ON THIS DAY: February 14, 2019

February 14th is

Valentine’s Day

National Donor Day *

Ferris Wheel Day

California Oranges Day *

Pet Theft Awareness Day *

Cream-Filled Chocolates Day

International Book Giving Day *


MORE! Richard Allen, Charlotta Spears Bass and Aretha Franklin, click



Canada – Ontario province:
Hazel McCallion Day *

Bulgaria – Trifon Zarezan
(Wine-Growers Day)

Lebanon – Raki Hariri Memorial Day

United Arab Emirates – Dubai:
RedFest DXB Music Festival


On This Day in HISTORY

748 – Abbasid Revolution: Hashimi rebels under Abu Muslim Khorasani take Merv, capital of the Umayyad province Khorasan, and a major oasis-city on the historical Silk Road. Abu Muslim became the de facto governor of Khorasan, using it as a base to the consolidate the Abbasid revolt against the Umayyad Caliphate

842 – Charles the Bald and Louis the German swear the Oaths of Strasbourg, mutual pledges of allegiance, in French and German

Louis and Charles

1349 – Several hundred Jews are burned to death by mobs while the remaining Jews are forcibly removed from Strasbourg

1400 – Richard II of England dies, most probably from starvation, in Pontefract Castle, on the orders of Henry Bolingbroke

1502 – The Catholic Monarchs, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, issue a decree that Muslims in Granada refusing to convert to Catholicism must leave Spain

Wedding portrait of the Catholic Monarchs,  Ferdinand and Isabella 

1530 – Spanish conquistadores, led by Nuño de Guzmán, overthrow and execute Tangaxuan II, the last independent Tarascan monarch in today’s central Mexico

Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán painted in the Codex Telleriano Remensis

1556 – The Coronation of Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar, also called Akbar the Great, as the third Badshah (Emperor) of the Mughal Empire. He reigned from 1556 to 1605, enlarging the empire to include nearly all of the Indian Subcontinent north of the Godavari River, using a policy of conciliating conquered rulers through marriage and diplomacy, while establishing a centralized administrative system

Akbar receiving captured drums and standards – 1564

1556 – During the reign of Roman Catholic Queen Mary I of England, who succeeded her Protestant brother Edward VI, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, is declared a heretic and degraded from holy orders; he is later burned at the stake

1602 – Francesco Cavalli born, Italian opera composer

1655 – The Mapuche under Clentaru, their elected military leader, rise up in insurrection against the Spanish (in today’s central Chile)

1760 – Richard Allen born as a slave, teaches himself to read and write; allowed by his master, a Methodist, to work odd jobs for pay so he can buy his freedom in 1777; he becomes a Methodist preacher in 1784, but leaves the church over its segregationist policies; co-founder with Absalom Jones of the Free African Society, a non-denominational mutual aid society in 1787; operates an Underground Railroad station, helping escaped slaves (1797-1831); founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1816

1778 – American sloop-of-war Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones, receives a first official salute for America’s new flag, “Stars and Stripes,” from the French fleet at Quiberon Bay under Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte

1779 – After British Royal Navy Captain James Cook tries to deal with aggressive hostility from Hawaiian Islanders at Kealakekua Bay by taking Kalani’ōpu’u, the King of Hawai’i, the captain and 4 of his marines are killed by villagers to stop the kidnapping of their ruler

1803 – Moses Coates received a patent for the apple parer

1804 – Karađorđe leads the First Serbian Uprising against the Ottoman Empire

1813 – Alexander Dargomyzhsky born, Russian composer

1818 – Frederick Douglass born as a slave (he chose this day as his birthday, the exact date was unrecorded), escapes in 1838, and becomes an abolitionist leader and outstanding orator; author (his autobiography went through nine reprints in the first three years after publication); editor of The North Star, a major anti-slavery newspaper; and supporter of women’s suffrage

1819 – Christopher Sholes born, American newspaper publisher and inventor who developed the QWERTY keyboard for the typewriter

