June 30, 1906: Congress passes the Meat Inspection Act

It was Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle that brought the conditions of the Chicago meatpacking industry to the attention of the public:

“There was never the least attention paid to what was cut up for sausage; there would come all the way back from beef-trustEurope old sausage that had been rejected, and that was moldy and white—it would be dosed with borax and glycerine, and dumped into the hoppers, and made over again for home consumption. There would be meat that had tumbled out on the floor, in the dirt and sawdust, where the workers had tramped and spit uncounted billions of consumption germs. There would be meat stored in great piles in rooms; and the water from leaky roofs would drip over it, and thousands of rats would race about on it. It was too dark in these storage places to see well, but a man could run his hand over these piles of meat and sweep off handfuls of the dried dung of rats. These rats were nuisances, and the packers would put poisoned bread out for them; they would die, and then rats, bread, and meat would go into the hoppers together. This is no fairy story and no joke; the meat would be shoveled into carts, and the man who did the shoveling would not trouble to lift out a rat even when he saw one—there were things that went into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit. There was no place for the men to wash their hands before they ate their dinner, and so they made a practice of washing them in the water that was to be ladled into the sausage. There were the butt-ends of smoked meat, and the scraps of corned beef, and all the odds and ends of the waste of the plants, that would be dumped into old barrels in the cellar and left there. Under the system of rigid economy which the packers enforced, there were some jobs that it only paid to do once in a long time, and among these was the cleaning out of the waste barrels. Every spring they did it; and in the barrels would be dirt and rust and old nails and stale water—and cartload after cartload of it would be taken up and dumped into the hoppers with fresh meat, and sent out to the public’s breakfast. Some of it they would make into “smoked” sausage—but as the smoking took time, and was therefore expensive, they would call upon their chemistry department, and preserve it with borax and color it with gelatine to make it brown. All of their sausage came out of the same bowl, but when they came to wrap it they would stamp some of it “special,” and for this they would charge two cents more a pound.”

June 29, 1956: Marilyn Monroe weds Arthur Miller

In the early spring of 1956 Walter Winchell broadcast the news that “America’s best-known blonde moving picture star” was  now “the darling of the left wing intelligentsia, several of whom are listed as Red fronters”.

Winchell was talking, of course, about Marilyn Monroe (then filming the movie “Bus Stop”) and playwright Arthur Miller monroeMiller (then appearing before the House Un-American Activities Committee). Winchell’s hot scoop most likely came straight from J. Edgar Hoover.

By late May the filming of Bus Stop was completed, and in early June the Reno divorce from Miller’s previous wife came through. On June 28th the Roxbury, Connecticut newspaper would make the dry announcement: “Local Resident Will Marry Miss Monroe of Hollywood”, adding, “Roxbury Only Spot in World to Greet News Calmly”.

Members of the press quickly set up camp outside Miller’s rural Connecticut farm and pursued the couple relentlessly. On June 29, the scheduled day for the wedding, the press descended on the property en-masse. In the chaos of pursuit, a car carrying Mara Scherbatoff, the New York bureau chief for Paris-Match, crashed into a tree while chasing the car in which Miller and Monroe were riding. Scherbatoff was thrown from the car and killed.

The engaged couple were devastated by the news and granted a quick press conference to mollify the 400 pressmen, and then the rattled couple sneaked off to the Westchester County Court House in White Plains, where they were married by Judge Seymour Rabinowitz in a four minute ceremony.

The bride was thirty years old; the groom was forty. Miller’s cousin, Morty Miller and his wife, witnessed the marriage. “Miss Monroe wore a sweater and a skirt and no hat,” the New York Times wrote the following day, while “Mr. Miller wore a blue suit and a white shirt but no tie.” After the ceremony, the couple “got into their sports car and disappeared into traffic.”

Within a few weeks the newlyweds were off to London to film “The Prince and the Showgirl”.

While in London Marilyn happened to look through Miller’s notebook and discovered that he feared that his creativity would be threatened by this unpredictable waif he had married. Marilyn told friends that he also wrote, “The only one I will ever love is my daughter”.

Things went steadily from bad to worse. The couple would divorce less than five years later.

