ON THIS DAY: October 16, 2018

October 16th is

National Dictionary Day *

National Ether Day *

National Feral Day *

National Liqueur Day

World Food Day *


MORE! Wu Zetian, Noah Webster and Charlotte Brontë, click



India – Durga Puja/Durgotsava
(Hindu goddess Durga festival)

Nepal – Phulpati/Fulpaati
(part of Dashain/Durga Festival)

Northern Ireland – Belfast:
International Arts Festival

Switzerland – St. Gallus Day


On This Day in HISTORY

690 – Wu Zetian ascends to the throne of the Tang dynasty, proclaiming herself ruler of the Chinese Empire; she is the sole officially recognized Empress Regnant of China in over two millennia

1384 – Jadwiga is crowned “King” of Poland, the first female monarch of the Kingdom of Poland, and rules from 1384 until her death in 1399; after her marriage, she is co-King with her husband, Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, a heathen who converted to Catholicism in order to marry her; she becomes a very successful mediator between his quarreling kinsmen, and uses her persuasive skills to convince the people of Ruthenia to switch their loyalty from Hungary to Poland

1678 – Anna Waser born, Swiss painter; her promising career was interrupted by caring for her ailing parents

Self-Portrait, by Anna Waser – 1691

1708 – Albrecht von Haller born, Swiss anatomist, physiologist and naturalist

1758 – Noah Webster, ‘Father of the American Dictionary’ is born – National Dictionary Day * – You can put in the modern spelling of a word, and see the listing in Noah Webster’s 1828 edition online here: http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/

1793 – Marie Antoinette is guillotined in Paris

1829 – Tremont Hotel opens in Boston, a modern hotel where rooms cost $2 a day, meals included

1831 – Lucy Stanton born, free-born African American abolitionist and women’s rights supporter; she became the first black woman to complete a four-year course of study at an American college when she graduated in 1850 from a ‘Ladies Literary Course’ (women took fewer classes and weren’t eligible for Bachelor of Arts degrees) at Oberlin College. Her step-father was an active participant in Cleveland Ohio’s branch of the Underground Railroad, so there were often fugitives hidden at her home as she grew up. He also founded the Cleveland Free School which Stanton attended; after college, she worked as a free school principle, a teacher and a seamstress. In 1866, she was sent by the Cleveland Freedmen’s Aid Society to teach newly freed slaves, first in Georgia, and then in Mississippi. Later, she moved to Tennessee. In 1900, she moved to Los Angeles. In 1904, she was a founder of the Sojourner Truth Industrial Club for the large numbers black working women seeking better employment opportunities in California

1834 – Much of the Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London burns to the ground, leaving only a few of the medieval portions of the palace intact

1841 – Queen’s University is founded by royal charter issued by Queen Victoria in Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Queen’s University, Canada – from the air in 1919

1843 – Sir William Rowan Hamilton, Irish physicist, astronomer and mathematician, develops quaternions, a complex numbers system applied to mechanics in three-dimensional space

1846 – National Ether Day * commemorates this epic breakthrough in surgery: Boston dentist William T.G. Morton uses ether to anesthetize Gilbert Abbott before a tumor is removed by surgeon John Collins Warren, MD.

1847 – The novel Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Brontë, is published in London as Jane Eyre, An Autobiography, “edited by Currier Bell.” It revolutionized prose fiction by revealing Jane’s moral and spiritual growth and her emotional conflicts through an intimate, first-person narrative. Many of the reviews at the time were negative, some condemning it as “anti-Christian,” in violation of “every code human and divine” and fostering “rebellion at home”

1854 – Oscar Wilde born, Irish playwright and author; noted for plays like The Importance of Being Earnest and Lady Windermere’s Fan; his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray and his poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol

1859 – John Brown leads a raid the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, in West Virginia

1875 – The building for Brigham Young Academy is purchased by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) president Brigham Young, which will become Brigham Young University

1882 – The ‘Nickel Plate Road’ railroad from Buffalo, New York, to Chicago and St. Louis, begins service

1886 – David Ben-Gurion born, first Prime Minister of Israel (1948-1953)

1888 – Eugene O’Neill born, one of the foremost American playwright, winner of the Nobel for Literature, and three Pulitzer Prizes for Long Day’s Journey Into Night, Strange Interlude and Anna Christie

1898 – William O. Douglas born, U.S. Supreme Court (1939-1975)

1890 – Michael Collins born, Irish revolutionary leader and statesman

1895 – Marguerite Rawalt born, lawyer, president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women (1954-56), supporter of the ERA and entire feminist agenda, particularly including the word “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

1903 – Cecile de Brunhoff born, French author and classical pianist, creator of the original Babar story, as a bedtime story for her children

1905 – The Indian state of Bengal is partitioned by order of Lord Curzon, British Viceroy of India, into East Bengal, a largely Muslim area, and West Bengal, a mostly Hindu area, a “divide and rule” policy which outraged both groups, and led to Bengal’s reunification in 1911

1908 – Olivia Coolidge born in Britain, American writer, mainly of young adult books, many about Ancient Greeks and Romans, and several biographies

1909 – At the first summit meeting between the leaders of the U.S. and Mexico,  Presidents Porfirio Díaz and William Howard Taft ( the first serving U.S. President to cross the border into Mexico) are nearly assassinated by a man holding a concealed pistol, who was apprehended only a few feet from the presidents as their procession was passing by the celebrated scout and adventurer, Frederick Russell Burham, and Texas Ranger Private C. T. Moore

1916 – Margaret Sanger opens the first U.S. birth control clinic in Brooklyn, N Y. Nine days later she is arrested. When she is convicted of illegally distributing contraceptives, the trial judge holds that women do not have “the right to copulate with a feeling of security that there will be no resulting conception.”