1829 – Solomon G. Brown born, works for Samuel Morse, helps to install the first Morse telegraph; becomes the first African American employee of the Smithsonian in 1852, and works his way up from laborer to a registrar in charge of transportation, receiving materials, and overseeing storage of animal specimens, for 54 years; Member of the House of Delegates for the District of Columbia (1871-1874)

1838 – Margaret E. Knight, American inventor; held 27 patents, including one for a machine to fold and glue paper bags with flat bottoms, a new valve sleeve for an automobile engine, and six patents for machines used in manufacturing shoes. She did not make much money from her inventions because, as an unmarried self-supporting working-class woman, she was not able to wait for royalties, but had to sell the rights to her inventions outright

1847 – Anna Howard Shaw born, America minister and physician, one of the first U.S. women ordained as a Methodist minister, and one of the most influential leaders of the women’s suffrage movement and the temperance movement. She helped broker a reconciliation in 1890 between the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Equal Rights Association, which had split in 1869 over whether or not to support the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Shaw became president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) after the two groups merged, and focused on securing a national constitutional amendment granting women the right to vote. She resigned as NAWSA president in 1915 because she opposed the militant tactics being employed by younger NAWSA members Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, such as picketing the White House. Carrie Chapman Catt took over as NAWSA president. For Shaw’s service as head of the Women’s Committee of the U.S. Council of National Defense during WWI, she became the first woman awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, for exceptionally meritorious service to the government in a duty of great responsibility related to the U.S. military. In a speech shortly before her death in 1919 she said that “the only way to refute” the argument that America was a democracy and therefore American women were entitled to vote was “to prove that women are not people.”

1849 – The first photograph of a serving U.S. President is taken by Matthew Brady of President James Polk

1859 – Oregon becomes the 33rd U.S. state

1870 – Esther Hobart Morris begins her tenure as the first female U.S. Justice of the Peace – ironically, she’s appointed to replace a judge resigning in protest over Wyoming’s passage of the women’s suffrage amendment to its state constitution in December 1869

1871 – Marion Mahoney Griffin, American architect/delineator, community planner, second woman graduate in architecture from MIT, chief renderer of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs (1895-1909)

1874 – Charlotta A. Spears Bass born, newspaper publisher and civil rights activist, works for the California Eagle newspaper in Los Angeles (1904-1951), taking over after the owner/editor dies – by 1925 it is the West Coast’s largest Black newspaper, circulation 60,000; first African American woman U.S. Vice Presidential candidate when the Progressive Party chooses her as their nominee

1882 – George Jean Nathan born, American editor, and drama critic

1889 – California Oranges Day * – in Los Angeles, the first shipment of California oranges are put in special cooled railroad cars for transport to the Eastern U.S.

1890 – Nina Hamnett born, Welsh painter, writer and expert on sea chanteys, dubbed ‘Queen of Bohemia’ for her flamboyantly open bisexual life as part of London’s artistic and literary community, centered in an area near the West End called Fitzrovia, named for the Fitzroy Tavern which was a popular gathering place. Noted for her memoir, Laughing Torso, published in 1932

Portrait of a Woman (1917), by Nina Hamnett

1891 – Katherine Stinson born, fourth licensed U.S. woman pilot (1912); first woman to “loop the loop” (1915); the first woman to fly in Asia, drawing crowd of over 25,000 in Tokyo to watch

1895 – Oscar Wilde’s final play, The Importance of Being Earnest, opens in London at the St. James Theatre

1899 – U.S. Congress approves voting machines for federal elections

1900 – Russia imposed tighter imperial control over Finland in response to an international petition for Finland’s freedom

1903 – The U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor was established

1912 – The first diesel engine submarine was commissioned in Groton, CT

1912 – Arizona is admitted as the 48th U.S. state, and dubbed “the Valentine state”

1920 – The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago by Carrie Chapman Catt, and Maude Wood Park becomes its first president

