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January 7: ON THIS DAY in 1933, America bids farewell to Calvin Coolidge

January 7, 2020 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1842, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Today the star-spangled banner floats from the public places, and various preparations are making to celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans — an event which will be regarded throughout all coming time as the most brilliant achievement of the American arms. And when the venerable and beloved Chief, under whose guidance this signal triumph was obtained, shall have gone to his rest, and the asperity of party feeling shall have subsided, a nation will unite in ascribing honor and gratitude to the man who ‘has filled the measure of his country’s glory.’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1927, the Eagle reported, “It took 30 seconds this morning for a New York-London telephone call — just as long as for a local connection around the corner. Walter S. Gifford, president of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, lifted the receiver of his desk phone at 8:44 a.m. in the directors room at 195 Broadway, Manhattan, and a half minute later heard the answering voice of Sir Evelyn Murray, Secretary of the British Postoffice. The Briton’s voice came clearly through a crackling welter of static, provided the opening conversation to the first commercial transatlantic telephone system. Immediately after the close of inaugural formalities, operators on both sides of the Atlantic, trained to the New York and London exchanges, began to handle about 40 two-way messages from American British business firms, marking the first voice connection between the two countries ever attempted for trade purposes.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1933, the Eagle reported, “Northampton, Mass. (AP) — America today bade farewell to Calvin Coolidge. In Edwards Congregational Church, President and Mrs. Hoover and other high dignitaries of the Nation bowed their heads in brief and simple funeral services for the Nation’s thirtieth President. Outside the red-brick church, unable to enter, stood thousands, many of them life-long neighbors of Coolidge in Northampton, assembled to pay their last respects to their city’s greatest citizen. The funeral services began immediately after Mrs. Coolidge walked to a front pew, leaning on the arm of her son, John. The organ sounded the prelude from the New World Symphony by Dvorak, and then followed the invocation by the Rev. Albert J. Penner … Before the services, hundreds of men and women, some accompanied by children, filed through the church to look for the last time at the face of Mr. Coolidge.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1951, the Eagle reported, “W.C. Handy, ‘Father of the Blues,’ and Ethel Waters, star of ‘The Member of the Wedding,’ will be honored guests at a concert tonight at 7:30 o’clock in the auditorium of new Public School 3, 50 Jefferson Ave. The Community Association of School Districts 25-27 is sponsoring the affair. The Bedford Village Choir will be featured. The singers will present Handy’s latest number, ‘They That Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy.’ John Motley is director of the choir. Mrs. Margery Robinson Jackson is accompanying pianists. Irving Burgie, radio performer and guitarist, will sing a group of folk songs.” Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Burgie, also known as Lord Burgess, is credited with spreading the popularity of calypso music in the U.S. He died on Nov. 29, 2019 at age 95.

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ON THIS DAY IN 1955, the Eagle reported, “The Italian Historical Society of America has requested the New York Port Authority to name the bridge which will connect Brooklyn and Staten Island in honor of Giovanni Da Verrazano, the Italian navigator who discovered what is today the harbor of New York on April 17, 1524, 85 years before Henry Hudson. Last April, Mayor [Robert] Wagner proclaimed April 17 Verrazano Day as a tribute to the man who opened the doors to millions of immigrants who have since passed through these portals to add to the development and upbuilding of this great land of liberty and opportunity. The society now seeks this opportunity to perpetuate the name of Verrazano for all time. The Encyclopedia Britannica (1951 Edition) flatly credits Verrazano with discovery of both Manhattan Island and the Hudson River in 1524. The Iconography of Manhattan Island, a massive, six-volume, authoritative work by L.N. Phelps Stokes (1915), says Verrazano discovered and explored both New York’s lower and upper bays.”


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