Good News in History, March 4

230 years ago today, Vermont became the 14th U.S. state. A destination for tourists searching for fall foliage, 75% of Vermont (which means ‘green mountain’) is covered by forest.

It’s also known for being home to over 100 historic covered bridges, and a major producer of maple syrup. Its thousands of acres of alpine terrain offer Easterners stellar ski resorts like Stowe and Killington. It is the second least-populous of the 50 United States, containing about 40,000 more people than Wyoming. Vermont, which you can differentiate from New Hampshire on a map because it is shaped like a “V”, was also the first state to partially abolish slavery. (1791)

–Photo of Stowe, Vermont by andrewryder, CC license (cropped)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Antonio Vivaldi, the great Baroque composer and virtuoso violinist who wrote the popular “The Four Seasons” violin concertos, was born (1678)
  • The first US Congress met fulfilling the new Constitution (1789)
  • Swan Lake, a ballet composed by Tchaikovsky, was first performed in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater, a Russian folk tale about Princess Odette who is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer who also tricks a young prince into betraying her (1877)
  • Victor Berger of Wisconsin became the first socialist in the US Congress (1911)
  • Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress (1917)
  • The song Happy Birthday To You was first published by Clayton Summy (1924)
  • The British empire signed an agreement with Mohandas Gandhi to release political prisoners and allow the free use of salt by the poorest Indians (1931)
  • Bertha Wilson was first woman appointed as Supreme Court Justice in Canada (1933)
  • Ernest Hemingway completed his novel The Old Man and the Sea (1952)
  • A Boston hospital announced the first successful kidney transplant (1954)
  • The US Supreme Court ruled that federal laws banning on-the-job sexual harassment also apply when both parties are the same sex (1998)

And, 92 years ago today, Charles Curtis became the first Native-American Vice President of the United States.

A Kansas attorney and the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, Curtis was a member of the Kaw Nation and served in the White House with Herbert Hoover after they won in a landslide victory. ‘Charley’ employed a woman there, instead of the customary man, as his secretary—another small step for gender equality. The woman, Lola M. Williams (pictured left, above) had worked for Curtis in the Congress for a long time, and was one of the first women to set foot on the Senate floor. (1929)

And, on this day 88 years ago, Frances Perkins began her first day as the U.S. Secretary of Labor, the first female member of a president’s cabinet. Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her during the Great Depression to help establish Social Security and other public safety net programs that were known collectively as The New Deal. For 12 years in that cabinet role, she built a reputation as the woman behind it. She also established the first minimum wage and overtime laws for American workers, workplace safety regulations (after a tragic factory fire), and the standard 40-hour work week. WATCH a short video about the amazing legacy of Frances Perkins… (1933)

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