Throwback Thursday

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow_White_1937_posterOn August 9, 1984, Walt Disney presented his animation team with an outline of the first-ever feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Before its screen debut 3-1/2 years later, animators had drawn 250,000 separate pictures, or cells, the original budget of $250,000 (the equivalent of more than $4.5 million today) had swelled to more than a million dollars ($18.2 million today) largely due to Disney’s perfectionism. In fact, the project had acquired the nickname “Disney’s folly” – it was widely believed that no one would sit through a 1-1/2-hour cartoon. But sometimes prophesies don’t come true…. the movie grossed $8.5 million on the first of several releases in December 1937.

Walt and his brother Roy used some of the profits to build a state-of-the-art animation facility in Burbank, California; Walt called it “the house that Snow White built.” Out of that facility have come countless Disney animation classics, including Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Sleeping Beauty (1959), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970), and The Rescuers (1977). The animation for The Black Cauldron (1985) was the last to be completed at the site.


1790 Federal Census

1790 Federal Census

{excerpted from the U.S. Census Bureau website}

The first census began on August 2, 1790, more than a year after the inauguration of President Washington and shortly before the second session of the first Congress ended. Congress assigned responsibility for the 1790 census to the marshals of the U.S. judicial districts under an act which, with minor modifications and extensions, governed census taking through 1840. The law required that every household be visited, that completed census schedules be posted in “two of the most public places within [each jurisdiction], there to remain for the inspection of all concerned…” and that “the aggregate amount of each description of persons” for every district be transmitted to the president.

census sign

Eight reliefs on the east side of the U.S. Department of Commerce building, carved of limestone by James Earle Fraser, depict the eight bureaus that fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce in 1931.  Included are the Census Bureau (above), Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Bureau of Mines, the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, the Bureau of Navigation, the Bureau of Aeronautics, the Bureau of Steamboat Inspection, and the Patent Office.

The six inquiries in 1790 called for the name of the head of the family and the number of persons in each household of the following descriptions:

  • Free White males of 16 years and upward (to assess the country’s industrial and military potential)
  • Free White males under 16 years
  • Free White females
  • All other free persons
  • Slaves

Under the general direction of Thomas Jefferson, the Secretary of State, marshals took the census in the original 13 States, plus the districts of Kentucky, Maine, and Vermont, and the Southwest Territory (Tennessee). Both Washington and Jefferson expressed skepticism over the final count, expecting a number that exceeded the 3.9 million inhabitants counted in the census.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Child Labor Brought to National Spotlight

child laborOn July 25, 1904, some 25,000 textile workers in Fall River, Massachusetts picketed to protest against conditions at the mills. The strike stretched on for most of the late summer, and though they hardly toppled the textile owners, the workers helped force the dismal working conditions at mills, as well as the plight of child laborers, onto the national stage. The child labor issue, which was symptomatic of a larger phenomenon (in 1900 roughly 250,000 children under the age of 15 worked in mills, factories and mines) proved to be particularly resonant and prompted the formation of the National Child Labor Committee later that year.


THROWBACK THURSDAY: American Express Travelers Cheques

On this day in 1891, American Express copyrighted its Travelers Cheque, which would be a boon to globe-trotting business people as a protection against theft and other loss of cash. The cheque business began quietly; in its first year, of sales, only 248 cheques worth a total of $9,120 were sold, but by 1909, annual sales were $23,000,000. American Express marked the 100th anniversary of the Travelers Cheque in 1991 with the sale of its 10 billionth Travelers Cheque, and sales of traditional paper Travelers Cheques total $20 billion in sales annually.AmerExp cheque

A traveler’s check is a way to replace money so you don’t need to travel with cash, and hails from a time when ATMs were nonexistent. Basically, you go to your bank and get checks issued for a predetermined monetary amount that you can then — technically — exchange anywhere for cash. Should they get lost or stolen they can easily be replaced, plus your money is safe as no one else can cash those checks but you.

While not all banks still issue traveler’s checks today, there are modern updates on them, such as prepaid credit cards that act as traveler’s checks.

Traveler’s checks were a product catered to an ATM-less market. Today, it generally only makes sense to use them when you’re in a place where ATMs are few and far between, or if you’d be losing a lot of money on ATM fees with each withdrawal.

There are also times when a foreign ATM simply will not accept your card or PIN. Traveler’s checks are a good backup should that happen.

modern travelers chequeAnother situation in which to use them is when you’re traveling somewhere dangerous, and are legitimately concerned about getting mugged. Traveler’s checks can only be cashed by you, and will require your presence and signature, thus saving you the hassle of having to cancel all of your cards should they get stolen, or having your bank accounts emptied.

It might also be a good idea to give traveler’s checks to kids and young adults who are traveling solo and don’t have their own credit cards.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: History of the 4th of July

The Fourth of July—also known as Independence Dayvintage-uncle-sam—has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution.

Early Fourth of July Observances

In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speechmaking. By contrast, during the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty.

Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war.

George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties—Federalists and Democratic-Republicans—that had arisen began holding separate Fourth of July celebrations in many large cities.

Fourth of July Becomes a National Holiday

The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees.

Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline, but Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.

From left, Alexis and Evan Elguindy, and Julia, Bryce, Aubrey and Madilyn Haacker enthusiastically watched the parade.

Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has since the late 19th century become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.

(excerpted from History.com)