Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 31: He Boxed and Lived On His Own Terms

Do you know who this is?
-He was born to former slaves in Texas.
-He was the background cause of race riots throughout the country in 1910.
-He enjoyed racing cars.

He was an African-American man who had succeeded in a white-dominated sport during a time when things like that were against the moral stance of white society. He became one of the first ‘modern celebrities’ in his lifestyle. He was the first African-American Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the World.

Arthur John (Jack) Johnson was born on March 31, 1878, in Galveston, Texas, as the second of former slaves Henry and Tina ‘Tiny’ Johnson’s six children. Jack would quit school after the fifth grade to go to work. He eventually wound up on the Galveston shipping docks, building his muscles, toughness, rough-housing fighting, and determination to succeed.

Jack would take his rough and tumble experiences into boxing – first as a sparring partner, then to participate in “battle royal” fights at private clubs. This was a fight where a number of fighters were brought together to fight until only one remained standing. That winner won the where cash prizes that were offered.

He began boxing professionally in 1897, and in his first fight knocked out Jim Rocks. Boxing was illegal in Texas, and Jack was arrested in 1901. After his release from jail, Jack left the state.

By 1902, Jack had won at least 50 fights against both white and black opponents. On February 3, 1903, he defeated “Denver” Ed Martin for the World Colored Heavyweight Championship. He wanted to in the full title of Heavyweight Champion, but the current champion – James J. Jeffries – refused to face him. Jeffries would retire undefeated in 1905 – but would come out of retirement five years later to face Jack.

This refusal was a part of the social situation in the early 20th century. America held the heavyweight boxing championship in awe, and the white-dominated society felt that blacks were not worthy to compete for it. Jack, however, was persistent – fighting and defeating former champion Bob Fitzsimmons in July 1907 – and knocking him out in two rounds. Jack was a contender.

On December 26, 1908, the first white – black heavyweight boxing championship match was held in Sydney, Australia between Jack and Canadian heavyweight champion of the world, Tommy Burns. The fight only occurred because Jack had followed Burns around the world, challenging and mocking him – essentially forcing him into a fight. The match lasted 14 rounds, was dominated by Jack, and ended in a TKO in favor of Jack. The camera’s were stopped just before the end of the fight in order not to show Burns’ defeat.

The boxing world had a new Heavyweight Champion of the World – and it wasn’t happy about it. Immediately a search began for a “great white hope” to return the title to the ‘superior white race’. A number of fighters tried – and failed. The best was former heavyweight champions Jeffries – who would come out of retirement for the ‘fight of the century’, held before 22,000 spectators in Reno, Nevada, on July 4, 1910.

Jeffries was knocked to the mat twice during the match, and in the 15th round his team called it quits – supposedly to avoid a knock out of the former champion. As a result of the fight, many critics of Jack’s fighting ability were silenced; and African American exuberance spread throughout the country. Black poet William Waring Cuney captured the exuberant African American reaction in his poem, "My Lord, What a Morning":

O my Lord
What a morning,
O my Lord,
What a feeling,
When Jack
Turned Jim Jeffries'
Snow-white face
to the ceiling.
Another result was a spate of riots that occurred throughout the US as the white reacted in anger and violence to the news of the defeat of their great white hope – and the racial message it brought. The whites would try to subdue the celebrations being held by the blacks of the cities. Riots occurred in 25 states and 50 cities, resulting in the death of at least 23 blacks and 2 whites. Hundreds were injured. The Texas legislature banned films of Jack’s victories over fights for fear of more riots.

On April 15, 1915, Jack lost the title to Jess Willard in a bout in Havana, Cuba, before a crowd of 25,000. The fight lasted 26 rounds, resulting in a KO of Jack. It was one of three times he would be knocked out in the ring during his career.

As champion – and after – Jack would become a pioneer celebrity athlete: endorsing products, holding numerous radio and newspaper interviews, and indulging in expensive hobbies. Fast and expensive cars and clothing; jewelry and furs for the women in his life; and his marriage to white women challenged conventions regarding the social and economic "place" of African Americans in American society and outraged the moral stance of the white community. He married Brooklyn socialite Etta Duryea in 1910. She grew despondent because she was ostracized from society and committed suicide in 1911. He married his white secretary Lucille Cameron in December 1911. She would divorce him in 1924 for infidelity. In 1925 he married Irene Pineau, who would outlive him. He would have no children by any of his marriages.

In 1913 Jack was charged and convicted by an all-white jury with violating the Mann Act, which outlawed the transportation of women across state lines for purposes of prostitution. He was released on bond, pending appeal, and fled the country disguised as a member of a black baseball team - going first to Canada, then Europe, where he continued to box. After losing a title bout in Havana in 1915, he would ultimately return to the United States from Mexico in 1920 – turning himself in to authorities. He was imprisoned in the Federal prision at Leavenworth, Kansas for eight months – during which time he invented the Johnson Wrench.

He would box in exhibition matches after his release, but retired in 1928. He would stage exhibition matches again during World War II to raise money for the war effort.

Jack would die at the age of 68 in a car crash at Franklinton, North Carolina. His accident occurred after he angrily left a diner that refused to serve him because of his race. He was buried next to Etta Duryea Johnson at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. Later, Irene Pineau was buried next to him as well.
Jack would be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1954. The film of the 1910 Johnson-Jeffries fight was deemed as ‘historically significant’ in 2005, and put in the National Film Registry. Finally, sixty-two years after his death, the US Congress passes a resolution in September 2008 recommending that the President grant a pardon for Jack’s 1913 conviction, acknowledging the racist overtones of the conviction as well as recognizing his contributions to boxing.


Ward, Geoffrey C: Unforgivable Blackness : The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson


01. Boxing pose: Library of Congress, Digital ID USZ62-29331
02. Boxing pose, 1907: Library of Congress, Digital ID: ichicdn s006116
02. Sydney Stadium during Johnson-Burns match, 1908: Wikipedia
03. Johnson-Jeffries Fight, 1910: Wikipedia
04. Joliet Courthouse Steps, 1925: Library of Congress, Digital ID: ichicdn s065687b

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 27: Song Writing Kindergarten Teacher

Do you know who this is?
-She was on the ground floor of the kindergarten movement in the US
-She wrote the lyrics to Good Morning to You.
-She won a lawsuit – and donated the money to educating young people.

