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 119th Anniversary of the First Documented Ice Cream Sundae

 On Sunday, April 3, 1892 in Ithaca, John M. Scott, a Unitarian Church minister, and Chester Platt, co-owner of Platt & Colt Pharmacy, created the first historically documented sundae.  Platt covered dishes of ice cream with cherry syrup and candied cherries on a whim.  The men named the dish “Cherry Sunday” in honor of the day it was created.

 The oldest-known written evidence of a sundae is Platt & Colt’s newspaper ad for a “Cherry Sunday” placed in the Ithaca Daily Journal on April 5, 1892. By May, 1892, the Platt & Colt soda fountain also served “Strawberry Sundays,” and later, “Chocolate Sundays.” Platt & Colt’s “Sundays” grew so popular that by 1894, Chester Platt attempted to trademark the term ice cream

 Wisconsin Historical Marker detailing Two Rivers as the locale of the invention of the ice cream sundae – Central Park, Two Rivers, WI.  Two Rivers’ claim is based on the story of George Hallauer asking Edward C. Berners, the owner of Berners’ Soda Fountain, to drizzle chocolate syrup over ice cream in 1881.  Berners eventually did and wound up selling the treat for a nickel, originally only on Sundays, but later every day.  According to this story, the spelling changed when a glass salesman ordered canoe-shaped dishes.

 When Berners died in 1939, the Chicago Tribune headlined his obituary “Man Who Made First Ice Cream Sundae Is Dead.” Two Ithaca High School students, however, claim that Berners would have only been 16 or 17 in 1881 and it is therefore “improbable” that he would have owned an ice cream shop in that year. They also state that the obituary dates Berners’ first sundae to 1899 rather than 1881.   

The origin of the term sundae is obscure, however, it is generally accepted that the spelling “sundae” derives from the word Sunday or, according to one source, a druggist named Mr. Sonntag created the dish.  He named it the “sonntag” after himself, and Sonntag means Sunday in German.  According to another theory, the spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions.  Other origin stories for the sundae focus on the novelty or inventiveness of the treat or the name of the originator.

Happy Thanksgiving! Doodle Nov 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Doodle Nov 25, 2010

So how did the Pilgrims and Wampanoag come to be identified with the First Thanksgiving?

In 1622, a letter was printed in a pamphlet that historians commonly call Mourt’s Relation. This published description of the First Thanksgiving was lost during the Colonial period. It was rediscovered in Philadelphia around 1820.  Antiquarian Alexander Young included the entire text in his Chronicles of the Pilgrim Fathers (1841). Reverend Young saw a similarity between his contemporary American Thanksgiving and the 1621 Harvest Feast, Young writes, “This was the first Thanksgiving, the harvest festival ofNew England.  On this occasion they no doubt feasted on the wild turkey as well as venison.”

Presidents Washington, Adams and Monroe proclaimed national Thanksgivings, but the custom fell out of use by 1815, after which the celebration of the holiday was limited to individual state observances.  By the 1850s, almost every state and territory celebrated Thanksgiving.   A President still had to proclaim Thanksgiving each year, and the last Thursday in November became the customary date.  In a controversial move, Franklin Delano Roosevelt lengthened the Christmas shopping season by declaring Thanksgiving for the next-to-the-last Thursday in November.  Two years later, in 1941, Congress responded by permanently establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday in the month.

Florida, Texas, Maine and Virginia each declare itself the site of the First Thanksgiving and historical documents support the various claims. Spanish explorers and other English Colonists celebrated religious services of thanksgiving years before Mayflower arrived. However, few people knew about these events until the 20th century. They were isolated celebrations, forgotten long before the establishment of the American holiday, and they played no role in the evolution of Thanksgiving. But as James W. Baker states in his book, Thanksgiving: The Biography of an American Holiday, “despite disagreements over the details” the 3-day event in Plymouth in the fall of 1621 was “the historical birth of the American Thanksgiving holiday.”

The Continental Congress proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving in 1777.  A somber event, it specifically recommended “that servile labor and such recreations (although at other times innocent) may be unbecoming the purpose of this appointment [and should] be omitted on so solemn an occasion.”

This Thanksgiving Day Doodle is part of a Series of Three.  To see the other Doodles and More Click on the following link: “Google Fun and Trivia



Dizzy Gillespie’s Birthday Oct 21, 2010

Dizzy Gillespie’s Birthday

Below you can view an appearance on the Ed Sullvian show.

His full name was John Birks Gillespie.   Gillespie was a trumpeter, showman, bandleader, singer, gifted improviser and composer dubbed “the sound of surprise” who fused jazz with Afro-Cuban music.   Known for his trademark of puffing out his cheeks while playing the trumpet, he was nicknamed “Dizzy” for his amusing antics on stage.

For the most part he was self-taught and was a major figure in the development of bebop and modern jazz.  Dizzy’s beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality were essential in popularizing bebop.

Dizzy Gillespie’s contributions to jazz were huge, he was one of the greatest jazz trumpeters of all time.   Among his hits are “Groovin’ High,” “A Night in Tunisia,” “Manteca” and “Two Bass Hit.”

He taught and influenced many other musicians, including trumpeters Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan, Jon Faddis and Chuck Mangione.

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John James Audubon

John James Audubon (April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851). He was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter.   Audubon was born in Saint Dominigue (now Haiti), and sent to America as a young boy.  Audubon lived the life of a country gentleman, fishing, shooting, and developing skills at drawing birds, the only occupation to which he was ever willing to try.

Audubon was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats.  His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of North America (1827-1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed.  Audubon identified 25 new species and a number of new sub-species. When Audubon began his work in the early nineteenth century, there was no such profession as a “naturalist” in America. Audubon developed a system of inserting wires into the bodies of freshly killed birds in order to move them into natural poses for his sketches.