1921 – Hazel McCallion born, Canadian independent politician; she is the first Chancellor of Sheridan College, since 2016; longest-serving Mayor of Mississauga, Ontario (1978-2014), dubbed by her supporters as “Hurricane Hazel” for her outspoken style. In 2016, February 14 was declared Hazel McCallion Day * across the province of Ontario, in honor of her birthday

1926 – Monetta J Sleet Jr. born, first African American to the journalism Pulitzer Prize, for Feature Photography in 1969, for his photograph of Coretta Scott King at her husband’s funeral; worked for Ebony Magazine (1955-1996) as a photographer, capturing images of  Billie Holiday, Muhammad Ali, Stevie Wonder, and many others

1929 – Seven gangsters who were rivals of Al Capone are killed in the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” Chicago IL

1936 – The first meeting of the National Negro Congress is convened in Chicago, starting a campaign for labor and civil rights; over 800 people, representing 500 organizations came

1940 – First porpoise born in captivity arrives at Marineland in Florida

1941 – Donna Shalala, University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor (1988-1993), U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (1993-2001), president of the University of Miami (2001- 2015), awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008

1945 – Peru, Paraguay, Chile and Ecuador joined the United Nations

1946 – ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) is unveiled at the University of Pennsylvania, the world’s first general purpose electronic computer

1952 – Sushma Swaraj born, Indian politician and lawyer, India’s second woman to be Minister of External Affairs (currently, since 2014); elected seven times as a Member of Parliament;  she has been called one of India’s “best loved” politicians by the Wall Street Journal

1952 – Dorothy V. Bishop born, British psychologist specializing in developmental disorders and language impairments; Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford since 1998; Principal Investigator for the Oxford Study of Children’s Communication Impairments (OSCCI), and a supernumary fellow of St John’s College, Oxford

1955 – Carol Kalish born, American writer, editor, comic book retailer, wholesaler and sales manager; Direct Sales Manager and Vice President of New Product Development at Marvel Comics(1981-1991), where she was a pioneer in the comics direct market, starting a Marvel program which helped pay for the purchase of cash registers by comic book stores. Kalish won the 1991 Inkpot Award. She died suddenly at the age of 36 of a brain aneurysm

1956 – Katharina Fritsch born, German sculptor, noted for installations and sculptures which present familiar objects in jarring ways, including a true-to-scale sculpture of an elephant, and Rattenkonig, a circle of black polyester rats standing over 8 feet high

1957 – Lionel Hampton’s only major musical work, “King David,” made its debut at New York’s Town Hall

1959 – Renée Fleming born, American operatic soprano; made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro in 1991; recipient of the 2012 National Medal of Arts

1961 – Lawrencium, element 103, is first produced in Berkeley CA

1962 – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy gives an hour-long White House tour on TV

1967 – Aretha Franklin records her song “Respect”

1968 – The fourth Madison Square Gardens building opens

1969 – Meg Hillier born, British Labour Co-operative politician

1973 – Annalisa Buffa born, Italian mathematician, specializing in numerical analysis and partial differential equations; since 2016, Professor of Mathematics and holds the Chair of Numerical Modeling and Simulation at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; awarded the 2007 Bartolozzi Prize and the 2015 Collatz Prize

1974 – Valentina Vezzali born, Italian Olympic fencer and Scelta Civica Party (liberal-centrist) politician; member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies since 2013; she was the first fencer in Olympic history to win three individual Foil medals at three consecutive Olympics: Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, and Beijing 2008, as well as winning 14 gold medals at the World Fencing Championships

1977 – Anna G. Erschler born in Russia, mathematician working in France, specializing in geometric group theory, and probability theory, especially random walks on groups; awarded the 2001 Möbius Prize of the Independent University of Moscow, the 2002 Annual Prize of the Saint Petersburg Mathematical Society, and the 2015 Élie Cartan Prize of the French Academy of Sciences

1977 – Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” is released

1979 – Glider pilot Sabrina Jackintell breaks the altitude record in a glider – her absolute altitude record of 41,460 feet still stands, although the altitude gain record was broken in 1988 by Yvonne Loader of New Zealand

