100 Things Turning 100 in 2020
2020 has been a tough year for us all, but these milestones are something to celebrate! Happy Birthday to the 19th Amendment, the NFL, Rubbermaid, Band-Aids, and much more.
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One hundred years ago, the world was a very different place; that probably goes without saying. But what you may not know is that many of the events that took place in 1920 changed the course of history and, in large part, helped to create the world we live in today. One biggie: Women were finally granted the right to have a say in American politics with the ratification of the 19th Amendment, though that monumental event almost didn’t happen. As we commemorate the centennial of the women’s vote, we also wish a happy birthday to 99 more people, places, and things turning 100 in 2020.
The 19th Amendment
While women in the American territory of Wyoming were granted voting rights 150 years ago, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the constitutional amendment that gave half of the population of the United States the right to vote. America’s women’s suffrage movement, the long fight for the vote, and the 19th Amendment will be rightfully commemorated and celebrated throughout 2020.
Agatha Christie’s first novel
Agatha Christie’s first published novel—featuring her instantly famous character Hercule Poirot—was released to wild acclaim in the United States in 1920. The Mysterious Affair at Styles ushered in what is considered to be the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.
Yellow Cab Manufacturing Company
While yellow taxi cabs were first created by John D. Hertz (yes, that Hertz) in Chicago in 1907, the manufacturing company that later would pump out those famous yellow taxis wasn’t formed until 1920. That makes it 100 years of getting city travelers to their destinations quickly and without getting soaked on rainy days, as well as without surge pricing! That said, if you want to take a car service, these are the best (and worst) in America.
The sport and the league that dominates homes across America every fall and winter celebrates its 100th season in 2020. If you thought football celebrations were big before, just wait—there will be a number of NFL 100 events to celebrate next year. True fans won’t want to miss these crazy things you never knew about the Super Bowl.
The company that’s likely supplied your family’s chicken dinners for decades turns 100 in 2020. While the world has changed a lot since 1920 and many people now shy away from agribusiness poultry and meat, Perdue Farms remains a force in grocery stores across the country as it clucks its way into its second century of existence. Looking for a new way to prepare your poultry? Check out these 42 baked chicken recipes prepped in 10 minutes or less.
Just as Perdue has been putting chicken on American tables for 100 years, Rubbermaid has been helping families pack up leftovers since 1920. The popular plastic storage manufacturer is headquartered in Atlanta now but began life a century ago in Wooster, Ohio. You likely use your Rubbermaid items every day, along with these 61 Amazon products.
The Northern European country of Estonia celebrates a century of recognized independence in February of 2020. While autonomy and independence had been declared earlier, the country gained official freedom from Russia after the War of Independence, at the end of World War I. Believe it or not, Estonia was one of the 15 countries that gave women the right to vote before the United States did.
The flagship airline of Australia, and the third oldest airline in the world after KLM and Avianca, was founded in November 1920 by World War I veterans Paul McGinness and Hudson Fysh, “who envisaged an air service connecting Australia to the world,” according to the company’s website. Don’t miss these 13 ways air travel will change in 2020.
Once upon a time, there was no easy way to bandage your boo-boos. But that all changed in 1920 when Earle Dickson, a cotton buyer, invented the Band-Aid as a way of helping his wife, who had a propensity for cutting her fingers while cooking. He combined two Johnson & Johnson products—adhesive tape and gauze—and a revolutionary bandage was born. The famous Band-Aid hit the market the following year. By the way, Band-Aid is one of 16 words you use every day that you didn’t realize were trademarked.
In October 1920, Maurice “Robbie” Robinson published a four-page magazine called “The Western Pennsylvania Scholastic.” If he hadn’t done so, starting the company that would become a publishing and educational book empire, there might be no such thing as book fairs. And kids would kids never know the joy of circling all the books they want in the Scholastic take-home paper magazine—which is truly one of the great joys of elementary school! The publishing company has also been ahead of its time on many social issues, and its mock “presidential elections” with student “voters” have correctly predicted the outcome of the real presidential election all but three times since beginning in 1940. To celebrate its anniversary, it has launched the Scholastic Bookshelf, a resource that helps parents and educators talk to children about challenging topics like racism, anxiety, and illness. Check out what school looked like 100 years ago.
