ON THIS DAY: February 15, 2019

February 15th is

International Angelman Day *

Gumdrop & Chewing Gum Day

Remember the Maine! Day *

Singles Awareness Day *

Susan B. Anthony Day *

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MORE!  Sarah Roberts, Lewis Hayden, and Angella Ferguson, click

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WORLD FESTIVALS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

Mahayana Buddhism –Parinirvana Day, traditional day of Buddha’s complete enlightement, upon the death of his physical body

 Pagan – Feast of Lupercalia (honoring Lupercus/Faunus/Pan, god of fertility, shepherds and wild places, and in Ancient Rome, it also honored Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled the infant twins, Romulus and Remus, mythic founders of the city) 

Afghanistan – Liberation Day

Canada – Flag Day

New Zealand – National Lamb Day *

Serbia – Sretenje (National day)

Singapore – Total Defence Day

Russia – International Duties Memorial Day
(Honors those who served in Soviet-Afghan War)

Vanuatu – Tanna: John Frum Day
(American “cargo cult” mythical figure)

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On This Day in HISTORY

590 – Persian Khosrau II. last Great King of the Sasanian Empire, is crowned, reigning from 590 to 628. He briefly lost his throne in 591, then recovered it with Roman help

706 – Byzantine Emperor Justinian II regains his throne, has the usurper Leontios and his overthrower Tiberios III publicly executed in the Hippodrome of Constantinople



1113 – Pope Paschal II sanctions the establishment of the Order of Hospitallers, a religious and military order charged with care and defense of the Holy Land

1493 – Aboard the Niña, Christopher Columbus writes a letter describing his discoveries and unexpected items he found in the ‘New World’

1564 – Galileo Galilei born, Italian polymath, scientist, inventor, philosopher and artist



1571 – Michael Praetorius born, German composer and music theorist; his Syntagma musicum (1614–20) is a principal source of knowledge about 17th-century music


1638 – Zeb-un-Nissa born, Mughal princess and poet who wrote under the pseudonym Makhfi (Hidden One). She was carefully educated by Hafiza Mariam, and by age seven, she had become a Hafiza (female title for one who has memorized the Quaran). She also studied the sciences of the day with Mohammad Saeed Ashraf Mazandarani, and  learned mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, literature, the Persian, Arabic and Urdu languages, calligraphy and music. Zeb-un-Nissa had a large library of her own, and was a patron of several scholars. She was noted for both her poetry and her song lyrics. When her father became emperor after Shah Jahan, he sometimes discussed political affairs with her, but in 1681 or 1682, her father had her imprisoned at Salimgarh Fort, Delhi, but there are conflicting accounts of why. Sources variously claim she had an affair (a rumour which may have started because she rejected all her suitors and never married), became too public with her poetry and music, or supported her younger brother during a conflict over the succession. She died after about 20 years in prison, either in 1701 or 1702. In 1724, her surviving writings were collected in the Diwan-i-Makhfi, (Book of the Hidden One). There are four hundred and twenty-one ghazals (an Abrabic form of ode, using couplets) and several ruba’is (a four-line poem form in Persian poetry)



1748 – Jeremy Bentham born, English Utilitarian philosopher and economist

1760 – Jean-Francois Le Sueur born, French composer; his motet Tu es Petrus played at Napoleon’s coronation as emperor

1764 – The city of St. Louis is established in Spanish Louisiana (now Missouri)

1797 – Henry Steinway born in Germany, American master piano builder


1864 Steinway Concert Grand Piano

1799 – Printed ballots are authorized for use in elections in the state of Pennsylvania

1809 – Cyrus McCormick born, developed the first mechanical reaper

1812 – Charles Lewis Tiffany born, jeweler, founder of NY’s Tiffany & Co, father of Louis Comfort Tiffany

1820 – Susan B. Anthony born, American abolitionist, tireless women’s rights activist, co-leader with Elizabeth Cady Stanton (and “face”) of the American Equal Rights Association, which campaigned for equal rights for women and people of color.  She and Cady Stanton founded the women’s rights newspaper The Revolution, and the National Woman Suffrage Association, which later merged into the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) where Anthony spearheaded the fight until her retirement in 1900 at the age of 80



1836 – Sarah Fuller born, educator, promotes teaching deaf children speech techniques developed by Alexander Bell, and founds the Home for Little Deaf Children

1848 – When five-year-old Sarah Roberts is refused admittance to a white school in her Boston neighborhood because she is black, her father, Benjamin Roberts, files the first school integration lawsuit, Roberts v. City of Boston, citing the poorer quality of education at the black school and the much greater distance Sarah will have to travel to go there, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules in favor of Boston; the case is later cited in Plessy v. Ferguson, which established the “separate but equal” standard; however, in 1855, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts bans segregated schools in the state, the first law prohibiting segregated schools in the U.S.



