ON THIS DAY: May 11, 2020

May 11th is

Eat What You Want Day

Foam Rolling Day *

Hostess CupCake Day *

Twilight Zone Day


MORE! Isabelle Bogelot, Clarence Ellis and Cecile Licad, click



Azores – Azores Day (political autonomy)

Canada – Nisga’a Nation:
Nisga’a Treaty Day *

India – National Technology Day

Indonesia – Day of the Military Police
of the National Armed Forces

Vietnam – Vietnam Human Rights Day


On This Day in HISTORY

330 – Byzantium is renamed Nova Roma during a dedication ceremony, but it is more popularly called Constantinople

Emperor Constantine I, called ‘the Great’ – ruled 306 to 337 AD

868 – A copy of the Diamond Sūtra is printed in China, making it the oldest known dated printed book; it is a Buddhist sūtra from the Prajñāpāramitā (Perfection of Wisdom) concerning the practices of non-binding and non-attachment

1092 – In England, Lincoln Cathedral is consecrated; it will be the tallest building in the world from 1311 until 1549, the second building to hold the tallest title after the Great Pyramid of Giza (in 1549, the central spire collapsed and was not rebuilt)

1310 – King Philip IV of France, who owed large amounts of money to the Knights Templar, orders fifty-four members of the military order burned at the stake as heretics

1647 – Peter Stuyvesant arrives in New Amsterdam to replace Willem Kieft as  Director-General of New Netherland, the Dutch colonial settlement (present-day New York City); he appoints a nine-man advisory council to represent the colonists

Peter Stuyvesant on left, artist not credited

1720 – Baron Munchhausen born, German story-teller; his tales became The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

1771 – Laskarina Bouboulina born, Greek naval commander, heroine of the Greek War of Independence in 1821; when her second husband was killed fighting Algerian pirates, she took over his fortune and his trading business and had four more ships built at her own expense, including the large warship Agamemnon.  When the Turks tried to confiscate her property because her husband had fought with the Russians in the Turko-Russian wars, she met with Russian Ambassador Pavel Stroganov, and gained Russian protection. The Agamemnon was one of the largest warships in the hands of Greek rebels, and she spent much of her fortune on arms and food for the men under her command, taking part in naval blockades and capturing cities held by the Turks, including Tripolis, where she saved most of the woman of the sultan’s household. After her death, Emperor Alexander I of Russia granted her the honorary title Admiral of the Imperial Russian Navy, making her the only woman in world naval history to hold that rank until 1972, when Alene Duerk was promoted to Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy

Oil painting of Bouboulina, the National Historical Museum, Athens

1792 – Robert Gray, an American merchant sea captain, becomes the first documented white person to sail into the Columbia River

1812 – Spencer Perceval becomes the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated, by John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. Bellingham was demanding compensation from the British Government for being imprisoned in Russia for a year, while on business there for his employers, at the order of a Russian Governor-General, over an alleged debt

1817 – Fanny Cerrito born, Italian prima ballerina and choreographer of Rosida; one of the few women in the 19th Century to be acclaimed as a choreographer

Lithograph of Fanny Cerrito in “La Lituana”

1838 – Isabelle Bogelot born, philanthropist, feminist and author; noted for setting up temporary shelters for women and children, and transitional housing for women released from prison. She also campaigned for major reforms at the infamous women’s prison, St. Lazare. Co-founder in 1901 of the National Council of French Women (CNFF). Author of Trente ans de solidarité (Thirty Years of Solitude)

1846 – President James K. Polk asks for and receives from Congress a Declaration of War against Mexico, starting the Mexican–American War

1857 – Indian rebels seize Delhi from the British East India Company; the uprising is put down after 18 months, but the British Government takes control from the East India Company, forming the British Indian Empire under the Government of India Act 1858

1875 – Harriet Quimby born, American pilot and screenwriter; first woman granted a U.S. pilot’s license, and the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. In May 1912, she left England in a 50-hp monoplane lent to her by Louis Blériot. She headed for France in a plane she had never flown before, with a compass she had just learned how to use. Despite poor visibility and fog, Quimby landed 59 minutes later near Hardelot, France. Upon landing, she was greeted by the local residents, but the sinking of the Titanic overshadowed reporting of Quimby’s achievement in the world press. She was killed just a a few weeks later, in July, 1912, when she lost control of her plane at a flying exhibition near Quincy, Massachusetts

1884 – Alma Gluck born in Romania, American operatic soprano and concert singer, one of the most famous singers of her generation in the world

1888 – Irving Berlin born in Russia, American composer and lyricist for stage and screen musicals, one of America’s greatest songwriters

1894 – 4,000 Pullman Palace Car Company workers go on strike in Illinois, which spreads, crippling nationwide rail service until the federal government intervenes

1894 – Martha Graham born, American dancer and choreographer, had tremendous impact on modern dance over her 70 year career, founder of the oldest dance company in the U.S., recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

1895 – William Grant Still born, American composer of five symphonies and eight operas; the “Dean of African-American composers”

