ON THIS DAY: July 18, 2019

July 18th is

Caviar Day

Sour Candy Day

World Listening Day

Nelson Mandela International Day

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MORE! Pauline Viardot, Clifford Odets and Martha Reeves, click

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World Festivals and National Holidays

Canada – Québec City:
Valhala Sound Circus

Croatia – Dubrovnik:
Dubrovnik Summer Festival (ongoing)

Peru – Paucartambo:
Paucartambo Virgen del Carmen Fiesta

Singapore – Contemporary Dance Festival

South Africa – Mandela Day

Uruguay – Constitution Day

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On This Day in HISTORY

AD 64 – The Great Fire of Rome during Emperor Nero’s reign


Nero looking for a burning Rome, by Alfonz Mucha

452 – Attila leads the Huns on an invasion of Italy, passing through Pannonia, then laying a year-long siege against Aquielia, at the head of the Adriatic, at the time an important city in Roman commerce; on July 17, Aquielia falls, and the Huns sack the city, and raze it

1013 – Hermann Von Reichenau born, German poet, composer, astronomer and mathematician. He suffered from a crippling disease from childhood on, possibly what is now called Lou Gehrig’s disease, which in our time afflicted Stephen Hawking.



1290 – King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; on Tisha B’Av, a day on the Hebrew calendar that commemorates many Jewish calamities, especially the destruction in Jerusalem of the First Temple by the Babylonians and the Second Temple by the Romans

1334 – The Bishop of Florence blesses the first foundation stone for the new  campanile (bell tower) of the Florence Cathedral, a design of artist Giotto di Bondone


Campanile on the left

1536 – Parliament passes an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England

1635 – Robert Hooke born, English polymath, physicist and architect, called “England’s Leonardo”



1670 – Giovanni Bononcini born, Italian Baroque composer, cellist and singer in a family of composers and musicians

1702 – Maria Clementina Sobieska born, granddaughter of King John III of Poland; she was arrested by King George I of Great Britain on the way to her wedding, in an attempt to prevent her marriage to James Francis Edward Stuart (the ‘Old Pretender’), but she escapes and they are quickly married by proxy. Their eldest son, Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) will fail, as his father did before him, to reclaim the thrones of Scotland and England, and their younger son, Henry Benedict Stuart, will become a Roman Catholic Cardinal



1724 – Duchess Maria Antonia of Bavaria born, Electress of Saxony, singer, composer and harpsichordist; her operas are well received, and her harpsichord performances admired



1757 – Royall Tyler born, American jurist and playwright; Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court (1807-1812); in 1787, his play, The Contrast, was the first American comedy to be performed by professional actors, in New York City; its premiere was attended by newly-elected President George Washington



1811 – William Makepeace Thackeray born, English novelist; The Luck of Barry Lyndon, Vanity Fair



1821 – Pauline Viardot born, French mezzo-soprano, pianist, educator and composer; Franz Liszt considered her a “woman composer of genius”



1841 – The coronation ceremony of 15-year-old Emperor Pedro II of Brazil takes place in Rio de Janeiro

1850 – Rose Hartwick Thorpe born, American author and poet, best known for her poem Curfew Must Not Ring Tonight



1861 – Kadambini Ganguly born, first Indian and first Southeast Asian woman to be trained and graduate in Western medicine in India. She earned a Graduate of Bengal Medical College degree in 1886. (Anandi Gopal Joshi graduated with a medical degree the same year, from the Woman’s College of Pennsylvania in the U.S.) Ganguly continued her medical studies in the United Kingdom, becoming a  Licentiate  of the Royal College of Physicians from the University of Edinburgh, an LRCS from the University of Glasgow, and a GFPS from the University of Dublin. Back in India, she  worked for a short period at Lady Dufferin Hospital, then started her private practice. Her husband, Dwarkanath Ganguly, was a reformer and an advocate of women’s emancipation, and they were both involved with the campaign to improve working conditions of women coal miners. She was one of the six women delegates to the fifth session of the Indian National Congress in 1889, and organized and presided over the Women’s Conference in 1906. She was also the mother of eight children. She was much critised by conservatives, and when a conservative magazine lambasted her ceaseless campaign for women’s rights, and indirectly called her a ‘whore,’ she took the case to court, and eventually won. The magazine’s editor served a six month jail sentence.