Patty Smith Hill was born in Anchorage, Kentucky, on March 27, 1868. Her parents were Reverend William Wallace Hill and Martha Jane Smith Hill, and Patty was one of six children. Her father was a Presbyterian minister and a founder of Bellewood Female Seminary. Her father regularly worked with colleges, and her mother was college educated – a rarity for the era. Her mother believed that children should have fun at every possible opportunity, and she established extensive play areas at their home where the children spent hours playing freely and building with bricks, barrels, and boards. Patty would be enrolled in the Seminary until the family moved to Missouri.

The family moved to Fulton, Missouri when Patty was six, and when her father died four years later in 1878 the family moved to Louisville, Kentucky. She attended public schools before attending the Louisville Collegiate Institute in 1882. Patty would become interested in primary age children, and took training to become an educator, becoming a part of the kindergarten movement that was sweeping the country from the late 19th century through the early 20th century. She would become one of the first five to graduate from the first kindergarten training school in Louisville, which was under the leadership of Anne E. Bryan. The Institute would expose Patty to the newest theories of education, which she would absorb, mold, alter, and use.

In 1887 the Free Kindergarten Association was established by a group of prominent Louisville women. Within a decade the Association had ten kindergartens established –under the guidance and direction of Patty Hill. Patty would encourage her young charges to engage in individual and group creative play, and she used music, plays, poetry, and stories as an integral art of her curriculum.” She also devised an exhibition for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago, which was designed to inform the public of the merits of a kindergarten program.

Her ideas were controversial at the time, but gradually interest grew in them from educators around the world. She would be invited by Dr. James Russell – Dean of the Teacher’s College - in 1905 to present a series of lectures at the Teacher’s College, Columbia University. She convinced Russell of the need for a demonstration kindergarten, and was asked to return for a semester to teach at Columbia. She began the Speyer School of Experimental Playroom, and when her semester was over, she was invited – and accepted – the job of permanent faculty member.

She traveled in educational circles visited by John Dewey, Edward Thorndyke, and William H. Kilpatrick. At the Teachers College Patty would grow and expand mentally and professionally. She would invent Patty Hill blocks, which were the sets of large blocks - some of which were nearly the size of small children. The blocks allowed their young builders to create magnificent structures that they could people with their classmates and their imaginations. She became the head of the Department of Nursery School, Kindergarten, and First Grade Education in 1910 – a post she held for thirty years – and in 1921 received an additional position as Director of the Institute for Child Welfare Research (which was later known as the Institute for Child Development) with its demonstration nursery school. She was granted a full professorship in 1922.

In 1929, she was awarded an honorary doctor of letters degree from Columbia University in recognition of her work in early education. She retired in 1936 – but her portrait hangs in the halls of Columbia’s Teachers College. During her career she authored a number of books concerning education for young children – many of which are still available on Amazon.

Patty also was a founding member of two major childhood education organizations. In 1892 she helped to create the International Kindergarten Union (now known as the Association for Childhood Education International), and was a founder of the National Association of Nursery Educators (now known as the National Association for the Education of Young Children) in 1926.

Throughout her retirement years, Hill continued her involvement at Teachers College through guest seminars and interests in international affairs. She labored for the education of young children for the remainder of her life.

Despite all of her accomplishments as an innovative educator, Patty is probably best known to the general public as the co-author of the Happy Birthday song.

In 1893, Patty and her sister Mildred published Song Stories for Sunday School, which included a song they had written the lyrics and tune to: “Good Morning to You”. Originally meant as a greeting song for children entering the classroom, the tune was amended and changed in 1924 to the well-known and often sung “Happy Birthday to You”.

Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all.

In 1935 Jessica Hill – who managed the copyright of songs for her sisters - attended an Irving Berlin Broadway play in which “Happy Birthday” was sung, and finding that the Hill sisters had not been credited for the song, nor had been asked for permission to use their copyrighted song, Jessica Hill (representing her sisters) sued the As Thousands Cheer producer Sam Harris, for $250 every time the song was sung. They won the lawsuit against Harris – and used the money to establish nursery schools and kindergartens for low income children in New York City housing projects. Patty arranged for the ACEI to receive future monies generated by the song, dedicating it to the education of young children. Patty would pass away on May 25, 1946, in New York City, and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky. Patty and her sister Mildred were posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on June 12, 1996. Happy Birthday to You will remain in copyright for public performances until 2030.

There are no books available on Patty Hill in our local library.


Encyclopedia of Louisville
Historical Dictionary of Women’s Education in America
New World Encyclopedia
Time Magazine, 1938


1. Portrait: Encyclopedia of Louisville
2. Gravestone: Find A Grave site, Tom Secoy

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 24: The “Queen of Gospel Hymns”

Do you know who this is?
-She wrote over 8,000 Christian hymns and over 1000 poems.
-She was blind as a result of a prescription by a doctor when she was six weeks old.
-She wrote the lyrics, but not the music, for her hymns.

Many of America’s churches have her hymns in their hymnals. Songs such as Blessed Assurance; Safe in the Arms of Jesus, and Rescue the Perishing are sung regularly at many Christian services around the world. Her music had words of comfort, testimony, and salvation.

Frances Jane “Fanny” Crosby was born on March 24, 1820, and would live a life spanning almost 95 years, passing away on February 12, 1915. She was born in Putnam County, New York, to John and Mercy Crosby. She would lose her sight when she was about six weeks old while being treated by a doctor for a slight eye infection. The regular family doctor was treating patients in another county, so the concerned parents found another country doctor. The doctor prescribed hot mustard poultices – a case of the cure being worse than the disease, for the infection did clear up, but the result was that scars formed on the eyes and Fanny would eventually go blind. They would later find that the doctor was not qualified to practice medicine.

“When my dear mother knew that I was to be shut out from all the beauties of the natural world, she told me in my girlhood that two of the world’s greatest poets, Homer and Milton, were blind and that sometimes Providence deprived persons of some physical faculty in order that the spiritual insight might be more fully awake.”
Fanny’s father would die when she was about seven months old, and her mother – a widow at age 21 – took the job of maid. Eunice Crosby, Fanny’s grandmother, came to take care of her granddaughter, educating her and becoming her eyes. She described the world and colors, sunsets and sunrises, rainbows and the beauty of nature to Fanny so well that Fanny could ‘see’ the colors in her mind, if not with her eyes.

