Mary Dodge Allen

Award-Winning Author

Writing Fast-Paced Adventure with Humor and Heart

I am a Blogger for the Heroes, Heroines and History website

I love history – especially learning about the intriguing and inspirational people who have made a difference in our world. My Blog appears on the 5th day of each month. My previous Blogs are listed with clickable links, below.

July 5, 2024

Ice Cream History - Fun Facts and Quiz

July is National Ice Cream Month!

How much do you know about ice cream history in the U.S.? Take this fun 7-question Quiz to test your Ice Cream IQ.

June 5, 2024

Albin "Birdman" Longren - Aviation Pioneer in Aircraft Design

Albin and Dolly Longren with an early plane he designed

In 1912, Albin Longren was building better airplanes than the Wright brothers. His natural mechanical ability made him an aviation pioneer. He began as a Barnstorming flyer, worked for Cessna and established his own aircraft manufacturing companies. Read about his fascinating life.

May 5, 2024

Civilian Conservation Corps - Life in a CCC Camp

The Most Isolated CCC Camp in the World (Grand Marais, Minnesota)

Most of us have visited national parks, where buildings, trails, roads were built by young men in the 1930’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). My Uncle Gordon Dodge was a CCC worker in northern MN. Read about his life in a CCC Camp, and see personal photos. (Including a photo with his head on a chopping block!)

April 5, 2024

Elinor Smith - Record-Breaking Aviator; The "Flying Flapper" of the Roaring Twenties

Elinor Smith, The "Flying Flapper"

Elinor Smith was a daring pilot during the era of Amelia Earhart. She won many awards and was the only pilot to ever fly under four bridges on New York’s East River! 

March 5, 2024

How Monopoly Games Helped WWII POWs Escape from German Prison Camps

Monopoly Get Out of Jail Free Card

Monopoly’s “Get out of jail free” card took on a whole new meaning after I learned how the Allies used this board game to help save the lives of WWII POWs. 

February 5, 2024

John Howland - The Pilgrim Who Fell Off the Mayflower

Howland Overboard, painted by Mike Haywood

During the Mayflower’s 66-day voyage, storms buffeted the ship. One fierce storm swept John Howland overboard. Read the story of his amazing rescue and his interesting life.

January 5, 2024

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker - The First Female US Army Surgeon and Medal of Honor Recipient

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, with Her Medals

Dr. Walker was a dedicated Union Army surgeon during the Civil War. She was captured (as she crossed enemy lines to treat wounded Confederates) and spent time as a POW. Read the intriguing story of a woman who was ahead of her time – and the only woman to receive a Medal of Honor.

December 5, 2023

Wilson A. Bentley - Pioneer in Snowflake Photography

One of His Early Snowflake Photographs

The old saying, “No two snowflakes are alike” – was first proven in 1885, when a young Vermont farmer figured out how to photograph these delicate ice crystals. Read his amazing story.

November 5, 2023

Clarice Cliff - Innovative Ceramic Artist: Her Rags to Riches Story

Clarice Cliff and her 'Bizarre Ware' ceramics

Clarice Cliff became Art Director at a prestigious British pottery company in 1930 – an era with few “career women.” How did a woman born into poverty become an internationally celebrated ceramic artist? Read her inspiring life story.

The Hunley Submarine, A Two Part Blog

September 5, 2023

The Hunley Submarine: Part One - Its Civil War Mission and Mysterious Disappearance

"Confederate Submarine, Hunley" by Conrad Wise Chapman, 1864

On February 17, 1864, the Hunley made history as the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in combat. But after its mission, it disappeared without a trace! Read about the trials and tragic errors in constructing and testing a submarine during the Civil War. 

October 5, 2023

The Hunley Submarine: Part Two - Recovery, Restoration, Solving the Mystery of Its Loss

Clive Cussler and team who located the Hunley in 1995

Read about the challenges of finding, raising and restoring the Hunley – and the surprising artifacts they recovered. Learn about the fate of the eight crewmen and the theories of what happened to them on that fateful night.

August 5, 2023

Ma Barker and Sons - America's Most Wanted

Ma Barker Wanted Poster

How did a farm girl from the Missouri Ozarks become one of the most notorious criminals in America? Read about Ma Barker’s life, and how her rebellious fascination with outlaws turned her sons into vicious gangsters, with tragic consequences for them and their victims. 

July 5, 2023

WWII "Operation Pastorius" - Hitler's Daring Sabotage Mission in the United States

WWII German U-Boat

Did you know that a team of eight highly-trained Nazi saboteurs arrived in the U.S. in 1942 – delivered by U-boats under the cover of darkness? Read about their sabotage plans, and the bizarre story of their capture.

The Swedish Warship "Vasa" - A Two Part Blog

May 5, 2023

The Swedish Warship "Vasa" - Part One, Its Doomed Maiden Voyage

Painting of the Vasa by Francis Smitheman

The Vasa was one of the most spectacular Swedish warships ever built. But in August, 1628, it sank less than twenty minutes after it began its maiden voyage. Why? Read the Vasa’s compelling and tragic story.

June 5, 2023

The Swedish Warship "Vasa" - Part Two, Raising It from the Watery Depths!

The Wasa sinking

Efforts to Raise the Wasa

Read the fascinating story of how the Vasa was raised and its amazing reconstruction.