1901 – Rose Ausländer born in Cernauti, Austria-Hungary, lived in the U.S and Germany, Jewish poet who wrote in both German and English, editor of the U.S. German language newspaper Westlicher Herold; most copies of her first books of poems were destroyed when the Nazis occupied Cernauti in 1941

1901 – Gladys Rockmore Davis, American artist who worked as both a painter and a commercial artist

Self-Portrait, by Gladys Rockmore Davis – 1942

1902 – Edna Ernestine Kramer born, American mathematician, daughter of Jewish immigrants; she earned a PhD in mathematics, with a minor in physics from Columbia University in 1930 while teaching high school classes. She became the first woman instructor of mathematics at New Jersey State Teachers College. In 1934, during the Depression, she took a teaching position with the New York City School system, and served as acting chair of the department. During 1943-1945 she worked long hours at Jefferson High School, then long evenings at Columbia University. Later she worked in the university’s Division of War Research under the office of Scientific Research and Development in Washington, D.C. In 1948, she began her lasting affiliation with New York Polytechnic Institute, moving from adjunct instructor to adjunct professor in 1953. Kramer belonged to the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematics Association of America, the Association for Women in Mathematics, the American Association for Advancement of Sciences, the History of Science Society, and the New York Academy of Science. She retired from the New York City school system in 1956 and New York Polytechnic Institute in 1965. Her best-known book, The Nature and Growth of Modern Mathematics, was published in 1970

1904 – Salvador Dali born, prominent Spanish surrealist artist

1905 – Lise de Baissac born in Mauritius of French descent and British nationality. Her family moved to Paris in 1919. After the Nazis occupied Paris in 1940, she and her brother Claude spent months on a circuitous journey through France, Spain, and Portugal before reaching Gilbraltar and taking a ship to Great Britain. Her brother was quickly recruited by the Special Operations Executive, and as soon as the SOE began recruiting women, she applied to join. She was trained to be an agent, but “officially” was commissioned in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry in July 1942. In September, she and Andrée Borrel were the first women SOE agents to be parachuted into central France. They established a safe house, and Lise was a courier and liaison for several networks, including the SCIENTIST network her brother Claude set up. She also organized the pick-ups of arms drops from the UK for the French resistance, and took part in some armed attacks on enemy columns. In 1943, her next assignment was helping to train new agents, after the Gestapo penetrated several networks, and she and Claude were flown back to England. They returned to France in 1944, to reconnoiter possible landing sites for airborne troops during D-Day which would be defensible while they were getting established. Afterwards, she gathered information on German troop dispositions while renting a room in a house occupied by the local commander of German Forces. After the war, she was honored with medals from both the British and French governments, and lived to the age of 98

1905 – Catherine Bauer Wurster born, influential American urban planner, author and public housing advocate; author of Modern Housing, published in 1934, and still regarded as a classic in the field. She was a leading member of the “housers,” a group of planners who advocated affordable housing for low-income families, she dramatically changed social housing practice and law in the United States. Bauer was the primary author of the Housing Act of 1937 and advised five presidents on housing and urban planning strategies. Following the passage of the Housing Act of 1937, she was named the Director of Information and Research for the newly formed United States Housing Authority, a federal agency of the Department of the Interior under the New Deal. She was the initiator of the standard of one-third of a household’s income as the maximum that should have to be paid for housing  

1910 – The U.S. Congress establishes Glacier National Park in Montana

1918 – Sheila Burnford born in Scotland, British-Canadian author; best known for The Incredible Journey, which won the Canadian Library Association award as the 1963 Book of the Year for Children

1918 – Richard Feynman born, American theoretical physicist and author; won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics; his autobiography, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! was a best-seller

1918 – Mrinalini Sarabhai born in British India, Indian classical dancer and choreographer of over 300 dance dramas; founder and director of the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad; chair of the Gujarat State Handicrafts and Handloom Development Corporation; honored in 1992 by the Indian government with the Padma Bhushan, the nation’s third highest civilian award

1919 – Jeff Cup begins selling his Chocolate Cup Cakes, the first commercially produced cupcake, but now known as the Hostess CupCake *

1921 – Hildegard Hamm-Brücher born, German liberal politician, chemist and science journalist; served as Minister of State in the Foreign Office and as Secretary of the Ministry of Education; German presidential candidate in 1993

1922 – Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera born, Filipina judge; second woman justice on the Philippine Supreme Court (1979-1992)

1924 – Robert Frost is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

1933 – Anna M. McCann born, American art historian, archaeologist and academic; in the early 1960s, she became the first American woman underwater archaeologist, scuba diving with Jacques Cousteau to explore ancient Roman shipwrecks in the waters near Marseille; Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

1936 – Carla Bley born, American jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader; composed jazz opera Escalator Over the Hill

1940 – The New York World’s Fair opens

1942 – William Faulkner’s collections of short stories, Go Down, Moses, is published

1943 – Clarence Ellis born, American computer scientist, the first African American to earn a PhD in Computer Science (1969), and the first to be elected a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (1997). Ellis was a pioneer in CSCW (computer-supported cooperative work), Groupware and Operational Transformation

1946 – Robert Jarvik born, American cardiologist who developed the Artificial Heart

