ON THIS DAY: January 5, 2019

January 5th is

Screenwriters Day *

National Bird Day *

Whipped Cream Day


MORE! Dorothy Levitt, Umberto Eco and Mamata Banerjee, click



Christianity: Twelfth Night Eve or Twelfth Night, depending on how each branch of the religion counts from Christmas. It is the night before or the night of Epiphany, when the Three Kings arrived with gifts for the baby Jesus. In some Orthodox branches of Christianity, it is this day instead of December 25 that is celebrated as Christmas

Armenia – Armenian Christmas Eve

Netherlands – Amsterdam:
Culture Cult Design & Art Expo

Sweden – Eve of Epiphany


On This Day in HISTORY

1066 – Edward the Confessor, King of England, dies childless, with the succession unclear, causing a crisis which leads to the Norman conquest of Britain

1587 – Xu Xiake born, Chinese explorer-geographer and travel writer

1592 – Shah Jahan born, fifth Mughal emperor (1628-1658); his reign is considered a golden age of Mughal architecture, culminating in the Taj Mahal, the tomb of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal

 1679 – Pietro Filippo Scarlatti born, Italian organist and composer

1778 – Zebulon Pike born, American general and explorer

1846 – The U.S. signs the Oregon Treaty with Britain, dividing the Oregon Territory,  giving Britain all of Vancouver Island and the land above the 49th parallel, and the U.S. the land south of that line

Vancouver Island

1869 – Paraguayan War: The Duke of Caxias, at the head of triple alliance troops (Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay), enters the capital city of Asunción, Paraguay, already occupied by Brazilian General João de Souza da Fonseca Costa. Over the next few months, the allied soldiers will loot almost every building in the city, including diplomatic missions of European nations. Resistance by the Paraguayans continues, but it is centered in the mountains, and they suffer from severe shortages of weapons and supplies. The war drags on until March of 1870, when Paraguay’s president, Francisco Solano López is captured and killed. The number of Paraguayan dead is disputed, with claims that as much as 60% of the population was killed, but certainly a massive percentage of the nation’s men died or were wounded, and many women and children as well 

1871 – Frederick Converse born, American composer; his work includes four operas and five symphonies

1875 – The Palais Garnier in Paris, one of the world’s great opera houses, is inaugurated

1880 – Nikolai Medtner born, Russian pianist and composer

1882 – Dorothy Levitt born, feminist and first British woman racing driver; holder of the first water speed record, the women’s world land speed record, the 1905 women’s longest drive record (London to Liverpool and back in two days); author of The Woman and the Car: A Chatty Little Handbook for all Women Who Motor or Who Want to Motor (1909), in which she recommends that women “carry a little hand-mirror in a convenient place while driving” to hold aloft “from time to time in order to see behind while driving in traffic,” predating the first manufacture of an automotive rear view mirror by five years, and advises women travelling alone to carry an automatic Colt because the gun had only a slight recoil, making it more suitable for women; she gave driving lessons to Queen Alexandra and the Royal Princesses; her exploits helped gain acceptance of female drivers and popularize motoring with women in a financial position to afford an automobile

Photo of Dorothy Levitt for the cover of her book The Woman and the Car

1892 – Agnes von Kurowsky born, American nurse who served in the American Red Cross hospital in Milan during WWI. One of her patients was 19-year-old Ernest Hemingway, who fell in love with her. They planned to marry, but after he returned to the U.S., she wrote to him that she was going to marry an Italian. They never met again, but she became the inspiration for the character of Catherine Barkley in Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. She did not marry the Italian, instead marrying an American she met in 1928 while stationed with the Red Cross in Haiti, but she quickly divorced him. Her marriage to her second husband in 1934 lasted until her death in 1984. The American Red Cross honored her for “her gallant and commendable services” during WWI

1895 – French army officer Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, convicted of treason and stripped of his rank, begins a sentence of life imprisonment on Devil’s Island – 11 years later, he will be completely exonerated and reinstated as a major in the French Army, but this scandalous miscarriage of justice divides France deeply

