May 23: Lewis Tappan, abolitionist who became heavily involved with the Amistad case, arranging for John Quincy Adams to represent the Africans, reporting on the case in The Emancipator, arranging for them to be taught English by Yale students, and making arrangements for their return to their native land, was born on this date in 1788.
May 22: On this date in 1934, David Wesson, a food chemist who in 1899 produced the first commercial all-vegetable shortenings from cottonseeds, died.
May 21: On this date in 1862, Edwin Christy, founder of Christy’s Minstrels, a black-face musical troupe, committed suicide by leaping to his death.
May 20: Colonel Abraham Vosburgh, while serving in the Civil War commanding the 71st New York National Guard, died of disease on this date in 1861; President Abraham Lincoln laid a wreath on Vosburgh’s casket a few days later.
May 19: On this date in 1850, Heinrich Englehard Steinweg departed Hamburg for America; he would make his fortune in America in the piano business as Henry Steinway.
May 18: James Truslow Adams, the historian who coined the term coined the term “American Dream” in his 1931 book The Epic of America, died on this date in 1949.
May 17: German-immigrant toymaker F.A.O. Schwarz died on this date in 1911.
Yesterday, “A Beautiful Way to Go: New York’s Green-Wood Cemetery,” opened at the Museum of the City of New York. The exhibition is a celebration of Green-Wood’s extraordinary 175 years. It is a great opportunity to educate the public about the cemetery’s history (by the 1850s, Green-Wood was attracting half a million visitors a year … Read more
May 16: On this date in 1870, John Egbert Farnum, adventurer, indicted slaver, and Civil War general, died.
May 15: John Wolfe Ambrose, for whom the Ambrose Lightship (now docked at South Street Seaport) at the mouth of New York Harbor was named, died on this date in 1899.