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The Community History Archives: This Week In History July 8th- July 14th

Discover History in The Community History Archives.
Get ready for takeoff, because this week in history takes us to the stars! In the literal sense, I’ll tell you about two very important space shuttles and their historic launches this week years ago. In a more figurative sense, I will share with you the stories of people who made history with their achievements and could be considered stars in their respective fields. As always, I will be sharing search tips to aid you in your own research. Now let’s take off into the stars and unfold the stories of the past!
(2000s – Present) One Final Mission: Atlantis Space Shuttle Launched, 2011

The Atlantis space shuttle was a NASA shuttle that went on 33 missions during its career. It took one final mission for itself and the American Space Shuttle Program on July 8th, 2011. It was the 135th mission in the program and would be the last. 

The American Space Shuttle Program was developed to form a reusable spacecraft system in hopes of reducing the costs of space travel. Five total ships were a part of the program, including the Atlantis. One of the more infamous ships was the Challenger Space Shuttle, which tragically exploded shortly after takeoff in 1986. 

The Community History Archives: This Week In History July 8th- July 14th

The Atlantis Shuttle has an impressive legacy, racking up a total of 7,358 flight hours and completing 4,848 orbits around the Earth over its 33 missions. It played an important role in assembling the International Space Station.

The Gazette in Emporia, Kansas ran a captivating article on July 8th, 2011 chronicling the Atlantis mission, entitled “The Last Launch.” The piece included interviews with attendees of the launch, where they expressed a mix of emotions—awe, inspiration, and the bittersweet feeling of bidding farewell to the shuttle. The Atlantis is now retired and on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

(1980s – 2000s) Forgotten Stories: Geraldine Ferraro Selected for VP, 1984

Next up, we have the story of a woman who is frequently left out of the history books: Geraldine Ferraro. 

Ferraro was an Italian-American woman and politician who made history as both the first woman and the first Italian-American to run on a major party ticket in a US presidential election. Ferraro had experience serving in the US House of Representatives for the state of New York, as well as holding the position of secretary of the house democratic caucus. 

In 1984, former vice president Walter Mondale was running against the incumbent Ronald Reagan for US President. Mondale had previously served as vice president under Jimmy Carter, as well as in the US Senate. On July 12th, 1984, Mondale selected Ferraro as his vice president for the Democratic nomination. His selection was made in hopes of attracting more women and ethnic voting populations to increase his chances of defeating the ever-popular President Reagan. 

Ferraro, like many women who have run for offices as large as the executive branch, faced a lot of challenges during the campaign. She faced a lot more questioning and criticism than her male counterparts had for similar behavior. A lot of reporters asked her questions about her capabilities, if she would be able to handle the position as a woman, or whether anyone would take her seriously. 

One of the biggest scandals she faced had to do with her husband’s tax returns. Ferraro and her husband had filed separately, and because of this she only reported her taxes to the annual congressional disclosure statements. Initially, Ferraro’s husband refused to release his tax returns, not thinking they needed to be public information since he himself was not running for office, but after 48 hours of intense backlash, he shared them with the public. As Ferraro claimed, there was no wrongdoing to be found. To put an end once and for all to the discussion, Ferraro held a press conference where she spent two hours answering questions, and after that most discussion of the issue faded. 

She also faced a lot of criticism from public figures and religious organizations. The catholic church was very outspoken with their negative opinions of her. They believed she was misrepresenting the position of the catholic church on the topic of abortion. While Ferraro was not the only Pro-choice catholic in office, she was the one most passionately attacked on the matter. She also received a lot of criticism for her personality. She was known to be outspoken, blunt, and feisty, the exact type of person she needed to be to not crumble under the pressure of her position. Peter Teely, who was Vice President Bush’s Press Secretary, said that she was arrogant and lacked humility. 

While Mondale and Ferraro lost the election to President Reagan, I think her story should be told more often. I had no idea there was ever a woman selected to run as vice president before the 2020 Election where President Biden selected Vice President Kamala Harris. In history class, we often are taught only about the winners, when there are other candidates making history as well.

I found two different pieces talking about Ferraro. The first piece was published in the Tullahoma News on July 26th, 1964. This piece discussed the rumors about their financial dishonesty. They reported that there was no wrongdoing to be found and that they followed all laws with their loans.  

The second was also in the Tullahoma News, published on October 18th, 1984, where a woman shared her reaction to the news. She said like many women, she was excited regardless of what party Ferraro was running with because it was time a woman reached that position of power. Her family wasn’t nearly as receptive though. She said her sons reacted like someone had set off a bomb, that they didn’t believe she was going to be taken seriously. I think this is a great representation of some of the pushback Ferraro dealt with following her nomination.