“Soon I learned what other children possessed, but I made up my mind to store away a little jewel in my heart, which I called Content. This has been the comfort of my whole life.”
When Fanny was eight or nine, her mother took a job in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Her mother’s landlady, Mrs. Hawley, helped Fanny memorize the Bible, and often the young girl learned five chapters a week. She developed a memory which often amazed her friends, but Fanny believed she was no different from others. Her blindness had simply forced her to develop her memory and her powers of concentration more. Blindness never produced self-pity in Fanny and she did not look on her blindness as a terrible thing. At eight years old she composed this little verse:

Oh, what a happy child I am, although I cannot see!
I am resolved that in this world contented I will be!
How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't!
So weep or sigh because I'm blind, I cannot - nor I won't.

When she was fifteen she attend the New York Institute for the Blind, first as a student, then as a teacher of English and history. She became a published authoress, her first book being a book of poems published in 1844 titled The Blind Girl and Others. In 1843 Fanny was taken to Washington DC to lobby for education for the blind. Her characteristic cheerfulness opened many doors for the blind and created lasting friendships for Fanny. During her lifetime she would forge friendships with a number of Presidents, including John Tyler, James K. Polk, and Grover Cleveland.

It was while at the institute that two major events would shape her life. First, she became a Christian. A cholera epidemic struck, and Fanny stayed at the institute to help the sick. She realized at this time that she had followed her mother and grandmother’s religion, but never personally accepted it. She accepted Christ as her savior in November 1850.

That night, says Fanny, “the Lord planted a star in my life and no cloud has ever obscured its light”.
She went on to use her poetic gifts to write hymns – many based on passages from the Bible she had memorized - and became the “queen of the gospel hymn”. She would write the lyrics to hymns that are still sung today, such as Blessed Assurance, He Hideth My Soul, Rescue the Perishing, Near the Cross, Safe in the Arms of Jesus, and To God Be the Glory.

The second event was Fanny marrying a fellow teacher at the institute, blind musician and composer Alexander Van Alstyne, in 1858. They had one daughter, who died as an infant. The marriage would last 44 years, until his death in 1902.

She would write her first hymn in 1864 at the request of song publisher William Bradbury. While Bradbury’s business was taken over by Lucius Horatio Biglow and Sylvester Main, Fanny would remain with the company throughout her life – although she exercised her right to produce hymns published by other companies.

Fanny’s capacity for work was legendary. She could compose six or seven hymns a day in her head, to be later transcribed by her husband; her friend Carolyn Ryder; or her secretary Eva C. Cleaveland. Fanny herself could write little more than her name. While she did write the words, she did not compose the melody for her lyrics.

She often drew on her experiences to provide the topic for her hymns. She once told about the source of inspiration for the great Gospel song, Rescue the Perishing:

“It was written in the year 1869, when I was forty-nine years old. Many of my hymns were written after experiences in New York mission work. This one was thus written. I was addressing a large company of working men one hot summer evening, when the thought kept forcing itself on my mind that some mother’s boy must be rescued that night or not at all. So I made a pressing plea that if there was a boy present who had wandered from his mother’s home and teaching, would he come to me at the close of the service. A young man of eighteen came forward and said ‘Did you mean me?’. A few days before, Mr. Doane had sent me the subject “Rescue the Perishing, Care for the Dying’. I could think of nothing else that night. When I arrived home, I went to work on the hymn at once, and before I retired it was ready for a melody.”
During her lifetime she would write over 9,000 hymns while using a variety of pen names. To listen to the melodies and see the lyrics of many of these, go here. Fanny would be highly respected during her time for her religious testimony and her hymns. She was a popular public speaker who had promised herself early in her career that wealth was not her goal – doing her Lord’s work was. Much of the money she earned in royalties was donated to charities – where she often worked herself while trying to help those less fortunate than herself.

When Fanny died, her tombstone carried the words, “Aunt Fanny” and “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine.” She once said, "when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!"

Photo Sources:
01. Fanny Crosby Portrait: Wikipedia
o2. Birthplace: Center for Disabilities and Public History
03. 1844 book of poems: Cyberhymnal
04. Hymn of Thanksgiving cover: New York Public Library Digital Collection

Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 20: “King of the Dime Novelists”

Do you know who this is?
-He survived a hanging.
-He challenged seven sailors to a duel that was held on the same day.
- He once wrote a 610-page book in 62 hours.

He led a life as adventurous as the people that he wrote about in his stories. His life was one of contradictions – he had work published in literary journals and wrote lyric poetry, yet mad his money in sensational writing; he was a heavy drinker who gave temperance lectures; he was a moral reformer who exposed gamblers, yet would blackmail men he met while gambling to keep their names out of the newspaper.

He was born on March 20, 1823, in Stamford, New York, as Edward Zane Carroll Judson. He would become widely known under a pen name adopted for his stories: Ned Buntline. Levi Carroll Judson, Ned’s father, had been a writer on Revolutionary War themes and agricultural experiments. When the elder Judson moved to Philadelphia to study law, he required his young son to do the same. Ned would run away to sea as a cabin boy.

Ned was appointed a midshipman in the U.S. Navy by the time he was fifteen – and would fight a total of seven duels with other midshipmen who refused to eat meals with him because he had risen through the ranks. He had been appointed midshipman by President Martin Van Buren for ‘meritorious conduct’ in rescuing fellow seamen after a ferry hit the boat Ned and seventeen men were in. The men – Ned included – were being punished for arguing with an officer. They had been ordered to row across the East River to Staten Island to pick up some supplies. It was dark by the time they finished, and on the way back to their base they were hit by the ferry. The sailors were thrown from their boat, and it was Ned who kept his head, bringing the sailors to their capsized boat.

He would fight in the Second Seminole War as a midshipman serving on the Otsego, a revenue cutter assigned to the ‘mosquito fleet’ commanded by Lieutenant Commander J. T. McLaughlin. On board the Otsego, Ned would patrol the coast and inland waterways around Key Biscayne, Florida. It was during his tour in the Navy that Ned wrote his first story, titled The Captain’s Pig. He used a pen name to protect himself – a very wise decision as the story was not a complementary one for the Captain, who offered a $100 reward for the name of whoever had written the story. His pen name: Ned Buntline. He used the naval term buntline, which is the nautical term for the rope at the bottom of a square sail to keep it taut when furled.