Carlton Greeting Cards
Now under the American Greetings umbrella, Carlton Cards was founded in Ontario, Canada in 1920 and for 100 years it has played a capable second fiddle to Hallmark in greeting card aisles across North America. If Carlton sells a Happy 100th Birthday card, maybe put one in the mail for them! Do you know why Queen Elizabeth celebrates two birthdays every year? We’ve got the answer!
Andy’s more famous red-headed sister, Raggedy Ann, was born as a doll—with her trademark red yarn hair and button eyes—in 1915 and a book in 1918. Soon after, in 1920, Raggedy Andy was introduced to the public. This adorable duo was created by cartoonist and illustrator Johnny Gruelle, who wrote more than 40 books featuring them. Check your attic: Some childhood toys are worth thousands today.
The largest movie theater chain in the world was originally spelled out as American Multi-Cinema, but is now commonly referred to simply as AMC. The company began when Maurice, Edward, and Barney Dubinsky purchased the Regent Theatre in Kansas City in 1920. The popcorn has been flowing ever since. Chances are, movies have been a date-night staple in your life—and for good reason. But for a change, here are 10 ideas that are better than a Netflix binge.
The Holland Tunnel
It would be seven more years before cars would drive through it beneath the Hudson River, but this New York City landmark got its start in 1920. That’s when “the New Jersey Interstate Bridge and Tunnel Commission and the New York State Bridge and Tunnel Commission appropriated funds and began construction on what was then referred to as the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel,” according to the Port Authority of NY and NJ. This picture shows the very first piece of steel going into the water during construction. Check out these famous chambers inside some of the world’s most famous landmarks.
The Michigan Avenue Bridge (DuSable Bridge)
In October 2010, this gateway bridge in the heart of Chicago was renamed to honor Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, the first non-native settler in the city. The bridge connects the Windy City’s downtown Loop to the Magnificent Mile, and carries thousands of cars and upwards of 30,000 pedestrians every single day. Construction began on this historic piece of civil engineering in 1920 when “it was said to be the only double-deck bridge built with highways on both levels,” per the Chicago Architecture Center. By the way, this is why Chicago is called the “Windy City”—and (spoiler alert!) it has nothing to do with the weather.
The idea for insulin
While the experiments wouldn’t begin for another few years, the idea for insulin first came to Dr. Frederick Banting in the fall of 1920. According to Science History, when he was preparing for a lecture about the function of the pancreas, he stopped at the medical school library and read an article called “The Relation of the Islets of Langerhans to Diabetes, with Special Reference to Cases of Pancreatic Lithiasis.” Then, as the story goes, “Banting jotted down an idea for a preliminary experiment to further investigate the relationship between pancreatic secretions and diabetes.” And, thus, an idea that would change the lives of millions was born. These accidental scientific discoveries also changed the world.
The popular tool manufacturer—which now supplies the automotive, marine, aviation, and railroad industries—started life in 1920 in Milwaukee, in response to the growing automobile culture (and, thus, the need for car repairs) in America. The product was unique in that it had “five unique handles and ten sockets that snapped on interchangeably, coined ‘Five do the work of Fifty,'” according to Snap-On’s official history.
Sun Oil Co. (Sunoco)
Just as America was becoming a nation of automobiles, highways, and road trips, Sun opened its first service station in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, in 1920. The company, which changed its name to Sunoco in 1998, now distributes fuel to more than 5,000 gas stations in more than 30 states. Of course, no one likes to fill up their tank unless they have to. Here are 22 cars with the best—and worst—fuel economy.
The Drake Hotel
This famous luxury hotel, located in downtown Chicago overlooking Lake Michigan, just steps from Oak Street Beach on the Magnificent Mile, opened on New Year’s Eve in 1920. Back in the day, it attracted the likes of Bing Crosby, Walt Disney, George Gershwin, and, later, newlyweds Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, who carved their initials into the bar’s wooden counter. While it lost some of its splendor in the mid–20th century, it was given a high-society boost when it became a Hilton property in 1980. If you’re looking to splurge, book a room at one of the most luxurious hotels and resorts around the world.
Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street
With its satirical take on small-town life, Main Street is perhaps Sinclair Lewis’ most famous book, and it led, in part, to his eventual 1930 Nobel Prize for Literature. Told from the perspective of an East Coast woman who marries a Midwestern doctor and settles in Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, this American classic was first published in 1920 and received high critical praise from the start. Here are another 100 books everyone should read before they die.
The Grave of the Unknown Warrior
Before there was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, the idea to honor the unnamed heroes of conflicts began in November 1920, when a World War I soldier was buried in the west end of the Nave of Westminster Abbey in London.
The Palmer Raids
The second wave of Red Scare raids and arrests occurred just as the calendar flipped to 1920 when, according to History.com, “Justice Department agents conducted raids in 33 cities, resulting in the arrest of 3,000 people.” The assaults and torture that followed led to the creation of the ACLU to fight against injustices in America.
The nonprofit and non-partisan American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was founded in 1920 with the stated goal to “defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person by the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution and laws of the United States.” It handles around 6,000 legal cases annually, providing lawyers and legal expertise to those whose lives are being infringed upon unfairly. Over the years, it has been involved in some of America’s most prominent and heated legal battles, including the Japanese internment camps of World War II, the desegregation of public schools, and assorted battles over privacy, free speech, reproductive rights, and voting rights. So, just how much do you know about the Constitution?
Once a staple of every American mall and mailbox through its glossy catalog of comfortable clothes, Eddie Bauer himself (yes, that’s the founder’s name) established his outdoor apparel company in Seattle in1920. Fun fact: Eddie Bauer was the first independent company that the United States Army hired and allowed to use a logo on the Army-issued uniform.
Most Americans who have had a baby in their care over the last century have probably relied on at least one Evenflo product. Since its founding in 1920, the Evenflo Company has been making car seats, safety gates, baby bottles, infant carriers, and assorted travel and household products for families. Aside from the essentials, this is what every new mom needs.
Most know the animal-communicating Doctor Dolittle from the famous movies (the latest version of which will be released in 2020). But the first book in the legendary series, The Story of Doctor Dolittle, Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts was written and illustrated by the British author Hugh Lofting a full century ago.
Christopher Robin Milne
The boy who played with a stuffed bear, pig, donkey, tiger, and bunny rabbit was born in England in 1920. His father, A.A. Milne, would soon craft stories from his son’s imaginative playtime and the tales of Winnie the Pooh were gifted to the world. If you’re a Pooh fan (and really, who isn’t?), these Winnie the Pooh quotes will tug at your heartstrings.
You may not know what Schlage is, but if you check your front door lock, there’s a good chance you’ll see the name of this company that’s turning 100 in 2020. Speaking of home safety, make sure you know these tips that could save your home from a break-in.
Negro National League
According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, “unwritten rules and gentleman’s agreements between owners had effectively shut black ballplayers out of the big-league competition.” But on February 3, 1920, Hall of Famer Andrew “Rube” Foster and other team owners decided to create the Negro National League, which provided a platform for some of the all-time great baseball players to apply their trade and delight crowds across the country.
Zeta Phi Beta (ΖΦΒ)
This international, historically black sorority was founded in January 1920 by five women from Howard University. They envisioned a sorority that would raise the people’s consciousness, encourage the highest standards of scholastic achievement, and foster a greater sense of unity among its members. According to its website, the sorority still “takes pride in its continued participation in transforming communities through volunteer services from members and its auxiliaries. Zeta Phi Beta has chartered hundreds of chapters worldwide and has a membership of 100,000 plus.”
The League of Women Voters
Not only were women given the right to vote in 1920—the League of Women Voters was also founded. According to The People History, the league was “a non-partisan organization created in an effort to encourage women to become heavily involved in creating, discussing, and influencing public policy as a way to fully embrace and take advantage of their newly attained voting rights.” The League is still a functioning organization today, and it “continues to advocate for all women to participate in the political discussion and use their vote.” Here are more empowering stories of amazing women throughout history.
The popular entry-level bike from Indian Motorcycles Company debuted in 1920. To celebrate, the brand is releasing two special models in 2020, the Scout Bobber Twenty and the 100th Anniversary Scout, according to CNET. Check out these 17 vintage motorcycles you’ll want to ride today.
In 1920, the Curtiss Candy Company refashioned its Kandy Kake into the Baby Ruth, and it became the best-selling confection in the five-cent confectionery category by the late 1920s.
