Happy birthday, Susan B. Anthony!


I missed wishing everyone a happy Valentine’s Day, so I looked up holidays for February 15. Check it out! Some good ones. First off, Susan B. Anthony’s birthday.

Susan B. Anthony was born to Quaker parents with long activist traditions on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. She campaigned for the abolition of slavery, women’s right to their own property and earnings, and women’s labor organizations. In 1900, Anthony persuaded  the University of Rochester to admit women. She was a tireless supporter of women’s suffrage and was arrested in 1872 for voting, but legal maneuvering meant that her case never went to the Supreme Court. Women did not win the vote until fourteen years after her death.

Also celebrated on February 15: Galileo’s birthday. Born in 1564 (or so), Galileo was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher. His achievements include improvements to the telescope; his astronomical observations advanced the Copernican theory that the earth and other planets revolved around the sun, the discovery of the four largest satellites of Jupiter (named the Galilean moons in his honour), and the analysis of sunspots. The Inquisition tried him for heresy and found him guilty, and he spent the rest of his life imprisoned in his house.

John Sutter was born on February 15, 1803, in Baden, Germany, came to the United States, and settled in California. He qualified for a land grant and was given 48,000 acres to farm. He established a town, set up a trading fort, and propered—until 1848, when James Marshall saw gold in his stream, launching the gold rush. Squatters came by the thousands, destroying his crops and butchering his herds. By 1852, the town was devastated and Sutter was bankrupt.

February 15 is National Gumdrop Day! (Possibly also known as Happy Dentist Day.) Gumdrops were invented in the 1800s, and although Congress has never sanctioned National Gumdrop Day and no president has honored it with a proclamation, Milton-Bradley did immortalize the confection in its Candyland board game. First introduced in 1949, the game includes Gumdrop Mountain and Gumdrop Pass. Chew on that, my friends!

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