1949 – Israel joins the United Nations

1950 – Eugene Ionesco’s La Cantatrice Chauve (“The Bald Soprano”) premieres in Paris

1954 – Judith Weir born, British composer and Master of the Queen’s Music; noted for operas, The Vanishing BridegroomArmida and Miss Fortune

1956 – Theresa Burke born, Canadian journalist; writer, director and producer for CBC television’s newsmagazine, The Fifth Estate. She won a Canadian Association of Journalists award in 2000 for the program ‘His Word Against History’ about the life of convicted murderer Steven Truscott

1960 –In Buenos Aires, Argentina, four Israeli Mossad agents capture fugitive Nazi Adolf Eichmann who is living under the alias of Ricardo Klement

1961 – Cecile Licad born, Filipina classical pianist; winner of the 1981 Leventritt Competition Gold Medal

1963 – Racist bombings in Birmingham, Alabama, disrupt the nonviolent Birmingham civil rights campaign and precipitate a crisis involving federal troops. The home of Reverend A.D.W. King, brother of Martin Luther King, and the Gaston Hotel, where Dr. King had often stayed, were bombed within minutes of each other. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured.   

Bomb damage to A.D.W. King home, photo by Eldred Perry

1963 – “Puff the Magic Dragon” by Peter, Paul & Mary is #2 on the charts

1963 – Gunilla Carlsson born, Swedish politician; Minister for International Development Cooperation (2006-2013), Swedish Riksdag member (2002-2013) and deputy chair of the Moderate Party (2003-2015)

1965 – Ellis Island becomes part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument

1973 – Citing government misconduct, Judge William M. Byrne dismisses charges against Daniel Ellsberg for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times

1974 – Mike Oldfield’s “Tubular Bells” reaches #7 on the charts

1981 – Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats, based on T.S. Eliot, premieres
in London

1987 – Klaus Barbie’s trial begins in Lyon for war crimes  committed during WWII

1987 – The Anti-Apartheid Movement in London ends its seventeen-year boycott of Barclays Bank for its ties with South Africa

1989 – U.S President George H.W. Bush orders almost 2,000 troops to Panama

1995 – More than 170 countries extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions

1997 – Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format

1998 – French mint produces the first coins of the Euro, Europe’s new single currency

2000 – Nisga’a Treaty *: the First Nation Nishg’a people and the governments of British Columbia and Canada reach an agreement which recognizes land and water in the Nass River Valley as belonging to the Nisga’a, and creates Bear Glacier Provincial Park. Thirty-one Nisga’a placenames are restored. The Nisg’a now have control over their land, and its forestry and fishing resources

2002 – HRH Princess Margriet of the Netherlands unveils the Man With Two Hats monument in Ottawa, (its twin was unveiled in Apeldoorn May 2) symbolically linking both the Netherlands and Canada for their assistance throughout WWII

Man with Two Hats, sculpted by Dutch artist Henk Visch
photo ©2015 by Ruth Lor Malloy

2010 – Imelda Marcos wins election to the Philippines House of Representatives, for the Ilocos Norte province

2012 – Chinese scientists break world record, transferring photons over 97 kilometers using quantum teleportation

2014 – Thousands protest waste incineration plant construction in Hangzhou, China

2015 – National Foam Rolling Day * is launched to celebrate the health benefits of using a foam roller to massage your muscles to reduce stress and increase mobility

2015 – Record price for a work of art at auction: Picasso’s The Women of Algiers (Version ‘O’) sells for $179.3 million at Christies NY

2016 – A Colorado judge declared that the 57-year-old man who went on a shooting rampage that left three dead, including a police officer, and nine wounded, at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic last year was not competent to stand trial. The shooter interrupted court proceedings with angry outbursts, yelling that he was a “warrior for the babies.” The shooter faced 179 counts, including first-degree murder charges. The judge’s decision meant the shooter would be indefinitely confined to a state mental hospital. In November 2019, a federal grand jury in Denver returned a 68-count indictment against him.

2016 – Italy’s Parliament gave final approval to a law recognizing civil unions between same-sex partners, after an extended battle which was largely due to opposition from the Catholic Church. Gay rights activists celebrated the bill’s approval, but expressed disappointment that a provision allowing gay couples to adopt had to be dropped to ensure the bill would pass 

2018 – Scientists at Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts issued the results of a study of 18 hair care products commonly used by black women. They found a total of 45 known endocrine disruptors, with each product containing at least six of the disrupting chemicals. Eleven of the 18 products contained chemicals prohibited in the European Union or regulated under California’s Proposition 65. Hair relaxers marketed for children had the highest levels of five such chemicals. The study also found that 84% of the harmful chemicals detected were not listed on the product label. African American women have higher rates of hormone-linked problems such as preterm birth, uterine fibroids and infertility than other groups of women. Their rates of breast cancer and endometrial cancer are also on the rise. “Chemicals in hair products, and beauty products in general, are mostly untested and largely unregulated,” said study author Jessica Helm. “This study is a first step toward uncovering what harmful substances are in products frequently used by black women, so we can better understand what’s driving some of the health issues they’re facing.”

Jessica Helm, study author


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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