First commercial radio station in the United States
America’s first commercial radio station, KDKA, made its first broadcast on November 2, 1920—which just so happened to be election day. People, for the first time, could hear the results (in this case, for the Harding-Cox race) before they read about it in the newspaper the next day. KDKA was the brainchild of Westinghouse Radio, one of the leading radio manufacturers at the time, and the original goal was to sell more radios. We’d say it worked! Four years later, 600 commercial stations had sprouted around the country. By the way, here’s why radio stations always start with a “K” or a “W.”
This Manchester, England–based sportswear company was founded as Humphrey Brothers in 1920, but changed its name in 1924 to Umbro (UM is from Humphreys, BRO is from brothers). While it started out small, it’s now a global leader in the business. The 1934 FA Cup Final pitting Manchester City and Portsmouth saw both clubs wearing Umbro, and by 1966, 85 percent of all British football clubs would be sporting Umbro uniforms.
Empoli F.C. and Cagliari Calcio
These two Italian football clubs launched in 1920. Empoli will start its 100th season in Serie B after being relegated from the top flight after a valiant last-ditch effort last year. And recent racist behavior by Cagliari supporters shows that even though the club will turn 100 in 2020, not everyone has received the wisdom of age. In case you were wondering, this is why Americans say “soccer” instead of “football.”
The famous, rough-around-the-edges poet was born in 1920, and 100 years later, his style and ethos—on display in books like The Last Night of the Earth—still live on in high schools and colleges across America.
This Side of Paradise
The debut novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1920, will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2020. While some argue that it hasn’t held up over the years, it made Fitzgerald famous. And This Side of Paradise “was considered a revelation of the new morality of the young in the early Jazz Age,” according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
The New Era Cap Company
You may not know the name, but you definitely know the product. The New Era Cap Company is the exclusive manufacturer and marketer of the official on-field caps worn by every Major League Baseball team from the Yankees to the Astros, as well as their minor league affiliates. It was founded in 1920 by German immigrant Ehrhardt Koch.
Rack Room Shoes
As of this year, Rack Room will have well over 450 stores in 34 states, but the shoe, boot, and sneaker emporium had humble beginnings. It got its start way back in 1920 with a single store in Salisbury, North Carolina. Are you a footwear fiend? Here’s what your favorite shoes say about your personality.
While it’s impossible to pinpoint an exact date, it is believed that 1920 gave birth to this popular design style of the 1920s and ’30s. Characterized by sleek geometric shapes, bold colors, and very stylized details that exuded glamour, it still fascinates art and architecture lovers 100 years later.
No Man’s Land, Illinois
You’ve probably used the expression “no man’s land,” but did you know it was based on a real place? According to the Chicago Tribune, “No Man’s Land was an inexplicably unincorporated strip along Sheridan Road tucked between the north end of Wilmette and the south end of Kenilworth. Emerging in 1920, this strange portion of the city was an area unpoliced, unrestricted and under no municipal control.” The handful of people living in the area dubbed it “No Man’s Land of the Free” and even designed their own quirky flag for it. While few to none of such curious patches of Earth remain in the United States, No Man’s Land, Illinois, would have turned 100 in 2020. Here are ten literal no man’s lands—forbidden places no one will ever be allowed to visit.
The mysterious Wall Street terrorist attack
Long before the tragedy of 9/11, downtown New York City was the site of another deadly terrorist attack. According to the FBI, at lunchtime on September 16, 1920, a man stopped his cart across from the J.P. Morgan building on Wall Street. Then, “within minutes, the cart exploded into a hail of metal fragments—immediately killing more than 30 people and injuring some 300. The carnage was horrific, and the death toll kept rising as the day wore on and more victims succumbed.” No one ever claimed responsibility for it, and the culprits were never found. These are some other crimes that will likely never be solved.
Oceanport, New Jersey
The hometown of Monmouth Park Racetrack, a popular horse-racing destination, was incorporated in 1920. Every August, the attention of the thoroughbred world is on Oceanport as Monmouth hosts the Haskell Invitational Stakes, one of the biggest races outside of the Triple Crown. If you love racing, check out the 13 most famous horses in Kentucky Derby history.
