March 1962: Breast implants

In mid-March*, the first silicone-gel breast implants are inserted into a female patient.

The patient
Timmie Jean Lindsey, a 30-year-old mother of six, goes to Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston, Texas, to have rose tattoos removed from her breasts. While there, doctors persuade her to get breast implants. She agrees, but only if the doctors will also pin back her ears.

The doctors
Lindsey was originally under the care of Dr. Frank Gerow, a plastic surgeon with Baylor University College of Medicine. Gerow then teamed with Dr. Thomas Cronin to develop the implant. Working with the Dow Corning Center for Aid to Medical Research, they used materials supplied by Dow Corning. Cronin and Gerow's paper on the procedure, "Augmentation Mammaplasty: A new 'natural feel' prosthesis," would first be presented at the Third International Congress of Plastic Surgery (Washington, 1963).
They wrote: "For some years now, at least in the United States, women have been bosom conscious. Perhaps this is due in large measure to the tremendous amount of publicity which has been given to some movie actresses blessed with generous sized breasts. Many women with limited development of the breasts are extremely sensitive about it, apparently feeling that they are less womanly and therefore, less attractive. While most such women are satisfied, or at least put up with 'falsies,' probably all of them would be happier if somehow, they could have a pleasing enlargement from within."

The product
Breast enlargement has a long history and had been achieved by a number of means, including implants of glass balls and sponges and direct injection of paraffin and silicone. The Cronin-Gerow implants consisted of a silicone envelope, or sac, filled with silicone gel; Dacron patches were used on the outside of the envelope to adhere to tissue and keep it in place. It has been reported that Gerow hit upon the idea of a sealed sac after squeezing a plastic blood bag and noticing its similarities to the female breast. Dow Corning would begin commercial marketing of the implant in 1964 (the above photo is from 1965).

* Note about the date
I have been unable to pin down the exact date for the procedure on Timmie Jean Lindsey. It appears to have taken place between March 14 and March 21, based on communications between Drs. Cronin and Gerow and the Dow Corning Center. (Many thanks to Dr. Michael Middleton, a radiologist with the UC San Diego School of Medicine and co-author of the "Breast Implant Classification" paper linked below, for his help in dating the surgery.)

* "Surgically Implantable Human Breast Prosthesis" (patent application by Cronin-Dow, 1963; patent issued, 1966): @
* Breast Implants (from U.S. Food and Drug Administration): @
* "Safety of Silicone Breast Implants" (Institute of Medicine, 1999): @
* "Information for Women About the Safety of Silicone Breast Implants" (Institute of Medicine, 2000): @
* "History of Breast Reconstruction" (Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Eastern Virginia Medical School, 2004): @
* "Development of the Cronin implant" (School of Engineering and Applied Science and Darden School Foundation, University of Virginia, 1996): @ 
* Breast Implants entry, American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: @ 
* "Cleopatra's Needle: The History and Legacy of Silicone Injections" (paper by Dr. M. Sharon Webb, 1997): @
* "Breast Implant Classification with MR Imaging Correlation" (Radiographics, 2000): @

* "A Psychological Profile of women selected for augmentation mammaplasty" (South African Medical Journal, September 1963): @

Dow Corning
* "Highlights from the history of Dow Corning Corporation, the silicone pioneer" (PDF): @
* "Fascinating Silicone: For the Beauty and Personal Care Industry": @
* "Silicone Biomaterials: History and Chemistry & Medical Applications of Silicones" (PDF): @

* Excerpt from "Encyclopedia of Gender and Society, Volume 1" (2009): @
* "Cleavage: Technology, Controversy, and the Ironies of the Man-Made Breast" (book by Nora Jacobson, 1999): @
* "Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History" (Florence Williams, 2012): @
* Excerpt from "Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case" (book by Marcia Angell, 1997): @

* "I had the world's first breast job -- and endured years of misery, says Texan great-grandmother" (The Daily Mail, 2007): @
* Interview with Lindsey (The Guardian, 2008): @
* "Breast implants: the first 50 years" (The Guardian, 2012): @
* "Breast implants: Fifty long, strange years" (The Washington Post, 2012): @
* "Silicone City: The rise and fall of the implant -- or how Houston went from an oil-based economy to a breast-based economy" (Texas Monthly, 1995): @ 
* "When breast is not good enough" (The Age, 2012): @ 
* "Chronology of Silicone Breast Implants" (pbs.org, through 1999): @
* Episode of BBC's "Witness" program (2012): @
* "A brief history of breast enlargements" (BBC News Magazine, 2012): @


1961: Kennedy photos

This has been nagging at me for a while, so I thought I'd try to set the record straight as best I could.

