Archive for the 'Forgotten History' Category

I get (hate)mail

For the first time in a long time, I got two emails from readers. One was a very encouraging email from a reader who wanted me to begin posting on this blog again (and I very well might, after a long period of dormancy). The second email was, well, this: EJ (gofuckyourself@gmail.com) wrote: Buddy, is […]

President Roosevelt Used to Ride Around in Al Capone’s Limousine

Hours after Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Secret Service found themselves in a bind. President Franklin D Roosevelt was to give his infamy speech to Congress the next day, and although the trip from the White House to Capitol Hill was short, agents weren’t sure how to transport him safely. The White House […]

Lysol Used to be Advertised as a Feminine Hygiene Product and Birth Control

Yes, the disinfectant more commonly known today as a toilet bowl cleaner, was once suggested for vaginal use. Talk about versatile! Although it was always intended for household cleaning, from the 1920s up until the ’60s, Lysol was largely marketed for personal bodily use, rather than disinfecting doorknobs or coffee tables like we see in […]

Coca-Cola’s Secret Ingredient Used to be Cocaine

Where did you think it got the name Coca-Cola anyway? Yes, popular legend is correct, and the soft drink did originally contain cocaine (obtained from the coca leaf). Coca-Cola was first conceived between 1885 and 1886 by a John Pemberton, a former Confederate soldier turned drug store owner. He marketed it as a “patent medicine” […]

The Official Pledge of Allegiance Salute Used to be a ‘Hitler Salute’

… Yes, that title is correct. Read on, intrepid history-seekers. The pledge of allegiance was originally written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a socialist magazine writer. When he wrote it for an children’s magazine, he also described a salute that he thought would be appropriate during its recital. The pledge was aimed towards children, and […]

The First Openly Gay Elected Official in the US Was Shot to Death

The year was 1977 and after several earlier failed campaigns, photography store owner turned equal rights activist Harvey Milk (pictured above) was swept into office as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the city’s 11-member legislative assembly. When sworn in the following year, Milk became the first openly gay American to be […]

Color Photography Technology Has Existed For About 150 Years

When people think history, they all too often think in black and white when events before, say, the 1970s are mentioned. But the world was “in color” back then too, and color photography technology goes all the way back to the 1860s, becoming widely commercially available in the 1930s. Color photographs are a lot older […]

Pink Wasn’t Always Considered a Feminine Color and Blue Wasn’t Always Masculine

Any expectant mother or father these days is doubtless aware that items designed for baby girls are commonly pink, and those meant for baby boys are blue. But it wasn’t always this way. As recently as the early 1900s, pink was seen by many as a color that went better with boys, and blue as […]

The Publisher of a “Hitman Manual” Was Once Sued for Aiding & Abetting Murder

In 1999, an insurance company paid out a multi-million dollar settlement to family members of the victims in a triple murder case that had occurred seven years earlier. The company represented Paladin Press, a controversial book publisher. Paladin, which specializes in action how-to manuals and supposedly forbidden knowledge, had published a book called “Hit Man: […]

FBI Agents Once Secretly Tried to Convince Rev Martin Luther King to Kill Himself

Although it’s hard to contextualize today, during the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, the FBI was secretly engaged in a wide-ranging and largely illegal counter intelligence program within the United States. COINTELPRO as it was dubbed, was formally meant to protect the United States from elements deemed “subversive” by the US government. Many of these supposedly […]