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On This Day in
American History:
 
May 20

Philanthropist, U.S. Army Air Forces and Air Force Pilot and Academy Award Winner Jimmy Stewart was born on May 20, 1908 in Indiana, Pennsylvania 

Image: Major Jimmy Stewart with B-24 crew members in 1943
via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

First Architect of the United States Capitol, William Thornton, was born on May 20, 1759 in the British Virgin Islands.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

On May 20, 1932, American pilot Amelia Earhart began her nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean and successfully landed in Northern Ireland after flying solo for nearly 15 hours. 

Image: Amelia in the 1930s, public domain

“The Peninsula, Virginia. Officers of General George B. McClellan's staff”

Photo by James F. Gibson via Library of Congress, no known restrictions 
Dated May 20, 1862

On May 20, 1873 

Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis were issued a patent for their “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings” or denim jeans with rivets.

Images via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

On May 20, 1891, Thomas Edison demonstrated his Kinetoscope at his lab to a semi-public audience for the first time. While the Kinetoscope was a major innovation in the history of motion pictures it still required viewers to watch through a peep hole.

The following year in 1892, an employee of Thomas Edison, named Eugene Augustin Lauste (shown), who occasionally worked on the development of the Kinetoscope, departed Edison’s company. 

On May 20, 1895, in Manhattan, the world's first run of a commercial (paying audience) projected motion picture screening took place using the Eidoloscope, that was mainly engineered by Lauste.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

On May 20, 1913, The United States Department of Justice filed an antitrust suit to dissolve the United Shoe Machinery Company.

Three years earlier in 1910 the company had an eighty percent share of the shoe machinery market with assets of about forty million dollars. 

In 1947, the Federal Government brought proceedings against United Shoe stating that the company had been in breach of antitrust since 1912. However no action to break up the company was taken at that time. 

In 1967, the U.S. reviewed its prior claims and finally ruled that the company should be divested and United Shoe was forced to do so. 

Besides making machines that made shoes what else did United Shoe make? Well, between WWI and the Cold War, United Shoe was one of the U.S. Government’s largest defense contractors.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

"Towards the close of her life, Mrs. Madison frequently recalled the home of her childhood...The house was called Scotch-town because of the emigrants, and was surrounded by a number of small brick houses, attached to the main building, which was very large, having as many as twenty rooms on a floor. 

John Payne was the father of six children, of whom the second is the subject of this memoir. Much might be said of unusual charms discovered by adoring parents during her infancy. Dorothy Payne first opened her eyes on this world, which she was destined so thoroughly to enjoy, on the 20th May, 1768 in North Carolina, where her parents were visiting; and was named Dorothy for her mother's aunt, Mrs. Patrick Henry. 

Both father and mother were strict members of the ''Society of Friends," and Dolley’s childhood was passed quietly in their country home until she reached the age of twelve years. A favorite with all, she was the particular pet and companion of her grandmother, who often made her happy by surreptitious presents of old-fashioned jewelry, and not daring to wear them before her father and mother, she sewed them into a bag, which was tied around her neck, and concealed beneath her little frock.”

From: Memoirs and letters of Dolley Madison: wife of James Madison, president of the United States
https://archive.org/details/memoirslettersof00madi/page/4/mode/2up
Source says not in copyright 
Published in 1886

Image: Dolley Madison c. 1805-1810 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Cher was born on May 20, 1946 in El Centro, California.

Image: Cher at 20 in 1966 via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

At 7:40 on the morning of May 20, 1927, Charles Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis" lifted into the air at New York's Roosevelt field. The grueling flight ended 33 ½ hours later in Paris with Lindbergh making aviation history as the first to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.  

Image via LOC via Wikimedia Commons, public domain in the US

100 years ago today

Crew prepping cable to be hauled on board the US Cableship Dellwood, Trocadero Bay, Alaska

May 20, 1924

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

A stamp from 1962 commemorating the 100th anniversary of when the Homestead Act of 1862 was signed by Abraham Lincoln on May 20th of that year. 

Under the act a settler could receive up to 160 acres of land.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain 

“Abraham Lincoln, candidate for U.S. President, half-length portrait, May 20, 1860”

Image via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

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