1919 – Kathleen Winsor born, American journalist and author; Forever Amber

1923 – The Walt Disney Company is founded by brothers Walt and Roy Disney

1925 – Angela Lansbury born, actress with an 70+year career in theatre, film and television from Gaslight (1944) to Driving Miss Daisy (2014 Broadway production); involved with Abused Wives in Crisis, which combats domestic abuse, and with other organizations that rehabilitate drug users, or help those with HIV/AIDS

1927 – Günter Grass born, German novelist, poet, playwright, 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature, noted for his first novel The Tin Drum

1928 – Mary Daly born, American radical lesbian feminist philosopher, academic and theologian; taught classes in theology, feminist ethics and patriarchy at the Jesuit-run Boston College (1967-1999); She was threatened with dismissal in 1968 after publication of her first book, The Church and the Second Sex, but was given support by the then all-male student body, and later was granted tenure. Ironically, she would later be forced out after refusing to admit male students to her advanced women’s studies classes, which violated university policy and its interpretation of Title IX, even though she did allow men in her introductory class, and tutored males students separately who wanted to take advanced classes; noted for her second book, Beyond God the Father

1934 – Chinese Communists begin the Long March, actually a series of marches, which lasted a year and four days

1939 – The Man Who Came to Dinner opens on Broadway

1941– Emma Nicholson born, Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, British politician; originally a Conservative, switched to Liberal Democrat as a Member of the European Parliament for South East England (1999-2009); in 2016, switched back to Conservative Party; Executive Chairman of the AMAR Foundation, which works to rebuild and improve the lives of disadvantaged communities in war-torn areas

1945 – United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) is founded. World Food Day * commemorates its founding, and highlights steps to end world hunger

1946 – Ten of the Nazi leaders convicted at the Nuremberg Trials of war crimes are hung in the gymnasium of the Nuremberg Palace of Justice complex, which also housed a large prison facility

1948 – Alison Chitty born, British theatre production designer, and set and costume designer; honored with two Olivier Awards for Best Costume Design, 2001 for Remembrance of Things Past at the Royal National Theatre, and 2007 for The Voysey Inheritance, Royal National Theatre

1950 – C.S. Lewis publishes The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, starting The Chronicles of Narnia series

1956 – Marin Alsop born, American conductor and violinist; musical director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007, the first woman to hold the position with a major American orchestra

1956 – Meg Rosoff born, American Writer based in London; noted for her first novel How I Live Now, which won the Guardian Prize, and the Printz Award, and her second novel, Just in Case, winner of the Carnegie Medal for the best children’s book

1958 – Tim Robbins born, American actor, producer-director and screenwriter; nominated for an Oscar for Best Director for the 1995 film Dead Man Walking

1959 – Tessa Munt born, British Liberal Democrat politician; Member of Parliament for Wells (2010-2015); Somerset County Hall councilor since 2017; member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

1962 – The Cuban missile crisis begins as President John F. Kennedy is informed that reconnaissance photographs reveal the presence of Russian-built missile bases in Cuba

1964 – China detonates its first nuclear weapon

1968 – Gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos are kicked off the U.S. Olympic track and field team at the Mexico City games for wearing Olympic Project for Human Rights badges and raising their fists in the Black Power salute on the medals podium. Peter Norman, the white Australian silver medalist, wore an OPHR badge in solidarity with Smith and Carlos

1970 – Anwar Sadat is elected president of Egypt, succeeding Gamal Abdel Nasser

1973 – Henry Kissenger and Lê Đức Thọ are awarded the Nobel Peace Prize,  prompting two dissenting Nobel Committee members to resign. Thọ refuses to accept the prize, on the grounds that peace has not actually been achieved in Vietnam

1975 – Rahima Banu, a two-year-old girl from the village of Kuralia in Bangladesh, is the last known person to be infected with naturally occurring smallpox

1977 – Laura Wade born, English Playwright; noted for her plays Limbo, 16 Winters, Colder Than Here and Breathing Corpses

1978 – Karol Wojtyla becomes Pope John Paul II, the first non-Italian Pope since 1523

1978 – Wanda Rutkiewicz is the first Pole and the first European woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest

1984 – Archbishop Desmond Tutu is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

1989 – Prince and Sheena Easton release their single, “Arms of Orion”

1995 – The Skye Bridge is opened, connecting the Isle of Skye to the island of Eilean Bàn, which is connected to the Scottish mainland by the Skye Crossing

1995 – The “Million Man March” on Washington, led by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan – actual attendance is estimated between 700,000 and 850,000

1998 – Former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is arrested in London on a Spanish warrant requesting his extradition on murder charges

1998 – David Trimble and John Hume are named as co-recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering the Northern Ireland peace accord

2001 – National Feral Cat Day * is launched by Alley Cat Allies to promote the Trap-Neuter-Return program to stabilize the cat population

2002 – President George W. Bush signs a congressional resolution authorizing war against Iraq

2002 –  Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a library and cultural center in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, a commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was destroyed in antiquity, is officially inaugurated.  Alexandria University and UNESCO were key supporters of the project

2011 – The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.

2012 – Existence of exoplanet Alpha Centauri Bb confirmed by European observers

2015 – Malaysian authorities arrested an alleged Kosovo hacker on U.S. charges of obtaining and delivering personal data on American military and government personnel to Junaid Hussain, a member of the Islamic State. In August, Hussain, a British citizen, leaked names, email addresses, locations and phone numbers of 1,351 U.S. personnel with the threat that ISIS soldiers would strike at their heads in their own lands. Hussain was killed in Syria by a drone strike in September


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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