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This new category is taking the place of Fiction Friday. Honestly, writing a short story or keeping another story in my head while trying to work on my novel is just not happening very well. If you’ve been following me for any period of time, you’ll have noticed that I can’t exactly finish a short story for a long-read. I either hit a wall or just lose interest. So, until I can get myself in a position where I am confident that I have a decent long read, we’ll take a look back at history on Friday’s.

September 9, 1893 – President’s child born in White House (1)

Frances Folsom Cleveland, the wife of President Grover Cleveland, gives birth to a daughter, Esther, in the White House. (1)

Esther was the second child of President Grover Cleveland and his wife Frances, and the first child to be born in The White House. In 1896, at the tender age of three, she contracted measles when it spread through the White House leading to a quarantine. Five years later, at the age of 8, she contracted diphtheria. (2)

Diphtheria is a serious bacterial infection usually affecting the mucous membranes of your nose and throat. Diphtheria typically causes a sore throat, fever, swollen glands and weakness. But the hallmark sign is a sheet of thick, gray material covering the back of your throat. This material can block your windpipe so that you have to struggle for breath. (3

On March 14, 1918, at the age of 25, Esther Cleveland married Captain William Sidney Bence Bosanquet of the British Army. Together they had a daughter Philippa, who later became the British philosopher Phillipa Foot. (2) Phillipa is most widely known for her work in ethics.

In her early work, notably in the essays Moral Beliefs and Moral Arguments, published in the late 1950s, Ms. Foot took issue with philosophers like R. M. Hare and Charles L. Stevenson, who maintained that moral statements were ultimately expressions of attitude or emotion, because they could not be judged true or false in the same way factual statements could be. (4)

It was the Trolley Problem, however, that captured the imagination of scholars outside her discipline. In 1967, in the essay “The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect,” she discussed, using a series of provocative examples, the moral distinctions between intended and unintended consequences, between doing and allowing, and between positive and negative duties — the duty not to inflict harm weighed against the duty to render aid. (4)

The most arresting of her examples, offered in just a few sentences, was the ethical dilemma faced by the driver of a runaway trolley hurtling toward five track workers. By diverting the trolley to a spur where just one worker is on the track, the driver can save five lives. (4)

September 10, 1897 – First Drunk Driving Arrest (5)

A 25-year-old London taxi driver named George Smith becomes the first person ever arrested for drunk driving after slamming his cab into a building. Smith later pled guilty and was fined 25 shillings. (5)

In 1910, New York State was the first State in the US to adapt laws against drunk driving. (6)

Indiana University professor Rolla Harger invented the drunk-o-meter in 1938 – the very first stable breath-testing instrument to measure alcohol levels. To use the drunk-o-meter, the person being tested blew into a balloon. The air in the balloon was then released into a chemical solution. If there was alcohol in the breath, the chemical solution changed color. The greater the color change, the more alcohol in the breath. The level of alcohol in a person’s blood could then be estimated by a simple equation. (7)

Prof. Robert F. Borkenstein began his career with the Indiana State Police in 1936. He invented the Breathalyzer® in 1954 and retired in 1958 as captain in charge of Laboratory Services. (8)

September 11, 2001 – America Attacked (9)

At 8:45 a.m. on a clear Tuesday morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact left a gaping, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. As the evacuation of the tower and its twin got underway, television cameras broadcasted live images of what initially appeared to be a freak accident. Then, 18 minutes after the first plane hit, a second Boeing 767–United Airlines Flight 175–appeared out of the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center, and sliced into the south tower at about the 60th floor. The collision caused a massive explosion that showered burning debris over surrounding buildings and the streets below. America was under attack. (9)

September 12, 1940 – Lascaux cave paintings discovered (10)

Near Montignac, France, a collection of prehistoric cave paintings are discovered by four teenagers who stumbled upon the ancient artwork after following their dog down a narrow entrance into a cavern. The 15,000- to 17,000-year-old paintings, consisting mostly of animal representations, are among the finest examples of art from the Upper Paleolithic period. (10)

Sections have been identified in the cave; the Great Hall of the Bulls, the Lateral Passage, the Shaft of the Dead Man, the Chamber of Engravings, the Painted Gallery, and the Chamber of Felines. The cave contains nearly 2,000 figures, which can be grouped into three main categories – animals, human figures and abstract signs. (11)

September 13, 1814 – Key pens Star-Spangled Banner (12)

Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” was written after Key witnessed theMaryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.” (12)

The poem was printed in newspapers and eventually set to the music of a popular English drinking tune called “To Anacreon in Heaven” by composer John Stafford Smith. People began referring to the song as “The Star-Spangled Banner” and in 1916 President Woodrow Wilson announced that it should be played at all official events. It was adopted as the national anthem on March 3, 1931. (12)

September 14, 2013 – McKinley dies of infection from gunshot wounds (13)

President William McKinley dies after being shot by a deranged anarchist during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. (13)

On September 6, 1901, while standing in a receiving line at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, McKinley was approached by Leon Czolgosz, a Polish-American anarchist carrying a concealed .32 revolver in a handkerchief. Drawing his weapon, Czolgosz shot McKinley twice at close range. One bullet deflected off a suit button, but the other entered his stomach, passed through the kidneys, and lodged in his back. When he was operated on, doctors failed to find the bullet, and gangrene soon spread throughout his body. McKinley died eight days later. Czolgosz was convicted of murder and executed soon after the shooting. (13)


1 – On This Day In History – President’s Child Born In White House

2 – Wikipedia – Esther Cleveland

3 – Mayo Clinic – Diphtheria 

4 – New York Times – Philippa Foot, Renowned Philosopher, Dies at 90

5 – On This Day In History – First Drunk Driving Arrest

6 – History of the DUI

7 – The Drunkometer

8 – Robert F. Borkenstein

9 – Attack on America

10 – Lascaux cave paintings discovered

11 – The Cave Art Paintings

12 – Key Pens Star-Spangled Banner

13 – McKinley dies of infection from gunshot wounds