It Happened Today: Ben Franklin Branches Out, Al Sharpton Reaches Out, Bobby Clarke Scores Big, and a Very Special Mama Dies

A look back at Philadelphia history

The first political cartoon ever to appear in an American newspaper is published in the Philadelphia Gazette on this date in 1754. Penned by Benjamin Franklin (is there anything that dude didn’t do?), it shows a snake cut into pieces, representing the colonies and parts thereof. It accompanies an editorial by Franklin urging unity in deciding whether or not to join the French and Indians in their war against the British. The British won, but debt from the war caused the Crown to raise taxes on the Colonies—and we all know where that led.

Also notable today: Anna Reese Jarvis dies in Philly in 1905; two years later, her daughter, Anna M. Jarvis, begins her campaign to create Mothers Day. In 1938, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and the Inquirer both hike the price per copy from two cents to three cents. In 1953, seven members of the O’Brien family—Michael (11), Edward (10), Elaine (nine), Margaret (seven), Kathleen (six), Patrick (five), and Jimmy (three)—all have their tonsils extracted simultaneously at Metropolitan Hospital, setting a city record. “I figured we might as well get them over with all at once,” says their father. In 1974, Bobby Clarke’s overtime goal gives the Flyers their first win in a Stanley Cup final. A 2003 FBI videotape recorded on this date shows Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton asking for $500,000 in campaign money from Philly’s Ronald White at NYC’s Waldorf-Astoria. White and 13 others, including city treasurer Corey Kemp, are eventually indicted for pay-to-play.