June 15, 2023

Franklin D. Roosevelt... Norman Rockwell... and "The Four Freedoms"

Norman Rockwell

During WWII, the “Four Freedoms” were Norman Rockwell’s most popular covers on the Saturday Evening Post magazine. Click here to learn about the stirring FDR speech that inspired him.

April 5, 2023

The History of Frugal Fashion Flair using Feed and Flour Sacks

Marilyn Monroe wearing a Feed Sack

During hard times, people had to make do with what they had. Read about how clever and innovative women used flour and feed sacks to make stylish clothing.

March 5, 2023

The Strange Tradition of "Telling the Bees"

"The Bee Friend" by Hans Thoma, 1863

Are you aware of the Celtic belief that honeybees act as a link between us and the spiritual world? Beekeepers often informed bees of family marriages, births and deaths. After Queen Elizabeth’s death, her Royal Beekeeper performed a “Telling the Bees” ritual. Learn about fascinating honeybee behaviors after an owner’s death.

February 5, 2023

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. - Author of the Poem "High Flight"

WWII Supermarine Spitfire Fighter in Flight

“Oh I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth; And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings…” Written in 1941, this poem has to be memorized by cadets at the U S Air Force Academy. Read about the short and tragic life of its author, who was a WWII RAF Pilot Officer.

January 5, 2023

Benjamin Franklin and the 'Fugio" Cent Coin

Benjamin Franklin

Did you know the first U.S. circulated coin was a copper penny called the “Fugio cent” – designed by Ben Franklin? Read about the scandal involved in minting the coin.

December 5, 2022

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Christmas Bells... The Sound of Hope

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Family

Did you know the lyrics for the carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” were written by Longfellow while he was in the depths of despair after a series of tragic events? Learn about how he regained his hope.

November 5, 2022

Edna Gardner Whyte - Pioneer for Women in Aviation; Close Friend of Amelia Earhart

Edna Gardner Whyte, circa 1930

When I worked at a Dallas college in 1983, I interviewed Edna, age 81, for our campus newspaper. She was still giving flying lessons,  and she offered to give me a free lesson after our interview! Read about Edna Gardner Whyte’s amazing life. (A description of my lesson is at the end of the Blog.) 

October 5, 2022

The Great Hinckley Fire of 1894

The Hinckley Enterprise Newspaper Headline

On the first day of September, a massive firestorm destroyed the town of Hinckley, Minnesota, and other nearby communities. This firestorm caused more deaths than the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Read about this tragic event, and the stories of heroes who saved lives that day.

September 5, 2022

Gertrude Ederle - The First Woman to Swim the English Channel

Gertrude Ederle in the mid-1920's

In 1928, nobody believed a woman could swim the treacherous and stormy English Channel. At that time, only five men had ever accomplished this feat. Read the inspiring story of Gertrude’s great determination and accomplishments. 

August 5, 2022

Sybil Ludington's Revolutionary Midnight Ride

Portrait of Sybil Ludington

This sixteen-year old has been called the “female Paul Revere” because of her 40-mile ride on a stormy night in April, 1777, alerting the countryside that the British were coming. Read about her dangerous ride, and how she escaped capture.

July 5, 2022

The Lost Grave of King Richard III - Found with Supernatural Help

King Richard III, British National Portrait Gallery

A British King’s grave is lost – how can this happen? How it was found is even more mysterious! Read the fascinating story of how a writer felt a burst of supernatural intuition, as if she was walking on his grave.

June 5, 2022

Jacob DeShazer, WWII Doolittle Raider: His Amazing Story as a POW Survivor on a New Mission to Japan

Corporal Jacob "Jake" DeShazer

Read the amazing story of this tough Doolittle Raider – his flight over Japan, his capture, and how he not only survived, but found faith in God while enduring  brutal treatment as a POW. Even more amazing is his new mission to Japan – based on forgiveness and love.

May 5, 2022

Powel Crosley, Jr. - An Innovative American Entrepreneur: In the Automotive Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame

Powel Crosley, Jr. with 'Crosley Pup,' the Crosley Radio mascot

Have you ever wondered who introduced… The First Compact Car to the American public? The First Refrigerator with Shelves in the door? The First Radio Broadcast of Soap Operas? The First Night Baseball game in the Major Leagues? Learn about the interesting life of this prolific inventor.

April 5, 2022

Four Brave WWII U.S. Army Chaplains

Brave Chaplains from Diverse Religious Backgrounds

In 1942, four U.S. Army Chaplains – serving on the Army transport ship USAT Dorchester – ministered heroically to soldiers on this fast-sinking ship after it was hit by torpedoes. Read the diverse stories of their lives, their friendship and their sacrifices on that fateful night.

March 5, 2022

Into the Air Against Germany - Edited Summary of a B-17 Pilot's 20th Combat Mission, January 8, 1945

Crew of the B-17 named the Blue Hen Chick

U.S. Eighth Air Force, 447th Bomb Group, 709th Squadron

Lt. Gordon B. Dodge, Co-Pilot

Lt. Ralph Lee Minker, Pilot

This is an entry from pilot Ralph Lee Minker's combat diary, describing an entire B-17 combat mission - the early morning wake-up call, suiting up, mission briefing, take-off and the perilous bombing raid.