ON THIS DAY: April 1, 2020

April 1st is

April Fools/All Fools Day

Atheist Day *

Edible Book Day *

Fossil Fools Day *

Sourdough Bread Day

National Poetry Month *

ALA Reading is Funny Day *

US Air Force Academy Day *

International Tatting (lace-making) Day


MORE! Irene Morales, Edmond Rostand and Wangari Maathai, click



Ancient Rome – Veneralia, festival in honor of Venus Verticordia (Venus the changer of hearts) and Fortuna Virilis (Virile Fortune)

Cyprus – National Day

India – Odisha: Utkal Divas *
(Odisha/Orissa Day)

Iran – Islamic Republic Day
(anniversary of 1979 Islamic referendum victory)

Tanzania – Tree Planting Day

Thailand – National Civil Service Day


On This Day in HISTORY

325 – Crown Prince Sima Yan, age four, becomes Emperor Cheng Jin of China’s Eastern Jin Dynasty, upon the death of Emperor Ming of Jin

527 – Byzantine Emperor Justin I names his nephew Justinian I as co-ruler and successor to the throne

Justinian I

528 – The daughter of Emperor Xiaoming of Northern Wei, an unnamed baby girl, whom her grandmother, Empress Dowager Hu, had falsely claimed was a male child, is installed by the Empress Dowager on the throne upon the death of the baby’s father, but Hu replaces her the next day with Yuan Zhao, a 3-year-old cousin of the late emperor, whose reign lasts only 46 days. General Erzhu Rong sends troops to depose Empress Dowager Hu as regent, drowns her and Yuan Zhao in the Yellow River, then puts Yuan Ziyou on the throne as emperor. Nothing is written of the fate of the unnamed baby girl who was “Emperor” for a day

1220 – Japanese Emperor Go-Saga born, who ruled from 1242 to 126, then abdicated in favor of his son, Emperor Go-Fukakusa, but maintained power as a cloistered emperor

1504 – An English statute extends government control over guilds by requiring royal officials be involved in approval of their ordinances; guilds are major charitable organizations of the day in urban areas, supporting widows and orphans; they lobby successfully for protective tariffs, and adjudicate complaints about the quality of a guild member’s work

1578 – William Harvey born, English physician who first records a complete, detailed description of blood circulation

1621 – The first peace treaty between American colonists and an indigenous nation, the Wampanoag-Pilgrim Treaty, is signed

1663 – The town of Gemert in Holland fines unwed motherhood 50 guilders, about two months’ wages for an unskilled worker of the period; apparently, there was no fine for the male impregnator

1693 – Puritan minister Cotton Mather’s four-day-old son dies, and witchcraft is blamed; his writings and sermons strongly influence the infamous Salem witch trials

1724 – Jonathan Swift publishes the first ‘Drapier’s letters’ a series of pamphlets he wrote under the pseudonym ‘M.B., Drapier’ to protest Britain’s imposition of a privately minted copper coinage on Ireland

1735 – Handel’s “Organ Concerto in F major, Op. 4 No. 4” premieres in London

1748 – Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre, an engineer in the Spanish army, discovers the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum, while prospecting the estate of Charles, Duke of Parma, heir to the throne of Spain

1755 – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin born, French lawyer and politician, who was famed as an epicure and gastronome, noted as a pioneer of the gastronomic essay (see also 2000 entry)

1776 – Sophie Germain born, French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher; despite opposition from her parents and society, she taught herself from books in her father’s library, and corresponded with famous mathematicians, such as Lagrange, Legendre and Gauss. A pioneer of elasticity theory, she won the grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences for her essay on the subject. Her work on Fermat’s Last Theorem was a foundation for mathematicians exploring the subject for hundreds of years after. She was excluded from a career in mathematics because she was a woman, but worked independently throughout her life. The Academy of Sciences established the Sophie Germain Prize in her honor

1778 – New Orleans merchant and financier of the American Revolution Oliver Pollock popularizes the use of the “$” symbol. It is possibly based on a coin, dubbed a ‘Spanish dollar,’ with a coat of arms adopted by King Charles V to represent Spain’s American possessions, which has a pillar wrapped in a banner which looks like an ‘S’

