The Seeburg Family, Part 1 - May 8, 2014

Hello, American Treasure Tour blog fans!  We just want you to know that we pay attention to your requests as best we can - some days, they come in too rapidly to acknowledge right away, but we will get to them.  Andy from Pennsylvania recently wrote that she is, "...fascinated by the information we provide about the records in the Music Room and the 'Faces of the Tour' series. But I would love if you could spend a little time talking about the nickelodeons!"  Well, Andy, how could we possibly say no to such a sincere request from one of our fans?

The United States is aptly described as a nation of immigrants.  People have traveled to the land of opportunity from all over the world in the hopes of making a better life for themselves and their families.  One such person was Justus P. Sjoberg.  Born in Sweden in 1861, Sjoberg's father had been a successful merchant until he hit on hard times.  His ambitious son moved to Chicago in the hopes of making a new start, changing his name to Seeburg along the way.  He obtained an apprenticeship at the Smith & Barnes Piano Factory, and learned the ropes of the trade before taking jobs at a progression of piano-manufacturing companies - Markette, C.S. Smith, and then Cable - before starting his own company in the early aughts o the 20th century, the J.P. Seeburg Company.  He initially sold electric pianos from the Republic Building in the famous Chicago Loop, and did very well for himself.  Stay tuned for more on the Seeburgs tomorrow.  Same nickelodeon time, same nickelodeon channel....

QUESTION:

Who in the following list of Swedish Americans was NOT born in Sweden?

a)  Maud Adams

b)  Ingrid Bergman

c)  Greta Garbo

d)  Kirsten Dunst

e)  Ann-Margret

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

The history today section of our blog serves to keep things in perspective.  Today, we are part of events that will be tomorrow's history.  Generally, Americans think of our history as starting in 1609, when English settlers claimed land near the eastern tip of Virginia for their king, and named it Jamestown in his honor.  Europeans had been here long before then, and Native Americans much longer even than that.  On this day in 1541, one Spaniard found something only seen by the natives before him:  The conquistador Hernando de Soto laid eyes upon the mighty Mississippi River, the first European to do so.  He named it Rio de Espiritu Santo.  He could not have known that he would be dead slightly over one year later.  It is believed that his soldiers weighted down his body and sank him in the very same river, in an effort to conceal his passing from the natives.  He had not been especially nice to them, and the Spaniards hated the idea of what might become of it.

On this day in 1912, three men - Adolph Zukor, Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman - united and formed the Famous Players Film Company, which set out to produce feature-length films at a time when most movies were short.  Their company took off and received quite a bit of attention.  They saw great opportunity in the film business, merged with other companies, arranged for national distribution of their films, and incorporated under the name of Paramount Pictures.  Then, they hired actors and turned them into celebrities, actors like Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino.  They became the biggest names of the silent era mostly because of Paramount's efforts.  Paramount is still around today, and remains one of the five oldest - and top-grossing - film companies in the world.  They clearly did something right!

BIRTHDAYS:

There are only forty-three days a year when we get to celebrate the birth of a president of the United States, and we are happy to do just that today, because it has been 130 years since Harry S Truman was born in a modest home in Lamar, Missouri.  Truman was one of the least likely men to ever achieve the highest office of the land - he was a farm boy with eyesight so bad he was refused entrance to West Point Military Academy.  He had to secretly memorize the eye chart so that he could get accepted into the Missouri National Guard and fight in World War I. After the war, Truman became involved in politics, while managing to avoid scandals.  That was his main appeal when he was selected as Franklin Roosevelt's third vice president.  After FDR's death early in his fourth term, Truman took the reigns of government and did surprisingly well, despite the harsh criticism he received from his opponents.  Honestly, there's just too much to say about this fascinating man.  We could make him the subject of an entire blog posting. Instead, we will acknowledge his birthday and call it a day.

We celebrate another birthday today, that of Eric Hilliard Nelson. Born in 1940, Eric, more familiarly known as Ricky, was destined to a life in the spotlight by his famous parents: the accomplished band organ leader Ozzie Nelson and his singer wife Harriet.  Together with older-brother David, the Nelsons made a name for themselves nationally first on radio, from 1944 to 1952, then on television, in the sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which aired between 1952 and 1966.  During this time, Ricky became something of a pop music icon, singing a number of very successful songs including "Hello, Mary Lou," "I'm Walkin'", and "Travellin' Man." Nelson's love of music carried him through much of his postOzzie and Harriet career.  He toured often, despite his hatred of the travel.  Refusing to ride in a bus between destinations, he took a small luxury plane.  Tragically, he died in that plane in 1985 at the age of 45.

QUOTE:  Just believe in what you're doing and keep doing it. - Ricky Nelson

Answer:  d)  Kirsten Dunst.  She was born in glorious New Jersey!  All the other beautiful women listed were actually born in Sweden.