Babe Ruth’s Major League Baseball Debut, 100 Years Ago
George Herman “Babe” Ruth made his major league debut with the Boston Red Sox one hundred years ago on July 11, 1914. Originally signed as a pitcher, Ruth quickly established a reputation for hitting, breaking the single season home run record by 1919. Ruth played with the Red Sox for 5 years until his contract was sold to the New York Yankees in 1919 (and triggering the now-reversed “Curse of the Bambino” and denying Boston another World Series title for 86 years).
Ruth is seen in this unidentified newsreel excerpt, circa 1919. Based on the clues in the title frame, our best guess is this was the September 8, 1919 Red Sox-Yankees game at the New York Polo Grounds, when Ruth hit his 26th home run of the season.
“Some of the eleven thousand planes that opened the path through the so-called impregnable Atlantic wall. Between Le Havre and Cherbourg in Normandy the Allied lightning strikes. Communications necessary to the German defenses are blasted.”
“THE FAIR Are you ready? It’s here!! The long-awaited New York World’s Fair, which took four years to create, opens its doors to the first of 70,000,000 expected visitors. Dominated by the Fair’s symbol THE UNISPHERE (which means Peace through understanding) the billion-dollar-baby of Robert Moses covers 646 acres…”
The 1964 New York World’s Fair opened fifty years ago this week, on April 22nd, with the theme of “Man’s Achievements in an Expanding Universe.” If this extended Universal News story leaves you with the impression that the fair was not a runaway success, that’s because it wasn’t. The fair was not sanctioned by the Bureau of International Expositions, and it was sandwiched between the official 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Expo 67 in Montreal, making it a less compelling draw. The opening day’s unfortunately dreary weather was emblematic of the entire two-season event; total attendance for the fair came in at fifty-one million, yet that fell short of the expected seventy million visitors. You might recognize the Unisphere sculpture and “flying saucer” towers in the still below from the 1997 film Men in Black, where they feature prominently.
On January 23, 1931, architects dressed up as the buildings they designed for the Beaux-Arts Ball in New York. In this week’s featured story, they are pictured from left to right, A. Stewart Walker as the Fuller Building, Leonard Schultze as the Waldorf-Astoria, Ely Jacques Kahn as the Squibb Building, William Van Alen as the Chrysler Building, Ralph Walker as the Wall Street Building and Joseph Freedlander as the Museum of the City of New York.
Watch the entire newsreel, featuring a polar submarine, a train wreck, Charles Lindbergh receiving a medal from a French ambassador, dancing dogs, and “dangerous” figure skating, among other stories here.
Universal Newsreels were shown in movie theaters twice a week, from 1929 until 1967, and covered a wide range of American life and history during that time period. In 1974, Universal deeded its collection to the United States through the National Archives and is one of our most used motion picture collections. Learn more about the Universal Newsreel Collection in this post and in this Prologue article. Watch other Universal Newsreels in our research room, in OPA, and on this playlist.
Thomas A. Edison’s Patent for An Improvement in Electric Lamps, 1/27/1880
From the Records of the Patent and Trademark Office
On January 27, 1880, The Patent Office granted Thomas Edison’s patent for “an Improvement in Electric Lamps” His patent was an improvement on electric lamps, not the invention of them, but because of Edison’s design changes and the materials he used—such as a carbon filament—his patent allowed for an electric lamp that was reliable, safe, and practical.
This Week in Universal News: A Hovercraft Crosses the English Channel, 1959:
HOVERCRAFT SKIMS CHANNEL: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first flight across the English Channel, Britain’s saucer-shaped “Hovercraft” skims from Calais to Dover, only inches above the surface.
Clip from Universal News, Volume 32, Release 61, Stories #1-4A, July 30, 1959
Astronaut John H. Glenn, Jr. became the first American to orbit the Earth on February 20, 1962. With the world watching the historic and live-televised event, Glenn orbited the Earth three times in his space capsule, Friendship 7. Four hours and 55 minutes after ignition, John Glenn and Friendship 7 returned to Earth and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.
See the complete webinar below for our tips on finding free, public domain GIF sources from the National Archives catalog, plus other great advice from our colleagues on engagement, storytelling, accessibility, and open source GIF-creation tools: