ON THIS DAY: May 16, 2019

May 16th is

Coquilles Saint Jacques Day

National Biographer’s Day *

National Mimosa Day

Honor Our LGBT Elders’ Day *

National Love a Tree Day


MORE! H.E. Bates, Hana Brady and Eric Fanning, click



Austria – Vienna: Wiener Festwochen
(Arts Festival – through June 16)

Iraq – Mass Graves Day

Malaysia – Teachers’ Day

South Sudan – SPLA Day
(Sudan People’s Liberation Army)

United Kingdom – Brighton:
Brighton Festival (through May 26)


On This Day in HISTORY

946 – Emperor Suzaku abdicates the throne in favor of his brother Murakami, who becomes the 62nd emperor of Japan, from 946 until his death in 967. He is noted as the patron of the compilation of the Gosen Wakashū, 20 volumes of 1,426 waka (a Japanese poetry form) by the Five Men of the Pear Chamber

Emperor Murakami

1527 – Florence re-establishes itself as a Republic after driving out the Medici

1532 – Sir Thomas More resigns as Lord Chancellor of England, refusing to support the supremacy of the King above the Papacy

1718 – Maria Gaetana Agnesi born, child prodigy, the “Witch of Agnesi,” Italian mathematician, linguist, and philosopher, wrote about the curve, author of 1st book dealing with both integral and differential calculus. In 1750, appointed chair of mathematics and natural philosophy at Bologna Academy of Sciences, an incredible accomplishment for any mid-eighteenth century woman, when few universities in Europe allowed women to study, let alone hold teaching positions. Later in life, Agnesi, a deeply religious woman, joined a nunnery, devoting her final years to working with the poor

1739 – Siege of Baçaim: the Portuguese Empire’s Estado da Índia (State of India) loses most of its Northern Province when the fortress at Baçaim (in the present-day state of Maharashtra) surrenders to the army led by General Chimaji Appa of the Maratha Empire, ruled by Baji Rao I

1763 – James Boswell and Samuel Johnson meet in the London bookshop of Johnson’s friend, Tom Davies, a Scot who wrote a biography of the actor-manager David Garrick; commemorated now as Biographer’s Day *

1771 – Peninsular War, Battle of Albuera: A mixed corps of British, Spanish and Portuguese troops under the command of British General William Beresford clashes with elements of the French Armée du Midi (Army of the South), at the village of Albuera, near the fortress of Badajoz, in Spain. Both sides suffered heavy losses, but the French were finally forced to withdraw on May 18. Beresford’s army was too battered and exhausted to pursue, but were able to keep Badajoz surrounded, until the arrival of the reconstituted French Armies of Portugal and Andalusia in June forced them to abandon the siege of Badajoz

1792 – Denmark abolishes the slave trade

1804 – Elizabeth Palmer Peabody born, American educator, business woman and translator, founded the first English-language kindergarten in the United States; She had a reading knowledge of ten languages, and a grounding in history. Peabody served as business manager for the Transcendentalist publication The Dial, and she opened the Elizabeth Palmer Peabody’s West Street Bookstore in her Boston home in the 1840s. Margaret Fuller held her “Conversations” women’s meetings there, and many women’s rights activists in the Boston area took part. Peabody translated a portion of the Buddhist Lotus Sutra from French into English, which was published in The Dial in 1844, shortly before it ceased publication, lacking subscriptions to cover its costs

1817 – Mississippi steamboat service begins

1843 – The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest sets out on the Oregon Trail with one thousand pioneers from Elm Grove, Missouri

1860 – The Republican Convention in Chicago chooses Abraham Lincoln as their Presidential candidate

Abraham Lincoln in May 1860

1861 – Kentucky proclaims its neutrality in the U.S. Civil War, which lasted only four months, until Confederate General Gideon Pillow violated Kentucky’s declared neutrality, which provoked Kentuckians to adhere to the Union

1866 – The U.S. Congress eliminates the half dime coin and replaces it with the five cent piece – the ‘nickel’

1868 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson is acquitted in his impeachment trial by one vote in the U. S. Senate

1879 – Antonin Dvorák’s “Slavic Dancing” premieres – now known as Slavonic Dances

1880 – Anne O’Hare McCormick born, journalist, foreign news correspondent for the New York Times; wrote the first in-depth reports published in the U.S. on the rise of Benito Mussolini and the Fascist movement in Italy. Interviewed Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Churchill and FDR. She won the 1937 Pulitzer Prize winner for Correspondence, the first big journalism Pulitzer awarded to a woman. She was also the first woman member of the New York Times editorial board