1867 – Margaret Brown born, American philanthropist, socialite, advocate for women’s education and aiding poor children; after she survived the sinking of RMS Titanic, she was known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”



1870 – The First Vatican Council decrees papal infallibility ex cathedra

1872 – Britain enacts voting by secret ballot

1877 – Thomas Edison records the human voice for the first time

1887 – Vidkun Quisling born, Norwegian military officer and politician installed by the Nazis as the nominal head of state after they invaded Norway during WWII; in 1945, he was tried for high treason, murder and embezzlement, and was executed by firing squad; his name is now a byword for collaborator and traitor in several languages

1895 – Olga Spessivtseva, Russian ballerina, considered one of the outstanding ballerinas of the 20th century; partnered with Nijinsky at the Ballet Russes 1916-1918 and on tours in 1921 and 1923; étoile (prima ballerina) at the Paris Opera 1924-1932, but still performed occasionally with the Ballet Russes; her mental health and career began a long decline 1934-1943; her last performance was in 1939; beginning in 1943, she spent several years in mental hospitals



1900 – Nathalie Sarraute born, French lawyer and author; of Russian Jewish origin, she was forced by the Vichy regime’s anti-Jewish laws to quit practicing law in 1941, and went into hiding, then dedicated herself to writing; noted for Portrait d’un inconnu (Portrait of an Unknown Man); recipient of the Prix international de littérature for her novel Les Fruits d’or (The Golden Fruits)



1902 – Jessamyn West born, American novelist; The Friendly Persuasion



1906 – S.I. Hayakawa born in Canada, American politician and academic of Japanese ancestry; U.S. Senator (D-CA 1977-1983); President of San Francisco State University (1968-1973)

1906 – Clifford Odets born, influential American playwright, screenwriter and director, most notably during the Great Depression Era; member of the Group Theatre; Awake and Sing!, Waiting for Lefty, Golden Boy, Clash by Night and The Country Girl



1908 – Beatrice Aitchison born, American academic, mathematician, civil servant, statistician, and transportation economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (1936-1939) and the Interstate Commerce Commission (1942-1951); consultant for the Office of Defense Transportation (1942-1944). She was head of the U.S Department of Commerce’s Office of Transportation (1951 to 1953, when it disbanded), then moved to the U.S Postal Service as Director of Transportation Research in its Bureau of Transportation, first woman in the Postal Service appointed to a policy level position. In 1961, was one of the first to be awarded the U.S. Civil Service Commission’s Federal Woman’s Award, and used her recognition to pressure President Johnson to sign an executive order banning sex discrimination in U.S. government. Aitchison retired in 1971 as one of the highest ranking women in federal service



1908 – Mildred L. Norman born, American mystic, pacifist activist and vegetarian, the ‘Peace Pilgrim’; between 1953 and 1981, she walked across the United States at least six times, and died on her seventh cross-country journey at age 72



1914 – Mohandas Gandhi embarks from Cape Town, South Africa, aboard a ship bound for England. His leadership of successful Passive Resistance campaigns in South Africa brought about his deliberations with General J.C. Smuts, and led to the passage of the Indian Relief Act, which abolished a £3 tax on ex-indentured Indians, recognized the validity of Hindu and Muslim marriages, and allowed children of Indian residents of South Africa to reunite with their parents in South Africa



1915 – Roxana Cannon Arsht born, daughter of a Russian immigrant, American lawyer and judge. After graduating from law school and passing the bar in 1939, as a married woman she was unable to find work as a lawyer, so she worked for women’s reproductive rights, and helped with the development of Planned Parenthood’s Delaware office. In 1962, she began volunteering as a ‘master’ (hearing civil cases where common law applies) for Delaware Family Court. In 1971, she became the first woman in Delaware to be appointed as a judge, in Delaware Family Court. Arsht retired in 1983, and became the first woman to serve on the Medical Center of Delaware board (1993-1997)



1918 – Nelson Mandela born, leader in struggle against apartheid, President of South Africa (1994-1999)



1925 – Adolf Hitler publishes Mein Kampf

1926 – Margaret Laurence born, Canadian author, founder of the Writers’ Trust of Canada; noted for The Stone Angel and The Diviners; recipient of two Governor General’s Awards, and Companion of the Order of Canada



