Profile of the Day

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Profile of the Day: Robert E. Peary

Posted April 6, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
peary

106 years ago today, American explorer Robert E. Peary and his assistant, Matthew A. Henson, purportedly became the first men to reach the North Pole. Born in Cresson, Pennsylvania, Peary joined the United States Navy in 1881 as a civil engineer. It was during his time in the Navy that he resolved to be the first man to reach the North Pole. Peary studied the survival techniques of the Inuits and adopted their practices, including building igloos which… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Alec Baldwin

Posted April 3, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
baldwin

Happy birthday,

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Profile of the Day: Hans Christian Andersen

Posted April 2, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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When you were growing up, did you have a favorite fairytale you wanted hear over and over again? Today we remember Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, who was born on April 2, 1805 in Odense, Denmark. Popular across the globe, Andersen’s fairytales have been translated into over 125 languages and have been adapted into numerous animated films, plays and ballets. Although his family had little wealth, Andersen received a boarding school education often reserved for the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Debbie Reynolds

Posted April 1, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy 83rd birthday to Debbie Reynolds! She was born Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1, 1932 in El Paso, Texas. The second child of Maxine and Raymond Francis Reynolds, Debbie and her family moved to Burbank, California in 1939. By the age of 16, she had won the Miss Burbank beauty contest and landed a contract with Warner Brothers. Her most memorable turn was opposite Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in the classic musical Singin’ in the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Gustave Eiffel

Posted March 31, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today is the 126th anniversary of the public opening of the Eiffel Tower. Have you ever visited the iconic structure? Designed by architect and engineer Gustave Eiffel, the famous tower was originally built for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris, France. Critics were initially skeptical about the tower in the early days of its construction. Remarkably, the tower was completed under budget in just two years and with only one fatality during construction. On March 31,… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Céline Dion

Posted March 30, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Dion

Happy birthday, Céline Dion! Today the French-Canadian singer turns 47. Céline was born in Charlemagne, Quebec, Canada to a large family. The youngest of 14 children, Céline’s upbringing was always filled with music. She made her first public performance at the age of five, performing with her siblings in her parents’ small piano bar. With dreams to become a singer, Céline signed her first recording contract at the age of 12. By the age of 18, she… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Juan Ponce de León

Posted March 27, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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On this day in 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León sighted present-day Florida. The famous explore was the first to lead a European expedition to the peninsula. According to legend, Ponce de León was on a quest for the Fountain of Youth, the mythical water source said to bring eternal youth to those who drank from it. Ponce de León was born in the village of Santervás de Campos, Spain in 1460. Born to a noble family, he sought fame and… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Diana Ross

Posted March 26, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Diana Ross! Today the singer turns 71. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Diana was the second eldest child of Ernestine, a schoolteacher, and Fred Ross, a former Army soldier. As a teen, she began singing with a group of friends and eventually, they formed the successful music group, The Supremes. The group became the first all-female music group to have a number one selling album on the Billboard charts. The success of The Supremes skyrocketed… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Elton John

Posted March 25, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Elton John! What’s your favorite song? The music legend was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in Pinner, England to Stanley and Sheila Eileen Dwight. Elton began playing the piano at the age of 3 and showed an amazing aptitude in music. He released his first album in 1970, which instantly made him an international star. His over-the-top costumes at concerts became a signature of his live performances. A cultural icon, Elton was inducted into the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Harry Houdini

Posted March 24, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Are you a fan of illusions? On this day in 1874, the world’s greatest illusionist and escape artist, Harry Houdini, was born in Budapest, Hungary. Born Erick Weisz, he was one of seven children born to Rabbi Mayer Samuel and Cecilia Weisz. Set on becoming a professional magician, Erick changed his name to Harry Houdini, after the French magician, Jean Eugène Robert-Houdini. He became widely known as “The Handcuff King” for his remarkable ability to escape… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Joan Crawford