He left the Navy in 1842 and went to the Yellowstone River region of the West as a fur trapper, working for two years for the Northwest Fur Company. He then took his experiences from the Navy and the mountains of the West to Cincinnati where, in 1844, and advertisement for Ned Buntline’s Magazine appeared in the Cincinnati Daily Enquirer. The magazine was a 32-page monthly magazine that contained serious article on the West, and would be short-lived, lasting for about six months.

Ned then started The Western Literary Journal - where he began including articles that he authored that were a combination of fact and fantasy; historical fiction touched with romance, exaggeration, and adventure. He would move to Nashville, rename the magazine the Southwestern Literary Journal, and close the magazine down a few months later. He again moved, this time back to Cincinnati, where he started a newspaper called Ned Buntline’s Own, which also would soon fail.

In 1846, Ned would have another life-challenging adventure. After killing a man in a duel, a mob broke Ned out of jail and hanged him. Fortunately for Ned, the rope broke, and he fell to the ground – to be taken back to jail by the Sheriff. He was later acquitted in a trial.

He became involved as a writer for the Eastern newspapers in the 1850s, riding a crest of social reform movements. He wrote in support of reform, and also worked on perfecting his style of adventure stories. During this time he also became involved in the American Nativist Movement, blaming immigrants for the problems of the country, and was a supporter of the Know Nothing Party.

In 1848 he was living in New York, and returned to sensationalist journalism and resurrected Ned Buntline’s Own – which lasted 36-weeks and attacked gambling, prostitution, drinking – and the other New York newspapers. The following year he was accused of starting the Astor Place Riot, which was a nativist reaction to William Charles Macready, a British actor who had displaced American actor Edwin Forrest as Macbeth. The riot resulted in 25 dead and over a hundred injured. Ned was found guilty of instigating a riot and sentenced to a year in prison.

Ned would try several other publications – all of which failed. However, he was working at the same time on perfecting the style of writing that created the genre called Dime Novels, which were low-price action thrillers. His first successful story was a serialized novel that appeared in the New York Mercury titled Stella Delorme – The Comanche’s Dream.

His articles kept appearing in the Mercury until he joined the First New York Mounted Rifles in 1862, where he soon became a sergeant and was made the regimental scout. He was in and out of trouble while in the military, but received an honorable discharge in 1864. He had a picture taken of him in a colonel’s uniform, and began spreading the word that he had served as a Colonel – chief of scouts.

While in the military, Ned had observed the wide-spread use of dime novels by the troops and public. He decided that to become successful, he had to write ‘trash’.

“I found that to make a living I must write trash for the masses, for he who endeavors to write for the critical few, and do his genius justice, will go hungry if he has no other means of support.”
In 1869, Ned went west to Omaha to find out more about the Indian wars that were being fought on the western frontier, with the intend of writing adventure thrillers about the Indian wars. But – he needed a white-American hero. In Omaha Ned met frontier scout William F. Cody, gave him the name “Buffalo Bill”, and began writing – using Cody’s frontier experiences combined with his own imagination to create a potent storyline for story after story – ultimately producing Buffalo Bill: King of the Border Men. More stories would follow, eventually making Ned the premier dime novelist of the era – and a wealthy man. He would also write a play starting Buffalo Bill – and Ned Buntline.

He continued writing dime novels, creating characters and situations – most of which were set in the West. His stories created a vision of larger than life characters taming a larger than life land that was later used in movies, which – in turn – continued and enlarged the mythology of the western heroes.
He settled into his home in Stamford, New York, where he died of congestive heart failure on July 16, 1886, at the age of 63. Although he was once the wealthiest author in America, his wife had to sell his beloved home "The Eagle's Nest" to pay the bills.
There are no books on Ned Buntline in our local libraries.


Catskill Mountain Foundation
Dime Novels
Ned Buntline Biography
01. Portrait of Ned Buntline: Wikipedia
02. Broadside advertising Ned Buntline's Own: Library of Congress
03. Buckskin Sam Cover: the Forum
04. Dashing Charlie Cover: The Forum

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March 16: “…“the coolest, clearest head…”

Do you know who this is?
-He signed the Declaration of Independence as well as the Constitution.
-He was orphaned as an infant and adopted by an uncle.
-Ben Franklin credited him with “the coolest, clearest head, the best heart, and the exactest morals of almost any man I ever met with.”

He was a successful businessman with an abiding interest in the welfare of the common man. He was most effective when not in the political limelight – and was extremely effective when working with committees. He proved his faith in the new government by exchanging his own money (gold, silver, and British pounds) for the paper currency issued by the Continental Congress. He pledged his life, his lands, and his fortune to the Revolution and the establishment of a new nation.

George Clymer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on March 16, 1739. His parents were Christopher and Deborah Fitzwater Clymer. His mother died in 1740, and his father died in 1746 when George was 7 years old. George became the ward of his uncle, William Coleman, who was a judge and a wealthy businessman – and who would have a tremendous influence on his nephew. Coleman would educate young George, and eventually take him into his mercantile firm as a clerk – to learn the business from the bottom up. Upon Coleman’s death in 1769 George would inherit the business and a small fortune.

While growing up, his education was supervised by Coleman. During this time, George developed a love of reading, science, history, law, and philosophy. He spent hours reading in his uncle’s large library, reflecting on what he was reading. He would attend the College of Philadelphia from 1757 – 1758.

George was married in 1765 to Elizabeth Meredith, a daughter in a socially prominent family that would introduce him to George Washington as well as other Patriot leaders. Elizabeth would have nine children, five of whom survived infancy. Eventually George would merge his business with that of his in-laws, forming Meredith-Clymer, which became a leading Pennsylvania merchant house.

George was opposed – motivated in part by restrictions on his business - to the restrictions and taxes placed on the colonies through the Townshend Acts and Tea Acts; and on October 16, 1773, became the chairman of a committee that requested those who were appointed to sell the tea to resign their posts. His efforts were so successful that not a single pound of British tea was offered for sale in Philadelphia. He was one of the first to speak out against these British acts, and - when it was necessary to arm in defense of colonial rights - became captain of a volunteer company, the Third Battalion, under Colonel Cadwalader.