1890 – Edith Grace White born, American zoologist and ichthyologist; noted for studies of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays); also published textbooks on genetics and biology; professor and department head of Biology at Wilson College for 30 years

1894 – Walter Yust born, U.S. editor-in-chief of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1938-1960)

1898 – Tamara de Lempicka born in Poland, painter who spent most of her working life in France and the U.S.; best known for polished Art-Deco portraits of aristocrats and the wealthy, and highly stylized paintings of nudes

Autoportrait aka Tamara in the Green Bugatti 
 Tamara de Lempicka  

1898 – Desanka Maksimović born, Serbian poet, author and translator; became professor at Belgrade’s First High School for Girls 1926; but was dismissed from her position by the Nazis in 1941; while working odd jobs to survive, she wrote secretly a collection of poems, including one about the Wehrmacht’s massacre of schoolchildren at Kragujevac, which were published after Serbia was liberated

1905 – H.E. Bates born, English author; Love for Lydia, The Darling Buds of May

1906 – Margret Rey born, German author and illustrator, with her husband, H.A. Rey known for the Curious George series of children’s books

1910 – Olga Bergholz born, Russian poet, gave speeches and read poems on the radio during the Siege of Leningrad (1941-1944)

1912 – Studs Terkel born, American author, historian and broadcaster; 1985 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction; Hard Times, Working

1918 – The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government during wartime an imprisonable offense. Repealed less than two years later

1919 – Liberace, born as Wladziu Valentino Liberace, American pianist and TV personality, one of the highest paid entertainers in the world in his heyday

1920 – Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan d’Arc

1923 – Victoria Fromkin born, American linguist who contributed to the field of Phonology, how sounds of a language are organized in the mind, and studied linguistic  development in a child who had been in severe isolation for the first 13 years of her life; Fromkin was the first woman to become Vice Chancellor of Graduate Programs in the University of California system (1980-1989); elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1996

1925 – Nancy Roman born, American astronomer, advocate for women in the sciences, first Chief of Astronomy in the Office of Space Science at NASA; often called ‘the mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope

1927 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules bootleggers must pay income tax

1929 – Adrienne Rich born, American poet and author, declined the National Medal of Arts in protest of a vote to end funding for the National Endowment for the Arts

1929 –The first Academy Awards ceremony takes place during a private dinner for less than 300 people at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; Wings wins best picture

1931 – Hana Brady born Hanička Bradyová in Czechoslovakia, a Jewish girl who was 13 years old when she was murdered in the gas chambers at the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz in Polish occupied territory. When she was eight years old, she and her older brother George saw their parents arrested and taken away by the Nazis. They never saw them again. The children were sent to Theresienstadt concentration camp. In 1944, Hana was deported to Auschwitz, and was sent to the gas chambers a few hours after her arrival. Her brother survived by working as a laborer. In 1999, Fumiko Ishioka, director of the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center, visited Auschwitz. Ishioka explains “I …asked for a loan of some children’s items. I specifically asked [for] a shoe, this little shoe, and I asked for a suitcase…A suitcase – that really tells you a story of how children, who used to live happily with their family, were transported and were allowed to take only one suitcase… That really helped them a lot, to focus on this one little life that was lost. They could really relate her to themselves and try to think of why such a thing could happen to a girl like her. Why the Jewish people? And why children? They then realized there were one and a half million children. . . In Japan, the Holocaust is so far away. Some people don’t see any connection whatsoever. But when they look at the suitcase, these children [are] really shocked.” The suitcase has large writing on it, a name and birthdate and the German word, Waisenkind(orphan). Ishioka began painstakingly researching Hana’s life and eventually found her surviving brother in Canada. The story of Hana Brady and how her suitcase led Ishioka to Toronto became the subject of a CBC documentary. Karen M. Levine, the producer of that documentary, was urged to turn the story into a book by a friend who was a publisher and whose parents were Holocaust survivors. Said Levine: I first read about Hana’s suitcase in December 2000. . . in The Canadian Jewish News. My heart started to beat. I fell in love with the story instantly. This was a different kind of Holocaust story. It had at its centre a terrible sadness, one we all know too well. But it had a modern layer to it that lifted it up, that had connection, and even redemption.” In February 2004, Lara Brady, Hana’s niece, discovered inconsistencies between the suitcase on display and the suitcase pictured with Hana’s friend after the war in the 1960s. Not only did the physical suitcase appear newer than in the photographs, but the location of the handle was also reversed. In March, Fumiko and George Brady inquired about the suitcase with the director of the Auschwitz museum, who explained that a replica had been created based on the pictures after the original suitcase was destroyed in a fire in 1984, while on loan to an English exhibit in Birmingham. This fire was likely caused by arson (according to the director and police at the time). As the museum personnel had omitted information when they loaned it to the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center, the fact that the suitcase was a replica had gone unnoticed for several years. The family and the Center assert that even as a replica, the suitcase’s contribution to the cause of human rights and peace education is not lessened by its lack of authenticity. Karen M. Levine’s 2002 book, Hana’s Suitcase, became a bestseller and was honored with the National Jewish Book Award, and won the 2006 Yad Vashem award, presented to George Brady at a ceremony in Jerusalem