The Corbis photo above (also see Getty Images photo) is from President Kennedy's first State of the Union speech on January 30, 1961. Notice the flower in the lapel of House Speaker Sam Rayburn, seated in the back right (and which is visible in this footage of the speech), and the diagonal design of Vice President Lyndon Johnson's tie. (Click here for the January 31 edition of The Milwaukee Journal, which used a similar photo in which Rayburn's flower can be seen.)

Now compare that to the Corbis photo above, from Kennedy's speech on May 25, 1961, in which he talked of landing a man on the moon by the turn of the decade. Speaker Rayburn has no flower in his lapel, and Johnson's tie is of a different design. (Click here for footage of the speech, and here for the May 26 edition of the Youngstown Vindicator, where a close-up photo of Kennedy -- and Johnson's tie -- can be seen.) Also note the difference in the positioning of the smaller microphones in front of Kennedy. 

I often see photos from the State of the Union speech used to illustrate the moon speech, typically the photo at left. This includes the JFK Library (click here), NASA (click here) and The New York Times (click here). (After communications with The Associated Press, the news agency changed its caption information.)


Undated: George Wallace comic book

Published by Commercial Comics Inc., this 16-page publication tells the life story and political views of Alabama gubernatorial candidate George Wallace. The book had Wallace saying, "If we folks in Alabama want segregation, we'll have segregation. Nothing in the Constitution tells us who we have to go to school with, sit down with or eat with. We'll handle our own problems in our own way!" It also included this promise: " ... and head right back North every Freedom Rider, sit in, and every other troublemaker backed by the NAACP that meddles in our affairs!" Wallace would be the top vote-getter in the Democratic primary, then would win the party runoff and would be elected governor on November 6. This was Wallace's second bid for the governorship; in 1958, Commercial Comics had produced a similar book for John Patterson, who beat Wallace in the Democratic primary.

* Full contents of comic book (from www.ep.tc): @
* From Alabama Department of Archives and History: @

* "Alabama Needs John Patterson for Governor" (from Alabama Department of Archives and History): @

* More about Commercial Comics Inc. (from tomchristopher.com): @


Tuesday, February 20, 1962: John Glenn

From the Sarasota (Florida) Journal:

American astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. scored a stunning space triumph for the United States today, becoming the first American to circle the earth.
The whole world watched and listened as the plucky 40-year-old Marine lieutenant colonel circled the earth three times.
His aircraft hurled around the earth at speeds of 17,530 miles per hour as he traveled at various ranges from 100 miles to 160 miles high.
After the third orbit, Col. Glenn brought the huge craft to safe landing in the Atlantic near the Bahamas. The three-orbit mission lasted approximately five hours.
He did encounter some minor trouble with his space control system, but officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said it was not serious.

-- NASA resources
* Short mission summary: @
* "The Friendship 7 Mission": @
* "Results of the First United States Manned Orbital Space Flight" (PDF): @
* Audio from flight: @ and @
* Anniversary video: @
* Short John Glenn biography: @
* Longer biography: @
* "40th Anniversary of the Mercury Seven": @
* "Mercury 7 Archives": @
* Glenn Research Center website: @
* Kennedy Space Center history: @

-- Video
This is just a small selection of the available footage. For more, search on www.criticalpast.com and www.archive.org.
* Coverage from ABC network: @
* "Space Triumph! Glenn Flight Thrills World" (newsreel): @
* "Friendship 7" (1962 documentary): @
* "The John Glenn Story" (1963 documentary): @

