureau, was born in the Bronx to immigrant parents on this date in 1927. Bergmann was educated at Cornell and Harvard, and taught at the University of Maryland […]

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Susan Strasberg as Anne Frank

Susan Strasberg, who created the role of Anne Frank on Broadway and became the youngest actor to be featured on a Broadway theater marquee as a result, was featured on the cover of Life Magazine on this date in 1955. Born in New York in 1938, she was the daughter of famed acting coach Lee Strasberg. She debuted in […]

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The “Lottery-Crazed Ghetto”

The New York Times reported on this date in 1896 that the New York “district east of the Bowery, which, from the preponderance of the Hebrew population has come to be known as the Ghetto,” is “lottery-crazed.” Tickets for the Louisiana Lottery and both German and Austrian government lotteries were most popular, said the article, […]

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