ON THIS DAY: August 24, 2017

August 24th is

Pluto Demoted Day *

Strange Music Day *

Vesuvius Day *

Waffle Iron Day *

William Willberforce Day *

Sack Like a Visigoth Day * new!

MORE! William Wilberforce, Jean Rhys and Abbie Hoffman, click



France – Saint-Jean-de-Luz:
Baleapop Music & Art Festival

Liberia – National Flag Day

Nepal – Hari Talika Teej
(Women’s healthy husband & family fest)

Switzerland – Zürich: Openair Festival

Ukraine – Independence Day


On This Day in HISTORY

79 – (Traditional date) After centuries of dormancy, Mount Vesuvius erupts, buries Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiae, commemorated on Vesuvius Day *

The Eruption of Vesuvius, by Abraham Pether – 1825

410 – The Sack of Rome: The city is attacked by the Visigoths led by King Alaric. Rome was no longer the capital of the Western Roman Empire, having been replaced in that position first by Mediolanum in 286 and then by Ravenna in 402. But Rome retains a paramount position as “the eternal city” and a spiritual center of the Empire. The sack is a major shock to contemporaries, friends and foes of the Empire alike, the first time in almost 800 years that Rome has fallen to a foreign enemy (see also 2017 entry)

1215 – Pope Innocent III declares the Magna Carta invalid

1349 – 6,000 Jews, blamed for the bubonic plague, are killed in Mainz, Germany

1456 – The first printing of the Guttenberg Bible is completed

1552 – Lavania Fontana born, Italian painter; she supports the family, her husband takes care of the house and kids


La Regina di Saba e Salomone (Solomon and Sheba) by Lavinia Fontana

1556 – Sophie Brahe born, Danish horticulturalist, genealogist, and chemistry/medical student, also assists her brother, astronomer Tycho Brahe

1572 – St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre – French King Charles IX, swayed by his mother Catherine de Medici, orders the assassination of leaders of the French Protestants, called Huguenots, in Paris, which becomes a bloodbath, killing 70,000 protestants, and causing a resumption of the French religious civil war

1662 – Act of Uniformity requires all English to accept Book of Common Prayer

1669 – Alessandro Marcello born, Italian composer

1724 – George Stubbs born, English painter and draftsman

Horse and Dog by George Stubbs

1759 – William Wilberforce is born, head of English parliamentary campaign to abolish the slave trade. Small in stature, but with a fine speaking voice and a sharp wit, he tirelessly advocated for ending the slave trade, in spite of numerous health problems, from 1789 until the passage of Abolition of the Slave Trade bill in 1807.  William Wilberforce Day * honors his persistence

1814 – British forces capture Washington DC, set fire to the Capitol and the President’s Mansion (now called the White House), the only time the city has been occupied by a foreign force. Dolley Madison organizes the household staff and slaves of the presidential residence to save valuables and records as the British are entering the city

1837 – Théodore Dubois born, French composer and organist

1847 – Charles McKim born, American architect

Courtyard of the Boston Public Library, designed by McKim, completed in 1895

1857 – The Panic of 1857 becomes first world-wide economic crisis, brought on by an international economic downturn and over-expansion of U.S. economy, sparked by the sinking of SS Central America carrying a large shipment of gold to  NY banks, combined with failure of Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company.

1869 – Cornelius Swarthout patents the waffle iron *

1890 – Ella Rees Williams born, Dominican-English author of novels and short stories, under pen name Jean Rhys; Wide Sargasso Sea

1891 – Thomas Edison patents the motion picture camera

1898 – Malcolm Cowley born, American novelist, poet, and critic; New Republic editor

1899 – Jorge Luis Borges born, Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator; Labyrinths


1903 – Graham Sutherland born, English Surrealist painter

The Dying Swan, by Graham Sutherland – c. 1942

1904 – Mary Burchell born, pseudonym of Ida Cook, English activist and author; with her sister, Mary Louise Cook, helped Jews escape from the Nazis during the 1930s; known for writing romance novels and her autobiography We Followed Our Stars

1905 – Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup born, American Delta Blues singer-songwriter; best-known songs are “That’s All Right” “My Baby Left Me” and “So Glad You’re Mine”

1909 – Workers begin pouring concrete for the Panama Canal

1929 – Betty Dodson born, American sex educator, artist and author, pioneer in women’s sexual liberation

1932 – Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly nonstop across the U.S., from Los Angeles to Newark NJ in just over 19 hours

1936 – Antonia Duffy born, uses pen name A. S. Byatt, English novelist and poet; Angels and Insects,  Babel Tower

1937 – Susan Sheehan born, American author; Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction for her book Is There No Place on Earth for Me?; staff writer for The New Yorker

1938 – Mason Williams born, American guitarist and composer; Classical Gas

1940 – Francine Lalonde born, Canadian member of the House of Commons 1993-2011 (for two different districts); campaigned for Assisted Suicide/Death With Dignity bill

1945 – Ronee Blakley born, singer-songwriter, actor, producer; women’s rights activist

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty goes into effect

1949 – Stephen Paulus born, American composer

1950 – Edith Sampson becomes the first black U.S. delegate to the U.N.

1954 – Congress passes the Communist Control Act, declaring the Communist Party to be an “agency of a hostile foreign power”

1967 – Led by Abbie Hoffman, the Youth International Party temporarily disrupts trading at the New York Stock Exchange by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery, causing trading to cease as brokers scramble to grab them.

1970 – A  bomb, planted anti-war extremists, explodes at the University of Wisconsin’s Army Research Center, and kills a researcher

1981 – Mark David Chapman sentenced to 20 years-to-life for killing John Lennon

1991 – Ukraine declares its independence from the Soviet Union

1994 – An initial accord between Israel and the PLO giving partial self-rule to Palestinians on the West Bank

1998 – Musician Patrick Grant starts Strange Music Day * – “listen to a CD you never heard before, just for the hell of it”

2006 – Pluto Demoted * – 424 astronomers still present on final day of the International Astronomical Union meeting in Prague, less than 5% of the world’s astronomers, voted to demote Pluto from a planet to a dwarf planet

2017 – Sack Like a Visigoth * is inaugurated – if you love Talk Like a Pirate Day, this one’s right up your alley (see also year 410 entry) – How to play  along: first, get a sack. Then, because the Visigoths were always hungry, raid your kitchen for provisions that are easily portable in your sack. Next, go on a wander, munching and sipping as you go. If you are wandering your own back yard, a little roaring and imaginary sword play are optional.


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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