ON THIS DAY: July 24, 2020

July 24 is

Cousins Day

Drive-Thru Day

Tell an Old Joke Day

National Tequila Day

Thermal Engineer Day *


MORE! AliceBall, Hiram Bingham and Bella Abzug, click


World Festivals and National Holidays

Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador and
Venezuela – Simón Bolívar Day

Greece – Restoration of Democracy Day

Vanuatu – Children’s Day

Venezuela – Navy Day


On This Day in HISTORY

1148 – French King Louis VII’s troops lay siege to Damascus during Second Crusade

1487 – Citizens of Leeuwarden, in the Netherlands, go on strike protesting a ban on imported beer

1505 – Portuguese explorers under the command of Dom Francisco de Almeida besiege the city-state of Kilwa Kisiwani, on the eastern coast of Africa, and kill the king, for failing to pay them tribute. Vasco da Gama had previously extorted tribute, claiming Portuguese hegemony. Portuguese control was short-lived; they abandoned their outpost in 1512

1567 – Mary, Queen of Scots, is forced to abdicate in favor of her year-old son, James VI

1783 – Simón Bolívar born, “El Liberatador,” Venezuelan military leader who was instrumental in the revolts against the Spanish empire in Venezuela, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru, leading to the founding of the short-lived Gran Columbia federation (1821-1830)

1802 – Alexander Dumas père born, French author and dramatist; best known for The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo

1803 – Adolphe Adam born, French composer, noted for the ballets Giselle (1841) and Le corsair (1856)

1823 – Slavery is abolished in Chile

1847 – Brigham Young and his followers arrive at the Great Salt Lake in Utah

1847 – Richard M. Hoe patents rotary-type printing press

1853 – William Gillette born, American playwright and actor; Sherlock Holmes was his signature role

1860 – Alphonse Mucha born, notable Moravian (now part of the Czech Republic) Art Nouveau painter and illustrator, who did much of his work in Paris, but returned to his homeland to paint twenty monumental canvases between 1912 and 1916, known as The Slav Epic. He presented the series to the Czech nation in 1928, on the 10th anniversary of its independence from the Austrian Empire

Celebration of Svantovít by Alphonse Mucha

1866 – Tennessee is the first state readmitted to the Union after the U.S. Civil War

1867 – Vicente Acosta born, Salvadoran poet and writer, noted for Diario del Salvador; he wrote for the newspaper La Unión under the pen name ‘Flirt’

1868 – Marie Goegg-Pouchoulin born, pioneering feminist who founded the Association Internationale des Femmes, the first women’s organization in Switzerland, and also the first international women’s organisation. She was a central figure in European activism for women’s equal rights and better education, and an advocate for peace. She led the successful campaign for women’s admission to University of Geneva in 1872

1880 – Ernest Bloch born in Switzerland, American composer; many of his works were inspired by his Jewish heritage

1886 – Jun’ichirō Tanizaki born, major modern Japanese novelist; noted for Tade kuu mushi (Some Prefer Nettles), and Shōshō Shigemoto no haha (Captain Shigemoto’s Mother)

1889 – Agnes Meyer Driscoll born, American cryptanalyst, mathematician and physicist, who was fluent in French, German, Latin, Japanese and English; she enlisted in the U.S. Navy during WWI as a chief yeoman (highest rank available to women then) in the Postal Cable and Censorship Office, then was reassigned to the Code and Signal section of the Director of Naval Communications, where she became a leading cryptanalyst, and stayed on as a civilian, except for a two year stint working for the Hebern Electric Code Company on developing an early cipher machine. She returned to the Navy in 1924, where she was an early supporter of machine support to code cracking. Driscoll was a major player in breaking the Japanese Navy manual codes – the Red Book Code in 1926, and the Blue Book Code in 1930; early in 1935, she was a leading member of the team cracking the Japanese M-1 cipher machine used by the Japanese Navy for encrypting messages to their naval attachés in embassies around the world. In 1940, she was doing critical preliminary work on JN-25, the Japanese fleet’s operational code, before she was transferred to a U.S. team working on the German Enigma cipher, but their approach proved fruitless. She was reassigned in 1943 to a team already working on the Japanese Coral cipher, however, the code was broken by others shortly after her arrival. Driscoll was in the U.S. Navy contingent which joined the Armed Forces Security Agency in 1949, and then the National Security Agency in 1952. She retired in 1959

1892 – Alice Ball born, African American chemist who developed the first successful treatment for Hansen’s disease (leprosy). Ball was also the first African American and the first woman to graduate with a M.S. degree in chemistry from the College of Hawaii (now the University of Hawaii). She died at age 24, after being exposed to chlorine while teaching. At the time, fume hoods were not mandatory in laboratories. She was not fully credited for her discoveries until decades after her death

1895 – Robert Graves born, English novelist, poet and classical scholar; best known for I, Claudius

