ON THIS DAY: April 17, 2017

April 17th is

International Bat Appreciation Day *

Chaucer Day *

Cheeseball Day *

Ellis Island Family History Day *

International Haiku Poetry Day

World Hemophilia Day *

MORE! Geoffrey Chaucer, Karen Blixen and Clare Francis, click



Cambodia – Khmer New Year Holiday

Iraq – FAO Day
(Food and Agriculture Day)

Poland – Dyngus Day
(Boys spray girls with water – girls retaliate)

Puerto Rico – José de Diego Holiday
(Puerto Rico Independence Movement leader)

Syria – Independence Day
(last French soldiers evacuate Syria)

United States –
Boston: Boston Marathon
Washington DC:
> D.C. Emancipation Day (Compensated Emancipation Act)
> White House Lawn Easter Egg Roll

On This Day in HISTORY

1397 – Chaucer Day * – Geoffrey Chaucer tells the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II; scholars say this is the start day of the book’s pilgrimage too

1492 – The Catholic Monarchs of Spain and Christopher Columbus sign the Capitulations of Santa Fe, granting him the titles Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Viceroy, and Governor-General, as well as a tenth part of all riches obtained on his voyage to ‘the Indies’ to acquire spices

1521 – Martin Luther’s trial for his writings begins during the Diet of Worms assembly

1524 – Giovanni da Verrazzano reaches what will be New York harbor

1622 – Henry Vaughan born, called the ‘Silurist,’ Welsh-English poet and mystic

1801 – Cheeseball Day * – Farmer Elisha Brown presents President Thomas Jefferson with a 1,235 pound ball of cheese; cheeseballs as actual food turned up as a recipe in Virginia Stafford’s Food of My Friends, published in 1944

1811 – Ann Sheppard Mounsey born, British organist and composer

1845 – Isabel Barrows born, American stenographer, physician and professor of ophthalmology at Howard University; first woman to work as a stenographer for the United States State Department (for William Seward in 1868); first woman to open a private medical practice in Washington D.C.

1851 – Anna Garlin Spencer born, American educator, author, lecturer, Unitarian minister, suffragist, peace activist; first woman ordained as a minister in Rhode Island

1861 – The state of Virginia’s secession convention votes to secede from the United States, becoming the 8th state to join the Confederate States of America.

1878 – The first White House Lawn Easter Egg Roll is held on the day after Easter

1882 – Artur Schnabel born, Austrian pianist and composer

1885 – Karen Blixen born, Danish author, wrote under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen; Out of Africa

1895 – The Treaty of Shimonoseki between China and Japan is signed. This marks the end of the First Sino-Japanese War, and the defeated Qing Empire is forced to renounce its claims on Korea and to concede the southern portion of the Fengtien province, Taiwan and the Pescadores Islands to Japan

1903 – Gregor Piatigorsky born, Russian cellist

1905 – U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Lochner v. New York, that the “right to free contract” is implicit in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, so limits to working hours are a violation of the amendment; the case involved a New York law that limited bakery employee’s to 10-hour-a-day, 60-hour workweeks. Among the four judges who dissented, Oliver Wendell Homes wrote one of the most famous opinions in U.S. legal history: “This case is decided upon an economic theory which a large part of the country does not entertain. If it were a question whether I agreed with that theory, I should desire to study it further and long before making up my mind. But I do not conceive that to be my duty, because I strongly believe that my agreement or disagreement has nothing to do with the right of a majority to embody their opinions in law. It is settled by various decisions of this court that state constitutions and state laws may regulate life in many ways which we, as legislators, might think as injudicious, or, if you like, as tyrannical, as this, and which, equally with this, interfere with the liberty to contract. Sunday laws and usury laws are ancient examples. A more modern one is the prohibition of lotteries. The liberty of the citizen to do as he likes so long as he does not interfere with the liberty of others to do the same, which has been a shibboleth for some well known writers, is interfered with by school laws, by the Post Office, by every state or municipal institution which takes his money for purposes thought desirable, whether he likes it or not.”  The majority on the court made several decisions invalidating state and federal laws that to regulate working conditions. This trend began to be reversed with the decision in West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish (1937), in which the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of minimum wage legislation enacted by the State of Washington

1912 – Russian troops open fire on striking goldfield workers in northeast Siberia, killing at least 150

1915 – Regina Ghazaryan born, Armenian painter and military pilot during WWII, hid and preserved the works of the poet Yeghishe Charents

1916 – Sirima Bandaranaike born, Sri Lankan politician, served as Prime Minister three times including as PM of Ceylon in 1960, the modern world’s first female head of government

1924 – Althea T L Simmons born, NAACP’s head of Washington DC branch (1979-1990) and chief lobbyist

1928 – Cynthia Ozick born, American author of short stories, novels and essays

1933 – Pennelope Lively born, British author, Booker Prize and Carnegie Medal

1940 – Anja Silja, German operatic soprano,  Grammy Award winner

1946 – Clare Francis born, British writer and singlehanded and distance racing sailor, set a women’s transatlantic singlehanded record; first woman skipper in the Whitbread Round the World Race

1948 – UN Security Council Resolution 46,  confirms that the United Kingdom is still the Mandatory Power in charge of the Palestinian territory, responsible for ending the conflict; urging every member of the Council to aid it to achieve peace. Further, it calls upon both the Arab Higher Committee and the Jewish Agency to immediately cease all acts of violence, and cooperate with the British authorities and refrain from any actions which might endanger the safety of any of the Holy Places in the territory

1949 – At midnight, 26 Irish counties officially leave the British Commonwealth. A 21-gun salute on O’Connell Bridge, Dublin, ushers in the Republic of Ireland

1951 – The Peak District, which lies mostly in Derbyshire, becomes the United Kingdom’s first National Park

1954 – Michael Sembello born, American musician-composer, song “Maniac”

1961 – Bay of Pigs Invasion: Cuban exiles financed and trained by the CIA land at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba with the aim of ousting Fidel Castro

1964 – Jerrie Mock ends her 22,860 mile trip and becomes the first woman to fly solo around the world; her trip took 29 days with 21 stopovers. She is awarded the Louis Blériot Medal from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale

1969 – Sirhan Sirhan is convicted of assassinating Robert F. Kennedy

1970 – The ill-fated Apollo 13 spacecraft returns to Earth safely

1971 – The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is formed

1975 – The Cambodian Civil War ends when the Khmer Rouge captures the capital Phnom Penh and Cambodian government forces surrender

1989 – World Hemophilia Day *is established by the World Federation of Hemophilia

2001 – Ellis Island Family History Day * is proclaimed, co-sponsored by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and the National Geographic Society, marking the day in 1907 when the most immigrants were processed in a single day: 11,747 people

2014 – NASA’s Kepler space observatory confirms the discovery of the first Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star

2015 – International Bat Appreciation Day * is sponsored by Bat Conservation International to commemorate the U.S. Mexico and Canada signing an historic letter of intent to increase coordination and cooperation to conserve bat species during the annual meeting of the Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management



  • Upside-down Bat
  • Chaucer as a pilgrim in the Ellesmere manuscript
  • International flags
  • Canterbury Tales illustrated Prologue cover, with opening lines
  • Midnight, Henry Vaughan
  • Anna Garlin Spencer, woman genius quote
  • Self-Portrait, by Regina Ghazaryan
  • Cynthia Ozick – gratitude quote
  • World Hemophilia Day logo
  • International Bat Appreciation Day poster


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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