ON THIS DAY: May 23, 2020

May 23rd is

National Lucky Penny Day

World Turtle Day *

National Taffy Day *

UN International Day to
End Obstetric Fistula *


MORE! Margaret Fuller, Joe Slovo and Nancy Pelosi, click



Abkhazia –
Day of Apostle Simon the Zealot

Germany – Constitution Day

Jamaica – Labour Day

Mexico – Día del estudiante
(Students’ Day)


On This Day in HISTORY

635 – Kʼinich Kan Bahlam II (Radiant Snake Jaguar II) born, ajaw of the Maya city-state of Palenque; he succeeded his father, Kʼinich Janaab Pakal I, and reigned from 684 until his death in 702; noted for the completion of the Temple of the Cross during his reign and several other fine art and building projects

1127 – Uijong born, 18th monarch (1146-1170) of the Goryeo dynasty of Korea, deposed by warriors in a coup d’état after he humiliated them for years

1430 – Joan d’Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to raise the Siege of Compiègne; they sell her to the English

1498 – Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake in Florence, Italy, for heresy and disobedience

1533 – King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void by Thomas Cranmer, appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury just two months before

1696 –  Johann Caspar Vogler born, German composer and organist

1701 – Captain Kidd, convicted of murder and piracy, is hanged

1707 – Carolus Linnaeus born, Swedish biological classifier

1753 – Giovanni Battista Viotti born, Italian composer and violinist

1785 – Benjamin Franklin writes in a letter that he has invented bifocals

1793 – Lucky Penny Day * – the first pennies in the U.S. are made of copper

1810 – Margaret Fuller born, journalist, editor, author, women’s rights advocate, wrote Woman in the Nineteenth Century, the first major U.S. feminist work. She was the first editor of the transcendentalist journal The Dial  (1840). By her 30s, Fuller was considered the best-read person in New England, male or female, and was the first woman allowed to use the library at Harvard College. She joined the New York Tribune staff under Horace Greeley (1844), became one of the first American literary critics, then both the first American female foreign correspondent and first American woman war correspondent while traveling in England, France. and Italy, reporting on the Italian States Revolution of 1848, sending back eye-witness accounts of the uprising in Rome. She met Giovanni Angelo, the Marchese d’Ossoli, a liberal revolutionary who was ten years younger. They became lovers, had a son (1848), and married the next year. After the Roman uprising was put down, they fled to Florence (1849).  When the family sailed for the U.S., their ship ran aground in a storm off Fire Island, NY, in July 1850. Their bodies are never found

1827 – The first U.S. nursery school is established in New York by Joanna Bethune and Hannah L. Murray, “to relieve parents of the laboring classes from the care of their children while engaged in the vocations by which they lived, and provide for the children, a protection from the weather, from idleness and the contamination of evil example besides affording them the means of early and efficient education.” Almost 500 children of mothers working to support their families were cared for in the first 2 years

1842 – Maria Konopnicka born, Polish poet, novelist, translator, journalist and women’s rights activist

1846 – Arabella Mansfield, née Belle Aurelia Babb, born, the first U.S. woman to pass the bar exam (and scored highly), in Iowa, even though only men were supposed to take the exam. Shortly after her court challenge, Iowa amended its licensing statue and became the first U.S. state to accept women and minorities to the bar. She didn’t earn a living as a lawyer, but taught English and History at Simpson College and Iowa Wesleyan, and later served as a dean in both the music and art schools at DePauw University; she was one of the organizers of the Iowa Suffrage Society

1855 – Isabella Ford born, English author, lecturer, suffragist, trade unionist and social reformer; she was brought up in an atmosphere of radical liberal politics, women’s rights and humanitarian causes. Visitors to her family’s home included prison reformer Josephine Butler and women’s health pioneer Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. She grew up to work with women mill workers and trade unionists; Ford was a member of the National Administrative Council of the Independent Labour Party, and the first woman to speak at a Labour Representation Committee conference (now the British Labour Party)

