Dentures were patented in the United States by Charles Graham of New York, New York, in 1822. False teeth had been around for centuries, but those dentures were made from human teeth or animal teeth. His dentures were made from porcelain and were harder and more durable. George Washington wore dentures. Children could find out how many sets of dentures George Washington had.
Monitor and Merrimac, two ironclad ships, battled in 1862 during the Civil War. The Merrimac, a Confederate vessel, and the Monitor, a Union ship, exchanged fire. Both pulled away after about two hours. Neither ship was severely damaged.
Sputnik 9, a Soviet spacecraft, ventured into space in 1961. Its passengers included a mannequin, a dog named Chernushka (Blackie), some mice, and a guinea pig. It made a single orbit before returning to earth. The mannequin was ejected prior to the landing to test an ejection seat.
Barbie, the doll, celebrates her birthday today. She was created in 1959 by Ruth Handler after Ruth saw a doll with adult characteristics (as opposed to a baby doll) in Germany. She bought three dolls and brought them back to the United States. Changes were made to the doll, and the doll was named Barbie after Handler’s daughter. Around 350,000 thousand dolls were sold in the first year of production. Today over one billion dolls have been sold in 150 countries. Children can visit the Mattel site at: http://www.barbie.com/
Harry Bliss (born Rochester, New York, 1964) is a cartoonist and an illustrator of children’s books. He illustrated Sharon Creech’s A Fine, Fine School and Doreen Cronin’s Diary of a Worm.
Bobby Fischer (born Chicago, Illinois, 1943; died Reykjavik, Iceland, January 17, 2008) was a world chess champion from 1972 to 1975.
Yuri Alexseyevich Gagarin (born Gzhatsk, Russia, 1934; died in a plane crash near Moscow, Russia, March 27, 1968) was the first man to travel in space. His spacecraft completed one complete orbit of the earth on April 12, 1961. He was instantly famous, and eventually he became involved in the training of other cosmonauts.
William Jackson (born Cumberland, England, 1759; died Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 17, 1828) fought in the Revolutionary War. However, he is most famous for serving as the secretary during the Constitutional Convention. He did not represent any of the thirteen states, but he kept minutes and maintained secrecy during the convention.
Ellen Levine (born New York, New York, March 9, 1939; died New York, New York, May 26, 2012) wrote around 20 books for children. Her book Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories received a 2001 Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. She also wrote Henry’s Freedom Box. The illustrator, Kadir Nelson, received a 2008 Caldecott Honor Award for the artwork.
Amerigo Vespucci (born Florence, Italy, 1451; died Seville, Spain, February 22, 1512) was an Italian explorer. Even though Columbus reached the New World before Vespucci, the latter was the first to realize it was a new continent. Vespucci traveled at least twice to the New World around 1499 to 1502. Columbus continued to believe he had landed near India. Martin Waldseemuller, an early cartographer, named the new land America in honor of Amerigo Vespucci. Children could read Jean Fritz’s outstanding book, Around the World in a Hundred Years to learn more about Vespucci and Columbus.