On July 29, 1775, he became one of the first continental treasurers, and converted all of his specie – British pounds, gold, and silver – into continental currency, and financially backed the loans requested to fund the continental government. By doing this, George personally helped to underwrite the war.

On July 20, 1776, five men - including George - were appointed by the Pennsylvania legislature to succeed those members of the state’s delegation who had left their seats in the Continental Congress because they refused to agree to the Declaration of Independence.

George would not be a member of the military during the War for Independence. He used his skills and administrative abilities to support the war from the political front, and would make his mark in committee efforts, especially those pertaining to commerce, finance, and military affairs. When the Continental Congress was forced to flee Philadelphia because of the approach of a British army, George was one of the five members left behind to execute all Continental government business in that city.

The British sought out those who had signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1777 his family lived in Chester County, about twenty-five miles from Philadelphia. Just after the battle of Brandywine, a British unit was detoured from the march on Philadelphia to conduct a raid on the Clymer residence, where George was taking a respite from the rigors of politics. He and his family were forced to flee and hide in the woods from the British raid, in which the British destroyed the belongings of the house. When the British arrived in Philadelphia, they sought out the home George had been living in and were in the process of tearing it down when they discovered it did not belong to him – but to an aunt of his.

The British also slated him for death when he visited Pittsburg as a commissioner to the Shawnee and Delaware Indians. His mission was to preserve peace between the Continental government and the Indian tribes in the area, and to try to enlist warriors into military service with the United States. He narrowly escaped death from British-backed Indians when he decided to visit a friend in the country. He accidentally took a route, which led him on a different road than the Indians were waiting on, finding out later that another man was tomahawked to death on the road he originally planned to travel. His report on the state of affairs in the region would lead to the Congress’s authority to take the war to the enemy by attacking Detroit.

George would serve with the Continental Congress – except for one term – through 1782, when he retired and moved with his family to Princeton, New Jersey, in order to give his children the opportunity to attend Princeton College.

He would be summoned from retirement in 1784 to be a member of the Pennsylvania legislature, and was made a member of the convention that framed the new Constitution of the United States. He would become one of eight men who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In November 1788, he was elected to the first Congress held under that Constitution, opposing the bestowal of titles on the President and Vice President. He also favored the gradual naturalization of foreigners, and supported the assumption of state debts by the nation. Declining re-election in 1791 he was appointed collector of the duty on spirits – a tax which led to the whiskey riots in Pennsylvania. He was unsuccessful in stopping the riots, and resigned his post after the death of his son, who died from wounds suffered when the army unit he was in was sent to put down the riots.

He would retire from public live in 1796 – at the age of 57 – and would devote his life to managing his business affairs.

He died on January 24, 1813, and is buried at the Friends Burial Ground, Trenton, New Jersey.
It not only takes the warrior to fight the battle, but also those who provide the financing, supplies and overall strategy. George excelled at the behind-the-scenes committee work that helped the Americans succeed in the nearly impossible task of independence. He sacrifices of his time, his finances, and his property to achieve the independence of what became the United States.

Our local library has no books on George Clymer.

Clymer PA:
Colonial Hall

Famous Americans
National Park Service
Pennsylvania State University
US Army Biography:


01. Portrait: The Constitution Society
02. Signature: Famous Americans
03. Declaration of Independence: Library of Congress
04. Portrait: Wikipedia Drawing: Oil (1807-9) by Charles Willson Peale. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
05. Gravestone: Find A Grave photo by Erik Lander

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

March 12: "I think the nurse's profession is a fine one, and I like it."

Do you know who this is?
-She carried a revolver for protection from the Apache when working in Arizona.
-She essentially created the Red Cross Nursing Service.
-Her efforts provided a prepared nursing corps for wartime service for the first time in our history.

She was an innovative, highly skilled administrator and supervisor who prepared the nursing corps for war – and the saving of lives. Quiet, efficient, professional, she was the founder of modern nursing in America.

Jane Arminda Delano was born on March 12, 1862, in Montour Falls, New York. Her parents were George and Mary Ann Wright Delano, and could trace their heritage back to one of the early settlers of America, Philippe de la Noye – whose name was anglicized to Delano - who arrived on the second Pilgrim ship, the Fortune, in 1621.

Jane never knew her father, who died while serving in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He died in Louisiana from yellow fever, buried in an unmarked grave.

Jane attended Cook Academy, a Baptist boarding school in her hometown and taught school for a short time. However, she decided to become a trained nurse, so she studied nursing at the Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing in New York City where she graduated in 1886.

Jane once wrote: " . . . I can't say that anything romantic or sentimental determined me to be a nurse. Many young nurses start out with the statement that the sight of suffering impelled them to begin a career of alleviating distress, but please don't say that my career was ever influenced by such sentiment." Her reason for becoming a nurse was simply "I think the nurse's profession is a fine one, and I like it."

After graduating from Bellevue, Jane became a superintendent of nurses at Sandhills Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida. A yellow fever epidemic was sweeping the city at the time, and scientists were not positive how the disease spread. Jane knew that some scientists thought that mosquitoes might carry the disease, so she began the innovative practice of placing window screens over the open windows and using mosquito netting in the patient care area and the nurses lodgings.

After the yellow fever epidemic ended, she left Florida, where she wound up as a nurse at a copper mining camp on the Mexican border at Bisbee, Arizona, during a typhoid epidemic. As she later reminisced, life in the wild west could be precarious and exciting: ". . . in those days, the Apache Indians were usually on the war-path and we never dared stir out without a revolver.”

Jane would travel back east in 1891, serving as superintendent of nurses at University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Five years later - in 1896 - she moved to Buffalo, New York, to attend medical school with the ambition of becoming a doctor. She subsequently abandoned plans to become a doctor, and attended the New York School of Civics and Philanthropy, and then continued her nursing career. During the Spanish American War (1898) she became a member of the New York Chapter of the American Red Cross, serving as secretary for the enrollment of nurses.

She moved on to become the superintendent of the House of Refuge – a shelter for wayward girls – and then from 1902 until 1906 was the superintendent of the Training School at Bellevue Hospital. At Bellevue, she would introduce revolutionary ideas for the nursing curriculum, and work to dignify the position of nurses in the medical community. Prior to Jane’s efforts, nurses were not recognized as full members of the medical profession.

