ON THIS DAY: May 31, 2018

May 31st is

Save Your Hearing Day

National Macaroon Day

Save Your Hearing Day

Senior Health and Fitness Day

World MS Day (Multiple Sclerosis) *

World No-Tobacco Day *


MORE! Walt Whitman, Chien-Shiung Wu and W. Mark Felt, click



Christianity – Corpus Christi (Body of Christ): commemorates the Last Supper before the crucifixion of Christ

Brunei –
Royal Brunei Armed Forces Day

Malaysia – Labuan and Sabah:
Harvest Festivals

Spain – Castilla-La Mancha:
Día de la Región de Castilla-La Mancha


On This Day in HISTORY

1279 BC – Rameses II (‘the Great’) becomes Pharaoh of Egypt

455 – After a reign of only 75 days, Western Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus, who was strongly implicated in the murder of his predecessor, Valentinian III, manages to anger just about everybody: Valentinian’s widow, Licinia Eudoxia, by forcing to her to  marry him under threat of execution, and then canceling her daughter Eudocia’s wedding to the son of Vandal King Genseric. He makes Eudocia marry his own son instead, which infuriates the Vandals and his new stepdaughter. When word arrives that the Vandals are on their way to Rome, Petronius panics along with the rest of the city, and decides to flee; his bodyguard and retinue abandon him, and he is stoned to death by a mob, his body mutilated and thrown into the Tiber River. Genseric and his Vandals arrive three days later, and sack Rome for the next two weeks, and carry off Licinia, Eudocia and her younger sister; Eudocia later marries Genseric’s son Huneric, her original bethrothed

1443 – Margaret Beaufort born, English Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of Henry VII, and influential matriarch of the House of Tudor; founder of St. John’s and Christ’s colleges at Cambridge; Lady Margaret Hall, the first Oxford college to admit women, was named for her

1578 – Henry III of France lays the first stone of the Pont Neuf (New Bridge), the oldest bridge in Paris

1669 – Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary in his hand

1683 – Jean-Pierre Christin born, French physicist, mathematician, and astronomer, invented the Celsius thermometer

1790 – The United States enacts its first copyright statute, the Copyright Act of 1790

1795 – The Revolutionary Tribunal, originally instituted by the National Convention during the French Revolution for the trial of political offenders, but which condemned thousands, many innocent, to the guillotine, is suppressed

1819 – Walt Whitman born, influential 19th century American poet, ‘father of free verse’ – Leaves of Grass


1824 – Jessie Benton Frémont born, American author and activist, outspoken opponent of slavery, known for her writings about her life with her husband, John C. Frémont, in California and Arizona

1827 – Kusumoto Ine born, Japanese physician, first woman doctor of Western Medicine in Japan

1852 – Julius Richard Petri born, German microbiologist, inventor of the Petri dish

1854 – Mary Hannah Fulton born, American physician and medical missionary to China, established the Hackett Medical College for Women in Guangzhou, China

1859 – The Great Clock, with its famous bell Big Ben, of the Palace of Westminster, home to the British Houses of Parliament, starts keeping time

1860 – Walter Sickert born in Germany, English painter and printmaker

Self-Portrait by William Sickert, circa 1920s

1862 – Cynthia W. Alden born, American author and journalist, worked for the New York Tribune and the Ladies Home Journal, founder of the Sunshine Society, a group which sent cards and letters to shut-ins, then expanded their mission to establish a sanatorium and a school for blind children, and advocated for legislation to provide care for blind children in 18 states

1874 – The original Madison Square Garden opens; it is demolished in 1890, and replaced with a much more elaborate structure, designed by noted architect Stanford White, on the same site, which in turn is demolished in 1926 to make way for the New York Life Building. The third version of Madison Square Garden is built on a new site which is not on Madison Square; there are sight line and ventilation problems, and demolition begins in 1968. The current Madison Square Garden sits atop Pennsylvania Station, opening on February 11, 1968

1884 – Dr. John Harvey Kellogg applies for a patent for “flaked cereal” – his brother W.K. Kellogg founds the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company in 1906, which will become the Kellogg Company

1890 – Hilla Rebay born as Baroness Hildegard Anna Augusta Elisabeth Rebay von Ehrenwiesen, German-American abstract artist, co-founder and director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Portrait of Solomon R Guggenheim by Hilla Rebay – 1928

1901 – Alfredo Antonini born in Italy; Italian-American conductor and composer

1902 – The Treaty of Vereeniging is signed, ending the Second Boer War between the British Empire, and the Boers of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State

1910 – The Union of South Africa declares its independence from the UK

1912 – Chien-Shiung Wu born in China, American experimental physicist; worked on the Manhattan Project, where she contributed to the development of the process for separating uranium metal into uranium-235 and uranium-238 isotopes by gaseous diffusion; the ‘Wu Experiment’ provided the practical confirmation needed by her colleagues Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen-Ning Yang to contradict the hypothetical law of conservation of parity, and won Lee and Yang the 1957 Nobel Prize in physics, but her contributions were overlooked; first woman instructor at Princeton University’s Physics Department

