A quote from Ruby Dee about Ossie Davis

Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee


“I thought he looked very hungry. He looked so – he looked so poverty-stricken or something. I think that’s what I was thinking because he had on clothes that didn’t fit him. But he had a very nice smile. So he knew about hunger, he knew about suffering, he knew about riding the rails and traveling through cities, getting somewhere. And it was in the days when a lot of people slept in the park. And he was one of them. But that didn’t seem to bother him. I told him, I said, oh Ossie you only do that because it’s romantic, you know. And he was a poet, too. A poet sleeping in the park, you know.”

– Ruby Dee, on what she thought when first meeting Ossie Davis. They were married for almost 60 years, until he passed away in 2005.

“A quote from Ruby Dee about Ossie Davis” Sources:

Van Vechten, Carl, photographer. Portrait of Ruby Dee. Sept. 25. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2004662790/>. / “Remembering Ruby Dee: ‘Think Of Me And Feel Encouraged'” – Tell Me More, NPR.

Anna Elizabeth Dickinson: first woman to give a political address to U.S. Congress

“This very young man who twirls his moustache in embryo, announces magnificently then, ‘Save me from ever marrying a strong-minded woman,’ and, looking at the style of young men who are educated to say so, one might devoutly answer, ‘Save the strong-minded woman from ever marrying you.’” – Anna Elizabeth Dickinson

Black and white historical photograph of Anna Elizabeth Dickinson. She is looking slightly to the right with a serene expression. She wears a mid-19th century dress with long, fitted sleeves, a high collar adorned with a brooch, and a row of buttons extending down the front. Her hair is styled in curls framing her face, typical of the period.
Anna Elizabeth Dickinson


Anna Elizabeth Dickinson was only five tall tall, frail, with short dark hair and expressive eyes and fiery in personality and demeanor. Mark Twain once described her as one who “talks fast, uses no notes what ever, never hesitates for a word, always gets the right word in the right place, and has the most perfect confidence in herself. Indeed, her sentences are remarkably smoothly-woven and felicitous. Her vim, her energy, her determined look, her tremendous earnestness, would compel the respect and the attention of an audience.”

She was born in to a family of ardent abolitionists, in to a home that was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and to a father who died when she was two years old from a heart attack after giving a speech against slavery. Anna took on his passion for social causes at a young age. She published a piece about an abolitionist school teacher in Kentucky who was being abused when she was just 14 years old. And then she began work in her mid teens as a teacher to help support her mother who was raising five children on her own.

But becoming a public speaker is where she began to make a big impact. Pushed by local abolitionists and suffrage leaders, Anna started giving public speeches. Her style of speech included sarcasm and ridicule, as with ease she could put down hecklers. And though she often suffered from throat issues, she persisted to speak. In 1863 when she was 21 years old, she became the first woman to give a political address to the U.S. Congress.

An antique sepia-toned photograph of Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, captured in profile. She is seated, looking to the left with a contemplative gaze. Her attire is a dress with intricate details on the bodice and sleeves, characteristic of the 19th-century fashion, complete with ruffles and fitted cuffs. Her hair is styled in soft curls that tumble to her shoulders, and a chain necklace with a small pendant gently drapes around her neck. The photograph has a vintage texture, and her name is inscribed at the bottom, adding to its historical authenticity.
Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, circa 1865

“Anna Elizabeth Dickinson: first woman to give a political address to U.S. Congress” sources:

Brady’s National Photographic Portrait Galleries, photographer. Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, orator, abolitionist, advocate for women’s rights, and the first woman to speak before Congress / From photographic negative in Brady’s National Portrait Gallery. [New york: published by e. & h.t. anthony, 501 broadway, between 1855 and 1865] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2017660629/>. / San Francisco Alta California, April 5, 1867 – Mark Twain Quotes. / Brady’s National Photographic Portrait Galleries. Retrieved from the Digital Public Library of America <https://ark.digitalcommonwealth.org/ark:/50959/2514nz713>. / Wikimedia Commons


If you enjoyed “Anna Elizabeth Dickinson: first woman to give a political address to U.S. Congress”, please consider supporting Historical Snapshots with a contribution. Visit our Patreon page to contribute. Your support is much appreciated.

Click here to read another snapshot biography of a woman who advocated for equality, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker.

To cite: “Anna Elizabeth Dickinson: first woman to give a political address to U.S. Congress.” Historical Snapshots.

Nellie Bly fakes insanity for first hand research of insane asylums

Nellie Bly Portrait
Nellie Bly
In 1887, Elizabeth Cochran Seaman, better known as Nellie Bly, was 23-years-old, and an inspiring journalist. Upon the request of an editor from the New York World newspaper, she was to fake insanity to be admitted into a New York insane asylum, where she could then conduct first-hand research.
After checking into a boarding home for women, Nellie feigned insanity, was arrested, and sent to an asylum that typically housed poor immigrants. She stayed there for ten days until the editors were able to get her a release.
Speaking of her experience, she said, “What, excepting torture, would produce insanity quicker than this treatment?…I would like the expert physicians who are condemning me for my action, which has proven their ability, to take a perfectly sane and healthy woman, shut her up and make her sit from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. on straight-back benches, do not allow her to talk or move during these hours, give her no reading and let her know nothing of the world or its doings, give her bad food and harsh treatment, and see how long it will take to make her insane. Two months would make her a mental and physical wreck.”
She published Ten Days in a Mad-House, which would help drive more funding and change in NYC insane asylums. About a year later, based on the book Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, Nellie became famous for attempting to travel the world in less than eighty days. She completed the journey in seventy-two days.