1850 – Sophie Bryant born, Anglo-Irish mathematician, educator and feminist. She taught at the North London Collegiate School, founded by Frances Mary Buss, a pioneer in girls’ education, which was one of the first schools where girls could get the same educational opportunities as boys. In 1895, Bryant succeeded Buss as the school’s Headmistress. When the University of London opened its degree courses to women in 1878, she became one of the first women to obtain First Class Honours, in Mental and Moral Sciences, together with a degree in mathematics in 1881, and three years later she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science, the first woman in England to earn a Doctorate in science. In 1882 she was the third woman to be elected to the London Mathematical Society, and was the first active female member, publishing her first paper with the Society in 1884. She helped to set up the Cambridge Training College for Women, now Hughes Hall, Cambridge. She was president of the Irish National Literary Society in 1914. Bryant was an advocate for improving women’s education, and thought after they were better educated, women should have the vote. She died in a hiking accident in the Swiss Alps in 1922, at age 72



1851 – Lewis Hayden and other black abolitionists invade a Boston courtroom and rescue Shadrach Minkins, who had escaped from slavery in Virginia in 1850, but is arrested by federal officers under the new Fugitive Slave Law; Minkins is spirited away to Canada by the Underground Railroad, where he marries, has a family, and lives until his death


Lewis Hayden, one of the rescuers of Shadrach Minkins

1857 – Robert Fuchs born, Austrian composer, noted for chamber music and serenades

1861 – Alfred North Whitehead born, English mathematician and philosopher

1874 – Ernest Shackleton born in Ireland, British polar explorer

1879 – President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the Supreme Court of the United States

1882 – New Zealand National Lamb Day * – William Davidson and Thomas Brydone send off their the first shipment of frozen sheep meat from Port Chalmers aboard the Dunedin,bound for London

1883 – Sax Rohmer born as Arthur Sarsfield Ward, English author of the Fu Manchu mystery series

1898 – It might have been an underwater mine, but more likely spontaneous combustion in a coal bunker on board the ship, which sinks the battleship USS Maine in Cuba’s Havana harbor, killing over half its American crew; but it is widely assumed in the U.S. to be the work of Spanish saboteurs; Remember the Maine! * becomes the battle-cry leading to the Spanish-American War (April-December 1898)



1903 – Morris and Rose Michtom, Russian immigrants, introduce the first teddy bear in America

1905 – Harold Arlen born, American composer and arranger

1909 – Miep Gies born in Vienna, Yad Vashem Righteous Amoung the Nations medal recipient and author. She was taken in as a foster child by Dutch citizens, and became one of the people who hid Anne Frank, her family, and four other Jews in an annex above Otto Frank’s former business premises during WWII. She had worked for Otto Frank since 1933. After the discovery and arrest of the family, Gies retrieved Anne’s diary, keeping it hidden until Otto Frank came back from Auschwitz, the only member of the family to survive. Co-author with Alison Leslie Gold of Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family



1910 – Irena Sendler born, Polish nurse and social worker, head of children’s section of Żegota, an underground resistance organization; she and other members smuggle about 2,500 Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto, providing them with false identity papers and homes, saving them from the Holocaust

1921 – The Suffrage Monument, depicting Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Lucretia Mott, and sculpted by Adelaide Johnson, is dedicated at the U.S. Capitol


Suffrage Monument: Cady Stanton (left), Anthony and Mott (right)

1921 – Radha Krishna Choudhary born, Indian historian and writer

1923 – Yelena Bonner born, human rights activist in former Soviet Union, married to Andrei Sakharov