In 1906 she would leave that position to move to Charlottesville, Virginia to care for her dying mother.

1908 would find Jane back in New York – and about to take on the jobs that would define her career and contributions. She became the president of the American Nurses Association and the chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Journal of Nursing in 1908. A year later she accepted the chairmanship of the American Red Cross Nursing Service as well as becoming the superintendent of the Army Nurse Corps.

Under her skillful leadership, the American Red Cross Nursing Service became the recognized nursing reserve for the Army, Navy and Public Health Service. She also created other programs that would have a powerful impact in American life. She developed Red Cross courses in Elementary Hygiene and Home Care of the Sick for which she co-authored the textbook. She prepared courses for the training of nurses' aides. She also established the Red Cross Town and Country Nursing Service for delivering health care to rural areas of the country. In 1918, the name changed to the American National Red Cross Public Health Nursing Service. It became one of the most successful contributions to the nation's health care system.

By combining the work of the Army Nurse Corps, the American Nurses Association, and the American Red Cross, she almost single-handedly created the American Red Cross Nursing Service, which became the recognized nursing reserve for the Army, Navy and Public Health Service. She organized emergency response teams for disaster relief, and had over 8,000 registered nurses trained and ready for duty by the time the United States entered World War I. During the war more than 21,480 of her nurses would provide the skills necessary for the health and survival of the soldiers and sailors in the United States military forces.

After the war had ended, Jane traveled to Europe to visit with the nurses she enrolled and to inspect the bases that were still open. While there she fell ill and died on April 15, 1919. She was buried in Savenay, France, and in 1920 the Army Quartermaster Corps exhumed her body, returning it to the United States, and reinterring it in the nurses' plot at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Her last words were "What about my work, I must get back to my work."

She moved to the top of her profession, thanks to her superior executive and administrative skills. She was a woman of incredible energy, and a leading pioneer of the modern nursing profession, and she created a system of disaster relief and military nurses that saved the lives of thousands.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

For March 10: “…you have got to fight. Which side will you fight with?”

Do you know who this is?
-He was Thomas Jefferson’s grandson.
-He was named after a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
-His picture is on the CSA $100 bill.

He was born at Monticello - a son of the South, with an influential heritage that set the stage for his lifetime achievements. His grandfather was Thomas Jefferson, architect of the Declaration of Independence, Secretary of State for the new United States government, Vice President, and President. He was related to the first Attorney General, Edmund Randolph. He could trace his heritage in the New World back to Pocahontas on his father’s side, and to the early colonial settlers on both of his parents’ side.

George Wythe Randolph was born at Monticello, Charlottesville, Virginia, on March 10, 1818. He was the last child of Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr. and Martha Jefferson Randolph - Thomas Jefferson’s daughter. “Geordie” would be named after his father’s law teacher and mentor, George Wythe, one of the Virginians who signed the Declaration of Independence 42 years before the birth George W. Randolph.

George grew up in the Monticello area, often visiting. His father managed many of Thomas Jefferson’s business affairs after Jefferson’s retirement from the Presidency. As a young man, George briefly attended Cambridge University in Boston, living under the care of his oldest sister, Ellen. Ellen was an accomplished scholar – particularly in languages – and a favorite with her grandfather. She had married Boston merchant Joseph Coolidge in 1825, taking residence in Boston.

In 1831- at the age of 13 – George was allowed to serve in the U.S. Navy, serving as midshipman before leaving the service in 1839. He then obtained a law degree from the University of Virginia, graduating in 1841. He would practice law for a decade in Albemarle County, Virginia, then move his practice to Richmond in 1851.While in Richmond, he built a successful law practice, served on the city council, was an officer of the Virginia Historical Society, and served briefly as a state senator. He also married a wealthy widow – Mary Elizabeth Adams Pope – and would reside in one of the elite neighborhoods of Richmond. The couple would have no children.

George would be elected to the 1861 Virginia Convention as a secessionist, and would be appointed as a member of a special delegation – composed of George Randolph, William B. Preston, and Alexander H.H. Stuart – to travel to Washington D.C. where they met with the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The purpose of the trip was to determine where Lincoln stood on the question of the control of Federal facilities in the southern states – whether or not he would be willing to relinquish control of the Federal forts to state authority. The committee would represent the three groups that made up the Virginia Convention: secessionists, unionists, and moderates.

The special delegation was caught in a storm that disrupted travel between Richmond and Washington, and finally arrived at the Willard Hotel three days later than they planned. The delegation visited the White House. Lincoln saw them, and made an appointment to see them again at nine the following morning, when the commissioners presented the resolution of the Virginia Convention that asked the President to “communicate to this Convention the policy which the Federal Executive intends to pursue in regard to the Confederate States”. Lincoln had already seen the resolution – news of the Virginia Convention was regularly printed in the Washington newspapers – and had written his reply.

Lincoln stated that he would “hold, occupy and possess” the properties that belonged to the federal government. By the time of Lincoln's meeting with the Virginia commissioners began, Confederate guns had been firing on Fort Sumter for several hours.

The delegates left, reporting back to the Virginia Convention on April 15. William Preston (pro-Union commissioner) addressed the Convention, followed by George, who said he believed they were seeing the beginning of "the greatest war ever waged" on the American continent. He thought the North would, at least at the beginning, be undivided in support of the war, noting that in the North "there was but one opinion, and that in favor of the war." George thought that the coming war would be primarily a defensive war by the North, aimed only at repossessing the forts and arsenals seized by the states that had seceded.

With keen insight, George continued, indicating that to stop the war at simple repossession was like trying to “stop a prairie fire”. He concluded with the thought that “you have got to fight. Which side will you fight with?”

Virginia seceded on April 17th, casting their lot with the Confederacy. George joined the Confederate army, serving as a major commanding an artillery battalion at the Battle of Big Bethel on June 10, 1861. Putting his artillery to good use, he later wrote that the enemy “fired upon us with shot, shell, spherical case, canister, and grape from 6 and 12-pounders, at a distance of about six hundred yards, but the only injury received from their artillery was the loss of 1 mule.”

He was promoted to Brigadier General on February 12, 1862.

On March 18, 1862, George was appointed by Jefferson Davis as the Secretary of War, seceding Judah Benjamin. He would take office on March 24, serving until his resignation almost eight months later. He would be one of five men to hold the position during the life of the Confederacy.

