ON THIS DAY: October 31, 2019

October 31st is


Books for Treats Day *

Caramel Apple Day

National Magic Day *

National UNICEF Day *

U.N. World Cities Day *


MORE! Ethel Waters, Harry Houdini and Anna Geifman, click



Pagan – Northern Hemisphere: Samhain
                 Southern Hemisphere: Beltane

Netherlands – Amsterdam:
International Storytelling Festival

Brazil – Dia do Saci
(Brazilian folklore day)

Burkina Faso – Martyrs’ Day

Cambodia – King Father’s Birthday

Canada – Montreal: Le Grande
Degustation de Montreal (food/wine fest)

Egypt – Cairo:
Insomnia Egypt Gaming Festival

India – National Unity Day

Japan – Saga: Saga International Balloon Fiesta

Lesotho – Afriski Mountain:
CrankChaos Mountain Bike Festival

Mexico – Día de los Muertos
(First Day of the Dead– ends Nov-2-2019)

Norway – Fagernes: Ratfisk Festival
(fermented fish festival)

Portugal – Estoril: Science on Stage Festival

Peru – Día de la Canción Criolla
(Creole Song Day)

Scotland – Edinburgh: Samhuinn Fire Festival

Slovenia – Reformation Day *


On This Day in HISTORY

683 – The second Islamic Civil War: During the Siege of Mecca by the Umayyad Army, the Kaaba, at the center of Islam’s most sacred site, catches fire and is severely damaged

1291 – Philippe de Vitry born, French composer, music theorist and poet

1472 –Wang Yangming born, notable Chinese Neo-Confucian philosopher, scholar, official, calligraphist and general during the Ming dynasty; regarded as one of the four greatest masters of Confucianism, with Confucius, Mecius and Zhu Xi

1517 – Reformation Day *: Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, starting the Protestant Reformation

1587 – The Leiden University Library, which was founded with the gift of a Polyglot Bible by William of Orange in 1575, opens its doors to scholars in the vault of the Academy building at Rapenburg in the Netherlands; its Nomenclator, the first printed catalogue of any institutional library, appears in 1595, coinciding with the opening of the library’s new, more spacious location on the upper floor of the Faliede Bagijnkerk

Leiden University Library in 1610

1614 – First performance of Ben Jonson’s comedy Bartholomew Fair by the company ‘Lady Elizabeth’s Men’ (King James I’s daughter) at the Hope Theatre in London

1632 – Jan Vermeer born, Dutch master painter

Young Woman with a Water Pitcher, by Jan Vermeer

1711 – Laura Bassi born, Italian physicist and academic; earned a doctoral degree in Philosophy from the University of Bologna in 1732; the first woman to receive a professorship in physics at a university, and the first woman known to be appointed a university chair in a scientific field; Bassi was one of the first women to lecture in public, and some of the key events in her career happened in te Palazzo Pubblico, attended by major political and  religious figures as well as university faculty and students; she conducted experiments with electricity with her husband, which attracted other talented scientific minds to Bologna, and helped spread the study of Newtonian mechanics throughout Italy. She was most interested in Newtonian physics and in Franklinian electricity, fields of study that were not part of the regular curriculum, so Bassi gave private lessons. In her lifetime, she wrote 28 papers, the majority of these on physics and hydraulics, although she did not publish any books. Only four of her papers were published. She carried on an extensive correspondence with many of the outstanding scientists of her day in Italy, France and England

Laura Bassi – by Carlo Vandi

1760 – Hokusai born, famous Japanese artist, ukiyo-e painter and printmaker of the Edo period

1776 – King George III addresses the British Parliament, concerning the war with the American colonies and its leaders, “for daring and desperate is the spirit of those leaders, whose object has always been dominion and power, that they have now openly renounced all allegiance to the crown, and all political connection with this country”

1795 – John Keats born, one of the best-loved English poets of the late Romantic period

1822 – Emperor Agustín de Iturbide tries to dissolve Congress of the Mexican Empire

1849 – Marie Louise Andrews born, American author and an editor for the Indianapolis Herald; co-founder of the Western Association of Writers

1860 – Juliette Gordon Low born as Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon in Savannah, Georgia, founder of the Girl Scouts USA

1861 – American Civil War: Citing failing health, General Winfield Scott resigns as Commander of the United States Army

1863 – The Maori Wars resume as British forces in New Zealand led by General Duncan Cameron begin their Invasion of the Waikato on the North Island

1864 – Nevada is admitted as the 36th U.S. state

1868 – Postmaster General Alexander Williams Randall approves a standard uniform for postal carriers

1876 – Natalie Clifford Barney born, American playwright, novelist and poet; lived openly as a Lesbian in Paris for 60 years; formed a “Women’s Academy”  (L’Académie des Femmes); a feminist and pacifist, and free love advocate; her weekly Salon brought together expat writers and artists, with their French counterparts, from modernists to members of the French Academy

1880 – Julia Mood Peterkin born in south Carolina, American author, won the 1929 Pulitzer Prize for Literature for her novel Scarlet Sister Mary; her books included depictions of the lives of the Gullah people of the Low Country; Scarlet Sister Mary was banned by the Gaffney library in South Carolina, but The Gaffney Ledger published the complete book in serial form

1883 – Marie Laurencin born, French Cubist painter and printmaker associated with La Section d’Or, a Cubist-Orphist collective of artists, poets and critics, named for, Salon del la Section d’Or, the most important public showing of Cubist work before WWI, in 1912 in Paris

Self-Portrait by Marie Laurencin

1887 – Chiang Kai-Shek born, first president of the Taiwan Republic of China

1896 – Ethel Waters born, African American singer/actor, records over 250 sides after her debut in 1921, vocalist and stylist with perfect pitch