-- Photos
* NASA photos: @ and @ and @ (above photo is from NASA)
* Life magazine photos: @

-- Newspaper front pages
* Baltimore News-Post: @
* Boston Record-American: @
* Cleveland Plain Dealer: @
* Miami News: @ and @
* New York Daily News: @ and @
* New York Times: @
* Seattle Post-Intelligencer: @

-- Life magazine coverage
* February 2: @
* March 2: @
* March 9: @

-- Other
* Summary of mission (from www.spacefacts.de): @
* Summary of mission (from www.historynet.com): @
* New York Times story (February 21, 1962): @
* KCBS radio broadcast of flight: @
* Anniversary coverage (www.floridatoday.com): @
* Excerpts from "Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond" (book by Gene Krantz): @
* Excerpts from "Tracking Apollo to the Moon" (book by Hamish Lindsay): @
* Earlier post on Yuri Gagarin (April 12, 1961): @
* Earlier post on Alan Shepard (May 5, 1961): @


Monday, February 19, 1962: Chuck Berry

The rock 'n' roller begins serving what would be a 20-month prison term for violating the Mann Act. The act prohibits transporting a female across state lines for "immoral purposes." Berry had taken a teenager he had met in Mexico to work at his club in St. Louis; a few weeks later she was arrested on prostitution charges. (Photo by Corbis Images)

* Newspaper accounts of conviction and sentencing (click on "1960" and "1961"): @
* "Brown Eyed Handsome Man: The Life and Hard Times of Chuck Berry" (book by Bruce Pegg; go to page 113): @
* Chuck Berry's official website: @
* Short biography (from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame): @
* Entry from "The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll (by Robert Christgau, 1976): @
* More about the Mann Act (from pbs.org): @
* Berry v. United States (U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit): @


Undated: 'The Wall'

A short film made for the U.S. Information Agency, "The Wall" is narrated from the point of view of a West Berliner in the months after the construction of the Berlin Wall. Featuring actual newsreel footage, it was shown overseas but not in the United States -- U.S. laws at the time prevented its distribution in America. (The film includes footage from the first anniversary of the wall, on August 13, so was obviously released after that date.)

* More about the film (from National Film Preservation Foundation): @
* Watch the film (from Internet Archive): @
* "In The Shadow of the Wall," a similarly themed British propaganda film that includes more postwar context, also from 1962: @
* "Inventing Public Diplomacy: The Story of the U.S. Information Agency" (book by Wilson P. Dizard Jr.): @

-- Earlier posts
* Escape from East Berlin (December 5, 1961): @
* Standoff in Berlin (October 27-28, 1961): @
* Berlin Wall (photo timeline; August 1961): @
* Berlin Wall resources: @


Wednesday, February 14, 1962: 'A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy'

First lady Jackie Kennedy gives television viewers an inside look at the White House, talking about various rooms and renovations. The documentary was shown on two networks, CBS and NBC (attracting some 75%-80% of the viewing audience), and repeated on February 18 on ABC. It would win both an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award for public service. Though the viewing public could not tell on the black-and-white telecast, Mrs. Kennedy wore a red Chez Ninon dress for the show, which was taped on January 15.

Photos by Bettman / Corbis

* Entire show, as seen on NBC: @
* Summary (from The Museum of Broadcast Communications): @
* Dress (from JFK Library): @
* "First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Clothing" (from JFK Library): @
* Excerpt from "The Expanding Vista: American Television in the Kennedy Years" (book by Mary Ann Watson): @


Saturday, February 10, 1962: U-2 incident: Spy swap

Excerpts from The Associated Press:

American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was freed from a Russian prison and traded dramatically today for master Soviet spy Rudolph Abel in an early morning exchange at the middle of a bridge between East Germany and West Berlin.
Announcement of the trade was made at the White House at 3:19 a.m. to a corp of newsmen routed out of bed.
President Kennedy had gotten the word only a few minutes before in the White House quarters.
Powers had been in Russian custody since his high-altitude camera plane was downed on Soviet soil in May 1960.
After a spectacular public trial in which Powers pleaded guilty to espionage charges, he was sentenced to 10 years.
Abel had been described as Russia's chief spy in the United States when he was arrested in Manhattan June 21, 1957.
The exchange went off with cloak and dagger secrecy.
The dark-haired Powers and the gaunt Abel were escorted simultaneously onto Glienicker Bridge, connecting Potsdam with Wannsee in the US sector of Berlin.
The walk to freedom on the bridge for Powers ended weeks of Soviet-US negotiations.