(1945 – 1980s) Across The Ocean Television: Telstar 1 Launched, 1962

The Telstar 1 was a telecommunications satellite launched by NASA in 1962. The satellite made it possible to relay television broadcasts and telephone signals across the Atlantic Ocean. Launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on July 10, 1962, it made history as the first of its kind of satellite.  The Satellite was developed by AT&T Bell Laboratories in collaboration with NASA and the British and French telecommunications agencies. The satellite paved the way for international broadcasting and new technologies.

The first conversation using the satellite was between Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and Frederick Kappel, the Board Chairman of American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation. The Hiawatha Daily World published images of the first broadcast the following day and described the historical achievements of the project. It also included a really interesting diagram that showed the orbit the satellite would be taking around the globe. It also talked about the first picture televised from outer space, which was the American flag rippling while the national anthem played.


(1914 – 1945) This is Bananas: Scopes Trial Starts, 1925

The Scopes Monkey Trial is the nickname given to a trial that happened in Tennessee in 1925. It involved a science teacher named John Thomas Scopes. At the time, it was illegal to teach any theory that promotes evolution and denies the creation theory in Christianity. Scopes was taken to court and charged with a misdemeanor. While the case tried to make a point that it was unconstitutional to limit free speech by enforcing the Christian story of creation, it was denied. The judge argued that scientific evidence of evolution was not applicable to the case because it was over-scopes breaking the law, not the law itself.

In the Hiawatha Daily World, they published the result of the case on July 21st, 1925. Scopes was found guilty of violating the law, but that wasn’t the most intriguing part. As a result of his guilty verdict, Scope was only fined $100 for the crime. For reference, that would be under $2000 in 2024. While Scope was found guilty, this case served an important role in future free speech cases. It was later overturned in 1927 on a technicality, but the law regarding evolution in school remained constitutional.

(1824 – 1914) A Star Is Born: Babe Ruth Makes MLB Debut, 1914

Babe Ruth is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He played his first Major League Baseball game on July 11, 1914. He played for the Boston Red Sox in his first MLB season as a pitcher. Five years later, he was traded to the New York Yankees where he played as an outfielder instead. That position is where he found his calling, and he took off as one of the most iconic players in the game.

 He set multiple records during his career. He set the record for most home runs in a season and most career home runs. His single-season home run record of 60 stood for 34 years before it was broken by Hank Aron, which I wrote about earlier this year! He was inducted in 1936 to the Baseball Hall of Fame for his achievements. He played a total of 2,503 games during his impressive MLB career. 

I found two different pieces on Babe Ruth that I wanted to share. The first was a piece published in the Valley Morning Star on February 8th, 1944 which celebrated the 30th year of Babe Ruth’s legendary MLB Career. It shared the story of his career through the perspective of a long-time fan who has followed him throughout the years.

The second is also where my search tip for the week comes. In the sports section of the Benton County Star, on March 5th, 1942, they published the list of players already selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame in the past. They also included a discussion about who would be selected next for the honor. I found this piece using the Community History Archives of the Norway Baseball Museum in Norway, Iowa. This was the perfect place to look for one of the most famous players in sports history because they are a museum all about baseball!

That’s why my search tip for the week is to look for specialized partners to aid in your research! For example, if you are looking for people, see if there is a CHA for that area’s genealogical society. If you are looking for baseball, definitely check out the Norway Baseball Museum! Specialized partners can help you find what you’re looking for more easily, and Advantage has so many amazing partners to choose from!

I hope this week’s blast from the past taught you something new! Join me again next week to discover more of history’s hidden gems and timeless tales!



Explore the “Read All About It” archives to read stories that spotlight our partners and their communities, announcements from our team, updates on current projects, and so much more. Discover articles about engagement, outreach, primary sources, community, digitization, education, and other topics of interest. Delve into the happenings in this week in history and take a deep dive into the events and people who helped shape our communities, our nation, and the world.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, READ ALL ABOUT IT!

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Advantage Archives works to build strong, community-based partnerships to provide free online access to local history, making it discoverable and easily accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time, on any device. This allows communities to understand and connect to their past in a meaningful way. Through the Community History Archive search platform, we provide the community with the means to explore, discover, learn from, connect with, and share the stories of the people, places, and events that shaped their community.

The Community History Archives are intended to serve as a “portal to the past”, allowing local primary source documents to give an accounting of history as told by the individuals that witnessed it. Advantage Archives guiding principals center around building strong community-based partnerships, which is why we enter into them with the intent of shouldering our fair share, and taking the burden off of the community for the ongoing costs associated with storage, hosting, development, and maintenance of the Community’s History Archive. We are an active participant in the community’s efforts to make their collective history more accessible. The Community History Archives are maintained for free by Advantage and do not require a subscription, seat license, annual support contract, or any other ongoing costs or expenses to the institution or members of the community.

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