1897 – Constance Savery born, British author of fifty novels and children’s books, as well as articles and short stories; noted for Enemy Brothers and Emeralds for the King

1902 – Julia Lee born, American blues singer-songwriter

1908 – Muriel Duckworth born, Canadian pacifist, feminist and community activist who maintained that war is a major obstacle to social justice, because of the violence it inflicts on women and children, and the money spent on armaments which perpetuates poverty while reinforcing the power of the elite; founding member of Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace, the regional branch of Voice of Women; she was president of VOW (1967-1971) and led protests against the Canadian government’s quiet support for the U.S.-led Vietnam War. She was the first woman in Halifax to run for a seat in the Nova Scotia legislature, although she did not win. She led community campaigns for better housing , education, social assistance and municipal planning. In 1991, she was honored with the Pearson Medal of Peace

1913 – Dedication of the Lincoln Highway, first automobile highway across the continental U.S.

1915 – Jane Jarvis born, American jazz pianist, composer and music industry executive, as corporate vice president at Muzak (1962?-1978). In the 1950s, she played the ballpark organ for the Mets. She left corporate work to return to playing jazz piano, and has over 300 compositions to her credit with ASCAP. She lived to be 94 years old

1917 – WWI Battle of Beersheba, the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade makes the “last successful cavalry charge in history”

1918 – Dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire

1923 –First of 160 consecutive days of 100° Fahrenheit at Marble Bar, Western Australia

1924 – World Savings Day * is announced in Milan, Italy by members of the Association at the 1st International Savings Bank Congress (World Society of Savings Banks)

1926 – Magician Harry Houdini dies of peritonitis after his appendix ruptures

1938 – Society of American Magicians start Magic Day * on the 12th anniversary of Harry Houdini’s death on Halloween in 1926

1941 – Fourteen years after the work starts, Mount Rushmore is completed

1949 – Allison Wolf born, Baroness Wolf of Dulwich, British economist and author; the Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at King’s College London. She is Director of the International Centre for University Policy Research, King’s Policy Institute; and Director of the university’s MSc programme in Public Sector Policy and Management.;  Does Education Matter? Myths about Education and Economic Growth, and The XX Factor

1949 – Dumisa Ntsebeza born, South African anti-apartheid activist who completed his law degree while serving time in prison; he served as a commissioner on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1995, and founded the South African Black Lawyers Association

1950 – Jane Pauley born, American television journalist, host of Sunday Morning since 2016; Today show co-host (1976-1989), Dateline co-anchor (1992-2003)

1950 – UNICEF Day * – for the first time, trick-or-treaters collect coins to help UNICEF help kids

1952 – The U.S. detonates its first hydrogen bomb

1955 – Susan Orlean born, American journalist; since 1992, staff writer for The New Yorker; author of The Orchid Thief

1956 – The U.K. and France begin bombing Egypt to force reopening of the Suez Canal

1956 – Annie Finch born, central figure in contemporary American poetry, has published over eighteen books, which include her own poetry, literary essays, and criticism, as well as several anthologies which she edited. Her mother was the poet Margaret Rockwell Finch

1962 – Anna Geifman born, American historian and author; focused on political extremism, terrorism and the history of the Russian revolutionary movements; Thou Shalt Kill: Revolutionary Terrorism in Russia, 1894-1917 and Entangled in Terror: The Azef Affair and the Russian Revolution

 1962 – Mari Jungstedt born, Swedish journalist on public radio and television; crime fiction author; The Killer’s Art and The Dead of Summer

1968 – Citing Paris peace talk progress, US President Johnson  announces his order of a complete cessation of “all air, naval, and artillery bombardment of North Vietnam” effective November 1

1981 – Antigua and Barbuda become independent of Great Britain

1983 – The U.S. Depart of Defense admits that a U.S. Navy plane mistakenly bombed a civilian hospital during the invasion of Grenada

1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh security guards. Riots break out in New Delhi and other cities and nearly 10,000 Sikhs are killed

1993 – River Phoenix dies at age 23 after collapsing outside a Hollywood nightclub

1996 – The South African National Assembly passes the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Act, which allows women, including minors, to terminate pregnancies on request with the first 12 weeks, and under specified circumstances from the 13th week to through the 20th week, and under very limited circumstances beyond that point

1998 – Iraq announces ceasing cooperation with U. N. nuclear weapons inspectors

1999 – Roman Catholic and Lutheran church leaders sign Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, ending centuries of doctrinal dispute on faith and salvation

2000 – Soyuz TM-31 launches, carrying the first resident crew to the International Space Station which has been crewed continuously since

2001 – The first Books for Treats Day * is started to encourage giving trick-or-treaters children’s books instead of candy

2002 – A Houston TX federal grand jury indicts former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow on 78 counts of wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy and obstruction of justice during the collapse of his ex-employer

2011 – Day of the Seven Billion *– the day the U.N. Population Fund designated as the day the world population reached 7 billion

2014 – The first U.N. World Cities Day * which is established by a UN General Assembly resolution on December 27, 2013

2017 – Representatives of Facebook, Google, and Twitter testified in a U.S. Senate hearing that Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election were more extensive than initially believed. Lawyers for the tech giants said the number of Americans exposed to bogus information disseminated by Russian operatives is now estimated at more than 100 million. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina, and chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, said social media is widely used and has “enriched” America, “but the bottom line is these technologies also can be used to undermine our democracy and put our nation at risk.”


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.
This entry was posted in History, Holidays, On This Day and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.