Posted March 23, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember actress Joan Crawford, who was born on March 23, 1905. She was born Lucille Fay LeSueur in San Antonio, Texas. From a young age, Crawford loved to dance. With ambitions to become a dancer, she left school to pursue a dancing career. She eventually danced in the Broadway show Innocent Eyes and began appearing on screen for MGM and took the name Joan Crawford. She starred in a string of successful films and won an… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Posted March 20, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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On March 20, 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was published. The second best-selling novel of the 19th century, Stowe’s book is often credited with helping to change public opinion on slavery and fuel the abolitionist cause in the 1850s. It is said that after the start of the American Civil War, Stowe paid a visit to the White House. President Abraham Lincoln reportedly greeted her by saying, “so you are the little… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Glenn Close

Posted March 19, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Glenn Close! Today the versatile actress turns 68. Close was born on March 19, 1947 in Greenwich, Connecticut to an upper class family with a long history in the United States. She is a descendant of the Taliaferros, one of the earliest families to settle in Virginia in the 17th century. The surname line is believed to trace back to Bartholomew Taliaferro, a native of Venice who settled in London during the 16th century. She had… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Grover Cleveland

Posted March 18, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Are you related to a U.S. President? 178 years ago today, former President Grover Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey. Born Stephen Grover Cleveland, he was the fifth of nine children born to Ann Neal and Richard Falley Cleveland. Known as “Big Steve” by friends because of his size, Cleveland dropped his fist name and became known as Grover for the rest of his adult life. Fun facts: Moses Cleveland, the founder of Cleveland, Ohio, was… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Saint Patrick

Posted March 17, 2015 by Amanda | 2 Comments
st-patrick

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! The lively Irish holiday takes place every year on March 17, the traditional day of death for Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. In honor of St. Paddy’s Day, here are some surprising things you may not know about St. Patrick: He was kidnapped by pirates at the age of 16 from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland. He lived there for six years before… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: President James Madison

Posted March 16, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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James Madison, the fourth President of the United States of America, was born on this day, March 16, 1751. He was born at the Belle Grove Plantation near Port Conway, Virginia and was the eldest of twelve children. His father was a successful tobacco planter and owned thousands of acres of land and dozens of slaves. One of America’s Founding Fathers, Madison was instrumental in drafting the U.S. Constitution and laid the foundation for the Bill of… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Terry Pratchett

Posted March 13, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Yesterday, renowned fantasy author Terry Pratchett died at the age of 66 after a battle with early onset Alzheimer’s. Best known for his Discworld series of about 40 volumes, Pratchett had sold more than 85 million books worldwide in 37 languages. Born in Beaconsfield, England on April 28, 1948, Pratchett was the only child of David and Eileen Pratchett. He developed an early interested in astronomy, however, since he lacked the mathematical skills to become an astronomer, Pratchett… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Liza Minnelli

Posted March 12, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Liza Minnelli! Can you believe she turns 69 years old today? The eldest daughter of legendary actress Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli, Liza was destined to become a star. She was born on March 12, 1946 in Los Angeles, California and made her first film performance at the age of three in the musical In the Good Old Summertime starring her mother. She left school to pursue her career on stage and landed her first leading… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Frederick IX

Posted March 11, 2015 by Amanda | One Comment
Frederick_IX_of_Denmark

Are you related to Danish royalty? Today we remember Frederick IX, King of Denmark, who was born on March 11, 1899 in Sorgenfri Castle, near Copenhagen. Frederick IX was the son of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine and the fourth Danish monarch of the House of Glücksburg. When he was baptized in April 1899, he had 21 godparents, including his great grandfather Christian IX of Denmark, Nicholas II of Russia, and the Prince of Wales… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Alexander III

Posted March 10, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have Russian roots? On March 10, 1845, Alexander III, tsar of Russia, was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The second son of Emperor Alexander II of Russia and Maria Alexandrovna, Alexander became heir apparent when his older brother Nicholas died suddenly in 1865. On his deathbed, Nicholas expressed the wish that his fiancée, Princess Dagmar of Denmark, should marry his successor. Alexander and the Princess wed in 1866, and the union proved to… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Ruth Handler