1897 – Amelia Earhart born, American aviator; first woman pilot to fly solo across the American continent (1928) and across the Atlantic (1932); in 1931, became an official of the National Aeronautic Association, promoted the establishment of separate women’s records; member of the Ninety-Nines (named for the number of charter members), a women pilots organization which promoted women in aviation; her plane went missing in the Pacific en route to Howland Island during an attempt to fly around the world in 1937; there have been numerous searches and theories about what happened, but no trace of the plane, Earhart or her navigator Fred Noonan has been found

1900 – Zelda Fitzgerald born, American author, poet and socialite; she and her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald became symbols of the Jazz Age in the 1920s. Her only published novel, the semi-autobiographical Save Me the Waltz (1932), was poorly received, but F. Scott Fitzgerald had insisted she make major alternations prior to publication, as much of what she had written overlapped events he was using in his as-yet unfinished novel Tender is the Night. It has since been reevaluated somewhat more favorably. She spent much of her life from the mid-1930s until her death in and out of sanitoriums. In 1948, she was locked in a room awaiting electroshock therapy when a fire engulfed the Highland Hospital’s main building in Asheville NC, killing her and eight other women

1904 – James Rhyne Killian born, American academic; president of M.I.T. (1948-59); as Special Assistant for Science and Technology to President Eisenhower, he oversees creation of the President’s Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), which helps create NASA after the USSR launches Sputniks 1 and 2

1908 – Cootie Williams born, American Jazz musician

1911 – Hiram Bingham finds the ruins of Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes

1914 – Frances Oldham Kelsey born in Canada, Canadian-American pharmacologist and physician. She was hired in 1960 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, one of only seven full-time and four part-time physicians reviewing drugs for the FDA. One of her first assignments was to review an application by Richardson Merrell for the drug  thalidomide (under the tradename Kevadon) as a tranquilizer and painkiller with specific indications to prescribe the drug to pregnant women for morning sickness. Even though it had already been approved in Canada and over 20 European and African countries, she refused to authorize thalidomide for market, and requested further studies. She resisted pressure from the drug manufacturer to approve the drug because of an unexplained nervous system side effect in an English study, and she insisted on a full testing of thalidomide. Her concerns proved justified when thalidomide began to be linked to serious birth defects in Europe. Kelsey’s insistence on full testing, backed by her FDA superiors, made headlines and helped to pass the 1962 Kefauver Harris Amendment to strengthen drug regulation, the same year she was honored with the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President John F. Kennedy. She was appointed by the FDA as deputy for scientific and medical affairs in 1995. In 2000, Kelsey was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She retired from the FDA in 2005, at the age of 90, after 45 years of service. In 2010, Dr. Kelsey was presented by the FDA with the inaugural ‘Dr. Frances O. Kelsey Drug Safety Excellence Award.’

1916 – John D. MacDonald born, American mystery and science fiction writer; Travis McGee mystery series

1920 – Bella Abzug born, politician, lawyer, and outspoken feminist; Congresswoman (Democrat -New York, 1971-1977); co-founder in 1971 of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and in 1991, co-founder with Mimi Kleber of the Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO). She was also a notable wearer of hats

1922 – Draft of British Mandate of Palestine confirmed by League of Nations Council

1922 – Madeleine Ferron born, French Canadian author and radio show host; noted for her novels Le chemin des dames (The Way of the Ladies) and Le Grand théâtre (The Grand Theatre)

1927 – Zara Mints born, Russian-Estonian literary scientist, Slavic philologist and lecturer at the University of Tartu in Estonia. She specialized in the works of Russian lyrical poet Alexander Blok, and Russian literature of the 19th  and early 20th centuries

1929 – Kellogg-Briand Act, renouncing war as instrument of foreign policy, goes into effect (first signed in Paris in August, 1928, by most leading world powers)

1936 – Ruth Buzzi born, American comedian, voice actress and actress, best known as a member of the cast of the comedy-variety show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968-1973), for which she won a Golden Globe, and her voice work as Frou-Frou in the animated feature film The Aristocats. Buzzi supports numerous children’s charities including Make a Wish Foundation, the Special Olympics and a children’s art summer camp. She is also a supporter and fundraiser for the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch

1937 – The state of Alabama drops charges against four of the nine black teenaged males accused of raping two white women on a train – the infamous ‘Scottsboro Boys’ case; others spend years in prison even after the women recant, admitting their story is false

1938 – Artie Shaw records Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine”

1950 – Cape Canaveral begins operations, launching a Bumper rocket

1953 – Claire McCaskill born, American Democratic politician; regarded as a “moderate,” she has frequently voted against her party’s positions, but received a 100% favorable rating from Planned Parenthood on healthcare and abortion rights, and an “F” rating from the National Rifle Association; U.S. Senator from Missouri (2007-2019), she was a ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee (2017-2019); served as Auditor of Missouri (1999-2007), Prosecutor of Jackson County (1993-1998), and in the Missouri House of Representatives (1983-1988); political analyst for MSNBC and NBC since 2019, and a visiting fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics

1959 – The “kitchen debate” between U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev takes place at the American National Exhibition opening in Moscow, in the exhibition’s model kitchen; they discuss washing machines, capitalism, the free exchange of ideas, summit meetings, rockets and ultimatums