1789 – U.S. House of Representatives holds its first full meeting in New York City

1792 – Dutch-born French feminist Etta Palm d’Aelders, advocate for the rights of women, proposes a comprehensive divorce bill that allows for wife-initiated divorce, because of her concerns about wife beating, saying the lesser physical strength of women requires laws that protect them against their stronger fathers and husbands

1815 – Otto von Bismarck born, German statesman; the first chancellor of German Empire

1826 – Samuel Morey patents an early two cylinder, internal combustion engine, with a carburetor, using turpentine vapor for fuel

1853 – Cincinnati becomes the first U.S. city to pay fire fighters a regular salary

1865 – Irene Morales born, Chilean seamstress, soldier, and nurse during the War of the Pacific against Bolivia

1866 – Sophonisba Breckenridge born, American lawyer, educator, social scientist and social reformer, first woman admitted to the Kentucky bar, first woman graduate of University of Chicago law school, first woman admitted to the Order of the Coif, an honor society for U.S. law school graduates

1868 – Edmond Rostand born, French dramatist; Cyrano de Bergerac

1873 – Sergei Rachmaninov born, Russian late-Romantic composer, who left Russia with his family after his estate was seized by the Leninist regime in 1917; lived in the U.S. from November 1918 until his death

1877 – Aurelia Henry Reinhardt born, American educator and peace and women’s rights activist, first woman moderator of American Unitarian Association (1940-1942), president of Mills College (1916-1943), president of the American Association of University Women (1923-1927); delegate at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations in 1945

1884 – Florence Blanchfield born, U.S. Army Colonel, superintendent of the Army Nursing Corps, first woman commissioned in the regular army, recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal and the Florence Nightingale Medal from International Red Cross

1885 – Clementine Churchill, née Ogilvy Hozier, born Baroness Spencer-Churchill;  married to Winston Churchill. During WWI, she organised canteens for munitions workers on behalf of the YMCA in the North East Metropolitan Area of London, and in WWII, she was chair of the Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund, president of the Young Women’s Christian Association War Time Appeal, and chair of the Maternity Hospital for the Wives of Officers, Fulmer Chase. While touring Russia near the end of the war, she was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. After her husband’s death in 1965, she served as a Member of the House of Lords Temporal (1965-1977), as a cross-bencher. She died of a heart attack at age 92 in December 1977. 

1895 – Alberta Hunter born, American blues singer-songwriter and cabaret singer, who was also a nurse; her first recording was made in 1921 and her last in the 1980s; in 1928, she starred in Showboat with Paul Robeson in London. In 1976, after 20 years working as a nurse, she makes a stunning musical comeback, appearing at Café Society in Greenwich Village, and is signed by Columbia Records. She later sings for President Jimmy Carter at the White House. She died in 1984 at age 89

1902 – Maria Polydouri born, Greek Neo-Romantic poet; her first notable poem brought her attention in the Literary world at age 14. When she was 20, both her parents died within 40 days of each other.  her poems which are regarded as her most important were written during the last four years of her life while she was suffering from consumption (tuberculosis). She died in a sanatorium at age 28 in April 1930. Her two collections of poetry are The Chirps That Faint, and Echo Over Chaos

1911 – Augusta Braxton Baker born, African American librarian and storyteller; when she applied to Albany Teacher’s College, she was turned down because of her race, but Eleanor Roosevelt, whose husband was at that time governor of New York, was serving on the Albany Interracial Council, and heavily advocated for Baker. The school was reluctant to admit a black student, but didn’t want to offend the governor’s wife, so they admitted Baker. She taught in public school until 1937, when she was hired as the children’s librarian at the 135th  Street Branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem. In 1939, the branch began an effort to add children’s literature which did not portray black people as derogatory stereotypes. The collection led to publication of a number of bibliographies of books for and about black children for the first time, including Baker’s 1946 extensive bibliography titled Books about Negro Life for Children which was updated and retitled The Black Experience in Children’s Books in 1971.  She was appointed Storytelling Specialist and Assistant Coordinator of Children’s Services in 1953, then promoted to Coordinator of Children’s Services in 1961, becoming the first African-American librarian in an administrative position in the New York Public Library, overseeing children’s programs in the entire NYPL system and setting policies for them. Baker was a consultant for the children’s television series Sesame Street. She retired in 1974, but returned to work in 1980 in the newly created position of Storyteller-in-Residence at the University of South Carolina, until her second retirement in 1994. She was also the co-author with Ellin Green of Storytelling: Art and Technique, published in 1987