From the Soviet Union's TASS news agency:

The announced decision of the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium to pardon Francis Powers in the interests of improving Soviet-U.S. relations managed to get into the late editions of U.S. morning papers, which published it under enormous banner headlines. An AP correspondent reports from Moscow that Powers left his place of imprisonment with the following words: "I will never fly over Soviet Russia again."

Photo from Deutsche Presse-Agentur, taken on the day of the exchange.

* "Powers Is Freed By Soviet In An Exchange for Abel; U-2 Pilot On Way To U.S." (New York Times, February 10): @
* "U-2 Pilot Powers Goes Free In Dramatic Trade With Reds" (Ocala Star-Banner, February 11): @
* "The Abel for Powers Exchange" (newsreel): @
* "The Great Spy Swap ... An Album of Intrigue" (Life magazine, February 16): @
* "Inside Story of a Lawyer's Adventure" (Life magazine, February 23): @
* "Bridge of Spies: A True Story of the Cold War" (book by Giles Whittell): @

-- Rudolph Abel
* Short biography of Abel (from Counterintelligence Briefing Center, U.S. Department of Energy): @
* "Top-Ranking Russian Spy Chief Captured" (newsreel, 1957): @
* "The Hollow Coin" (Department of Defense film about Abel case, 1958): @
* Summary of Abel case (from www.fbi.gov): @

-- Previous blog entries
* U-2 incident (May 1, 1960): @
* U-2 evidence (May 7, 1960): @
* Powers' indictment (July 9, 1960): @
* Powers' trial (August 17-19, 1960): @


Wednesday, February 7, 1962: Project Blue Book

In response to a request by the Mutual Broadcasting Company, the U.S. Air Force issues a statement on unidentified flying objects. It reads, in part, "there has been nothing in the way of evidence or other data to indicate that these unidentified sightings were extraterrestrial vehicles under intelligent control." The day before, the Air Force had released a fact sheet summarizing the first several years of Project Blue Book, the military's investigation into UFOs.

The photo shows the cover of the 1952 status report.

* Air Force statement (February 7): @
* Air Force fact sheet (February 6): @
* "Flying Saucers? AF Says You're Seeing Things" (Miami News, February 7): @
* Project Blue Book Archive: @
* Project Blue Book summary (from the National Archives): @
* Earlier post on Betty and Barney Hill (September 19-20): @

February 1962: Cuba trade embargo

The United States enacts a trade embargo against Cuba "in light of the subversive offensive of Sino-Soviet Communism with which the Government of Cuba is publicly aligned." The White House statement says that "on humanitarian grounds exports of certain foodstuffs, medicines and medical supplies ... would be excepted from this embargo." The order, signed by President Kennedy on February 3, goes into effect on February 7.

* Full text of order: @
* White House statement: @
* Earlier post on partial embargo (October 19, 1960): @


February 1962: Broadside magazine

The tiny, influential magazine is first published. From the "Music of Social Change" project at Emory University: "Broadside was founded in 1962 by Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friessen in the wake of McCarthyism. It emerged as a creative outlet for composers who were writing 'topical songs,' or music that comments on current issues, and provided a rare forum through which these songwriters could publicize and circulate their materials. Based in New York City, the publication largely featured protest and 'agit-prop' (agitation-propaganda) songs, including many compositions written in the response to the increasingly violent scenes of the civil rights movement. Broadside was published with an old mimeograph machine, lending it a homespun appearance that belies its power influence on American music."

The first issue included the words to "Talking John Birch" by Bob Dylan; the song is better known as "Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues."