June 26, 1866: Walt Whitman writes home from Washington

Dearest Mother,

Well, I suppose you have the hot weather too—it has been very hot here for the last four or five days, but I have got along very well—I think of you every day, with the work & the heat, &c.—I believe you said that it was good air around there in Pacific St., well I should think that was one great advantage over Portland Ave.Whitman1

Anyhow. Mother, I rec’d your letter of last week—I do not go much to the hospital this hot weather—I think I feel better than usual now for a couple of weeks past—if I can only get through the summer as well as I am, I shall be satisfied—Mrs. Grayson gives me plenty of good vegetables, peas, string beans, squash & new potatoes, with fruit now & then, which is better than too much meat—Old Mrs. Mix is well as usual—the house is very pleasant this weather—as cool as it can be anywhere—

I should like to hear from Hannah, but I suppose she is getting along in the same old way—As I am writing this letter at my table, the celebrated Mrs. Cobb has just come in, to see about some rebel pardon, some profitable job for her, I suppose—she is a great piece—she is what most people would call a very pretty little woman—dresses gay, &c—but she has too brazen & silly a way, ever to be taken for a lady by any one that knows—she has got lots of pardons, & probably made a fortune—is half the time at the President’s—is not a good character. This Washington is a great place—you see how funny the world is governed—& lots of queer doings that outsiders never dream of—

Well, mother, my new shirts are done, half a dozen, very satisfactory—I haven’t bought any new clothes this summer except a new hat, a big brim, light drab—makes me look like a southern planter, but is very light & comfortable—Mother, I wish you could sit here by the window I have so often mentioned, & have the cool breeze blow on you, as it is now, & the trees & river & hills beyond, so pleasant—

Dear mother, you must try to take things moderate—because folks that worry & overdo are apt to get the cholera, you know—I hope brother Jeff feels all right again—how I should like to see him, & all of you.


June 25, 1876: Chief Red Horse remembers The Battle of Little Bighorn

“Five springs ago I, with many Sioux Indians, took down and packed up our tipis and moved from Cheyenne River to the Rosebud River, where we camped a few days; then took down and packed up our lodges and moved to the Little Bighorn River and pitched our lodges with the large camp of Sioux…Red Horse

I was a Sioux chief in the council lodge. My lodge was pitched in the center of the camp. The day of the attack I and four women were a short distance from the camp digging wild turnips. Suddenly one of the women attracted my attention to a cloud of dust rising a short distance from camp. I soon saw that the soldiers were charging the camp. To the camp I and the women ran. When I arrived a person told me to hurry to the council lodge. The soldiers charged so quickly we could not talk…

Among the soldiers was an officer who rode a horse with four white feet. The Sioux have for a long time fought many brave men of different people, but the Sioux say this officer was the bravest man they had ever fought. I don’t know whether this was Gen. Custer or not. Many of the Sioux men that I hear talking tell me it was. I saw this officer in the fight many times, but did not see his body. It has been told me that he was killed by a Santee Indian, who took his horse. This officer wore a large-brimmed hat and a deerskin coat. This officer saved the lives of many soldiers by turning his horse and covering the retreat. Sioux say this officer was the bravest man they ever fought. I saw two officers looking alike, both having long yellowish hair…

The day was hot. In a short time the soldiers charged the camp. The soldiers came on the trail made by the Sioux camp in moving, and crossed the Little Bighorn River above where the Sioux crossed, and attacked the lodges of the Uncpapas, farthest up the river. The women and children ran down the Little Bighorn River a short distance into a ravine. The soldiers set fire to the lodges.

All the Sioux now charged the soldiers and drove them in confusion across the Little Bighorn River, which was very rapid, and several soldiers were drowned in it. On a hill the soldiers stopped and the Sioux surrounded them. A Sioux man came and said that a different party of Soldiers had all the women and children prisoners. Like a whirlwind the word went around, and the Sioux all heard it and left the soldiers on the hill and went quickly to save the women and children…

Sioux thought the soldiers on the hill would charge them in rear, but when they did not the Sioux thought the soldiers on the hill were out of cartridges. As soon as we had killed all the different soldiers the Sioux all went back to kill the soldiers on the hill. All the Sioux watched around the hill on which were the soldiers until a Sioux man came and said many walking soldiers were coming near…

The soldiers charged the Sioux camp about noon. The soldiers were divided, one party charging right into the camp. After driving these soldiers across the river, the Sioux charged the different soldiers below, and drive them in confusion; these soldiers became foolish, many throwing away their guns and raising their hands, saying, “Sioux, pity us; take us prisoners.” The Sioux did not take a single soldier prisoner, but killed all of them; none were left alive for even a few minutes…

I took a gun and two belts off two dead soldiers; out of one belt two cartridges were gone, out of the other five.

June 24, 1842: Birth of Ambrose Bierce

Day of Satan’s painful duty!
Earth shall vanish, hot and sooty; ambrose bierce
So says Virtue, so says Beauty.

Ah! what terror shall be shaping
When the Judge the truth’s undraping—
Cats from every bag escaping!

Now the trumpet’s invocation
Calls the dead to condemnation;
All receive an invitation.

Death and Nature now are quaking,
And the late lamented, waking,
In their breezy shrouds are shaking.

