ON THIS DAY: May 16, 2018

May 16th is

Biographer’s Day *

Coquilles Saint Jacques Day

National Mimosa Day

Honor Our LGBT Elders’ Day *

National Love a Tree Day


MORE! James Boswell, Margret Rey and Studs Terkel, click



Islam – Start of  the month of Ramadan

Austria – Vienna:
Vienna Theatre Festival (ongoing)

South Sudan – SPLA Day
(Sudan People’s Liberation Army)


On This Day in HISTORY

1527 – Florence becomes a Republic

1532 – Sir Thomas More resigns as Lord Chancellor of England, refusing to support the supremacy of the King above the Papacy

1718 – Maria Gaetana Agnesi born, child prodigy, the “Witch of Agnesi,” Italian mathematician, linguist, and philosopher, wrote about the curve, author of 1st book dealing with both integral and differential calculus. In 1750, appointed chair of mathematics and natural philosophy at Bologna Academy of Sciences, incredible accomplishment for any mid-eighteenth century woman, when  few universities in Europe allowed women to study, let alone hold teaching positions. Later in life, Agnesi, a deeply religious woman, joined a nunnery, devoting her final years to working with the poor

1763 – James Boswell and Samuel Johnson meet in the London bookshop of Johnson’s friend, Tom Davies, a Scot who wrote a biography of the actor-manager David Garrick; commemorated now as Biographer’s Day *

1792 – Denmark abolishes the slave trade

1804 – Elizabeth Palmer Peabody born, American educator, business woman and translator, founded the first English-language kindergarten in the United States, business manager for the Transcendentalist publication The Dial

1817 – Mississippi steamboat service begins

1843 – The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest sets out on the Oregon Trail with one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri

1861 – The Republican Convention in Chicago chooses Abraham Lincoln as their Presidential candidate

1861 – Kentucky proclaims its neutrality in the U.S. Civil War, which lasted only four months, until Confederate General Gideon Pillow violated Kentucky’s declared neutrality, provoking Kentuckians to adhere to the Union

1866 – The U.S. Congress eliminates the half dime coin and replaces it with the five cent piece – the ‘nickel’

1868 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson is acquitted in his impeachment trial by one vote in the U. S. Senate

1879 – Antonin Dvorák’s “Slavic Dancing” premieres – now known as Slavonic Dances

1880 – Anne O’Hare McCormick born in England, American journalist and columnist, 1936 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism, first woman member of NY Times editorial board

1890 – Edith Grace White born, American zoologist and ichthyologist; noted for studies of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays); also published textbooks on genetics and biology; professor and department head of Biology at Wilson College for 30 years

1894 – Walter Yust born, U.S. editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Britannica

1898 – Tamara de Lempicka born in Poland, spent most of her working life in France and the U.S.; best known for polished Art-Deco portraits of aristocrats and the wealthy, and highly stylized paintings of nudes

Tamara de Lempicka – Autoportrait  aka Tamara in the Green Bugatti

1898 – Desanka Maksimović born, Serbian poet, author and translator; became professor at Belgrade’s First High School for Girls 1926; but was dismissed from her position by the Nazis in 1941; while working odd jobs to survive, she wrote secretly a collection of poems, including one about the Wehrmacht’s massacre of schoolchildren at Kragujevac, which were published after Serbia was liberated

1905 – H.E. Bates born, English author; Love for Lydia, The Darling Buds of May

1906 – Margret Rey born, German author and illustrator, with her husband, H.A. Rey known for the Curious George series of children’s books

1910 – Olga Bergholz born, Russian poet, gave speeches and read poems on the radio during the Siege of Leningrad (1941-1944)

1912 – Studs Terkel born, American author, historian and broadcaster; 1985 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction; Hard Times, Working

1918 – The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government during wartime an imprisonable offense. Repealed less than two years later

1919 – Liberace, born as Wladziu Valentino Liberace, American pianist and TV personality, one of the highest paid entertainers in the world in his heyday