1916 – Sheila May Edmonds born, British mathematician, worked on infinite series, Fournier transforms and Parseval’s theorem; lecturer at Cambridge; chair of the University Faculty Board of Mathematics (1975-1976); Vice-Principal of Newnham College (1960-1981)

1918 – Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) is established

1922 – ALA Reading is Funny Day * – 1922 was the first year that the American Library Association awarded the Newbery Medal: “To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children’s reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field.”  The ALA’s commitment to better books for kids has expanded ever since, including starting Reading is Funny Day, reminding parents that funny books make kids more enthusiastic readers – and that’s no April Fool’s joke!

1926 – Anne McCaffrey born in America, Irish science fiction and fantasy author, first woman to win Hugo and Nebula Awards, Grand Master of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, inductee to Science Fiction Hall of Fame

1933 – A boycott of Jewish-owned business escalates their persecution by the Nazis

1936 – In India, Orissa is formed as a separate linguistic state; on November 9, 2010, it is renamed Odisha by the Parliament of India, but Utkal Divas * the ‘Orissa Day’ is still celebrated; the area has been invaded and held by many conquerors, but still keeps its language and traditions

1940 – Wangari Muta Maathai born, political and environmental activist, founder of the Green Belt Movement, an environmental non-governmental organization focused on planting trees, environmental conservation, and women’s rights, which gave education and a monetary token to rural Kenyan women for planting trees. In 2002, she was part of the National Rainbow Coalition, which united the parties which opposed the oppressive ruling party, and was appointed as Assistant Minister in the Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources (2003-2005). She founded the Mazingira Green Party of Kenya in 2003 to allow candidates to run on a platform of conservation as embodied by the Green Belt Movement, which is affiliated with the Federation of Green Parties of Africa and the Global Greens. In 2004, she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. In 29066, she was a founder of the Nobel Women’s Initiative with other women winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, who come from North and South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with a goal to strengthen work being done around the world for women’s rights, equality, peace and justice. 

1947 – Francine Prose born, American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and critic. She is a Visiting Professor of Literature at Bard College; president of PEN American Center in New York (2007-2009). Noted for her novels Blue Angel, and Household Saints, and her short story collection, Women and Children First

1953 – Big Bang theory is proposed in Physical Review by Alpher, Bethe & Gamow

1954 – US Air Force Academy Day * – after passage of the National Security Act in 1947, which provides for a separate Air Force within the U.S. military, and some inter-service wrangling, it is agreed that an air force academy must be established; the legislation is signed into law on April 1 by President Eisenhower; the first class is sworn in and takes over a WWII barracks at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver on July 11, 1955, while waiting for construction of the Academy to be completed

U.S. Air Force Academy, 1958 Graduating Class

1960 – The first weather satellite, TIROS-1, is launched from Cape Canaveral

1963 – Aprille Ericsson-Jackson born, American aerospace engineer; first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in engineering at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; won the 1997 Women in Science and Engineering Award for best female engineer in the U.S. government; currently instrument manager for a proposed Mars mission to collect dust from the Martian lower atmosphere

1967 – Nicola Roxon born, Australian Labor Party politician; Attorney General of Australia (2011-2013); Minister for Health and Ageing (2007-2011); Member of Australian Parliament (1998-2013)

