March 17


1845: Rubber bands were patented by Stephen Perry.

1905: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (33rd president, 1933-1945) married Eleanor Roosevelt, his fifth cousin once removed and the niece of 26th President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909).

1941: The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., was officially opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1948: Benelux, France, and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Brussels, a precursor to the North Atlantic Treaty that established NATO.


March 18


1850: American Express was founded by Henry Wells and William Fargo.

1959: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law allowing Hawaiian statehood, which would become official on Aug. 21.

1965: Cosmonaut Alexey Leonov left his spacecraft, Voskhod 2, for 12 minutes, to become the first person to “walk” in space.

1970: The U.S. postal strike of 1970 began, one of the largest wildcat strikes in U.S. history.

2010: A rare Sumatran tiger was born in the Sacramento Zoo, California.


March 19


1895: Auguste and Louis Lumière recorded their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph.

1918: The U.S. Congress established time zones and approved daylight saving time.

1931: Gambling was legalized in Nevada.

1954: The first televised prize boxing fight shown in color was broadcast as Joey Giardello knocked out Willie Tory in round seven at Madison Square Garden.  Pool master Willie Mosconi set a world record by running 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a pool exhibition at East High Billiard Club in Springfield, Ohio. (The record still stands today.)

1962: Bob Dylan released his first album, Bob Dylan, on the Columbia Records label.

1987: Televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as head of the PTL Club due to a sex scandal. He handed over control to Jerry Falwell.


March 20

1854: The Republican Party of the United States was organized in Ripon, Wis.

1916: Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity in Germany.

1922: The USS Langley (CV-1) was commissioned as the first U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.

1948: The first TV broadcasts of classical music in the United States, under Eugene Ormandy and Arturo Toscanini, were given on CBS and NBC.

1985: Libby Riddles (born 1956) became the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.


March 21

1913: Over 360 people were killed and 20,000 homes destroyed in the Great Dayton Flood in Dayton, Ohio.

1952: Ohio radio disc jockey Alan Freed organized and promoted the first rock and roll concert, a five-act show called “The Moondog Coronation Ball,” at the Cleveland Arena.

2006: The social media site Twitter was founded.

March 22

1960: Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes received the first patent for a laser.

1963: The Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me, was released in the United Kingdom.

1993: The Intel Corporation shipped the first Pentium chips (80586), featuring a 60 MHz clock speed, 100+ MIPS, and a 64-bit data path.


March 23


1857: Elisha Otis’ first elevator was installed at 488 Broadway, New York City.

1919: Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) founded his Fascist political movement in Milan, Italy.

1983: President Ronald Reagan made his first proposal to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles from outer space, a.k.a. Star Wars.

1989: Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced their discovery of cold fusion at the University of Utah.

1989: Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced their discovery of cold fusion at the University of Utah.

Outstanding Montana Woman – Fannie Sperry Steele

by Montana
Historical Society


Fannie Sperry was born in the Prickly Pear Valley in 1887. Her mother taught her to ride almost before she could walk.

Soon she was rounding up wild horses and participating in neighborly competitions with
other local ranch kids.

She made her first professional ride as a
relay racer at the 1904 Montana State Fair in Lewis and Clark County.

Inspired by Buffalo Bill’s “Pony Express Race,” the relay featured women riders who changed horses and saddles at top speed.

Fannie and the popular Montana Girls rode relays throughout Montana and the Midwest in 1905. In 1907, Sperry began participating in women’s bucking horse competitions.

At the Calgary Stampede in 1912, her ride on the bronc Red Wing earned her the title “Lady Bucking Horse Champion of the World.” She won the title again in 1913.

Unlike most other bronc-busting women of the time, Fannie Sperry rode “slick.” Female
contestants usually rode hobbled, the stirrups tied together beneath the horse’s belly for greater stability in the saddle.

Hobbling was dangerous in the event of a
tumble because the rider could not kick free, yet slick riding demanded extra balance and strength.

Sperry married bronc rider and rodeo clown Bill Steele in 1913, and she rode exhibition broncs until she was in her fifties.

She was the first woman in Montana to receive a packer’s license, and with her string of pintos, she guided
hunters on trips into the mountains.

Widowed in 1940, she continued to run the family’s Helmville ranch until she was seventy-eight.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage
Museum’s Rodeo Hall of Fame honored Fannie Sperry Steele in 1975.

Among the 266 members, thirty-three are women and only twelve rode broncs. A quintessential Montana woman, Steele takes her place among the best of the best.


Courtesy of


Fannie Sperry Steele. Photo Courtesy of MHS