Lo! the Ledger’s leaves are stirring,
And the Clerk, to them referring,
Makes it awkward for the erring.

When the Judge appears in session,
We shall all attend confession,
Loudly preaching non-suppression.

How shall I then make romances
Mitigating circumstances?
Even the just must take their chances.

King whose majesty amazes,
Save thou him who sings thy praises;
Fountain, quench my private blazes.

Pray remember, sacred Saviour,
Mine the playful hand that gave your
Death-blow. Pardon such behavior.

Seeking me, fatigue assailed thee,
Calvary’s outlook naught availed thee;
Now ’twere cruel if I failed thee.

Righteous judge and learnèd brother,
Pray thy prejudices smother
Ere we meet to try each other.

Sighs of guilt my conscience gushes,
And my face vermilion flushes;
Spare me for my pretty blushes.

Thief and harlot, when repenting,
Thou forgavest—complimenting
Me with sign of like relenting.

If too bold is my petition
I’ll receive with due submission
My dismissal—from perdition.

When thy sheep thou hast selected
From the goats, may I, respected,
Stand amongst them undetected.

When offenders are indited,
And with trial-flames ignited,
Elsewhere I’ll attend if cited.

Ashen-hearted, prone and prayerful,
When of death I see the air full,
Lest I perish too be careful.

On that day of lamentation,
When, to enjoy the conflagration,
Men come forth, O be not cruel:
Spare me, Lord—make them thy fuel.

June 23, 1683: William Penn’s Treaty with the Lenni Lenape

We meet on the broad pathway of good faith and good-will; no advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love. We are the same as if one man’s body was to be divided into two parts; we are of one flesh and one blood.William-Penn

We will be brethren, my people and your people, as the children of one father. All the paths shall be open to the Christian and the Indian. The doors of the Christian shall be open to the Indian and the wigwam of the Indian shall be open to the Christian.

The Christian shall believe no false stories, the Indian shall believe no false stories, they shall first come together as brethren and inquire of each other; when they hear such false stories they shall bury them in the bottomless pit.

The Christian hearing news that may hurt the Indian, or the Indian hearing news that may hurt the Christian, shall make it known the one to the other, as speedily as possible, as true friends and brethren.

The Indian shall not harm the Christian, nor his friend; the Christian shall not harm the Indian, nor his friend; but they shall live together as brethren. As there are wicked people in all Nations; if the Indian or the Christian shall harm the one or the other, complaint shall be made by the sufferer, that right may be done; and when right is done, the wrong shall be forgotten, and buried in the bottomless pit.

The Indian shall help the Christian, and the Christian shall help the Indian, against all evil men, who would molest them.

We will transmit this League between us to our children. It shall be made stronger and stronger, and be kept bright and clean without rust or spot, between our children and our children’s children, while the creeks and rivers run, and while the sun, moon, and stars endure.

June 22, 1888: Birth of Alan Seeger

I have a rendezvous with DeathAlan-Seeger
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air —
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath —
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.
God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear . . .
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

June 19, 1865: Juneteenth is First Celebrated

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”Juneteenth

After the fall of New Orleans in 1862, slave owners in Mississippi, Louisiana and points east headed to Texas to escape the Union Army’s reach. More than 150,000 slaves were herded west and for a while “It looked like everybody in the world was going to Texas.”

It was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which became official January 1, 1863 – and two months after the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, that Major General Gordon Granger landed a force of Union soldiers at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had in fact ended and that the enslaved were now free.

It is not entirely clear why it took two and a half years for this good news to reach Texas. Some say a messenger was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Others say that the news was deliberately withheld, and that the federal troops waited for the last cotton harvest to be completed before proceeding to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

At any rate, on “Juneteenth”, June 19th, 1865, the slaves of Texas finally learned that they were finally free, and while many were shocked, disoriented, and fearful of their uncertain future, the liberated slaves of Texas burst into a spontaneous ecstatic celebration of their moment of freedom – of their biblical moment of Jubilee.

They tossed their ragged clothing into the creeks and looted fine clothing from the plantations belonging to their former ‘masters’. They whooped and hollered and bored holes in trees with augers and stopped them up with gunpowder and blasted away in celebration. The feasted on pig roasts and sang hymns of joy.

“Juneteenth” soon took root in many African-American communities as an annual commemoration of this joyous day. Celebrants dressed in their finest clothes, publicly read the Emancipation Proclamation, sang spirituals and trumpeted the news of liberty, with speakers and church services and sermons and parades with the Goddess of Liberty on floats and in living tableaux.

“Juneteenth” celebrations take place all across the country today. The good news of freedom is proclaimed; God is praised in his heaven; strawberry soda-pop is drunk by the gallon; and rodeos, fishing, barbecues and baseball games remind us of that precious day when all God’s children first learned that they were free.