1932 – U.S. and Canada sign treaty to develop the St. Lawrence Seaway

1935 – Tenley Albright born, American Olympic champion figure skater and physician; she won Gold in Women’s Figure Skating at the 1956 Winter Olympics on Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and Silver at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway. Albright was World Champion in 1953 and 1955. She began figure skating at age 11, as therapy to regain muscle strength after an attack of polio. After retiring from competition in 1956, she graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1961, and went on to become a surgeon. She practiced medicine for 23 years, and also was a faculty member and Lecturer in the Program of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. She also chaired the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, was involved with the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Currently, she serves as Director of MIT Collaborative Initiatives



1936 – The first Oscar Meyer Wienermobile rolls off the assembly line



1941 – Martha Reeves born, American Rhythm & Blues singer and politician, she was the leader of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, then went on to a successful solo career.  From 2005 to 2009, she was on the Detroit City Council



1942 – First flight of the German Me-262, the first jet-propelled combat plane

1947 – President Truman signs Presidential Succession Act: Speaker of the House, then Senate President Pro Tempore are next in line after the Vice President

1948 – Jeanne Córdova born, pioneering American lesbian and gay rights activist, one of the founders of the West Coast LGBTQ movement. While serving as Los Angeles chapter president of the Daughters of Bilitis, she opened the first lesbian center in Los Angeles, and was publisher and editor of the chapter’s newsletter, The Lesbian Tide, which grew to be regarded as the lesbian feminist “newspaper of record.” It was also the first American publication to use “lesbian” in its name. She was a key organizer of the  first West Coast Lesbian Conference at Metropolitan Community Church (1971) and the first National Lesbian Conference at the University of California, Los Angeles (1973). She also sat on the Board of the Los Angeles Gay Community Services Center and became the Human Rights Editor of the progressive weekly, the Los Angeles Free Press (1973–1976). Córdova was elected as a delegate to the first National Women’s Conference for International Women’s Year in Houston (1977), where she was a moving force behind the passage of the lesbian affirmative action resolution.  She was Southern California media director of the ballot campaign to defeat the anti-gay Proposition 6 Briggs Initiative (1978), which sought to purge lesbian and gay teachers from California’s public schools. She went on to initiate the National Lesbian Feminist Organization’s first convention (1978), and was president of the Stonewall Democratic Club (1979–1981). She is the author of When We Were Outlaws; A Memoir of Love & Revolution, published by Spinsters Ink Books in 2011



1960 – Elvis Presley releases “It’s Now or Never”

1968 – The Grateful Dead release their Anthem of the Sun album

1969 – Ted Kennedy’s car goes off bridge at Chappaquiddick, Mary Jo Kopechne dies

1969 – Elizabeth M. Gilbert born, American author best known for her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. Her book was on the New York Times Best Seller list for over 187 weeks



1976 – Nadia Comăneci is first person to score a perfect 10 in Olympic gymnastics

1989 – The shooting death of actress Rebecca Schaeffer by an obsessed fan prompts the California legislature to pass the first anti-stalking law in the U.S. in 1990)



1994 – Comet Shoemaker-Levy’s largest collision with Jupiter leaves a black spot over 7,456 miles (12,000 km) across



1995 – Oldest known musical instrument, made from 45,000 year old bear bone, found in Indrijca River Valley, Slovenia



2005 – Anti-Abortion fanatic and domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph is sentenced to life in prison for the bombing of an abortion clinic in Birmingham AL which killed a police officer and gravely injured a nurse

2012 – Kim Jong-un is officially appointed Supreme Leader of North Korea

2013 – Detroit, Michigan files for bankruptcy, becoming the largest U.S. municipal bankruptcy ever at $18.5 billion

2016 – Over 100,000 Venezuelans crossed the border into Columbia hoping to buy food and medicine, which are in scarce supply in Venezuela as it struggles with triple-digit inflation, currency controls, and a sharp drop in crucial oil revenues as crude oil prices continue to fall



2017 – The Trump Administration notified Todd Buchwald, Special Coordinator for the State Department Office of Global Criminal Justice, that he will be reassigned to State’s Office of Legal Affairs, and the rest of his staff  reassigned to the department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. This is in line with the administration’s goal of using the State Department to increase economic opportunities for American businesses and expand American military power. The Office of Global Criminal Justice had been tasked with combating war crimes for the past two decades. Buchwald announces at the end of August 2017 that he is leaving the State Department


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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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