1980 – Walter Cronkite announces his retirement from the CBS Evening News

1983 – A 6-year-old boy becomes the first person to receive heart and liver transplants in the same operation

1988 – Pet Theft Awareness Day *is launched by Last Chance for Animals; almost 2 million pets are stolen every year in the U.S. alone, so this program promotes  having pets micro-chipped or tattooed

1988 – Katie Boland born, Canadian film producer, director, screenwriter and actress

1989 – Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini calls on Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie because of his novel The Satanic Verses

1989 – The first satellite of the Global Positioning System (GPS) is placed in orbit

1989 – Union Carbide agrees to pay $470 million to the government of India in a court-ordered settlement of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak disaster

1990 – In South Africa, thousands of Black teachers march to the regional offices of the Department of Education and Training (DET) in Johannesburg to highlight the crisis in Black education. From disintegrating buildings, inadequate supplies of books and other basic equipment, to low morale among the teachers, and frequent student boycotts disrupting the classes, these problems are at their worst in urban areas, but rural areas are also suffering

1997 – Astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery perform a series of spacewalks to overhaul the Hubble Space Telescope

1998 – U.S. authorities officially announce that Eric Rudolph is a suspect in an abortion clinic bombing in Alabama

2003 – National Donor Day * is an educational initiative of  the U.S. Health and Human Services Division of Transplantation to encourage blood donors and organ donation registration

2011 – The TV game show Jeopardy! begins airing the first of three episodes pitting top-winning human Jeopardy! champions Brad Rutter and Ken Jennings against an IBM computer named “Watson”

2012 – International Book Giving Day * is conceived by Amy Broadmoore and her son, launched with help from Zoe Toft, to collect and distribute books to disadvantaged children worldwide


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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5 Responses to ON THIS DAY: February 14, 2019

  1. Here is a photo of Sabrina Jackintell sitting in her Grob Astir sailplane in which she set the women’s absolute altitude record. She was a Three-Diamond glider pilot, the highest achievement possible in the world of glider flight.
    I wrote about her, with photos, at this link:
    Remarkable People: Sabrina Jackintell, a Woman for all Seasons

  2. ragnarsbhut says:

    Wordcloud9, I had never heard of Ferris Wheel Day. Is it a new thing or an event with historic significance?

    • wordcloud9 says:

      It does have historic significance! It’s the birthday of the inventor, George Washington Ferris, who was born on February 14, 1859.

      From the National Calendar webpage:

      This unofficial national holiday is held today to honor the birth of the inventor of the Ferris Wheel, George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr.

      Preparations for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition began in earnest in 1891. Director of works for the fair, Daniel H. Burnham, laid out the challenge: create a centerpiece to the show that will rival the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

      Erected the year before, the Eiffel Tower was quickly becoming a world attraction. Ideas were tossed about, plans presented and plans rejected.

      George Washington Gale Ferris was inspired. He contemplated several ideas, but it wasn’t until one evening in a Chicago chophouse that he struck on an idea that could fit the challenge. After sketching out the design on napkins, he proceeded to develop his plans.

      When presented with the concept Burnham balked, doubting it could safely carry people to such heights. Ferris persisted. Spending $25,000 of his own money, he paid for safety studies, obtained $600,000 more from investors, hired engineers and built the 250-foot diameter wheel and hoisted it up between 140-foot twin towers.

      It was a colossal success at 26 stories tall and making a whopping $726,805.50. In 1893, that was a hefty profit for the fair.

      Despite the wheel’s success, Ferris struggled after the fair. Lawsuits over who owed who bankrupt him. His wife left him. Then in 1896, a few short years after the fair, he died at the age of 37 of typhoid fever.

      The original wheel suffered a similar fate. In 1906, it was destroyed with dynamite for scrap metal. The idea has lived on, and wheels continue to be enjoyed around the world.


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