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Lewis Latimer Awarded First Patent

February 10, 1874
February 10, 1874

Lewis Latimer Awarded First Patent

On this day in 1874, inventor Lewis Latimer received his first patent. The son of a Virginia couple who had escaped from slavery, he was born and raised in Chelsea. After a stint in the...

"Gerrymander" Born in Massachusetts

February 11, 1812
February 11, 1812

"Gerrymander" Born in Massachusetts

On this day in 1812, a political monster — the "Gerrymander" — was born in the Massachusetts State House. Governor Elbridge Gerry signed a bill that created oddly-shaped voting districts in several parts of the...

News of Peace Treaty Reaches Boston

February 12, 1815
February 12, 1815

News of Peace Treaty Reaches Boston

On this day in 1815, news reached Boston that the War of 1812 was over. The U.S. had at first been a neutral party in a conflict between Britain and France. But when the British...

Boston Holds First "Rat Day"

February 13, 1917
February 13, 1917

Boston Holds First "Rat Day"

On this day in 1917, the Boston Women's Municipal League held the first — and as it happened, only — Rat Day. Increasing numbers of rats infested neighborhoods ranging from the overcrowded North End to...

First American-Made Valentines Sold

February 14, 1849
February 14, 1849

First American-Made Valentines Sold

On this day in 1849, the first American-made valentines were sold in Worcester. They were designed and made by Esther Howland, the daughter of a local stationer. After graduating from Mt. Holyoke College, she returned...

Shadrach Minkins Seized

February 15, 1851
February 15, 1851

Shadrach Minkins Seized

On this day in 1851, a group of outraged African American men burst into a courtroom in Boston and rescued Shadrach Minkins, the first escaped slave seized in New England under the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law....

First Esperanto Society Formed

February 16, 1905
February 16, 1905

First Esperanto Society Formed

On this day in 1905, the first Esperanto Society in the United States was established in Boston. Invented by a Polish doctor in the 1880s, Esperanto was an entirely new language created to promote international...

nMt. Holyoke Cable Car Burned

February 17, 1965
February 17, 1965

nMt. Holyoke Cable Car Burned

On this day in 1965, Massachusetts officials burned what was left of the wooden tramway that had carried thousands of people to the summit of Mt. Holyoke. Abandoned for decades, the deteriorating tramway was a...

Bostonians Respond to Irish Famine

February 18, 1847
February 18, 1847

Bostonians Respond to Irish Famine

On this day in 1847, Boston's leading citizens held a meeting at Fanueil Hall in response to news of the famine devastating Ireland. With the failure of the potato crop several years in a row,...

Natick Established

February 19, 1781
February 19, 1781

Natick Established

On this day in 1781, Natick was formally incorporated, but the town already had a long history. In 1651, a group of Christianized Indians had founded a "Praying Town" in what is now South Natick....

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