The Chicago Bears
The franchise that became the Bears was founded by businessman A.E. Staley in 1920 and was first known as the Decatur (Illinois) Staleys, then later as Da Bears. George Halas became player-coach of the new team, which he relocated to Chicago in 1921 after Staley handed the young franchise over to him.
The historic baseball diamond located two blocks from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, opened its gates in 1920 and has been a staple of the National Pastime diet ever since. Ever wonder how each baseball team got its name?
The Pitney Bowes Postage Meter Company was founded in 1920 with the invention of the first commercially available postage meter. According to Inc, as Pitney Bowes approaches its centennial, it has expanded beyond its roots as a shipping-solutions firm and reinvented itself as a global shipping and e-commerce technology company.
The Western Union Telegraph Building
Western Union was founded in Kansas City, Missouri, way back in 1865, but the telecommunications company’s regional hub building, now on the National Register of Historic Places, opened in 1920. These are the most historic landmarks in every state.
One hundred years of climbing fun! Sebastian Hinton, a lawyer from Chicago, invented the first jungle gym in 1920. Celebrate the jungle gym’s 100th birthday in 2020 by listening to Chicago native and Grammy Award–winning musician Justin Roberts’ family album, which shares the name and cover image of that famous first play structure.
The Wonder Wheel
Whether you know this 150-foot Ferris wheel from Dan Zanes’ children’s song or from spending your summer days on Coney Island, the famous Wonder Wheel is a New York City landmark that’s turning 100 in 2020. For a Ferris wheel closer to home (depending on where you live, of course), check out the best amusement park in every state.
Modern traffic lights
“In 1920, the first three-color light system was introduced in Detroit—aka Motor City, USA,” per iDriveSafely.com. William Potts, a police officer from Detroit, invented the traffic lights using red, green, and amber lights, and wire, and they were first installed around Woodward and Michigan Avenues. By the way, this is why traffic lights are red, yellow, and green.
If you’ve spent any time on American highways, you’ve surely seen a C.R. England truck with that massive crest featuring England’s legendary three lions. The Salt Lake City business founded in 1920 is now one of the largest refrigerated transportation companies in North America.
While we applaud the 19th Amendment in 2020, we’ll also be shaking our heads at the idea behind the 18th, which took effect in January of 1920. The prohibition of liquor didn’t last long, having been ratified in early 1919 and then repealed at the end of 1933, but the era of speakeasies and drinking on the down-low continues to inspire the design aesthetic of bars and hotels a century later. Here are 13 of the strangest liquor laws in America that are still on the books.
Charles Ponzi, an Italian immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1903, discovered a loophole in an “international reply coupon” designed to make it easier to send mail in 1920. He got rich…but wanted to get even richer, so he enlisted investors, promising them huge returns in very short time periods. Unfortunately, he paid those investors with money from later investors instead of any actual profits—similar to what Bernie Madoff did more recently. But Ponzi has the dubious distinction of doing it first, and that’s why his name will be forever associated with this scam. These are some more of the biggest lies that made history.
The first commercially licensed radio station broadcast the live results of the Harding-Cox presidential election in November of 1920 and marked the birth of American mass media. Within a few years, half a million people had their own radios, and not long after that, more than 700 radio stations could be heard nationwide.
Knott’s Berry Farm
Before it was a wildly popular SoCal amusement park, Knott’s Berry Farm was actually a farm! In 1920, the Knott family, “leased 10 acres (4 hectares) of land in Buena Park in nearby Orange County and grew berries, selling them from a roadside stand and to local grocers,” according to Brittanica. Of course, this amusement park is still going strong, unlike these 13 abandoned amusement parks that will give you the creeps.
Villanova men’s basketball team
Happy 100th birthday to the Villanova University men’s basketball team! The last three decades have been the most successful, with national championship banners being raised in 1985, 2016, and 2018.
It’s a big year for football! The NFL turns 100 in 2020, and the home of University of Washington football will mark a century of pigskin as well. The stadium originally had seats for 30,000, and unfortunately, those in attendance at its first game on November 27, 1920, witnessed a Huskies loss.
Gujarat Vidyapith University
This university in India was founded on October 18, 1920, as a “Rashtriya Vidyapith” (National University) by Mahatma Gandhi, who would serve throughout his life as the kulpati (chancellor). Gujarat Vidyapith University’s purpose was to promote educational institutions run by Indians for Indians outside the financial and governing control of British authorities.