June 18 1775: Abigail Adams conveys the news of Bunker Hill to her Husband

Dearest Friend

The Day, perhaps the decisive Day, is come on which the fate of America depends. My bursting Heart must find vent at my pen.

I have just heard that our dear Friend Dr. Warren is no more but fell gloriously fighting for his Country-saying better to die honourably in the field than ignominiously hang upon the Gallows.bunker battlefield-bystanders-tuck-1910

Great is our Loss. He has distinguished himself in every engagement, by his courage and fortitude, by animating the Soldiers & leading them on by his own example — a particular account of these dreadful, but I hope Glorious Days will be transmitted you, no doubt in the exactest manner.

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong — but the God of Israel is he that giveth strength & power unto his people. Trust in him at all times ye people pour out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us.

Charlestown is laid in ashes. The Battle began upon our intrenchments upon Bunkers Hill, a Saturday morning about 3 o’clock & has not ceased yet & tis now 3 o’clock Sabbath afternoon.

Tis expected they will come out over the Neck to night, & a dreadful Battle must ensue. Almighty God cover the heads of our Country men, & be a shield to our Dear Friends. How many have fallen we know not – the constant roar of the cannon is so distressing that we can not Eat Drink or Sleep — may we be supported and sustained in the dreadful conflict.

I shall tarry here till tis thought unsafe by my Friends, & then I have secured myself a retreat at your Brothers who has kindly offered me part of his house. I cannot compose myself to write any further at present — I will add more as I hear further–


IT was on the seventeenth, by break of day,
The Yankees did surprise us,
With their strong works they had thrown up,
To burn the town and drive us.

But soon we had an order came, bunker_hill
An order to defeat them;
Like rebels stout, they stood it out,
And thought we ne’er could beat them.

About the hour of twelve that day,
An order came for marching,
With three good flints and sixty rounds,
Each man hop’d to discharge them.

We march’d down to the Long Wharf,
Where boats were ready waiting;
With expedition we embark’d,
Our ships kept cannonading.

And when our boats all filled were,
With officers and soldiers,
With as good troops as England had,
To oppose, who dare control us.

And when our boats all filled were,
We row’d in line of battle,
Where showers of ball like hail did fly,
Our cannon loud did rattle.

There was Copp’s hill battery near Charlestown,
Our twenty-fours they played;
And the three frigates in the stream,
That very well behaved.

The Glasgow frigate clear’d the shore,
All at the time of landing,
With her grape shot and cannon balls,
No Yankees e’er could stand them.

And when we landed on the shore,
We draw’d up all together;
The Yankees they all man’d their works,
And thought we’d ne’er come thither.

But soon they did perceive brave Howe,
Brave Howe, our bold commander;
With grenadiers, and infantry,
We made them to surrender.

Brave William Howe, on our right wing,
Cry’d boys fight on like thunder;
You soon will see the rebels flee,
With great amaze and wonder.

Now some lay bleeding on the ground,
And some fell fast a running;
O’er hills and dales, and mountains high,
Crying, zounds! brave Howe’s a coming.

Brave Howe is so considerate,
As to guard against all dangers;
He allow’d each half a gill this day,
To rum we are no strangers.

They began to play on our left wing,
Where Pigot, he commanded;
But we return’d it back again,
With courage most undaunted.

To our grape shot and musket balls,
To which they were but strangers,
They thought to come with sword in hand,
But soon they found their danger.

And when the works were got into,
And put them to the flight, sir,
They pepper’d us, poor British elves,
And show’d us they could fight, sir.

And when their works we got into,
With some hard knocks and danger;
Their works we found both firm and strong,
Too strong for British Rangers.

But as for our Artillery,
They gave all way and run,
For while their ammunition held,
They gave us Yankee fun.

But our commander, he got broke,
For his misconduct, sure, sir;
The shot he sent for twelve pound guns,
Were made for twenty-fours, sir.

There’s some in Boston, pleas’d to say,
As we the field were taking,
We went to kill their countrymen,
While they their hay were making.

For such stout whigs I never saw,
To hang them all I’d rather;
By making hay with musket balls,
Lord Howe cursedly did bother.

Bad luck to him by land and sea,
For he’s despis’d by many;
The name of Bunker Hill he dreads,
Where he was flogg’d most plainly.

And now my song is at an end,
And to conclude my ditty;
’Tis only Britons ignorant,
That I most sincerely pity.

As for our King and William Howe,
And General Gage, if they’re taken,
The Yankees will hang their heads up high,
On that fine hill call’d Beacon.


(Composed by a British Officer, the day after the Battle)

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