The magazine's mission statement, also from the first issue:

Topical songs have been an important part of America's music since early Colonial days. Many people throughout the country today are writing topical songs, and the only way to find out if a song is good is to give it wide circulation and let the singers and listeners decide for themselves. BROADSIDE's aim is not so much to select and decide as to circulate as many songs as possible and get them out as quickly as possible. Our schedule calls for twice-a-month publication -- this will depend mainly on the contributing songwriters. BROADSIDE may never publish a song that could be called a "folk song." But let us remember that many of our best folk songs were topical songs at their inception. Few would deny the beauty and lasting value of some of Woody Guthrie's songs. Old or new, "a good song can only do good."

* Magazine's website: @
* First issue: @
* Back issues: @
* Index of artists: @
* Radio episode of "Sounds to Grow On" (from Smithsonian Folkways; click on Program #8): @
* "The Best of Broadside 1962-1998: Anthems of the American Underground from the Pages of Broadside Magazine" (2000 album): @


Sunday, February 4, 1962: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Founded by entertainer Danny Thomas, the hospital opens in Memphis, Tennessee. The hospital specializes in treatment of and research into pediatric cancer. Years earlier, Thomas had prayed to St. Jude Thaddeus, patron saint of hopeless causes, and pledged to build a shrine to the saint if he could "help me find my way in life."

* Hospital website: @
* Hospital profile (from National Comprehensive Cancer Network): @
* Slideshow (from Memphis Commercial Appeal): @
* "St. Jude Opens Fulfilling Comic's Vow" (Youngstown Vindicator, February 5): @
* Danny Thomas biography (from The Museum of Broadcast Communications): @


February 1962: "Spacewar!"

Created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology starting in 1961, the "Spacewar!" video game was in full working mode by the following February. It quickly proved popular among computer enthusiasts and helped lay the foundation for video game development. In the game, two players steer spaceships and try to destroy the other, all set against a background of stars.

* Play the game: @ and @
* Entry from MIT Museum: @
* Entry from Computer History Museum: @
* Entry from www.1up.com: @
* "Spacewar: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums" (Rolling Stone, 1972): @
* "Space War! A Computer Game Today, Reality Tomorrow?" (Saga, 1972): @
* "The Origin of Spacewar" (Creative Computing, 1981): @
* "Seminal video game Spacewar lives again" (CNET.com, 2011): @
* "Spacewar!, the first 2d top-down shooter, turns 50" (Ars Technica, 2011): @
* "The first 'electronic' game ever made?" (from pongmuseum.com): @
* Video of "Spacewar!" in action: @
* Interview with Steve Russell, one of the game's creators: @
* "Understanding Video Games: The Essential Introduction" (book): @
* "Smartbomb: The Quest for Art, Entertainment and Big Bucks in the Videogame Revolution" (book): @


Wednesday, February 1, 1962: 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

The novel by Ken Kesey is published by Viking Press. The New York Times wrote on February 4: "What Mr. Kesey has done in his unusual novel is to transform the plight of a ward of inmates in a mental institution into a glittering parable of good and evil. ... The catastrophic terminus of this novel is a bit obvious. But the route traversed is so brilliantly illuminated that it is reward enough."

Time magazine wrote in 2005, in listing it among the top 100 English-language novels since 1923 (the year Time was founded): "When Kesey decided to take on the hypocrisy, cruelty and enforced conformity of modern life, he dug into his own experiences as a test subject in a mental hospital. In Cuckoo's Nest the irrepressible inmate Randle McMurphy does battle with the icy, power-mad Nurse Ratched to liberate, or at least breathe a little life into, the crushed and cowed patients she lords it over, while the book's stonily silent narrator Chief Bromden looks on. Both an allegory of individualism and a heart-tearing psychological drama, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest manages to be uplifting without giving an inch to the seductions of sentimality."

* More about Kesey (from The Beat Page): @
* Kesey tribute site: @
* Website of Kesey's son, Zane: @
* Actor Christopher Lloyd reads from the book: @
* "The Parts That Were Left Out" (from www.redhousebooks.com): @
* "Insanity as Redemption in Contemporary American Fiction: Inmates Running the Asylum" (book by Barbara Tepa Lupack): @

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