1889 – According to the Oxford English Dictionary the word ‘hamburger’ first appears in print on this day in a Walla Walla newspaper in the U.S. state of Washington

1900 – Lawrence George Green born, South African journalist and travel book author; The Coast of Diamonds, In the Land of the Afternoon, Under a Sky Like Flame and When the Journey’s Over are among his many titles

1902 – Stella Gibbons born, English reporter and feature writer for the Evening Standard; author of the novel Cold Comfort Farm

1906 – Dame Kathleen Kenyon born, leading archaeologist of the Fertile Crescent; excavator of Jericho (1952-1958)

1914 – The Ford Motor Company announces an eight-hour workday and that it would pay a “living wage” of at least US $5 for a day’s labor

1917 – Lucienne Day born, British leader in contemporary textile design; noted for Calyx, her abstract screen-printed design for furnishing fabric

Lucienne Day – Calyx

1919 – The German Workers’ Party, which would become the Nazi Party, is founded

1925 – Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming becomes the first U.S. female governor

1931 – Alvin Ailey born, American dancer and choreographer, founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

1932 – Umberto Eco born, Italian philosopher and author, The Name of the Rose

1933 – Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge begins in San Francisco Bay

1938 – Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o born, Kenyan author, social critic and academic; founder and editor of the Gikuyu-language journal Mũtĩiri. His debut novel, Weep Not, Child, was the first novel in English published by an East African writer. He was arrested and imprisoned for a political passage in the 1977 play, Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want), which he wrote with Ngũgĩ wa Mirii. He lost his professorship at Nairobi University, and harassment after his release from prison in 1978 forced him and his family into exile for the next 22 years. He worked with the London-based Committee for the Release of Political Prisons in Kenya (1982-1998). Noted for Detained, his prison diary (1981), and an essay, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986), as well as Matigari (1987)

1943 – Mary Gaudron born, Australian lawyer and judge; first woman Justice of the High Court of Australia (1987-2003); Solicitor-General of New South Wales (1981-1987); Queen’s Council, 1981; Chairman, NSW Legal Services Commission (1979-1980); Deputy President, Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (1974-1980); admitted to New South Wales Bar, 1968 

1944 – The Daily Mail becomes the first transoceanic newspaper

1945 – The Soviet Union recognizes the new pro-Soviet government of Poland

1949 – United States President Harry S. Truman unveils his Fair Deal program, which included: Major improvements in unemployment compensation; Raising the minimum wage to 75¢ an hour, and extending who was covered; Increasing and extending Social Security benefits, and creating a Universal Healthcare system; Measures to ease the U.S. out of a wartime economy into peacetime; Transitional jobs for demobilized military personnel, and increased aid for war veterans returning to civilian life; Increased aid to farmers and small businesses; Enactment of comprehensive housing legislation; Overhauling the federal tax code; Expansion of public works; Revising the pay scale upward for federal employees. Many of his proposals were never enacted by the increasingly conservative Congress of the late 1940s and early 1950s

1955 – Mamata Banerjee born, Indian politician, founder of the political party, All India Trinamool Congress; first woman chief Minister of West Bengal (since 2011); first woman to serve in the Indian government as Minister of Railways (2000-2002 and 2009-2011), and as Minister of Coal (2004-2005); Member of Parliament (1984-1989 and 1991-2011)

1972 – U.S. President Richard Nixon orders the development of a Space Shuttle program

1974 – Warmest reliably measured temperature below the Antarctic Circle, +59 °F (+15 °C), recorded at Vanda Station

1975 – The Wiz opens on Broadway at the Majestic Theatre

1976 – The South African Broadcasting Corporations (SABC) begins regular daily television transmissions on a single channel

1991 – The U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, is evacuated by helicopter airlift during the Somali Civil War

2002 –  The first National Bird Day * is inaugurated by Born Free U.S.A. to bring attention to the hundreds of bird species in danger of extinction

2005 – Eris, the most massive and second-largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System, is discovered using images originally taken on October 21, 2003, at the Palomar Observatory

2014 – A launch of the communication satellite GSAT-14 aboard the GSLV MK.II D5 marks the first successful flight of an Indian cryogenic engine


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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