On This Day in
American History:
May 16

A rare Washington nickel with the phrase “God And Our Country” from 1866

On May 16, 1866 U.S. Congress established the nickel.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

On May 16, 1842 the first of many large wagon trains left Elm Grove, Missouri to travel the Oregon Trail. From the 1840s to the 1860s it is estimated that about 400,000 people made the lengthy trek and the National Park Service maintains a number of sites where wagon ruts are still visible.

“Oregon Trail (Campfire)”
by Albert Bierstadt, Wikimedia Commons, public domain in the US {US-PD}.

On May 16, 1804, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody was born in Billerica, Massachusetts. In addition to opening the first English language kindergarten in America, she also opened her own bookstore and was the first known person to translate the Lotus Sutra (the most venerated Buddhist sutra) from French into English.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

The world’s first laser was fired at Hughes' laboratories in Malibu, California on May 16, 1960. It was invented by an American named Theodore Maiman.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

Amelia Earhart became the 16th woman in the United States to be issued a pilot's license on May 16, 1923.

 Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

Space Shuttle Atlantis approaching the International Space Station high above the Atlantic coast of Spain on May 16, 2010.

 Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

“As a general truth, communities prosper and flourish, or droop and decline, in just the degree that they practise or neglect to practise the primary duties of justice and humanity.”

William Henry Seward in 1858 while he was U.S. Senator from New York, after he was Governor of New York and before he became U.S. Secretary of State. 

Seward was born on May 16, 1801 in Florida, New York.

Image: Painting of William Henry Seward c. 1844 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Harper B. Lee, an American who suddenly sprang into notoriety as a bullfighter in Mexico after making his first appearance on May 16, 1909 at the Plaza de Toros in Mexico City. 

Image via Wikimedia Commons, no known restrictions 

Gen. William Mitchell, Asst. Chief of the Army Air Service, with horse at Nat'l Capitol horse show


via Library of Congress, no known restrictions

Photo of Philadelphia born actress Janet Gaynor in 1927 

On May 16, 1929 Janet Gaynor became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. 
She received the award for her performances in three films. 

Image of Janet Gaynor in the movie 7th Heaven in 1927 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

On May 16, 1946 The Broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun opened in New York City 

Image: Ethel Merman as Annie & Ray Middleton as Frank in Annie Get Your Gun in 1946 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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