ON THIS DAY: December 13, 2017

December 13th is

National Cocoa Day

National Day of the Horse *

National Popcorn String Day *

National Violin Day

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MORE! Francis Drake, Emily Carr and George Gershwin, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Bhutan – Dochula:
Druk Wangyel Tshechu
(4th King’s Victory Festival)

Malta – Jum ir-Repubblika
(Republic Day)

Santa Lucia – National Day

Sweden – Saint Lucia Day

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On This Day in HISTORY

1294 – Saint Celestine V resigns the papacy after only five months to return to his previous life as an ascetic hermit

1363 – Jean Charlier de Gerson born, French scholar, theological author and poet; Chancellor of Université de Paris (elected in 1395); one of the first to proclaim the visions of Joan d’Arc as authentic



1545 – Catholic ecumenical Council of Trent begins

1577 – Sir Francis Drake leads five ships sailing from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage

Drake’s flagship, The Golden Hind


1636 – The Massachusetts Bay Colony organizes three militia regiments to defend the colony against the Pequot Indians, precursor of the U.S. National Guard

1640 – Robert Plot born, English naturalist, first Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, and first Keeper of the Ashmolean Museum; author of The Natural History of Oxford-shire, and The Natural History of Staffordshire

1642 – Dutch explorer Abel Tasman reaches New Zealand

1662 – Francesco Bianchini born, Italian astronomer and philosopher; secretary of the commission for the reform of the calendar, worked on a method to calculate the astronomically correct date for Easter in a given year


Bianchini holding the eyepiece mount of an aerial telescope


1769 – Dartmouth College founded by Reverend Eleazar Wheelock, under royal charter from King George III, on land donated by Royal governor John Wentworth

1779 – Smithfield Cattle and Sheep Society holds the first Smithfield Show in London, now the leading agriculture show in the UK

1797 – Heinrich Heine born, German poet, critic and journalist



1809 – An early experimental abdominal surgical procedure is performed on Jane Todd Crawford in Kentucky, without an anesthetic

1814 – Ana Néri born, first Brazilian nurse, who volunteered for the Brazilian Army’s health corps during the Triple Alliance Paraguayan War (1864-1870), founding a nursing house which cared for over 6,000 wounded soldiers; the first Brazilian School of Nursing is named for her; she is also listed in the Brazilian Book of Fatherland Heroes



1816 – John Adamson received a patent for a dry dock

1827 – John & Peter Delmonico open their first restaurant in New York, Delmonico & Brothers Cafe at 23 William Street

Delmonico’s today


1830 – Mathilde Fibiger born, Danish feminist, and novelist, Clara Raphael, Tolv Breve (Clara Raphael, Twelve Letters)

1838 – Pierre-Marie-Alexis Millardet born, French botanist who saved the vineyards of France from total destruction by the grape phylloxera, an insect which sucks the fluid from grapevines, by grafting the French vines on American rootstock, which was resistant to phylloxera. Also develops the first widely used plant fungicide

1871 – Emily Carr born, Canadian painter and author, inspired by the Pacific Northwest forests and the region’s indigenous peoples; one of Canada’s ‘Group of Seven’ modern painters


Vanquished, by Emily Carr (1930)


1883 –Belle da Costa Greene born, American librarian, worked at the Princeton University Library, then hired by J.P. Morgan to catalog and oversee his private collection; first director of the Pierpont Morgan Library (1906-1948)

1885 – Annie Dale Biddle Andrews born, American mathematician; first woman to earn a Ph.D, in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley; Constructive theory of the unicursal plane quartic by synthetic methods

1897 – Drew Pearson born, notable American newspaper columnist and radio commentator; in his syndicated column, Washington Merry-Go-Round, which criticized politicians and other public figures; sometimes prone to exaggeration and inaccuracies

1903 – Ella Jo Baker born, American Civil Rights Activist; worked for the NAACP (1940-1946), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957-1960); and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC–1960-1986)



1903 – Carlos Montoya born, Spanish guitarist and composer



1908 – Elizabeth Alexander born, British geologist and physicist; during WWII, correctly interpreted anomalous radar signals as caused by the sun, which led after the war to the development of radio astronomy; also did early work on the geology of Singapore

1911 – Kenneth Patchen born, American poet

1913 – The U.S. Federal Reserve System is established

1921 – Britain, France, Japan and the U.S. sign the Four Power Pacific Treaty, agreeing not to seek territorial expansion, and mutual consultation in territorial disputes

1927 – James A. Wright born, American poet; awarded the 1956 Yale Younger Poets Award, and the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his Collected Poems



1928 – George Gershwin’s An American in Paris premieres



1934 – Antoinette Rodez Schiesler born, African-American chemist and astronomer; Director of Research at Villanova University; former Roman Catholic nun, and Episcopal priest

