Good News in History, January 12

128 years ago today, The UK’s National Trust was formed. The Trust was founded by Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Hardwicke Rawnsley to “promote the permanent preservation for the benefit of the Nation of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest,” and given the power to do so under the National Trust Act of 1907. One of the largest landowners in the United Kingdom, the Trust owns almost 250,000 hectares (620,000 acres; 2,500 km2; 970 sq mi) of land and 780 miles of coast. Its properties include over 500 historic houses, castles, archaeological and industrial monuments, gardens, parks and nature reserves. READ more… (1895)

Bodiam Castle – CC 3.0. Antony McCallum

The National Trust is equivalent to a version of America’s National Park Service where parks were secondary to the responsibility of managing historic places. The National Trust owns over 200 country houses, 41 castles, 20 industrial monuments, 9 lighthouses, and many agricultural relics.

Resultant from these acquisitions is a large collection of rather important artworks, including paintings by Hieronymous Bosch, Rembrandt, and El Greco. The Trust also manages the Lake District and Peaks District, some of England’s most beautiful scenary, but also cultural places such as the childhood houses of John Lennon and Paul McCartney

MORE Good News on this Date:

Jack London, the adventurer, workers’ rights activist, and author of novels like The Call of the Wild and White Fang, was born in San Francisco (1876)
Rocky Mountain National Park was established by the US Congress to protect 415 square miles of spectacular mountain peaks towering at 12,000-ft high in Colorado (1915)
The first person was cryonically preserved for later resuscitation (1967)
Mali votes for new constitution granting political freedom to parties (1992)

91 years ago today, Hattie Caraway became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. The Democrat from Arkansas was the first female to serve a full term and the first woman to preside over the Senate. After a state precedent saw Caraway elected to serve the remainder of her late husband’s term as Senator, she surprised Arkansas politicians in 1932 by announcing that she would run for a full term, joining a field already crowded with prominent candidates who had assumed she would step aside following her brief and largely-ceremonial appointment. She told reporters, “The time has passed when a woman should be placed in a position and kept there only while someone else is being groomed for the job.” READ some other of her excellent quotes. (1932)

Hattie Caraway in her Senate office, 1940.

She was only the second woman to take a Senate seat as a widow, and wrote, upon noticing she had been assigned exactly the Same senate desk as her predecessor that “I guess they wanted as few of them contaminated as possible.”

In 1938, Caraway entered a tough fight for reelection, challenged by Representative John Little McClellan, who argued that a man could more effectively promote the state’s interests using the slogan, “Arkansas Needs Another Man in the Senate!” With backing from government employees, women’s groups, and unions, Caraway won a narrow victory in the primary and took the general election with 89.4 percent of the vote. In doing so, she became not only the first woman to be elected to the Senate, but also the first to be re-elected.

Portrayed as “Silent Hattie” by the press she spent a very limited time in debate, committee, or speaking on the house floor. She explained her reticence as unwillingness “to take a minute away from the men. The poor dears love it so.” Caraway’s Senate committee assignments included Agriculture and Forestry, Commerce, and Enrolled Bills and Library, which she chaired. She sustained a special interest in relief for farmers, flood control, and veterans’ benefits, all of direct concern to her constituents, and cast her votes for nearly every New Deal measure.

Also, 79 years ago today “Smokin” Joe Frazier was born, a heavyweight boxer with enormous punching power and relentless pressure and stamina. At the time of his retirement he held 32 wins 4 losses and 1 draw, a career which included becoming undisputed heavyweight champion in 1970, and handing Mohammed Ali his first-ever loss after defeating him by unanimous decision in the highly anticipated Fight of the Century in 1971.

The other half of the “Thrilla in Manila,” Frazier would lose to Ali twice more, and to Foreman twice, but as a member of both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame, and having been named Fighter of the Year 7 times by 2 different publications, he remains a glorious figure in one of the most glorious periods in the sport’s history.

However a far cry from the violence of his profession, he left an anecdotal legacy of kindness and generosity, regularly welcoming anyone into his boxing gym, aiding the homeless, unpublicized philanthropy, and taking strong public stances against segregation. (1944)

52 years ago today, the American television sit-com All In the Family debuted on CBS. The controversial comedy created by Norman Lear was the first program to portray on TV the sexism and racism within American families.

For nine seasons, the writers and cast—Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers, and Rob Reiner—broke ground by depicting issues previously considered unsuitable for a U.S. network comedy—antisemitism, homosexuality, religion, the Vietnam War, menopause and, (especially) racism. The series became one of television’s most influential comedic programs, as it injected the sitcom format with dramatic moments centered around realistic, topical conflicts. (1971)

And, 54 years ago today, Led Zeppelin‘s debut album was released. It was recorded over just 36 hours at Olympic Studios in Barnes, London, costing the band just £1,782.

Most of the tracks were performed ‘live’ in the studio, with very few overdubs added. The groundbreaking heavy rock LP spent more than a year—71 weeks—on the UK album chart, and the blues-based quartet became one the most influential bands in rock history. WATCH the video of Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, a TV segment that was recorded before a small audience on Danmark Radio / Danish TV in Copenhagen. (1969)

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