Pencil with eraser was patented in 1858 by Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received patent number 19,783. Children can see the patent at: pencil with easer patent. About two billion pencils are produced each year. The pencil “lead” is really a form of graphite.
John Morton died in 1777. His date of birth is unknown. Active in politics, he was elected from Pennsylvania to serve in both the First Continental Congress and the Second Continental Congress. He signed the Declaration of Independence, and he was part of the committee that wrote the Articles of Confederation. He was the first Declaration of Independence signer to die.
The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1775. This group was America’s first abolition society. Some of the early members were Thomas Paine, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, and John Greenleaf Whittier. Renamed the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, the group still exists, working for racial justice.
Electron microscope was first demonstrated in 1940 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Idea: Children could compare the electron microscope with a traditional microscope.
National Pretzel Day is today! In 2003 then Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell proclaimed April 26 to be National Pretzel Day because the snack is an important source of revenue to the state. According to one source, Philadelphians eat twelve times the national average for pretzels!
Mother’s Day is today. Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, first proposed the idea. She asked that her church hold a service in memory of all mothers. West Virginia was the first state to honor the day, and other states followed. In 1914 Congress voted to make the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day. A Presidential Proclamation has been made every year since 1914, honoring the day. Children can learn more at: Mother’s Day. They can find some great Mother’s Day activities at: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/mom/games.htm.
Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1787. While the delegates came with ideas of revising the Articles of Confederation, they realized they had to create a new type of government. The Constitutional Convention concluded on September 17, 1787. Idea: Children could read Jean Fritz’s Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution. They could learn more at: Constitutional Convention.
The Pennsylvania Evening Post in 1775 became the first newspaper to be published in the United States. Benjamin Towne printed the newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The newspaper closed in 1784.
The Battle of Gettysburg began in 1863. Many experts call this battle the turning point of the Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee led his troops across the Mason-Dixon Line, heading for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. However, the northern troops, led by General George Mead, met the Confederate troops at Gettysburg. The battle lasted for three days. On the last day of the battle, the rebel troops commenced Picket’s Charge. Fifteen thousand troops tried to assail the Union’s position. The northern troops held, and Lee lost the battle. Idea: Children could make a timeline of the battle. Michael Shaara’s book, Killer Angels, offers in-depth looks at the people fighting on both sides. Children could visit a website at: http://www.nps.gov/gett/index.htm.
Declaration of Independence was read publicly for the first time in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1776 by Colonel John Nixon. The Liberty Bell tolled to bring citizens to hear the reading. Children can read a copy of the Declaration of Independence at: Declaration.