The Roaring Twenties
Naturally, 1920 marked the start of the era we now call the Roaring Twenties, when the jazz age and flappers and literature—not to mention all of the social and political change—left an indelible mark on American society. Here are 30 slang words from the 1920s that are worth bringing back.
The Harlem Renaissance
“In the 1920s, creative and intellectual life flourished within African American communities in the North and Midwest regions of the United States, but nowhere more so than in Harlem,” according to the Poetry Foundation. While a mere three square miles, “the New York City neighborhood teemed with black artists, intellectuals, writers, and musicians,” as well as black-owned businesses. Some of the central figures of the Harlem Renaissance included Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, Duke Ellington, and Zora Neale Hurston, the author of Their Eyes Were Watching God. Adding to the vibrant scene? Newspapers, publishing houses, and music companies, along with nightclubs, cabarets, and theaters. Here are 12 ways to celebrate Black History Month.
Eastman Chemical Company
Eastman Chemical Company was founded in 1920 by George Eastman and was once a subsidiary of Kodak. The company now has more than 40 manufacturing sites worldwide, and it produces a wide range of materials, chemicals, fibers, and plastics that are found in a variety of products we use every day.
We all might still be walking around with wet hair if not for Alexandre-Ferdinand Godefroy, who invented the hairdryer in France in 1890. Thirty years later, in 1920, the first handheld hairdryer went on sale and launched better hair days for everyone! Hairdryers have come a long way in the last hundred years, but we all still love the convenience and style they provide.
Chocolate-covered frozen ice cream bars
One hundred years ago, the first frozen chocolate-covered ice cream bar, Eskimo Pie ice cream, was created when, according to Slate, “a young boy walked into Christian Kent Nelson’s store and couldn’t decide between getting an ice cream and getting a chocolate bar. Nelson wondered whether he could give that boy both the chocolate and the ice cream in one product and set out to make an ice cream bar coated in chocolate.” Today, this is where you can get the best ice cream in every state.
Indiana Bell, Illinois Bell, and Southwestern Bell
Three regional Bell outposts of the old American Telephone and Telegraph company (AT&T) began to connect people in the Midwest in 1920. Imagine if those people could see us today with our smartphones! This is what phones looked like the decade you were born.
The world-renowned author of Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and the Moby Dick screenplay was born in 1920. Upon what would have been his 100th birthday, give Bradbury a read if you aren’t already familiar with this work—or a reread in his honor if you are.
Another legendary writer was also born in 1920. Isaac Asimov wrote hard science fiction and is best known for his Foundation series, which won the Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series in 1966. Speaking of books you can’t put down, here are some of the most binge-worthy authors of all time, across all genres.
What was in the water in 1920? Whatever it was, it created a bevy of amazing writers. The man who created one of the most beloved novels in the annals of science fiction, Dune, was also born in 1920. The book has been translated into dozens of languages and has sold almost 20 million copies according to the official Dune history site. If sci-fi isn’t your thing, maybe these 60 best romance novels of all time are more up your alley.
November 21, 1920, was a day of extreme violence during the Irish War of Independence. More than two dozen people were killed in Dublin, and the victims were both Irish and British. The day saw brutal attacks from the IRA, the Black and Tans (former soldiers who assisted the Irish police force), and local police. The following year, the Government of Ireland Act of 1920 would see the partitioning of the country and the creation of Northern Ireland. And just FYI, this wasn’t the Bloody Sunday that U2 sang about. That was based on another tragic Bloody Sunday in 1972, when members of the army opened fire on civil-rights protesters in Northern Ireland, killing 13 and injuring 15.
Pope John Paul II
Arguably the most beloved pope of modern times, Pope John Paul II was head of the Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005. Born in 1920, he was elected Pope by the second Papal conclave of 1978. Check out these 13 things you didn’t know about being the Pope.
Joan of Arc’s sainthood
She was burned at the stake in 1431, but she was officially canonized in 1920. According to History.com, by the time that happened, “the Maid of Orléans (as she was known) had long been considered one of history’s greatest saints, and an enduring symbol of French unity and nationalism.” Here are 14 inspiring films to watch during Women’s History Month (or any other month), including one about Joan of Arc.
