March 18th in history:
On March 18th, 1850, businessmen William Fargo and Henry Wells combined their express mail businesses to start American Express. They started another famous delivery and banking company a short time later, known for its wagons crossing the American frontier, with Wells getting first billing.
Aleksei Leonov stepped into space (the final frontier) on this day in 1965. The Soviet cosmonaut was the first human to take a “space walk,” lasting 12 minutes, as part of the Voskhod 2 mission.
The governor-general of Canada became a pioneer on this date in 1893, when he pledged to donate a silver challenge cup to the best hockey team in Canada. The cup still exists, only now it’s awarded to the best team in the National Hockey League. And it still bears the name of its donor, Lord Frederick Stanley.
Stanley was appointed to the Canadian post by England’s Queen Victoria. March 18th is the birthday of Mary Tudor, Queen of France (born to the King and Queen of England in 1496)…singer and actress Queen Latifah (born Dana Owens in 1970)…and a beauty queen, former Miss America Vanessa Williams (born 1963).
September 7 in history:
A girl named Elizabeth started life as a princess when she was born in England on September 7th, 1533. Her father was King Henry VIII. Her mother was Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth Tudor became queen of England when she was 25, and reigned for nearly 50 years.
Citizens of Egypt got to elect their own president for the first time on this date in 2005. Before that, the Egyptian parliament chose the president. The winner of the election was Hosni Mubarak, who had already been president for 24 years. Mubarak’s opponents claimed the voting was rigged.
Nikita Khrushchev didn’t wait to be elected “First Secretary” of the Soviet Communist Party. He took power on September 7th, 1953, and remained in control for 11 years.
And a two-day contest called the Atlantic City Pageant began in New Jersey on this date in 1921. Margaret Gorman, representing Washington, D.C., won that first pageant. It was a tourism gimmick, designed to bring visitors to the city after Labor Day, and was later renamed the Miss America Pageant.
Sarah Ferguson (“Fergie”) married into the British royal family on July 23rd, 1986. Fergie’s marriage to Prince Andrew made her the Duchess of York. Andrew and Sarah were married for 10 years. Their daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, drew attention at the 2011 wedding of Prince William for their clothes, especially their designer hats.
Vanessa Williams had to stop wearing her royal headgear…the Miss America crown…on this date in 1984. She was the first African-American contestant to be named Miss America, and the first to resign. Williams was pressured to give up the title two months before the end of her reign because of publicity about nude photos of her, taken a year before she won the pageant.
On July 23rd of 1952, a revolution began in Egypt which led to the abdication of King Farouk I.
July 23rd was the birthday of Ethiopia’s last monarch, Emperor Haile Selassie (1892). And it was the day that U.S. President U.S. Grant died in 1885.