1920 – Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan d’Arc

1923 – Victoria Fromkin born, American linguist who contributed to the field of Phonology, how sounds of a language are organized in the mind, and studied linguistic  development in a child who had been in severe isolation for the first 13 years of her life; Fromkin was the first woman to become Vice Chancellor of Graduate Programs in the University of California system (1980-1989); elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1996

1925 – Nancy Roman born, American astronomer, advocate for women in the sciences, first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science at NASA; the ‘Mother of Hubble’

1927 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules bootleggers must pay income tax

1929 – Adrienne Rich born, American poet and author, declined the National Medal of Arts in protest of a vote to end funding for the National Endowment for the Arts

1929 –The first Academy Awards ceremony takes place during a private dinner for less than 300 people at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; Wings wins best picture

1939 – The first Food Stamps are issued; the program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every U.S. dollar’s worth of orange stamps purchased, fifty cents’ worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could only be used to buy food determined by the Department of Agriculture to be surplus

1943 – Baroness Kay Andrews born, British Labour politician and life peer; first woman Chair of English Heritage (2009-2013); Lord Temporal (secular member of the House of Lords, as opposed to Lords Spiritual – bishops of the Church of England) since 2000

1948 – Emma Georgina Rothschild-Sen born, British economic historian; professor of History and Economics at Harvard University; previously associate professor in the MIT Department of Humanities (1978-1988); sits on the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation

1951 – Janet Soskice born in Canada, Catholic theologian and philosopher; professor of Philosophical Theology and a fellow of Jesus College at Cambridge; studies on the role of women in Christianity, religious language and the relationship between science and religion; author of The Sisters of the Sinai, about discovery by Agnes and Margaret Smith of the Syriac Sinaiticus, a fourth century translation of the New Testament gospels

1963 – Rachel Griffith born, British-American professor of economics at the University of Manchester, and research director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies; first woman president of the European Economic Association (2015); joint managing editor of The Economic Journal (2011-2017) President of the Royal Economic Society for 2018-2019

1966 – Bob Dylan releases his album Blonde on Blonde

1966 – After he has replaced several ‘revisionists’ (moderates), Mao Zedong announces the Cultural Revolution in the ‘May 16 Notification,’ bringing on ten years of sociopolitical upheaval which will paralyze China politically and greatly damage its society and economy. Chinese cultural and historical treasures are ransacked and destroyed; temples and burial sites are desecrated; Buddhism is denounced as superstition; libraries and books burned; a central directive is issued to stop police intervention in the rampages of the Red Guard, unleashing greater violence on educators; many of them are killed, commit suicide or are sent to labor camps

1970 – The movie M.A.S.H. wins the Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival

1981 – Kim Carnes’ single “Bette Davis Eyes” is #1 on the charts

1986 – The Seville Statement on Violence is adopted by a UNESCO-sponsored international meeting of scientists

1988 – U.S. Surgeon Gen C Everett Koop reports nicotine as addictive as heroin

1991 – Queen Elizabeth II is the first British Monarch to address the U.S Congress

2005 –Women’s suffrage and the right to hold office passes in a 35-23 National Assembly vote in Kuwait

2011 – NASA Space Shuttle Endeavor launches for its final mission in space

2013 – Human stem cells are successfully cloned

2015 – The first Honor Our LGBT Elders’ Day * is launched by Nate Sweeney, executive director of the LGBT Resource Center of Chase Brexton Healthcare


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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3 Responses to ON THIS DAY: May 16, 2018

  1. Terry Welshans says:

    Kim Carnes has the most gravely voice ever. The music in her song is super unique, and some of the phrases in her song are so sarcastic – I love them. My favorites are “She knows how to make a crow blush” and “She is as pure as New York Snow.”

    • wordcloud9 says:

      Hi Terry –

      Definitely an original!

    • That raspy sound is the result of her not following doctor’s orders. She had surgery on her throat. Post-op instructions told her she should not talk much, and not sing at all, until her throat completely healed. She went back to singing anyway. She ended up sounding like Rod Stewart.

      When her hit “Bette Davis Eyes” was released, I heard a DJ describe her as, “Sounds like a gal who probably carries a Tommy-gun in her violin case.”

      Another great female singer who has been compared to Rod Stewart is Bonnie Tyler.

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