1970 – The movie Woodstock premieres in Hollywood

1970 – President Nixon signs ban of cigarette ads on radio and TV

1973 – Rachel Maddow born, American television journalist, liberal political commentator and author; since 2008, first openly gay primetime U.S. news program host on MSNBS nightly news and opinion program, The Rachel Maddow Show

1976 – Apple computer is founded

1987 – After over 45,000 reported AIDS-related deaths in the U.S. since 1981, President Reagan, in a speech to doctors in Philadelphia, declares AIDS “public health enemy #1”

1995 – The Academy of American Poets convenes a group of poets, publishers, booksellers, librarians, literary organizations, and teachers to discuss creating a National Poetry Month *, and the first one begins on April 1, 1996; since then, the Clintons host a White House poetry gala (1998); over 10,00o people cast their votes for a poet for a U.S. postage stamp (2001), won by Langston Hughes, whose stamp is issued in January 2002; the Empire State Building is illuminated in blues lights for the 10th anniversary (2005); the Poem-a-Day website is started (2006); and the Dear Poet project invites students to read and write poems, some to be published at Poets.org – Poetry Month also celebrated in Canada

2000 – Edible Book Day * is started by Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron, to commemorate the birthday of French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, noted for his book Physiologie du goût, a witty meditation on food (see also 1755 entry)

2001 – The Netherlands is the first country to make same-sex marriage legal

2003 – Atheists Day * begins as an April Fools fake story about an Atheist suing the government because there is no day for Atheists, and the judge declaring that April Fool’s Day is the Atheist’s holiday. The hoax is taken by many to be real, and the story spreads. Atheists say it’s a day that doesn’t actually exist, just like all the gods celebrated on religious holidays – Atheists, along with constitutionalists, do celebrate the first Thursday in May, the National Day of Reason

2003 – University of California Santa Cruz History Professor Judy Yung marries Eddie Fung. She was collecting oral histories, so they met when she interviewed him about his experiences during WWII.  In spite of over 20 years difference in age, they had in common their respect for Chinese tradition and values, love of the outdoors, playing Scrabble, and a fondness for cats. Yung quotes an old Chinese story,  “As soon as we are born, heaven selects a mate for each of us and links us to them with an invisible red thread,” and says, ““I had been looking for my intended at the end of that red thread for a long time.”

The Yung-Fung wedding day, April 1, 2003, and a book by Judy Yung

2004 – Fossil Fools Day * is launched, an environmental demonstration day, to raise awareness of the hazards fossil fuels, and promote the use of alternative, renewable energy sources and technologies, sponsored by the Energy Action Coalition and Rising Tide North America

2008 – The Pentagon makes public a legal memo dated March 14, 2003, that approves the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects

2016 – First day of the Four Day War between the Artsakh Defense Army, backed by the Armenian Armed Forces, and the Azerbiajani Armed Forces, over a disputed region claimed by self-declared but unrecognized Republic of Artsakh, still regarded by Azerbaijan as part of its country, although also claimed by the Republic of Armenia. A ceasefire is reached April 5, but 350 people, both military and civilian, are killed

2017 – The New York Times reports that Fox News and Bill O’Reilly paid around $13 million to settle sexual harassment and verbal abuse accusations made by five women since 2002. All five women either worked for or appeared as guests on O’Reilly’s show. O’Reilly denied wrongdoing. “In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline,” he claimed in a statement. “I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children,” he added.  As the scandal grew, another woman stepped forward, and the cost of the legal settlements turned out to be considerably higher – $45 million, according to settlement agreements released during the ongoing investigation, and the women “were required to [hand] over all evidence [of sexual harassment], including audio recordings and diaries, to Mr. O’Reilly.” In addition, Andrea Mackris, former producer on The O’Reilly Factor, “was required to disclaim the materials ‘as counterfeit and forgeries’ if they ever became public.” Fox News finally terminated O’Reilly in April 2017, after years of paying millions of dollars to settle sexual harassment lawsuits in order to protect their highest-rated star. Roger Ailes, Chair and CEO of Fox News, had already resigned in July 2016, after reports by 23 women that he had sexually harassed them.


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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