Posted March 9, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Did you have any Barbie dolls growing up? On this day in 1959, the first Barbie doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York. The famous doll was created by Ruth Handler, who co-founded Mattel, Inc with her husband in 1945. After watching her daughter, Barbara, play with her paper dolls, Handler noticed that her daughter would pretend that her paper dolls were adults. Realizing a gap in the market, Handler envisioned a plastic, adult-figured… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Gabriel García Márquez

Posted March 6, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Have you read Love in the Time of Cholera? Today we celebrate the life of Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, who was born on this day in 1927. Raised by his maternal grandparents, Márquez grew up listening to his grandmother’s fantastical and magical stories, which were told to him as if they were real. His grandmother’s storytelling style greatly influence his own writing style, which would become known as “magical realism.” Known affectionally as Gabo throughout… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Heitor Villa-Lobos

Posted March 5, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have any Brazilian roots in your family tree? Today we remember one of Brazil’s greatest composers in history, Heitor Villa-Lobos, who was born on March 5, 1887. Described as “the single most significant figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music,” Villa-Lobos has become one of the most well-known Latin American composers to date. He was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Raul Villa-Lobos and Noêmia dos Santos Monteiro. His father was an educated man and… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Henry the Navigator

Posted March 4, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have Portuguese ancestors? On this day in 1394, Henry the Navigator was born in Porto, Portugal. The third child of the Portuguese king John I, Henry was noted for his early exploration and expansion of Portuguese trade. At the age of 21, Henry, his brother and father captured the Moorish port of Ceuta in northern Morocco. The site had long been the base for Barbary pirates, who often raided villages on the Portuguese coast… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Jean Harlow

Posted March 3, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Harlow

Are you a fan of Old Hollywood movies? Today we celebrate the life of Jean Harlow, who was born on this day in 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri. She was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter to Mont Clair Carpenter, a dentist, and Jean Poe Harlow, the daughter of a wealthy real estate broker. The unhappy marriage had been arranged by her maternal grandfather, Skip Harlow. During the 1930s, Harlow had become one of the biggest movie… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Dr. Seuss

Posted March 2, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss! Today in 1904, beloved children’s book author Theodor Seuss Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to Theodor Robert, a successful brewmaster, and Henrietta Seuss Geisel. In 1937, he published his first children’s book, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, under the pen name Dr. Seuss. And from there, the rest was history. Readers, both young and old, adored his imaginative creatures and playful rhymes. Over the course of his long career,… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Josh Groban

Posted February 27, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Josh Groban! Today the popular singer turns 34. Groban was born Joshua Winslow Groban on February 27, 1981 in Los Angeles, California. His younger brother, Chris, was born on his fourth birthday. He first sang in public in the seventh grade and continued to pursue an education in theater and music. Today, Groban is a best-selling artists with over 25 million records sold worldwide. He’s also made several notable and hilarious appearances on television…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Levi Strauss

Posted February 26, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have a favorite pair of blue jeans? On this day in 1829, Levi Strauss, the founder of the first company to manufacture blue jeans, was born in Buttenheim, Germany. Strauss immigrated to America in 1847 to work for his brothers’ dry goods business in New York. After gaining his American citizenship, Strauss headed west to open his own branch of the family’s business in San Francisco, California. The city had become the commercial hub of the California… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Posted February 25, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have any artists in your family tree? Today we celebrate the life of French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir on his 174th birthday. Renoir was born on February 25, 1841 in Limoges, Haute-Vienne, France to a working-class family. As a boy, he worked in a porcelain factory and utilized his talents to paint designs on fine china. Intent on pursuing his craft, Renoir enrolled in art school and often visited the Louvre to study the French… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Don Knotts

Posted February 24, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember actor Don Knotts, who passed away on this day in 2006. Knotts was perhaps best known for his memorable portrayal of Deputy Barney Fife on the hit sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, which earned him five Emmy Awards. Jesse Donald Knotts was born in Morgantown, West Virginia on July 21, 1924. After graduating from high school, Knotts joined the U.S. Army and spent most of his service entertaining troops. In 1960, he got his big… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Julianne Moore

