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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

March Dates in History

MARCH 2, 1904: Dr. Seuss Born Theodor Geisel, better known as author Dr. Seuss, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Geisel graduated from Dartmouth where he was editor of the school’s humor magazine. A cartoonist, Geisel’s first children’s book was rejected by over two dozen publishers. His bestselling “The Cat in the Hat,” was published in 1957. Many of his books, which feature rhymes and fun characters, have been made into movies. He published 48 in all.

MARCH 3, 1887: Helen Keller Meets Anne Sullivan Helen Keller was a young Alabama girl left unable to see or hear after an illness as a toddler. Alexander Graham Bell, an authority on the deaf, suggested her parents contact the Institute for the Blind. They sent teacher Anne Sullivan whose “touch teaching” techniques helped Keller learn to communicate. Keller went on to graduate from college, becoming an author and public speaker. Keller and Sullivan remained lifelong companions.

MARCH 9, 1959: First Barbie Doll Goes on Display The first doll to depict an adult woman went on display at the American Toy Fair in New York City. Ruth Handler, a co-founder of Mattel, Inc., got the idea after watching her daughter play with paper dolls of grown women instead of her baby dolls. Mattel was also the first toy company to broadcast commercials to children, featuring Barbie in their sponsorship of "The Mickey Mouse Club.”

MARCH 12, 1933: FDR Makes First ‘Fireside Chat’ Eight days after his inauguration, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his first national radio address, or “fireside chat,” broadcast from the White House. The U.S. was at the height of the Great Depression with unemployment between 25 and 33%. The president would deliver many more broadcasts, building support for his policies. It was an unprecedented step that reached many American households, 90% of which owned a radio.

MARCH 23, 1839: “OK” Published in National Paper The expression “O.K.” was first published in The Boston Morning Post, an abbreviation of the slang term “oll korrect.” It was fashionable among youth at the time to deliberately misspell words then abbreviate them as a kind of coded slang. “KY” stood for “No use” or “know yuse.” It was published in a joke but quickly became popular after being used in a political campaign.

MARCH 30, 1981: President Reagan Wounded President Ronald Reagan was leaving a speech at a Washington hotel when he was shot in the chest by John Hinckley Jr. Three other men were wounded, one critically. Hinckley was captured and Reagan rushed to the hospital. The president, at 70, walked into the hospital with a collapsed lung and joked with his wife that he “forgot to duck.” Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity

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