1925 – Angella D. Ferguson born, African American pediatrician noted for her ground-breaking research on sickle cell disease.  She earned a BS in chemistry from Howard University, and an MD from Howard University College of Medicine in 1949, when there were very few African-American women who were accepted into medical schools. She conducted her internship and residency at Washington Freedman’s Hospital and joined the faculty at Howard University in 1953 as an instructor in pediatrics, a position she held until 1959, when she became assistant professor of pediatrics at Freedman’s Hospital, where she became a full professor (1963-1990), and was also an associate pediatrician there (1953-1970). Ferguson was also on the staff of the District of Columbia General Hospital (1953-1990), and had her own private practice in Washington DC. Her early research required her to understand normal development in African American children, but to her surprise no such baseline data existed. In setting out to rectify this gap in knowledge, she made the startling discovery that African American infants learned to sit and stand earlier than infants of European descent. She attributed this to the number of African American infants who did not have playpens or high chairs, forcing them to sit and stand earlier than their white counterparts. She    noticed the prevalence of sickle cell disease among the infants she treated in her practice, and began tracking the development of the disease in her patients. Sickle-cell anemia was then a little-known disease. Through experimentation, Ferguson determined that infants drinking a glass of soda water once a day before age five, decreased their chances of having a sickle-cell crisis – a condition in which the flow of damaged red blood cells is impeded, causing painful clogging of blood vessels. She also developed a blood test to detect the disease at birth, which became a standard test in forty U.S. states by 2010



1932 – George Burns and Gracie Allen debut on radio’s “The Guy Lombardo Show”

1933 – U.S. President-elect Franklin Roosevelt escapes an assassination attempt in Miami; Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak is mortally wounded in the attack

1935 – Susan Brownmiller born, American journalist and author; Against Our Will: Men, Women, and Rape 



1937 – Gregory MacDonald born, American mystery writer, Fletch novels

1941 – Duke Ellington and his orchestra first record “Take the “A” Train”



1946 – Clair Short born, British Labour politician; Secretary of State for International Development (1997-2003); Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood (1983-2010); she left the Labour Party in 2006 become Independent because of her differences with Labour leadership over their support of the 2003 Iraq War

1954 – Matt Groening born, cartoonist, creator of The Simpsons



1957 – Harry Belafonte’s single “The Banana Boat Song” (Day-O) hits #1 on the charts



1958 – Chrystine Brouillet born, French Canadian novelist, many of her books are for children and young adults, but she also writes historical novels and thrillers; noted for Chère Voisine (Dear Neighbor)

1958 – “The Dick Clark Show” debuts on ABC-TV

1965 – Canada officially adopts the red and white flag with a red maple leaf



1965 – The Beatles release their single “Eight Days a Week”

1967 – The band Chicago is formed

1968 – Henry Lewis, formerly a double-bassist and assistant conductor with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, becomes the first black symphony orchestra leader in the U.S. when he is hired as conductor and musical director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; makes his debut as a guest conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in 1972



1971 – Great Britain goes to a decimal money system; the pound now equal to 100 pence instead of 240 pence

1974 – Miranda July born as Miranda Grossinger, American film director, screenwriter, actress and author. Wrote, directed and co-starred in the films Me and You, and Everyone We Know. She is the author of a collection of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, and the novel The First Bad Man

1982 – Agatha Barbara takes office as Malta’s first woman President



1985 – The Center for Disease Control reported that half of all nine-year-olds in the U.S. showed no sign of tooth decay

1986 – In South Africa, Pretoria University admits its first twenty Black students

1989 – After nine years of intervention, the Soviet Union announces that the last of its troops are out of Afghanistan

1991 – The leaders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland sign the Visegard agreement, for cooperation in transforming their countries to free-market economies

2002 – U.S. President George W. Bush approves Nevada’s Yucca Mountain as a site for long-term disposal of radioactive nuclear waste

2010 – Singles Awareness Day * (S.A.D.) is made famous when Dustin Barnes writes a tongue-in-cheek story about his memories of celebrating S.A.D. with friends in HS who felt left out on Valentine’s Day, then gets many calls wanting interviews from U.S. news outlets



201 1 – After Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker proposes cutbacks in benefits and bargaining rights for public employees, protesters swarm the capitol in Madison

2011 – Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduces the Susan B. Anthony  * Birthday Act, to make Susan B. Anthony’s birthday a U.S. national holiday, but it has never been enacted. California, Florida, New York, and Wisconsin have the day listed on their state calendars, but only Florida has made it a legal holiday. West Virginia marks it on Election Day in February, and Massachusetts celebrates Susan B. Anthony Day each year on August 26, the date in 1920 when the 19th Amendment is ratified, giving women the right to vote; also August 26, annual Susan B. Anthony Festival in Rochester NY


2013 – The Angelman Syndrome Foundation launches International Angelman Day * to educate parents and healthcare professionals about AS, a neuro-genetic disorder occurring once in every 15,000 live births; often misdiagnosed as cerebral palsy or autism due to lack of awareness; AS characteristics include developmental delays, speech disorders, seizures, walking and balance disorders. Individuals with Angelman syndrome will require life-long care. https://www.angelman.org


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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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