January 23rd in history:
On January 23, 1997, Madeleine Albright became the first member of a very exclusive club when she was sworn in as America’s first female secretary of state. The group of women who have headed the State Department now includes Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The first group of artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame received that honor on this date in 1986. Among the first inductees were Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard and James Brown – not to be confused with TV sports reporter James Brown or Cleveland Browns football star Jim Brown.
O.J. Simpson was in a club all by himself on January 23, 1985. He became the first Heisman Trophy winner voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Another “first” for a hall of fame on this date…Jackie Robinson was the first African-American player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 23rd, 1962.
November 7 in history:
November 7th of 1917 is marked as the official date of the Russian Revolution, when Lenin led an assault on Russia’s provisional government at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
Colorado citizens did something revolutionary on this date in 1893. They passed a constitutional amendment to give the state’s women the right to vote. That made Colorado the first state to approve women’s suffrage through a popular election.
On November 7th, 1916, Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to Congress. That same day in 2000, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first presidential spouse in the U.S. to win public office, when she was elected a Senator from New York.
How did the Wizard of Oz become a Wizard? In the 1939 movie, he explains to Dorothy that the citizens of Oz proclaimed him “the First Wizard Deluxe” when he drifted to their land in a runaway hot-air balloon. Herman Mankiewicz was one of many screenwriters who worked on “Oz.” He also co-wrote “Citizen Kane,” whose lead character ran for public office. Mankiewicz was born on November 7th, 1897.
October 26 in history:
The route for the Pony Express mail service between Missouri and California was roughly two thousand miles, which could be covered by horses and riders in about 10 days. When telegraph lines finally extended from coast to coast, there was no more need for the Pony Express. The service shut down for good on October 26th, 1861.
A spacecraft has to travel several days from the earth to reach the far side of the moon. The Soviet craft Lunik 3 took the first photographs ever made of the moon’s “dark side”. The U.S.S.R. released those photos on this date in 1959.
Two women born on October 26th in the 1940s have come a long way, taking vastly different paths to fame:
Hillary Rodham (born 1947) was a student commencement speaker at Wellesley in 1969, and was featured in Life Magazine as a result. Married Bill Clinton, became First Lady, elected U.S. Senator, was appointed secretary of state, and ran twice for president, winning the Democratic nomination in 2016.
Jaclyn Smith (born either 1945 or 1947) appeared in magazines in her twenties, as a model for Breck shampoo. She was the only one of “Charlie’s Angels” to stay with the original series for its full five-year run. And she also became a First Lady…playing Jackie Kennedy in a TV movie biography.
October 11 in history:
Teddy Roosevelt became the first U.S. president to fly in a plane on October 11th, 1910. The flight at St. Louis happened more than a year after Roosevelt left the White House. He was the passenger of pilot Archibald Hoxsey.
Teddy’s flight occurred on the birthday of his niece, future First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, born in 1884. October 11th, 1975 was the wedding day for another future First Lady, and a future President. Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton were married in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The Clintons have been popular targets for satire on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” which made its debut on the couple’s wedding night. Actress Joan Cusack, born October 11th, 1962, spent one year as a cast member on “SNL”. Three years after being dropped from the show, Cusack got an Oscar nomination for “Working Girl.” She’s also well-known as the voice of cowgirl Jessie in the “Toy Story” movies.
Jane Krakowski once played a famous animated character in a live-action movie, as Betty Rubble in “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas.” Krakowski, born this day in 1968, is better known from “30 Rock” as Jenna Maroney. She shares a birthday with the original Wilma Flintstone, Jean Vander Pyl (born 1919).
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect on August 26th, 1920, giving American women the right to vote.
It’s the birthday of the first woman to be nominated as Vice President by a major political party, Democrat Geraldine Ferraro, born in 1935.
Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke to the Democratic Party convention in Denver on this date in 2008, the night before she officially conceded the party’s presidential nomination to Barack Obama.
Women still cannot be elected pope or vote for the pope. On August 26th, 1978, Catholic Cardinal Albino Luciani was elected pope to succeed Paul the 6th. Luciani combined the names of the two most recent popes in naming himself John Paul the 1st.
August 26th is also the birthday of Mother Teresa (born 1910), the European-born nun who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work with the poor people of Calcutta.