1873 – Canada’s North West Mounted Police force established; they are renamed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1920

1879 – Elizabeth Gunn born, New Zealand pediatrician and children’s health pioneer; served in WWI as a captain in the New Zealand Medical Corps; after the war, she was employed by the school medical service, and set up “health camps” for malnourished children to spend 3 weeks eating nourishing food, and getting fresh air and sunshine, eventually organized as the National Federation of Health Camps

1883 – The year Salt Water Taffy * is invented in Atlantic City, New Jersey

1895 – The New York Public Library is created, by combining the Astor and Lennox libraries

1908 – Max Abramovitz born, U.S. architect, Lincoln Center, United Nations Building

1908 – Hélène Boucher born, notable French aviator and aerobatics pilot, who set several women’s world speed records, and held the international (male or female) record for speed over 621 mph (1,000 km) in 1934; after she was killed in a plane crash, she was the first woman to lie in state at Les Invalides

Hélène Boucher with her Cirrus-powered Avro Avian – 1933

1910 – Artie Shaw born, composer, Swing era bandleader and clarinetist

1910 – Margaret Wise Brown born, children’s book author; best known for Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny

1912 – Jean Françaix born, French Neoclassical composer and pianist

1914 – Barbara Mary Ward born, Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth, British economist and writer; her degree course was in politics, philosophy, and economics at Somerville College, Oxford University. In 1972, she and René Jules Dubos co-authored a pioneering report, Only One Earth: The Care and Maintenance of a Small Planet, for the UN Stockholm conference on the Human Environment, which became their book, Only One Earth. Ward’s last book, Progress for a Small Planet, was written while she was fighting cancer. It was published in 1979. She died in 1981

1914 – Celestine Sibley born, American journalist for the Atlanta Constitution (1941-1999), covering the Georgia General Assembly, and author of Children, My Children, which won the 1982 Townsend Prize for Fiction

1919 – Ruth Fernández born, Puerto Rican contralto, known as “La Negra de Ponce” who wrote racial barriers as the first Afro-Puerto Rican female singer to gain popularity and success at home and on tour in Latin American and the U.S.; as a member of the Puerto Rican Senate (1973-1981), she campaigned for many reforms, including better working conditions

1922 – The play Abie’s Irish Rose opens on Broadway

1923 – Alicia de Larrocha born, called “greatest Spanish pianist in history”

1926 – Joe Slovo born, South African Communist Party member and General Secretary (1984-1991); member of the African National Congress (ANC); in 1954, he was banned under the Supression of Communism Act, and forced to carry out his activism clandestinely. He was one of the drafters of the Freedom Charter in 1955, and was chosen as a delegate, but couldn’t attend the Congress of the People in Kliptown because of the restriction order against him. In 1963, he went into exile to go on African National Congress missions outside South Africa. After the unbanning of the liberation movements in 1990, he returned. When the first democratic elections were won by the ANC in 1994, he became a Member of Parliament and Minister of Housing in the Government of National Unity, until his death from cancer in 1995

1926 – Aileen Clarke Hernandez born, union organizer, civil rights activist, second National Organization for Women national president, co-founder of Black Women Organized for Action, San Francisco

1934 – Robert Moog born, American engineer, inventor of the Moog Synthesizer

1940 – Frank Sinatra records “I’ll Never Smile Again” with Tommy Dorsey and the Pied Pipers

1940 – Cora Sadosky born, Argentinian mathematician and academic, left Argentina because of political unrest, Professor of Mathematics at Howard University in the 1980s; Appointed to a visiting professorship for women from the National Science Foundation for 1983-1984 and again in 1995-1996; elected president of the Association for Women in Mathematics (1993-1995)