1960 – Catherine Destivelle born, French mountaineer; first woman to complete a solo ascent of the Eiger’s north face (1992)

1965 –The Byrds’ cover of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man” is the #1 single in the UK

1966 – Aminatou Haidar born, Sahrawi (nomadic tribe of Berber-Arab heritage) human rights activist and advocate for the independence of Western Sahara, noted for her non-violent protests; president of the Collective of Sahrawi Human Rights Defenders (CODESA); imprisoned by Moroccan authorities in 1987-1991 and 2005-2006. In 2009, she was returning from a trip to the U.S. when her passport was confiscated, and she was expelled by Morocco for refusing to state her nationality as “Moroccan” which a Moroccan official called an “act of treason.” She staged a hunger strike after being forced back to her previous stop, the airport in the Canary Islands. The UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International all called on Morocco to allow her to return to her home, resulting in global headlines. After over four weeks, she was near death, and Moroccan authorities finally allowed her return, but she was placed under house arrest, and blocked from speaking to journalists. A month later, she returned to Spain for medical treatment, and was found to still be in poor health. Amnesty International reported that Haidar and her family were under constant surveillance by Moroccan security forces and were being harassed and intimidated. She has continued her non-violent struggle for the rights of the Sharawi people in spite of death threats and even physical attacks on herself and members of her family.
Recipient of the 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, the 2009 Civil Courage Prize, and the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, “for her steadfast nonviolent action, despite imprisonment and torture, in pursuit of justice and self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.”

1968 – Coleen Doran born, American author, illustrator and cartoonist; noted for her artwork used along with work by others in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman comic book series, and for her illustrations of his short story “Troll Bridge,” as well as her own space opera series, A Distant Soil

1969 – NASA’s returning Apollo 11 splashes down safely in the Pacific after its manned moon mission

1969 – Jennifer Lopez born, American singer, actress and producer; the first Latina actress to earn over $1 million USD for a film. She is involved in political activism and philanthropy, including Amnesty International, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and the American Red Cross. She endorsed and made appearances for both Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton during their presidential campaigns. In 2017, she donated $1 million for humanitarian aid for Puerto Rico, and launched with her husband Somos Una Voz (We Are One Voice) to continue to raise funds for disaster relief to areas affected by Hurricane Maria. She is also a supporter of LGBT rights, and has raised millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS research

1971 – Patty Jenkins born, American film and television director and screenwriter; noted for directing Monster, for which Charlize Theron won an Oscar for Best Actress,  and Wonder Woman (2017).  In 2011, she won the Directors Guild of America award for Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series for the pilot episode of the television crime drama The Killing. Variety reported in late 2017 that Patty Jenkins closed a deal to direct Wonder Woman 1984, and her paycheck was rumored to be in the $8 million dollar range, which would make her the highest-paid woman director in history. That is still less than half what A-list male directors make. She would also receive a substantial portion of box office grosses as part of her contract. The sequel’s 2020 release date has been postponed due to Covid-19

1973 – Amanda Stretton born, English racing driver, and broadcast journalist; the first woman driver to compete in the ASCAR Mintex Cup, which she finished in 6th place, and was on the first women’s team in the British GT championships, as well as the first woman to race in the FIA Championships. She was the first British woman to win an international long distance event at Spa-Francorchamps, and competed in the 24 Hours of Len Mans in 2006. She became a presenter on Channel 4’s Motorsport on 4, and went to work for Sky Sports, EuroSport and Silverstone TV

1974 – U.S. Supreme Court rules 9-0 that President Nixon must turn over subpoenaed White House tapes to Watergate special prosecutor

1979 – Ted Bundy is convicted of first-degree murder by a Miami jury for killing two women college students

1987 – Hulda Crooks, 91-years-old, becomes oldest person to climb Japan’s Mount Fuji. Between ages 65 and 91, she climbed 98 mountains

1990 – Iraq masses huge numbers of troops and tanks on its border with Kuwait

1995 – Three-night celebration of Frank Sinatra’s 80th birthday begins at Carnegie Hall

2001 – Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, is sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria, becoming the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office

2002 – U.S. House of Representatives expels Representative James Traficant (D-OH) after he is convicted in federal court of bribery, tax evasion and racketeering

2014 – The first Thermal Engineer Day, fittingly occurring on July 24, a day often ranked as one of the hottest of the year

2016 – A gunman opened fire at the Clu Blu in Fort Myers, Florida, killing two people and wounding 15 others. The shooting occurred 43 days after the gunman who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State killed 49 people in the nightclub Pulse in Orlando

2018– Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner, launched a new initiative called Mothers of Invention, to create “a feminist solution for climate change.” It kicked off with a series of podcasts showcasing grassroots climate change activists at the local level, but also global efforts like legal challenges under way to force governments to adhere to the Paris Agreement goals. Scientists and politicians alongside farmers and indigenous community leaders from Europe, the U.S., Australia,  India, Kenya, South Africa and Peru are featured


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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