1913 – U.S. Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan certifies the ratification of the 17thAmendment to the Constitution, which alters the process of electing U.S. Senators to direct election (“one person, one vote”), and changes how vacancies will be filled from appointment by state legislatures, to temporary appointments, which can be made by a state governor if granted by the state’s legislature, until a special election can be called

1917 – “Darktown Strutters’ Ball” is released by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band

1924 – Patricia Harris born, American politician and ambassador; first African-American woman to serve in U.S. presidential cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and also the first to serve as a U.S. Ambassador (to Luxembourg)

1928 – Two Australian pilots, Charles Kingsford-Smith and Charles Ulm, and two Americans, navigator Harry Lyon and radio operator James Warner, take off in their Fokker F.VIIb/3m, the Southern Cross, from Oakland CA for an aerial crossing of the Pacific Ocean to Brisbane, Australia

1946 – Krista Kilvet born, Estonian radio journalist at Eesti Radio, politician, and a leader of the restored Women’s Union, Estonia’s women’s movment; elected to the Riigikogu (Estonian Parliament – 1992-1998); appointed in 2008 as the Estonian ambassador to Norway and Iceland, but was unable to assume the office because of kidney disease; died in January 2009

1947 – Communists seize power in Hungary

1948 – Svetlana Alexievich born, Belarusian investigative journalist and non-fiction writer in Russian about 20th century history; in 2015, became the first writer from Belarus to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature; her books Zinky Boys: Soviet Voices from a Forgotten War and Chernobyl Prayer/Voices from Chernobyl have been translated into English

1953 – Linda Riordan born, English Labour Co-operative politican; Member of Parliament for Halifax (2005-2015)

1955 – After the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954, many all-white schools remained segregated, so the court in Brown v. Board of Education II orders the states to make plans to integrate their schools “with all deliberate speed” and gives federal district courts the power to supervise the process of desegregation and assure that progress is made, and to punish schools that refuse to integrate; the vagueness of “all deliberate speed” was used as an excuse in many school districts for doing nothing to integrate their schools

1955 – Lynne Truss born, English author, journalist, dramatist and radio broadcaster; best known for her 2003 book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

1956 – Buddy Holly writes “That’ll Be the Day”

1961 – South Africa becomes an independent republic, leaving the British Commonwealth

1962 – Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi SS officer who organized Adolf Hitler’s “final solution of the Jewish question,” is executed for his crimes against humanity near Tel Aviv, Israel. His last words before he was hanged: “I hope that all of you will follow me.”

1974 – The Separation of Forces Agreement Between Israel and Syria is signed by senior military officers of both sides in Geneva, Switzerland, creating a buffer zone on the Golan Heights separating Israeli and Syrian forces

1977 – The last weld on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is completed; it covers 800 miles and cost $8 billion to build, and requires 70,000 workers overall

1979 – The restored Radio City Music Hall re-opens

1979 – Zimbabwe declares its independence

1980 – The theme from M*A*S*H (“Suicide is Painless”) is #1 on the UK singles chart, 10 years after it was first written, when BBC Radio 1 DJ Noel Edmonds champions it

1990 – The sitcom Seinfeld debuts on NBC-TV

1991 – Angola’s two warring factions sign a peace treaty, ending a 16-year civil war

1994 – The U.S. announces it is no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union

1995 – Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, on the Presidential campaign trail, singles out Time Warner for “the marketing of evil” – the work of rap artists in movies and music – but later admitted that he had not seen or heard much of what he had been criticizing, and he keeps $21,000 in political contributions made to him by Time Warner, from profits he characterized as Rap “Blood Money”

2005 – Former FBI official W. Mark Felt reveals himself in Vanity Fair as “Deep Throat,” the secret Washington Post source who helped bring down President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate scandal

2008 – World No-Tobacco Day * is part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Tobacco Free Initiative

2009 – Dr. George Tiller, a provider of late-term abortions, is shot and killed while attending services at his church in Wichita, Kansas; his murderer is convicted and sentenced to life in prison

2009 – The first World MS Day (Multiple Sclerosis) * is sponsored by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF)

2013 – The asteroid 1998 QE2 and its moon make their closest approach to Earth for the next two centuries


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 31, 2018

  1. Terry Welshans says:

    History was pretty harsh on Western Roman Emperor Petronius Maximus. We should learn from that.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      I think the lesson will be entirely wasted on the person who should take it to heart – the current occupant of the Oval Office.

      • Terry Welshans says:

        True, but if it did happen, it could not have happened to any nicer of a person.

Comments are closed.