Hana and George Brady – replica of Hana’s suitcase

1939 – The first Food Stamps are issued; the program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures; for every U.S. dollar’s worth of orange stamps purchased, fifty cents’ worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food; blue stamps could only be used to buy food determined by the Department of Agriculture to be surplus

1943 – Baroness Kay Andrews born, British Labour politician and life peer; first woman Chair of English Heritage (2009-2013); Lord Temporal (secular member of the House of Lords, as opposed to Lords Spiritual – bishops of the Church of England) since 2000

1948 – Emma Georgina Rothschild-Sen born, British economic historian; professor of History and Economics at Harvard University; previously associate professor in the MIT Department of Humanities (1978-1988); sits on the board of directors of the United Nations Foundation

1951 – Janet Soskice born in Canada, Catholic theologian and philosopher; professor of Philosophical Theology and a fellow of Jesus College at Cambridge; studies on the role of women in Christianity, religious language and the relationship between science and religion; author of The Sisters of the Sinai, about discovery by Agnes and Margaret Smith of the Syriac Sinaiticus, a fourth century translation of the New Testament gospels

1963 – Rachel Griffith born, British-American professor of economics at the University of Manchester, and research director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies; first woman president of the European Economic Association (2015); joint managing editor of The Economic Journal (2011-2017) President of the Royal Economic Society for 2018-2019

1966 – Bob Dylan releases his album Blonde on Blonde

1966 – After he has replaced several ‘revisionists’ (moderates), Mao Zedong announces the Cultural Revolution in the ‘May 16 Notification,’ bringing on ten years of sociopolitical upheaval which will paralyze China politically and greatly damage its society and economy. The campaign was to eradicate the ‘Four Olds’: old traditions, old customs, old culture and old ideas. Chinese cultural and historical treasures are ransacked and destroyed; temples and burial sites are desecrated; Buddhism is denounced as superstition, and followers of all religions are persecuted; libraries and books are burned; a central directive is issued to stop police intervention in the rampages of the Red Guard, unleashing even greater violence on educators; many of them are killed, commit suicide or are sent to labor camps

Provincial Party Secretary Wang Yilun, being criticized by Red Guards from University of Industry
and forced to wear a placard with the accusation “counterrevolutionary revisionist element” –
Harbin, China, August 23, 1966. Li Zhensheng/Contact Press Images

1970 – The movie M.A.S.H. wins the Grand Prix award at the Cannes Film Festival

1981 – Kim Carnes’ single “Bette Davis Eyes” is #1 on the charts

1986 – The Seville Statement on Violence is adopted by a UNESCO-sponsored international meeting of scientists

1988 – U.S. Surgeon Gen C Everett Koop reports nicotine as addictive as heroin

1991 – Queen Elizabeth II is the first British Monarch to address the U.S Congress

2005 – The Kuwait National Assembly votes 35-23 to pass legislation for women’s suffrage and the right of women to hold public office

2011 – NASA Space Shuttle Endeavor launches for its final mission in space

2013 – Human stem cells are successfully cloned

2015 – The first Honor Our LGBT Elders’ Day * is launched by Nate Sweeney, executive director of the LGBT Resource Center of Chase Brexton Healthcare

2016 – Five years after the lifting of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the U.S. Senate confirmed unanimously Eric Fanning as Secretary of the Army, making him the first openly gay leader of a branch of the U.S. military. He was secretary until January 20, 2017, when he left public service as the new administration came in


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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