Most of his attention upon taking office was devoted to the defense of Richmond and Virginia from the Army of the Potomac, under Union General George B. McClellan (pictured on right), in what became known as the Peninsula Campaign, which ended in withdrawal for the Union forces.

One crisis past, George looked to the situation in the west. He urged General Theophilus Holmes to move his forces across the Mississippi, joining with Confederate forces on the east bank. Unfortunately, this put George in conflict with President Davis, who ordered him to rescind the order, and that the idea of having Holmes cross the river was a terrible one.

George did as ordered, rescinded the order, then resigned his post. Hindsight indicates that Davis – and Confederate hopes in the war – would have been better off if the order had been allowed to stand.

He resigned on November 17, 1862, frustrated by the lack of vision and support by the president. He wrote to his brother after he resigned about Davis: "He lacks system, is very slow, does not discriminate between important and unimportant matter, has no practical knowledge of the workings or our military system in the field."

Discovering he had tuberculosis, George travelled to Europe in the hopes that his health might improve. He returned to the United States after the fall of the Confederacy, and passed away on April 3, 1867 from complications arising from pneumonia. He is buried in the Jefferson family graveyard at Monticello.

No books about George W. Randolph are available at our local library.

Randolph as a child at Monticello: Jefferson Encyclopedia
Randolph seated: Generals and Brevets
Battle of Big Bethel: Library of Congress
George B. McClellan National Archives
$100 CSA bill: Rebel States Currency

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

March 5: the Father of the Texas Panhandle”

Do you know who this is?
-He had six months of formal education.
-He raised domesticated buffalo.
- He invented the chuckwagon.

He was a farmer, ranch hand, jockey. He fought the Commanche and the Commancheros, established a town bearing his name, and would carve out a ranch spanning over a million acres.

He was a member of the legendary Texas Rangers, created two new cattle trails, and started a college. He fought in the Civil War, domesticated buffalo, and was an inventor.

On March 5, 1836, Charles Goodnight, who would later be giving the title of ‘the father of the Texas panhandle”, was born in Macoupin County, Illinois. He was the fourth child of farmers Charles and Charlotte Goodnight.

Not much is know of his early life. His father died in 1841 when Charles was five. His mother remarried – a neighboring farmer named Hiram Dougherty. The family moved to Texas in 1846 when he age of 10. His formal education would end when he was eleven (with six months of formal schooling), and he would start working on neighboring farms; but his informal education continued: he learned how to hunt and track from an old Indian named Caddo Jake. At fifteen, he was a jockey, farm worker, and a teamster – a man who hauled freight – hauling cotton and foodstuffs to Houston. Around 1851 his stepfather died, and in 1853 his mother would marry again, this time to a Methodist minister, Reverend Adam Sheek. Charles would partner with his brother-in-law, John Wesley Sheek, to run cattle for Claiborne Varner (Adam Sheek’s brother in law) for a share of the herd.

By the time he was twenty he was riding the range as a cowboy; serving in the local militia; and tracking and fighting raiding Comanche Indians. A year later he was a member of Jack Cureton’s company of Rangers, and in 1860 was the scout leading the Rangers to the Comanche camp where Cynthia Ann Parker was a prisoner. He was involved in the controversial recapture of Parker.

When the Civil War broke out, Charles joined again served as a scout – this time for the Confederacy - working primarily on the Texas frontier and involved with various Indian raids. He was in a frontier regiment, and would patrol the western frontier – gaining valuable knowledge on the lay of the land that would help him in his later career as a cattleman.

After the War was over, Charles joined with Oliver Loving to organize a cattle drive from the glutted market of Texas to the higher demand market in New Mexico. Loving was a former Kentuckian who had moved to Texas and established a ranch there in 1843 when Texas was an independent Republic. Most of the herd was his, with Charles contributing cattle that he claimed during the ‘making a gather’ – a statewide roundup of cattle that had roamed free during the years of the Civil War. The long cattle drive would break trail to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where a government contract for beef to feed the inhabitants of the Indian reservations was waiting for them.

The cattle drive would involve several concepts: The cattle were Texas Longhorns, a tough, lean, –and at times mean-spirited – creature that was well suited to the Texas plains. It would also create a new trail – the Goodnight-Loving Trail – which would gradually lengthen, and over which future herds would travel northward to the rail junctions that would ship them to the processing plants east of the Mississippi River. Finally, a new way of feeding the cowboys was invented – the chuckwagon. Charles created the chuckwagon, a portable meals-on-wheels concept that involved a travelling kitchen to cook the staples needed by the range hands: sourdough bread, beans, and meat. He rebuilt an army surplus ‘Studebaker’ wagon into the new tool that would be used on cattle drives throughout the west. In New Mexico they would make an agreement with another rancher, John Chisum, to supply meat to the Army.

Loving would die from wounds inflicted by the Comanche in 1867 as he travelled to New Mexico. He was going ahead Charles to arrange the contracts of sale for the herd that they were bringing into New Mexico. Charles would fulfill a promise to return Loving’s body to Texas for burial. After Loving’s death, Charles and Chisum would expand the Trail to Colorado, and finally to Wyoming.

A successful businessman, 34-year-old Charles would marry Mary Ann “Molly” Dyer in 1870. Molly was a long-time sweetheart of Charles, and had taught school in Wetherford, Texas. He established the JA Ranch, the first Texas Panhandle ranch.

As a rancher, he formed a Cattleman’s Association to devise ways to improve the herd – and to reduce the threats of rustlers and outlaws. He also began a Bison preserve – which still exists today – and began a domestic buffalo herd. He also began crossbreeding buffalo and cattle, creating cattalo; e blazed a new cattle trail to the railroad junction in Dodge City that became known as the Palo Duro-Dodge City Trail; and invented the first practical sidesaddle, with an additional horn to rest the left knee, for his wife.

By 1885, Goodnight had over a million acre ranch with over 100,000 carefully bred cattle. He developed on of the country’s finest herds through the introduction of Hereford bulls into his breeding program. He spent an enormous amount of time trying to upgrade the quality his herd to the point that it was recognized as one of the best in the nation.