Posted February 23, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Congratulations to Julianne Moore for finally winning her first Oscar! This year marked Moore’s fifth Academy Award nomination and her first trip to the podium. Moore won Best Actress for her moving performance of a woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s in the film Still Alice. She was born Julie Anne Smith at the Fort Bragg army installation in North Carolina to Peter Moore Smith, a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, and Anne Love, a psychologist and social worker from Greenock,… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Frederick Douglass

Posted February 20, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember abolitionist Frederick Douglas, who died on February 20, 1895. Douglass was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland. Although the exact date of his birth is unknown, Douglass chose to celebrate it on February 14. At the age of 12, his master’s wife, Sophia Auld, began teaching him the alphabet, despite state law that prohibited teaching slaves to read. He continued to secretly teach himself to read and write, believing that “knowledge is… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Nicolaus Copernicus

Posted February 19, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
copernicus

Before Nicolaus Copernicus, the world believed the Earth was the center of the universe. Copernicus’s revelation that planets actually revolved around the sun, transformed scientific thought throughout the world. Today, we remember the famous astronomer, who was born on this day in 1473 in Torun in northern Poland. Copernicus was born into a wealthy merchant family and received the best education. With a keen interest in astrology and astronomy, Copernicus began to study with astronomer… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Mark Twain

Posted February 18, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you remember reading Adventures of Huckleberry Finn? On this day 130 years ago, the classic novel by Mark Twain was published for the first time in the U.S. Considered one of the greatest authors of all time, Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. His childhood experiences in the Mississippi River port town were the basis for his novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: René Laennec

Posted February 17, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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On February 17, 1781, French physician René Laennec, inventor of the stethoscope, was born in Quimper, France. Considered one of the greatest physicians in history, Laennec made many significant contributions to the world of medicine. In 1816, he invented the stethoscope and pioneered its use in diagnosing various chest conditions. The inspiration for the groundbreaking device came from Laennec’s observation of schoolchildren who played with long hallow sticks to amplify sounds. Different from today’s stethoscope, Laennec’s early instruments… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Thomas Edison

Posted February 11, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday to Thomas Edison! Edison was born 168 years ago today in Milan, Ohio to Samuel Ogden Edison, Jr. and Nancy Matthews Elliot. His father was an exiled political activist from Canada after participating in unsuccessful Mackenzie Rebellion of 1837. A prolific inventor, Edison held over 1,000 US patents, as well as many others in the UK, France and Germany. From the electric light bulb to the telegraph, his inventions significantly impacted life around the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Laura Ingalls Wilder

Posted February 10, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember author Laura Ingalls Wilder, who died on this day in 1957 at the age of 90. See what you can learn from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s death certificate here. Born in a log cabin outside of Pepin, Wisconsin, Wilder’s life in the Big Woods with her pioneer family formed the basis of her autobiographical series of “Little House” books. Her stories proved to be immensely popular with readers and inspired the hit television show, Little House on the Prairie,… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: William Henry Harrison

Posted February 9, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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On February 9, 1773, William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States, was born on the Berkeley Plantation in Charles City County, Virginia. In honor of his birthday, check out these interesting facts about him: His father, Benjamin Harrison, was a member of the Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. He was the last U.S. President to be born as a British subject before American independence. Harrison briefly established a distillery to produce whisky…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Aaron Burr

Posted February 6, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr on the 259th anniversary of his birth. Burr was the third Vice President of the United States, serving during President Thomas Jefferson’s first term. History perhaps best remembers him for fatally shooting his greatest rival, Alexander Hamilton, during a duel in 1804. Although charges for the illegal duel were eventually dropped, Burr’s political career never recovered. Did you know Burr was once tried for treason? According to accusations, Burr sought… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Hank Aaron

Posted February 5, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have any baseball players in your family tree? On this day in 1934, baseball player Hank Aaron was born in Mobile, Alabama. Henry Louis Aaron was the third of eight children born to Herbert and Estella Aaron. He spent much of his youth dedicated to baseball, and in 1951, quit school to play for the Negro Baseball League’s Indianapolis Clowns. Soon he caught the eye of the MLB and signed to play for the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Charles A. Lindbergh

