On This Day in
American History:
April 15

“O Captain! My Captain! Our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
      But O heart! heart! heart!
      O the bleeding drops of red,
      Where on the deck my Captain lies,
            Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
      Here Captain! dear father!
      This arm beneath your head!
      It is some dream that on the deck,
            You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
      Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
      But I with mournful tread,
            Walk the deck my Captain lies,
            Fallen cold and dead.”

- O Captain! My Captain! a symbolic poem written by Walt Whitman on the death of Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Lincoln passed away on April 15, 1865 after suffering from wounds he received the day prior.

Image: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Scene at the death-bed of President Lincoln." New York Public Library Digital Collections. 

Andrew Johnson taking the oath of office in the small parlor of the Kirkwood House hotel in Washington, D.C.

- April 15, 1865

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

“The Artist in His Museum” 
Charles Willson Peale self-portrait

- 1822

American artist and Revolutionary War Veteran C.W. Peale was born on April 15, 1741 in Chester, Province of Maryland.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

"In spotlight on congressional children's broadcast. Washington, D.C., April 15. Little Jane Case, Daughter of Rep. and Mrs. Francis H. Case of South Dakota, is one of the youngest of the children who will take part in the Congressional Children's Broadcast over the NBC Red Network from the Capitol on April 16. The children will take the air from 12:15 to 1P.M. Eastern Standard Time, 4/15/1938”

via LOC no known restrictions 

Born April 15, 1889 artist Thomas Hart Benton’s style has been called “fluid” and his genre was often Regionalist. A number of his murals can be seen throughout the Midwest, where his family had deep roots. Benton was the subject of a Ken Burns documentary in 1988. Shown is “Noon,” painted in 1939.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain in the US. {PD-US}

On today’s date April 15, 1850, the city of San Francisco, California was incorporated.

Image: Portsmouth Square, San Francisco in 1851 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Essex (CV-9) departs Hunter Point Navy Yard, San Francisco, California (USA), bound for the Pacific

April 15, 1944

At over 800 feet in length, the USS Essex weighed over 36 thousand tons. 

Later that year her flight deck was hit by a kamikaze that killed 15 and wounded over 40 sailors. She also rode out Typhoon Cobra in the Pacific in late 1944. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson made his major league debut.

Just three days later he hit his first major league home run.

Image of Jackie Robinson in 1950 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

Jerry Lewis on April 15, 1958

via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Elizabeth Montgomery was born on April 15, 1933 in Los Angeles, California. 
She made her film debut in the 1955 historical drama The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell.

Image of Elizabeth standing near flowers holding sun glasses in 1971 via Alamy 

Postcard showing the arrival of the Carpathia rescuing passengers of the Titanic in lifeboats on the morning of April 15, 1912

6 years later the RMS Carpathia was sunk by a German U-Boat in WWI

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 


Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s franchise restaurant opened on April 15, 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois.

The restaurant was turned into a museum but demolished in 2018. 

Image by Carol Highsmith via LOC, no known restrictions

Shown is the first flight of the B-52 Stratofortress on April 15, 1952. The long-range, jet-powered bomber entered service in 1954 and the US Air Force has announced that it will likely remain in use until 2050.

Image from AF GlobalStrike CCA 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commons.

American inventor Lee de Forest demonstrated his Phonofilm technology during the showing of a series of films on April 15, 1923 at the Rivoli Theatre on Broadway in New York City. 

Phonofilm was a process of recording sound on film.

 Image: Lee de Forest seated in front of small crowd, watching and listening to talking movie of himself; Newark, N.J. c. 1920s via Wikimedia Commons, no known restrictions 

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