In 1887, at the age of 51, he would sell the JA Ranch and buy a smaller ranch, where he would continue his breeding efforts, raising his domestic buffalo, and kept a variety of animals – such as elk and antelope, in zoo-like enclosures. His ranch actually became a tourist attraction, and featured buffalo meat in its menus.

Through the encouragement of his wife he financed the start of the Goodnight College in the town of Goodnight in 1898, as well as building a Methodist church.

Molly died in April 1926 at the age of 86. Charles became ill soon after, was nursed back to health by Corinne Goodnight, a 26 year old telegraph operator and nurse from Butte, Montana, with whom Charles had been writing for some time because of the similarity of their last names. Charles would marry Corrine in March 1927.

Charles would pass away at his winter home in Arizona on December 12, 1929, at the age of 93. He would be buried next to Molly in the Goodnight community cemetery in his beloved Texas.

Charles Goodnight is an example of a man starting with nothing, but through hard work, imagination, and perseverance, built a lasting legacy.


No local library books on Charles Goodnight are available.


Handbook of Texas
History Makers of the High Plains
Legends of America


01. Portrait: Wikipedia
02. Chuckwagon: Wikipedia photo from the Chuckwagon exhibit at the Panhandle-Plains Museum
03. Portrait of Molly: National Cowgirl Hall of Fame

Sunday, March 1, 2009

For March 2nd: "…the strangest man ever to play baseball."

Do you know who this is?
-He spoke 12 languages.
-His baseball card is the only baseball card on display at the CIA headquarters.
-His last words were reputed to be “How did the Mets do today?”.

Casey Stengel called him “the strangest man ever to play baseball”. He allegedly spoke 12 languages, received a degree from Princeton – graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in modern languages - and then a law degree from Columbia Law School. With his father’s permission, he decided to play professional baseball before starting his career in law. With his educational background, he became known as the “brainiest guy in baseball”.

Morris “Moe” Berg was born on March 2, 1902, as the third and last child of Russian-Jewish immigrants Bernard and Rose Berg. The Berg’s lived in the Harlem section of New York City, where Morris’ father made a living as a pharmacist. The family would move to West Newark in 1906, and to Newark, New Jersey, in 1910, providing Moe with his home during his formative years. The family lived in a neighborhood with good schools and largely Catholic and Protestant middle class residents.

Moe started playing baseball at the age of seven for the Roseville Methodist Episcopal Church. He continued to play ball through high school – where the Newark Star-Eagle newspaper selected a nine-man ‘dream team’ from the city’s best prep and public high school baseball players, and Moe was named the team’s third baseman. He was sixteen when he graduated from high school. He enrolled in New York University, spending two semesters there, then transferred to Princeton.

At Princeton, Moe majored in Modern Languages (Moe was offered a teaching post in Princeton’s Department of Romance Languages when he graduated), continued to play baseball – and was captain of the team in his Senior year. While not a great hitter, Moe did have a strong throwing arm good baseball sense – even communicating with other players in Latin during games with rival schools. Two New York teams would be interested in Moe, and he would sign a contract in 1923 with the New York Robins – a mediocre team, but one on which Moe would have a better chance to play than on the New York Giants. His first contract was for $5000.

After his first season ended, Moe travelled overseas for the first time, going to Paris. It was in Paris that he developed the lifelong habit of reading several newspapers cover to cover every day. Instead of returning in January 1924 to New York and getting into shape for the upcoming baseball season, Moe continued his European tour by visiting Italy and Switzerland.

When he did return for spring training, his manager noted that his hitting had not improved, and optioned him to another team. Moe would be optioned several times – the Minnesota Millers, the Toledo Mud Hens, and the Reading Keystones. Finally, in 1926, his contract was bought by the Chicago White Sox – and Moe was back in the big leagues.

However, he had started Columbia Law School, and would report late for Spring training because of his class schedule. Because of this, he was benched for the first part of every season – 1926 – 1927. In 1928, his professor arranged a leave of absence from Columbia so that Moe on time for Spring training. He was able to spend several weeks at a lumber camp, which got him in shape for the season. Moe had been moved to the position of catcher.

He would graduate from Columbia in 1930, join a prestigious law firm, and still try to play ball. But injuries to a knee, poor batting, playing for a variety of teams (the White Sox, the Cleveland Indians, the Washington Senators, then back to the Cleveland Indians), and being used as a fill-in (third string) for injured catchers all combined to make sporadic seasons for Moe.

Moe was invited at the last minute to join a group of baseball players on a trip to Japan to play exhibition games against Japanese teams. As a reserve player, Moe had little to do, so he took his 16 mm Bell and Howell movie camera and a letter from Movietone News and filmed sights on his trip. He would give the team’s welcome speech (in Japanese) when he arrived in Japan, and would address the Japanese legislature. He also managed to film Tokyo and Tokyo Harbor from the roof of a hospital.

Returning to the States in 1935, he was released by the Indians, picked up by the Boston Red Sox, and would stay with that team for the next five years, playing less than 30 games a season.

Soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Moe accepted a position with the Office of Inter-American Affairs. At some point in 1942 he previewed the footage of Tokyo that he had taken, a preview which might have been used to plan the Doolittle Raid.

Moe would join the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in 1943, parachuting into occupied Yugoslavia to evaluate the resistance efforts there. He also as assigned to attend scientific lectures in Switzerland on rocketry and atomic weapons; spent time in Germany and Italy to recruit scientists to work for the US. He would be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but would turn it down because he was not allowed to explain to his friends how he had earned it.
After the war he was recruited by the CIA in 1952 in a short-lived arrangement to ferret out Soviet atomic secrets, but was unsuccessful in the effort. He would return to the States, and would not hold a job for the rest of his life. He survived by living with friends and relatives, spending his time with his books and his passion for knowledge.

When he was criticized for "wasting" his intellectual talent on the sport he loved, Berg replied, "I'd rather be a ballplayer than a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court".

Moe was a loner, and often seemed out of place in the schools he attended and the world he lived in. The closest he came to acceptance for who he was by others was in the world of baseball, or in the world of his books.

Moe passed away on May 29, 1972, from injuries sustained in a fall at home. He was 70 years old. His remains would be cremated and spread over Mount Scopus in Israel. His last words were reputed to be: “How did the Mets do today?”

They won.


Dawidoff, Nicholas: The Catcher was a Spy : the Mysterious Life of Moe Berg