“Nellie Bly fakes insanity for first hand research of insane asylums” sources:

Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nellie Bly / Wikipedia / Portrait of Nellie taken circa 1890, collection of the Museum of the City of New York – Wikimedia Commons.


  • If you enjoyed “Nellie Bly fakes insanity to do first hand research of insane asylums”, please consider supporting Historical Snapshots with a contribution. To contribute, please visit our Patreon page. Your support is much appreciated ❤.
  • For a story about another journalist, please click here to read about Ida Tarbell.

Edward R. Murrow: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.”

“No one familiar with the history of this country can deny that congressional committees are useful. It is necessary to investigate before legislating, but the line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one and the junior Senator from Wisconsin has stepped over it repeatedly. His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind as between the internal and the external threats of communism. We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The actions of the junior Senator from Wisconsin have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad, and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear; he merely exploited it — and rather successfully. Cassius was right. ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.’ Good night, and good luck.”

– Edward R. Murrow

Edward R. Murrow Photograph 1947
Edward R. Murrow

Edward R. Murrow: “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty.” sources: “A report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, March 9th, 1954 (Transcript) – Edward R. Murrow Wikiquote / Photograph taken in 1947, CBS Radio – Wikimedia Commons.

Ohiyesa: “It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome.”


“It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way it will in time disturb the spiritual balance of the man. Therefore the child must early learn the beauty of generosity. He is taught to give what he prizes most, and that he may taste the happiness of giving, he is made at an early age the family almoner. If a child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling to any of his little possessions, legends are related to him, telling of the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean man.

Public giving is a part of every important ceremony. It properly belongs to the celebration of birth, marriage, and death, and is observed whenever it is desired to do special honor to any person or event. Upon such occasions it is common to give to the point of utter impoverishment. The Indian in his simplicity literally gives away all that he has, to relatives, to guests of another tribe or clan, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom he can hope for no return.”

– Ohiyesa, also known as Dr. Charles A. Eastman

Ohiyesa, also known as Dr. Charles A. Eastman
Ohiyesa, also known as Dr. Charles A. Eastman


  • Ohiyesa was a Santee Dakota physician educated at Boston University, a writer, national lecturer, and reformer, who started 32 Native American chapters of the YMCA and helped found the Boy Scouts.
  • If you enjoyed this Ohiyesa quote, please consider supporting Historical Snapshots with a contribution. Visit our Patreon page to contribute. Your support is much appreciated
  • Click here to read another wisdom quote.

“Ohiyesa: ‘It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome.'” sources:

The American Indian Magazine (Vol. 6, No. 4) by Society of American Indians, Richard Henry Pratt, published in 1919 – Internet Archive & Wikimedia Commons / “The Soul of the Indian, An Interpretation.” By Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa), published in 1911 – Project Gutenberg

A quote from Eleanor Roosevelt about her father


“With my father I was perfectly happy. There is still a woodeny painting of a solemn child, a straight bang across her forehead, with an uplifted finger and an admonishing attitude, which he always enjoyed and referred to as ‘Little Nell scolding Elliot.’ We had a country house at Hempstead, Long Island, so that he could hunt and play polo. He loved horses and dogs, and we always had both. During this time he was in business, and, added to the work and the sports, the gay and popular young couple lived a busy social life. He was the center of my world and all around him loved him.

Whether it was some weakness from his early years which the strain of the life accentuated, whether it was the pain he endured from a broken leg which had to be set, reborn and reset, I do not know. My father began to drink, and for my mother and his brother Theodore and his sisters began the period of harrowing anxiety which was to last until his death in 1894.

My father and mother, my little brother and I went to Italy for the winter of 1890 as the first step in the fight for his health and power of self-control. I remember my father acting as a gondolier, taking me out on the Venice canals, singing with the other boatmen, to my intense joy. I loved his voice, and above all, I loved the way he treated me. He called me ‘Little Nell’ after the Little Nell in Dickens’ Old Curiosity Shop, and never doubted that I stood first in his heart.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt

“A quote from Eleanor Roosevelt about her father” source:

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt / Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration / Wikimedia Commons


Photograph is of Eleanor from a school portrait in 1898.

Please consider supporting Historical Snapshots with a donation if you enjoyed this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. Visit our Patreon page to donate. Your support is much appreciated.

Click here to read our snapshot biography of Eleanor.

A quote from Walt Whitman

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

– Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman, 1887
Walt Whitman, 1887


  • Please consider supporting Historical Snapshots with a donation if you enjoyed this quote from Walt Whitman. Visit our Patreon page to donate. 

  • Walt Whitman, born in 1819, overcame early hardships to become a renowned poet, known for “Leaves of Grass.” His Civil War experiences deeply influenced his empathetic, impactful work. Click here to read our snapshot biography of Walt.

“A quote from Walt Whitman” sources: Portrait taken in 1887 by George Collins Cox – Cox, George C, photographer. Walt Whitman. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2005681122/> / Whitman, Walt. Song of Myself – Published in 1892.

Richard Feynman quote: dealing with uncertainty

“You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt, and uncertainty, and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things. But I’m not absolutely sure of anything, and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here, and what the question might mean. I might think about it a little bit; if I can’t figure it out, then I go onto something else. But I don’t have to know an answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose, which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell — possibly. It doesn’t frighten me.”

– Richard Feynman

Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman, 1984

Richard Feynman quote: dealing with uncertainty sources: “Photo of Richard Feynman, taken in 1984 in the woods of the Robert Treat Paine Estate in Waltham, MA, while he and the photographer worked at Thinking Machines Corporation on the design of the Connection Machine CM-1/CM-2 supercomputer,” Copyright Tamiko Thiel 1984 (no changes made) – Wikimedia Commons