Times, they were a-changing, and that included where people lived. In 1920, the United States Census reported that for the first time ever, more Americans were now living in what the federal government quaintly described as “urban areas” (towns with more than 2,500 people) than in rural parts of the country. These days, here are the 15 most expensive cities in the United States.
The original Last of the Mohicans movie
James Fenimore Cooper’s classic book The Last of the Mohicans, set in 1757 during the French and Indian War, was first published in 1826. Nearly 100 years later, in 1920, the first film adaption hit the cinemas starring Randolph Scott and Bruce Cabot. Of course, 1992’s version with Daniel Day-Lewis would be seen by far bigger audiences and earn critical acclaim.
The first blues record
In August of 1920, a major event in the history of American music occurred, as Okeh Records released the very first blues record. That first recording of vocal blues by an African-American artist, according to the Guardian, was by the vaudeville singer Mamie Smith. Crazy Blues, which turns 100 in 2020, sold more than a million copies in less than a year.
The Mark of Zorro
The famous silent film starring Douglas Fairbanks, a genre-defining swashbuckler adventure, was first released into cinemas in 1920. The 100th birthday of this classic would be a good time to have a (silent) movie night! Also, add one of these 10 classic movies people often lie about watching.
The Garvey Conference
Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican immigrant and noted civil rights activist who founded the Negro World newspaper, Black Star Line shipping company, and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. In 1920, he convened the first International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World in New York’s Madison Square Garden. During this time, according to History.com, “Garvey authored the ‘Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World,’ which was ratified at the convention.”
The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is in the midst of a yearlong 100th birthday celebration, which will culminate at the June 2020 commencement ceremonies. UCLA is a university, but do you know the difference between a college and a university?
At the end of January 1920, Jujiro Matsuda formed a cork business called Toyo Cork Kogyo in Hiroshima, Japan. A decade later, Matsuda’s company moved on from cork to produce its first automobile and changed its name to Mazda, per History.com. Does a Mazda make the grade for best car deals under $18,000?
You may not know the acronym, but DAV (short for Disabled American Veterans) has been doing incredibly important work for the past hundred years. This nonprofit charity provides lifetime support for veterans and has close to 1,300 chapters and more than 1 million members across the country. “DAV provides resources for veterans in need and ensures our nation keeps the promises made to them,” according to the official DAV website.
Noted civil rights icon and long-time Cincinnati humanitarian Marian Spencer died in July 2019, at the age of 99. On what would have been her 100th birthday, in June 2020, she will be honored with a sculpture just inside the entrance of Downtown’s Smale Park. According to Cincinnati.com, this new work will break up the ‘boys’ club’ that is the majority of Cincinnati sculptures.”
This stunning theater in Beverly, Massachusetts, located on the North Shore of Boston, will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2020. If you’ve never been, now is the time to check out the lobby’s high ceiling, ornate rose window backdrop, and original 1920s gilt-edged chandelier.
In October 2020, the Crocker Art Museum will celebrate the 100th birthday of Sacramento’s most renowned artist, Wayne Theibaud. While he is probably most well known for his Pop art, as well as for his paintings cakes and pies, you’ll get to see the full scope of his work in the upcoming exhibition Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, and Drawings, which opens in October. If you’re an art lover, you need to see these shockingly beautiful art installations that will stop you in your tracks.
He died in 2012, but the famous jazz composer and pianist’s 100th birthday would have been in December 2020. Brubeck’s career spanned over six decades, and his musical experiments remain hallmarks of musical innovation. In 1959, his album Time Out became the first jazz album to sell a million copies. Are you a jazz lover or more of a metal head? Here’s what your favorite type of music says about you.
In 2020, we’ll also celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of “Bird,” aka Charlie Parker, the revolutionary sax player who helped found the bebop style of jazz. Look for special birthday concerts across the country throughout the year, including the Fly Higher: Charlie Parker @ 100 event in San Francisco.
The Harvard Graduate School of Education
This Harvard graduate school is one of the top schools for education in the United States, which should come as no surprise because, you know, Harvard. It was also the first school to establish the EdD degree when founded in 1920. Did you know that you could take a free online course from Harvard as well as a number of other prestigious colleges and universities?
