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Happy 114th Birthday to the Oldest Living American!

OK, so Jeralean Talley of Inkster, Mich., who was born on May 23, 1899, isn’t quite the oldest person in the world – that distinction belongs to Jiromon Kimura, a Japanese man who turned 116 in April.

Jeralean Talley (center) at her 113th birthday celebration in May 2012.

Jeralean Talley (center) at her 113th birthday celebration in May 2012.

That said, the oldest living American has been around for a long, long time.

When Talley was born in Montrose, Ga., William McKinley was President, Henry Ford was just getting started as an automobile maker, music was played on phonographs with big horns instead of speakers, and people paid for things with silver dollars. The Internet didn’t exist, but everyone was pretty excited about Guglielmo Marconi’s recently invented wireless telegraph. Women couldn’t yet vote, and African Americans were still subject to “Jim Crow” laws that legalized racial discrimination. The U.S. flag had only 45 stars. Quite clearly, Talley has lived through some gigantic changes and historic events in her 114 years.

But enough about that. Here are some fascinating facts about Jeralean Talley, brought to you on her 114th birthday:


Photo: Courtesy of Michael Kinloch


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