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Historian’s Almanac for October 29, 2013

President Herbert Hoover.

President Herbert Hoover. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On October 25, 1929, President Herbert Hoover gave a glowing assessment of the nation’s economic health.  “The fundamental business of the country,” he said, “is on a sound and prosperous basis.”  Four days later the Stock Market collapsed.  The Great Depression began.  Workers lost their jobs and millionaires became paupers.  Hunger and despair stalked the land.

People began to speak of “Hoovervilles,” shanty towns where unemployed and homeless people lived, “Hoover blankets,” newspapers used as blankets by unemployed who slept on park benches, and “Hoover flags,” pockets tuned inside out because there wasn’t anything to put in them.

Sir Walter Raleigh lost his head—literally!—on this day in 1618.  Accused and convicted of treason, Sir Walter was sent the scaffold in London.  He was a man of many talents, a poet, historian, adventurer, soldier, and a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, who knighted him in 1584. But as the sages say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and when Raleigh caught the eye of one of Elizabeth’s ladies in waiting, she sent them both to the Tower.

In 1945, Gimbal’s Department Store in New York City began selling the first commercially-made ballpoint pens.  They were an immediate success.  Selling for $12.50 each, $162.41 in today’s money, they earned Gimbal’s a nice profit of $500,000 ($4,496,583.33 today) in the first month.

Until next time, be good to all God’s creation and always go under the mercy.