The first Catholic college for women in the Philadelphia area was founded as Villa Maria College in 1920, then changed its name to Immaculata College in 1929. The school is most famous for its basketball team, which won the first three national championships (1972–74) and was the subject of the underrated 2009 movie The Mighty Macs. If you love sports movies, you might also want to check out these best football movies of all time.
Heckscher Museum of Art
In 1920, August Heckscher donated 185 works of art to be housed in a new building in Heckscher Park, in Huntington, New York. As the museum prepares to celebrate its 100th birthday, you’ll find more than 2,000 works of art there, focusing on American landscapes and works by local Long Islanders. Of course, not all art is serious, as evidenced by these funny paintings.
Founded in 1920, Theatre Memphis is the second-oldest arts organization in Memphis and one of the oldest and most successful community theaters in the country. It has two distinct stages, seating a total of 500, and a sculpture garden on its two-acre downtown campus.
The Olympic Rings
The 1920 Summer Olympics in Belgium were the first games in which the Olympic flag and the symbol of five interlocking rings appeared. The design was meant to represent unity after World War I. The famous rings are still a big part of Olympic tradition, but these weird sports are no longer in the Olympics.
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Nom Wah Tea Parlor first opened at 13–15 Doyers Street in New York City in 1920 as a bakery and tea parlor. For most of the 20th century, Nom Wah served as a neighborhood staple in Chinatown, and it is considered the Big Apple’s first dim sum restaurant. To sample some dim sum closer yourself, check out the best Chinatowns in America.
The end of the Great Steel Strike
The Great Steel Strike of 1919—organized because workers in the Midwest demanded (and deserved) higher wages and an eight-hour workday—involved more than 350,000 steelworkers, according to Ohio History Central. Sadly, the strike ended in failure, as company owners made the workers out to be greedy, radical immigrants and communists for having the audacity to want a livable wage and safer conditions. Have we really changed 100 years later? While that’s debatable, these are 12 protests that changed the world for workers everywhere.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
While the origins of the Mounties, Canada’s national police, are found under different names and organizations that can be traced back even further, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that we all know today was founded in 1920. It serves as Canada’s federal police force, as well as the provincial and criminal police forces everywhere in Canada except Ontario and Quebec.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department
Today, the City of Angels’ fire department ranks as the fourth busiest in the nation, but it was just getting started way back in 1920. Back then, it was known as the Los Angeles County Forestry Department and Los Angeles County Fire Protection Districts. Speaking of these brave men and women, here are 19 things firefighters wish you knew.
The end of mailing babies
Yes, you read that right. This is a disturbing, little-known bit of postal history. According to Smithsonian.com, “when the Post Office’s Parcel Post officially began on January 1, 1913, the new service suddenly allowed millions of Americans great access to all kinds of goods and services. But almost immediately, it had some unintended consequences as some parents tried to send their children through the mail.” Thankfully, in the summer of 1920, the Postmaster ruled that this would no longer be allowed. Here are some more of the craziest things people have ever shipped.
The first Lincoln car
Henry Leland cofounded Cadillac in 1902 and formed the Lincoln Motor Company 15 years later. In 1920, per the Lincoln Motor Car Heritage Museum, the first Lincoln motorcar was completed. The name of the company, and the car, was in honor of the first president Leland ever voted for, way back in 1860. Check out the fascinating origins of these other famous company names.
Oxford University started allowing women to graduate
Women had been studying at Oxford since the 1870s but it wasn’t until 1920 that they were allowed to graduate. The university allowed women who had previously earned degrees to return to the school to graduate. However, total equality between the sexes took much longer. There was a quota limiting the number of women that could be admitted to Oxford until 1957 and dorms weren’t co-ed until well into the ’70s.
The inkblot test
The inkblot test as first introduced as a psychoanalysis method 100 years ago. The test consisted of ten inkblots written on cards (five in black and white and five in color). The psychological test was frequently used throughout the 20th century.
KLM’s first flight
Airline KLM’s first passenger aircraft took flight on May 17, 1920. The pilot, Jerry Shaw, flew from Croydon Airport in London to Amsterdam carrying along two journalists and some newspapers.
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” film
The famous silent film “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” was released in 1920. John S. Robertson was the director and John Barrymore took on the role of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde. If you enjoyed this list, you’ll probably enjoy these 100 facts about basically everything.