1937 – During the Second Sino-Japanese War, Nanking falls to the Japanese army, and over 300,000 Chinese civilians are slaughtered, injured or raped

1942 – Anna Georges Eshoo born, American Democratic politician; the only Assyrian American in congress, and one of two congresswomen of Armenian descent; has served in the U.S. House of Representatives from two different California districts since 1993

1949 – R.A. MacAvoy born, American fantasy and scifi author; noted for Tea with the Black Dragon, The Book of Kells, and her Damiano and Lens of the World series



1949 – The Knesset votes to move the capital of Israel to Jerusalem

1950 – Dame Julia Slingo born, British meteorologist and climate scientist; chief scientist at the Meteorological Office (the U.K.’s national weather service) since 2009; former Director of Climate Research in the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) National Centre for Atmospheric Science, and founding Director of the Walker Institute for Climate System Research

1959 – Archbishop Makarios III becomes the first President of Cyprus

1961 – Painter “Grandma Moses” passes away at the age of 101


Self-Portrait by Anna “Grandma” Moses


1962 – NASA launches Relay 1, first active repeater communications satellite in orbit

1964 – President Johnson and Mexican President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz end a 100-year-old border dispute by setting off an explosion diverting the Rio Grande River to reshape the border between the state of Texas and Mexico

1966 – Jimi Hendrix releases his single “Foxy Lady”



1967 – Constantine II of Greece launches unsuccessful counter-coup against the Regime of the Colonels

1971 – Naomi Long, Northern Irish engineer and politician, 54th Lord Mayor of Belfast

1972 – Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt begin final extra-vehicular activity (EVA) or “Moonwalk” of Apollo 17, to date the last time humans to set foot on the Moon

1974 – Malta becomes a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations

1981 – General Jaruzelski declares martial law in Poland, in response to Solidarity’s growing influence and activism

1988 – PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat gives a speech at a UN General Assembly meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, after U.S. authorities deny him a visa to visit New York

1989 – Taylor Swift born, American singer-songwriter-guitarist



1991 – North Korea and South Korea sign a non-aggression agreement

1993 – U.S. Supreme Court rules that a hearing must be held before property linked to illegal drug sales can be seized

1997 – The Getty Center in Los Angeles, CA, opens with a ribbon cutting ceremony



1998 – Puerto Rican voters reject U.S. statehood in a non-binding referendum.

2002 – European Union announces that Cyprus, the Czech Republic,  Estonia,  Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members in 2004

2004 – U.S. Senate Resolution 452 proclaims the first National Day of the Horse *



2010 – Foodimentary launches first National Popcorn String Day *

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About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 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 and a bewildered Border Collie.
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3 Responses to ON THIS DAY: December 13, 2017

  1. About National Violin Day. I had no idea there was such a day, but now that it is here, let me throw this out. Violins have been made from all kinds of wood, and some of imitation wood. However, few people have ever seen or heard a violin made of American Chestnut.

    There is a reason for that. A blight hit American Chestnuts over a hundred years ago. The last old growth Chestnut tree died about 1915. There are still Chestnut trees, but they only grow to just make nuts one or two years, then the blight kills them. Because they produce some nuts, they continue to re-seed themselves. The tallest Chestnut I ever saw was about 20 feet tall–little more than a sapling, but old enough to begin making nuts.

    Once a Chestnut tree died, boring insects take over. They leave holes in the wood as they tunnel through it. That is called ‘wormy Chestnut’ and is relatively plentiful. Virtually all the old growth wood was either burned, or turned into furniture. Solid Chestnut actually makes pretty good wood for an acoustic instrument, but if it is full of worm holes, it cannot be used for obvious reasons. Most luthiers have never seen a Chestnut board large enough to be used in an instrument. As far as I know, there is only one Chestnut violin in existence. This instrument was made sometime in the 1930s of solid Chestnut.

    It will sound best if you have good speakers, or a good set of headphones. Otherwise, you won’t be able to hear the ‘voice’ of this magnificent American wood. It is played by a gifted teenager who was working on a project to preserve the sound of precious old instruments.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      Glorious – really a shame that a way hasn’t been found to end the blight.

      • Arborists and botanists are working on a way to use genetic material from the Japanese Chestnut to make a strain of American Chestnut that is blight resistant. It is said that two hundred years ago, a squirrel could make it from Maine to California by jumping from one Chestnut tree to the next. Probably a bit of exaggeration, but not by much. Old paintings of Chestnut trees show them to be enormous, with wide spreading branches. The old poem about the blacksmith beneath the “spreading Chestnut” gives a mental image.

        As for violins, we go straight to the source of Ashokan Farewell. The composer was Jay Unger and his wife, Molly Mason. Here they are with their talented children. It was not actually a civil war tune; it simply sounds like it. Ashokan Farewell was composed in 1982. One of the most haunting and memorable violin pieces ever written.

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