Posted February 4, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you have any aviators in your family tree? On this day in 1902, pilot Charles A. Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan. From a young age, Lindbergh was interested in mechanics and aviation. In 1927, he became the first American aviator to fly the Atlantic solo nonstop from the United States to Europe. He made the flight in a custom-built monoplane called the Spirit of St. Lois. This amazing achievement instantly made him famous around the world…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Buddy Holly

Posted February 3, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today is the 56th anniversary of the tragic plane crash that took the lives of rock musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. The day has become known as “The Day the Music Died,” popularized by a lyric in the song “American Pie.” Born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas, Buddy Holly learned to play a variety of instruments at a young age. He began performing with a band as a teen, and… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Farrah Fawcett

Posted February 2, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you remember watching Charlie’s Angels? On this day in 1947, star Farrah Fawcett was born in Corpus Christi, Texas. She was the youngest of two daughters born to Pauline Alice Fawcett and James William Fawcett. Upon arriving to Hollywood in 1968, Fawcett appeared in commercials and made numerous guest spots on television. In 1976, she made her debut as policewoman Jill Monroe on the TV series Charlie’s Angels. However, it was her iconic poster that catapulted… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Gene Hackman

Posted January 30, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Can you believe actor Gene Hackman turns 85 today? He was born Eugene Allen Hackman on January 30, 1930 in San Bernardino, California to Lyda and Eugene Hackman. At 16, Hackman left home to join the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a field radio operator. After his stint in the Marines, he took on a series of jobs before deciding to pursue a career in acting. He got his big break in 1967 with the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: William McKinley

Posted January 29, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Are you related to a U.S. President? On this day in 1843, William McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio. McKinley was the last president to have served in the American Civil War. He first joined the Union Army as a private and ended as a brevet major. In 1897, he was sworn in as the 25th President of the United States. During his presidency, McKinley led the nation to victory in the Spanish-American War. As part of… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Alan Alda

Posted January 28, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Alan Alda! Today the star turns 79. He was born Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo on January 28, 1936 in New York City. The son of an actor, it was only a matter of time before Alda decided to pursue a career in show business. In 1972, he took on his most memorable role as Hawkeye Pierce on the hit television show M*A*S*H. The series would become one of the most popular comedies in television history… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: J.D. Salinger

Posted January 27, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Salinger

Do you remember reading The Catcher in the Rye? On this day five years ago, author J.D. Salinger died at the age of 91 in his home in Cornish, New Hampshire. Jerome David Salinger was born on New Year’s Day, 1919 in New York City. He began writing at a young age, publishing several short stories before serving in World War II. In the spring of 1942, Salinger was drafted into the army. He saw combat in… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Paul Newman

Posted January 26, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
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Ninety years ago today, legendary actor Paul Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio. A versatile actor and entrepreneur, Newman showed an early interest in theater. He made his Broadway debut in 1953 and eventually segued into television and film. Some of his most memorable films include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke and The Sting. In 1958 he married actress Joanne Woodward, and they remained married for 50 years, until his death in 2008…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Richard Dean Anderson

Posted January 23, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
Richard_Dean_Anderson

Do you remember watching MacGyver? Today star Richard Dean Anderson turns 65. Anderson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Stuart Jay Anderson and Jocelyn Rhae Carter. In the early days of his career, he worked as a whale handler in a marine mammal show, a musician in medieval dinner theater and as a street mime and juggler. He finally received his first role on the daytime soap General Hospital. He rose to fame after snagging the lead role… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Queen Victoria

Posted January 22, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment
victoria

Does royalty run in your veins? Today we remember Queen Victoria, who died on January 22, 1901. Her 63-year reign, the longest in British history, is frequently referred to as the Victorian era and was a period of great expansion, prosperity, and advancement. At the time of her birth, she was fifth in the line of succession. Her father died in 1820, the same year as her grandfather, King George III. After the death of her… Read the full story

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