1943 – Rejoice Thizwilondi Mabudafhazi born, South African activist and public servant; Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture (2014-2017); Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs (1999-2014); Deputy Minister of Tourism (1999- 2009); member of the National Executive Council of the African National Congress (ANC) since 2007; served as a Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission (1990-1992); founding member of  the National Education Co-Ordination Committee and the NECC’s national organizer for self-help projects for rural women (1985-1986)

1947 – Jane Kenyon born, American poet and translator; she won the 1994 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, for body of work; she was the author of five poetry collections, the final one, Otherwise: New and Selected Poems, was published posthumously in 1996, a year after her death from leukemia at age 47

1949 – The Republic of West Germany is established

1956 – Ursula Plassnik born, Austrian diplomat and People’s Party politician; Austrian ambassador to Switzerland since 2016; Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs (2004-2008); Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel’s cabinet chief (1997-2004); member of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)

1961 – Norrie May-Welby born in Scotland, Australian transsexual person who pursued legal status as being neither a man or a woman from 2010 to 2014, when the High Court of Australia ruled in NSW Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v Norrie that it is in the power of the New South Wales Registry of Births to register May-Welby as ‘non-specific’; in 2017, began protesting the Australian marriage law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, which prevents May-Welby and partner from obtaining a marriage license

1963 – Viviane Baladi born in Switzerland, French mathematician researching dynamical systems; a director of research at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in Paris since 1990, with a leave of absence to teach at the University of Geneva (1993-1999); author of Positive Transfer Operators and Decay of Correlation (2000)

1964 – Ruth Metzler born, Swiss politician and corporate executive; Vice President of Switzerland (2003); Minister of Justice and Police (1999-2003); Member of the Swiss Federal Council (1999-2003); working for pharmaceutical company Novartis since 2005

1966 – The Beatles release “Paperback Writer”

1967 – Anna Ibrisagic born in Yugoslavia, Swedish Moderate Party politician and member of its Executive since 2001; interpreter (English German, Russian, and Swedish); member of the European Parliament (2004-2014), and sat on the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs

1968 – Guinevere Turner born, American screenwriter and actress; wrote screenplays for Go Fish, American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page

1974 – Manuela Schwesig born, German Social Democratic Party politician; Acting Leader of the Social Democratic Party since 2019; Minister President of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since 2017; Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (2013-2017); Minister of Labour, Equality and Social Affairs of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (2011-2013)

1977 – The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeals of Watergate wrong-doers H. R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and John Mitchell

1984 – U.S. premiere of the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

1987 – Gracie Otto born, Australian documentary and short subject filmmaker, noted for 2013’s The Last Impresario

1990 – American Tortoise Rescue is founded, sponsor of World Turtle Day *

2012 – UN International Day to End Obstetric Fistula * is a resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly as part of efforts to end child marriage and early childbearing, which increases the risks of complications like Obstetric Fistula during pregnancy, especially among girls and  women living in poverty who lack access to obstetric care and are often malnourished

2015 – Myanmar President Thein Sein implements controversial population control law requiring women to wait 3 years between births

2016 – Chinese archaeologists announce evidence found of earliest use of barley in China to make beer, in Shaanxi province 3400-2900 BC

2018 – A record number of women were on the ballot for Lebanon’s first parliamentary elections since 2009. An unprecedented 113 women registered as candidates for party lists, and 86 of them became party candidates. In 2009, only 12 women had registered to become candidates. Just six of the 86 women in this election were elected to Parliament, but the outgoing lawmaking body only had four women out of 128 parliamentarians

2019 – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California) said that Donald Trump has committed impeachable offenses and that he wants the House to impeach him so the Republican-controlled Senate can exonerate him. Pelosi said, however, that she is sticking to an effort to investigate him to get the truth out to the American people without resorting to impeachment, which she said was “a very divisive place to go in our country.” Pelosi openly questioned Trump’s fitness for office and said his family or staff should stage an “intervention” for the good of the country. Trump responded by calling Pelosi crazy. “She’s a mess,” Trump said. “I’m an extremely stable genius.” 


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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