ON THIS DAY: May 17, 2018

May 17th is

Cherry Cobbler Day

Same Sex Marriage Day *

National Walnut Day *

World Hypertension Day *

World Neurofibromatosis Day *

World Telecommunications and Information Society Day *

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia *


MORE! Erik Satie, Birgit Nilsson and Merle Miller, click



Congo (DRC) – Liberation Day

Nauru – Constitution Day

Norway, Svalbard & Jan Mayen –
Syttende Mai (Constitution Day)

Spain – Galicia:
Día del las Letras Galegas *


On This Day in HISTORY

1155 – Jien of the Tendai born, a Japanese historian, poet and Buddhist monk; his masterwork, completed around 1220, is entitled Gukanshō (Jottings of a Fool)

Jien in the Hyakunin Isshu

1521 – Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, accused of listening to prophecies of of Henry VIII’s death and intending to kill the King, is executed for treason

1642 – Under the authority of the Roman Catholic Société Notre-Dame de Montréal, missionary Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve founds the Ville Marie de Montréal, in Nouvelle-France (now Quebec province of Canada)

1673 – Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette begin exploring the Mississippi River

1749 – Edward Jenner born, English physician and scientist who was the pioneer of smallpox vaccine, the world’s first vaccine

1792 – The Buttonwood Agreement: The New York Stock Exchange is founded by brokers meeting under a tree on what is now Wall Street

1794 – Anna Brownell Jameson born in Dublin, British author, early feminist, and considered the first British art historian; The Diary of an Ennuyée, The Loves of the Poets, Characteristics of Women 

1818 – Ezra Otis Kendall born, American astronomer, celestial cartographer and mathematician

1836 – Virginie Loveling born, Belgian poet, novelist, and children’s author under the pen name W. E. C. Walter

1838 – Mary Edwards Bryan born, American journalist, editor, and best-selling novelist; editor for multiple publications; one of the best paid women editors in New York in 1891

1845 – Jacint Verdaguer born in Spain, regarded as one of the greatest poets of Catalan literature, a Roman Catholic priest; noted for his epic poems L’Atlàntida and Canigó

1860 – Charlotte Barnum born, American mathematician and social activist; after being turned down for graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University because they did not accept women; she persisted, and became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale University (1895); from 1901 to 1913, she worked in Washington DC, for U.S. Naval Observatory, U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, and U.S. Department of Agriculture; one of the first women members of the American Mathematical Society  

1863 – Rosalía de Castro publishes Cantares Gallegos, the first book in the Galician language – celebrated in Galicia since 1963 as Día del las Letras Galegas *

1865 – The International Telegraph Union (later the International Telecommunication Union) is established in Paris – see 1969 for World Telecommunications history*

1866 – Erik Satie born, French avant-garde composer and musician

1873 – Henri Barbusse born, French novelist, WWI soldier, communist and lifelong friend of Albert Einstein; Le Feu (Under Fire)

1873 – Dorothy Richardson born, British journalist, feminist and author of Pilgrimage, a sequence of 13 novels

1875 – The first Kentucky Derby is run, won by Aristides

1899 – Carmen de Icaza born, later Baroness of Claret, Spanish journalist and novelist; (1925-1930) worked for newspaper El Sol; noted for novel, Cristina Guzmán

1902 – Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovers the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer

1903 – Lena Levine, American psychiatrist and gynecologist; director, Margaret Sanger Research Bureau of New York, prominent in the development of marriage counseling and birth control

1912 – Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner born, African American inventor most noted for developing the sanitary belt with a moisture-proof napkin pocket, but the company that first showed interest in her invention rejected it after discovering that she was a black woman, so it wasn’t used until 30 years after she invented it, and she earned her living as a professional floral arranger, eventually owning her own business

1918 – Birgit Nilsson born, Swedish dramatic soprano, famed Wagnerian interpreter

1919 – Merle D. Miller born, American author and gay rights pioneer; wrote Plain Speaking, a best-selling biography of Harry S. Truman, and “came out of the closet” in a 1971 New York Times Magazine article called “What It Means to Be a Homosexual” which became a book, On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual

1937 – Hazel R. O’Leary born, American lawyer and educator; first woman and first African American to serve as U.S. Secretary of Energy (1993-1997); president of Fisk University (2004-2012)

