ON THIS DAY: May 20, 2019

May 20th is

Eliza Doolittle Day *

National Rescue Dog Day

Pick Strawberries Day

World Weights & Measures Day *

World Bee Day *

World Autoimmune Arthritis Day


MORE! Anton Janša, Cher and Alex Salmon, click



Cambodia – Day of Remembrance

Cameroon – National Day

East Timor –
Independence Restoration Day

Indonesia – National Awakening Day
and Doctor Day


On This Day in HISTORY

325 – The First Council of Nicaea is formally opened, ecumenical council of Christian bishops convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I, an effort to gain consensus among Christians; origin of the Nicene Creed

1293 – King Sancho IV of Castile founds the Estudio de Escuelas de Generales in Alcalá de Henares, now called Complutense University of Madrid, one of the oldest universities in the world

1520 – The massacre at the festival of Tóxcatl takes place during the Fall of Tenochtitlan, turning the Aztecs against the Spanish

1570 – Cartographer Abraham Ortelius issues Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas

1609 – Shakespeare’s sonnets are first published in London, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe, who was probably responsible for the arrangement of the sonnets into categories; he probably didn’t have Shakespeare’s permission

1734 – World Bee Day * – Anton Janša born in Carniola (now part of Slovenia), apiarist, painter and author; pioneer and expert in beekeeping; he wrote A Full guide to Beekeeping and Discussion on Beekeeping

1759 – William Thornton born in the British Virgin Islands, American inventor, amateur architect and painter; his design for the U.S. Capitol building was approved by President Washington in 1793; he was appointed by President Thomas Jefferson as the first Superintendent of the U.S. Patent Office – Thornton convinced the British not to burn the Patent Office in 1814 because of its importance to mankind

1768 – Dolley Payne Madison born, American First Lady whose efforts saved the portrait of George Washington and other national treasures in 1814 when the British set fire to Washington DC, including the Executive Mansion, during the War of 1812 – only a sudden heavy storm saved the city from total destruction

1799 – Honore de Balzac born – French author; his vast number of works are collectively called La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy); early novelist

1802 – Napoleon Bonaparte reinstates slavery in the French colonies, revoking its abolition in the French Revolution

1806 – John Stuart Mill born, English philosopher, political economist and civil servant; proponent of utilitarianism, one of the world’s most influential liberal thinkers

1825 – Antoinette Brown Blackwell born, American orator, minister, and women’s rights advocate, first woman ordained as a minister in the United States

1844 – Henri Rousseau born, notable French post-impressionist painter

1856 – Helen Hopekirk born, Scottish concert pianist and composer

1862 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln signs the Homestead Act of 1862 into law, opening millions of acres of public land in the West as individual grants, usually 160 acres or 0.65 km2, to any US citizen willing to settle on and farm the land minimum period. The law requires a three-step procedure: file an application, improve the land, and file for deed of title. Any citizen who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government (including freed slaves after the fourteenth amendment) and was at least 21 years old or the head of a household, could file an application to claim a federal land grant. The occupant(s) had to reside on the land for five years, and show evidence of having made improvements.  The down side of the act was that many of the sections of land the U.S. government “opened” were not uninhabited, but were traditional tribal lands of American Indians

1872 – Madeline McDowell Breckinridge born, American social reformer; advocate for child welfare, women’s rights and tuberculosis treatment; co-founder of the Women’s Emergency Committee in Kentucky, which successfully campaigned for playgrounds and kindergartens in poorer districts and legislation setting up a juvenile court system, regulations for child labour, and compelling school attendance. Helped establish and served on the Kentucky Tuberculosis Commission, co-chair of fundraising for the Blue Grass Sanitorium; advocate for woman suffrage, helped win Kentucky women the right to vote in school elections; vice president of National American Woman Suffrage Association (1913-1915), and largely credited with ratification of the 19th Amendment by the Kentucky legislature in 1920

1873 – Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patent blue jeans with copper rivets

1875 –  World Weights & Measures Day * – A treaty, Convention du Mètre, is signed, establishing the International Bureau of Weights and Measures; in French, Bureau international des poids et measures, so its initials are BIPM

1882 – Sigrid Undset born, Norwegian novelist; 1928 Nobel Prize for Literature winner; known for her trilogy, Kristin Lavransdatter

1883 – Florence Zerffi born in England, South African landscape  and still life painter

Landscape with Mountain and Vlei by Florence Zerffi

1894 – Adela Rogers St. Johns born, American author, journalist and screenwriter

1895 – R. J. Mitchell born, English aircraft designer; developed the Spitfire fighter plane

1901 – Doris Fleeson born, American journalist and columnist; co-author with her then-husband of “Capital Stuff” for the New York Daily News (1933-1942); she was a WWII war correspondent in France and Italy (1943-1945); after the war, wrote a political column for The Boston Globe and Washington Evening Star, becoming the first U.S. woman to have a nationally syndicated column when the Bell syndicate picked it up, and it ran in 100 newspapers by 1960; Member of the Women’s National Press Club