1946 – U.S. President Truman seizes control of the nation’s railroads, delaying a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen

1954 – The United States Supreme Court hands down a unanimous landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, declaring that racially segregated public schools were inherently unequal

1956 – Annise Parker born, American Democratic politician and LGBT activist, second woman Mayor of Houston (2010-2016); Houston City Controller (2004-2010); Houston City Council member (1998-2004)

1958 – National Walnut Day * is proclaimed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower

1961 – Enya born as Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, Irish singer-songwriter, former member of Clannad before pursuing her solo career; Ireland’s top selling solo artist; winner of 7 World Music Awards, 4 Grammy Awards for Best New Age Album, and an Ivor Novello Award; nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Song for “May It Be” which she wrote and performed for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

1962 – Lisa Lyng Falkenberg born, Danish writer of fantasy fiction, rock musician biographies, literary studies, and as a freelance journalist

1962 – Rosalind Picard born, American computer scientist and engineer, pioneer of affective computing, which recognizes the importance of emotion in human communication; her work expanded into the fields of autism and developing devices to help humans recognize emotional nuances; Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT; co-founded Affectiva; Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers since 2005

1969 – Soviet Venera 6 begins its descent into the atmosphere of Venus, sending back atmospheric data before being crushed by pressure

1969 – The Who release their album Tommy in the U.S

1969 – World Telecommunication Day is first celebrated, to mark the founding of the International Telecommunication Union in 1865. In 2005, the World Summit on the Information Society asks the UN General Assembly to declare May 17 as World Information Day. In 2006, the two events are merged into World Telecommunications and Information Society Day *


1973 –The Watergate Hearings begin in the U.S. Senate, televised nationally

1978 – The Children’s Tumor Foundation is formed, the first grassroots organization solely dedicated to finding treatments for Neurofibromatosis (NF), a multi-symptom disease which can be inherited from a parent, but half of those diagnosed with NF have no history of the disease in their family. NF can cause non-cancerous tumors to grow on nerves anywhere in the body, but may also affect cognitive skills, hearing and bone structure.  The CTF helps to coordinate and publicize World Neurofibromatosis Day * events and fundraising worldwide

1980 – Rioting causes 18 deaths in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood after an all-white jury in Tampa acquits four former Miami police officers of beating a black man to death

1983 – The U.S. Department of Energy declassifies documents showing world’s largest mercury pollution event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (ultimately found to be 4.2 million pounds), in response to the Appalachian Observer’s Freedom of Information Act request

1990 – The General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) eliminates homosexuality from the list of psychiatric diseases – see also 2004 entry

1996 – U.S. President Bill Clinton signs “Megan’s Law,” requiring neighborhood notification when sex offenders move in

1997 – Zaire is officially renamed the Democratic Republic of the Congo

2000 – Two former Ku Klux Klansmen are arrested on murder charges in the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham AL, killing four black girls

2004 – The first legal same-sex marriages in the U.S. are performed in the state of Massachusetts, now celebrated as Same Sex Marriage Day *

2004 – The first International Day Against Homophobia (Transphobia and Biphobia * are added later) is launched to coordinate international events which spotlight LGBT rights violations. On this day in 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric diseases

2005 – World Hypertension Day * is inaugurated by the World Hypertension League, a section of the International Society of  Hypertension, to promote regular checks of blood pressure levels, and promote prevention and treatment of this “silent killer”

2007 – For the first time since 1953, trains from North and South Korea cross the 38th Parallel in a test-run agreed upon by both governments

2011 – Arnold Schwarzenegger issues a statement confirming a Los Angeles Times report that he had fathered a child with a woman on his household staff over a decade earlier

2012 – A report on American Roman Catholic nuns from the Vatican’s orthodoxy watchdog, the Congress for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was publicly released by the United States Conference of Bishops, causes controversy. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents over 80% of Roman Catholic nuns in the U.S., who have been vocal about social justice issues, were praised for their work with the needy, but taken to task for being unacceptably silent on issues like opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion. The Vatican ordered the nuns to focus more on promoting church orthodoxy


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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4 Responses to ON THIS DAY: May 17, 2018

  1. Easiest cobbler ever. Jim Foreman’s cowboy cherry cobbler.

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