1904 – Margery Allingham born, English author of detective fiction; noted for her Albert Campion mysteries

1910 – Halley’s Comet reaches its closest point to Earth

1911 – Annie M. G. Schmidt born, Dutch children’s author, poet, songwriter and screenwriter; included in the Canon of Dutch History as a national icon

1918 – Aleksandra Boiko born, Russian WWII tank commander; she was a chemist before the war; she and her husband raised 50,000 Soviet rubles to pay for the construction of a tank for the Soviet Army, appealing to be sent to the Eastern Front. After they both graduated from the accelerated programme at the Chelyabinsk Tank School, she was appointed as a tank commander, and her husband was her engineer. Their first battle was the Riga Offensive in 1944; they were credited with destroying five enemy tanks and two guns. She was awarded the Order of the Patriotic War first class. Later, they were both injured fighting in the Baltics, but released from hospital in time to celebrate Victory Day in Czechslovakia. After the war, she ran a bakery in Magadan on the Sea of Okhotsk, where she was elected to the city council twice, in 1947 and 1953

1927 – At 07:52 Charles Lindbergh takes off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island NY, on the world’s first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean; he touches down at Le Bourget Field in Paris at 22:22 the following day

Just before takeoff from Roosevelt Field

1932 – Amelia Earhart takes off from Newfoundland to begin the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean by a woman pilot, landing in Ireland the next day

1939 – Pan American Airways begins regular trans-Atlantic service

1940 – The first prisoners arrive at the new concentration camp at Auschwitz

1941 – Maria Liberia Peters born, Netherlands Antilles Prime Minister (1984-86 and 1988-94); education advocate; Council of Women World Leaders member

1941 – Harry James and his orchestra record “You Made Me Love You”

1944 – Joe Cocker born, British rocker, singer-songwriter

1946 – Cher born as Cherilyn Sarkisian, American singer-songwriter, actress and producer; one of the best-selling music artists in history, she is also the winner of a Grammy, an Emmy, three Golden Globes, and an Oscar for Best Actress in Moonstruck; her charitable foundation supports health research, anti-poverty initiatives, veterans rights, protection of vulnerable children, humanitarian efforts in Armenia, and Habitat for Humanity – Cher has been an honorary chair of Habitat’s “Raise the Roof” campaign

1949 – Michèle Roberts born, British-French essayist, novelist and poet; a socialist and feminist, she was the poetry editor (1975-1977) at the feminist magazine, Spare Rib; her novel Daughters of the House was shortlisted for the Booker Prize

1954 – Bill Haley and his Comets release “Rock Around the Clock”

1956 – Operation Redwing: first U.S. airborne hydrogen bomb is dropped over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean

1956 – Eliza Dolittle Day * is first revealed in the song “Just You Wait”when My Fair Lady opens on Broadway on March 15

1961 – A white mob attacks a busload of “Freedom Riders” in Montgomery Alabama; the federal government sends in U.S. marshals to restore order

1961 – Algerian War for Independence: a 30-day cease-fire is declared as talks begin between Algerian Muslim leaders led by Krim Belkacem, and the French representatives headed by Louis Joxe, French Secretary of State for Algerian Affairs, in Evian-les-Bains, France. The talks will fall apart in June, over failure to come to any agreement on the future of French settlers and sovereignty over the Algerian Sahara (where petroleum deposits had been discovered in 1956)

1964 – Robert Woodrow Wilson and Arno Penzias discover cosmic microwave background radiation

1971 – Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On is released

1974 – Allison Amend born, American novelist and short story writer; noted for her short story collection Things That Pass for Love, and the novel Stations West, nominated for the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature

1980 – Voters in Quebec reject, by a 60% margin, a referendum on moving toward independence from Canada

1995 – U.S. President Clinton announces the two-blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House will be permanently closed to traffic as a security measure

1996 – The U.S Supreme Court rules in Romer v. Evans against a law that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state of Colorado from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to protect the rights of gays and lesbians

2006 – In Bangladesh, a series of massive strikes begin involving nearly 1.8 million garment workers

2009 – Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmon activates the Whitlee Wind Farm, Europe’s largest onshore wind farm, with 215 wind turbines, part of the Scottish government’s commitment to generate 100% of the nation’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020

2014 – Hominin fossils of very early human ancestors have been found in the Turkana Basin in Northern Kenya; on this day, Sonia Harmand and Jason Lewis of Stony Brook University announce discovery of tools found near Lake Turkana dated to 3.3 million years ago, making them the oldest tools yet discovered

2016 – Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, vetoes a bill that would have effectively banned abortions in the state by making it a felony for doctors to perform abortions, except on women whose lives are at risk. Governor Fallin said, “The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother’”


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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