ON THIS DAY: August 31, 2020

August 31st is

African Traditional Medicine Day *

National Eat Outside Day

National Trail Mix Day

We Love Memoirs Day *

Love Litigating Lawyers Day *

International Overdose Awareness Day *


MORE! Amrita Pritam, Leonard Harmon and Yumiko Ōshima, click



Kyrgyzstan – Independence Day

Malaysia –
Hari Kebangsaan/ Merdeka Day
(National/Independence Day)

Moldova –
Limba Noastra (Language Day)

Poland –
Solidarity and Freedom Day

Trinidad and Tobago –
Independence Day


In This Day in HISTORY

AD 12 – Caligula born, infamous Roman Emperor (AD 37-AD 41)

1218 – Kurdish leader Al-Kamil becomes sultan of the Egyptian Ayyubid dynasty

1314 – King Haakon of Norway moves the capital from Bergen to Oslo

1422 – When English King Henry V dies suddenly of illness at age 36, during a military campaign in France, his 9-month-old son becomes Henry VI of England

1542 – Isabella Romola de’ Medici born, daughter of Cosimo I de’ Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany; she was educated in a humanist manner with her siblings. They were all tutored in a range of subjects, including classics, languages and the arts. She had a great love and aptitude for music. Her father arranged her marriage to Paolo Giordano I Orsini, of the powerful Roman Orsini family, when she was 16, but she remained in her father’s household after her marriage, along with her large dowry, because of his concern over his new son-in-law’s extravagant spending. This gave her an unusual degree of independence for a woman of her time. Following her mother’s death in 1562, Isabella acted as first lady of Florence, and displayed the de’ Medici aptitude for politics. But she suffered several miscarriages, and didn’t have a surviving child until her daughter Francesca was born when she was 29. She finally produced an heir, her son Virginio, when she was 30. Isabella’s free-spirited personality created rumours about the nature of her relationship with Troilo Orsini, Paolo Giordano’s cousin, who was charged with looking after her while her husband tended to military duties. Her father meanwhile had cast off his previous mistress, and taken Camilla Martelli as his mistress, who was 26 years his junior. He married her in 1570, at the explicit order of Pope Pius V, probably because of complaints by Camilla’s patrician family. After Cosimo died in 1574, Isabella’s brother Francesco, now Grand Duke, saw to it that Camilla was forced to remain in a convent for the rest of her life. In 1576, Isabella died suddenly under suspicious circumstances, while staying with her husband in an isolated country villa. Her cousin Leonora, after her affair was exposed when her lover’s love letters to her were discovered, had also died unexpectedly, only a few days before (almost certainly strangled by her husband). There was a widespread rumor that Isabella was also murdered, possibly by her husband, or at his instigation, or by order of her brother the Grand Duke. Many believed she died in reprisal for her probable affair with Troilo Orsini, but the murder rumor has never been proved or disproved. She died the month before her 33rd birthday. After her death, Paolo Giordano returned to Rome, where he started an affair with Vittoria Accoramboni, wife of Francesco Peretti, nephew of the future Pope Sixtus V. Francesco Peretti was assassinated, almost certainly at Paolo Giordano’s order, in April 1581. Wanted by both the Papal and Florentine police, Paolo took refuge in northern Italy, first in Venice and then in Abano and Salò with his mistress, whom he married in 1585. He died at Salò in November 1585. Vittoria was assassinated in December 1585, by bravos hired by Lodovico Orsini, a relation of Paolo Orsini, after negotiations broke down over division of Paolo’s property. Lodovico and his assassins were put to death for her murder

Isabella Romola d’ Medici by Alessandro Allori

1741 – Jean-Paul-Égide Martini born, French composer; his Plaisir d’amour was re-styled to become a big hit for Elvis Presley as “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You”

1775 – Agnes Bulmer born, English poet, author of one the longest epic poems in the English language, Messiah’s Kingdom, which took over nine years to complete

1803 – Meriwether Lewis leaves Pittsburgh PA in a keelboat to pick up William Clark and their recruits further down the Ohio River

1827 – Anna Bartlett Warner born, American author and hymnist; “Jesus Loves Me”

1834 – Amilcare Ponchielli born, Italian opera composer; La Gioconda

1842 – Mary Putnam Jacobi, American physician, author and suffragist, leading spokeswoman for women’s health during the Progressive Era, emphasis on scientific research rather than traditional or anecdotal evidence. She was also an advocate for expanding educational opportunities for women, and giving women in medicine the same training and clinical practice as men. Jacobi was awarded Harvard University’s Boylston Prize for her 1876 essay, The Question of Rest for Women during Menstruation, in which she used sphygmographic tracings of pulse rate, force, and variations to confirm that a woman maintained vigorous health throughout her monthly cycle, refuting assumptions that menstruation impaired women’s physical abilities. She was the first woman to be become a member of the Academy of Medicine

1842 – Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin born, American publisher, journalist, suffragist and civil rights activist; editor of Women’s Era, the first newspaper published by and for African-American women, founder of the National Federation of Afro-American Women, co-founder of the American Woman Suffrage Association

1844 – Elizabeth Phelps Ward born, American author and feminist, challenges traditional religious beliefs and women’s roles, advocate for women’s clothing reform

1852 – John Neville Keynes born, English economist and philosopher; The Scope and Method of Political Economy (1891); father of John Maynard Keynes

1866 – Georg Jensen born, influential Danish silversmith and designer

1870 – Maria Montessori born, Italian physician and educator; known for her influential philosophy of education, and her writings on scientific pedagogy

1879 – Alma Schindler Mahler born in Vienna, pianist, composer and author; she married successively composer Gustav Mahler, who she said discouraged her composing, architect Walter Gropius, and novelist Franz Werfel. In 1938, she and Werfel fled Austria after it was “annexed” by Germany, making it unsafe for Jews, and settled in Los Angeles. After his death, she moved to New York. Her writings about her life have increasingly become regarded by biographers of her husbands as unreliable in her portrayals of their affairs and marriages

1884 – George Sarton born in Belgium, American chemist and historian; pioneer in science history; he is the father of poet May Sarton

1885 – DuBose Heyward born, American author, noted for his novel Porgy, which was adapted to the stage by his wife, playwright Dorothy Kuhns Heyward, and then as the George Gershwin musical production Porgy and Bess

1888 – Mary Ann Nichols is found murdered in London’s East End, presumed to be Jack the Ripper’s first victim

1895 – German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patents his navigable balloon

1897 – Thomas Edison patents his movie projector the Kinetoscope

1905 – Dore Schary born, American filmmaker, producer, writer and playwright

1907 – William Shawn born, who was the editor of The New Yorker magazine for 35 years

1908 – William Saroyan born, American novelist and playwright

1913 – Helen Levitt born, American photographer and cinematographer, chronicled the streets of New York City with her camera

New York City Summer in the 1940s – by Helen Levitt 

1918 – Alan Jay Lerner born, American librettist and lyricist for stage and screen

1919 – Amrita Preetam born, Indian poet and author; she wrote in Punjabi and Hindi, and was a leading 20th century Punjabi-language poet; published 100 books, covering poetry, fiction, biographies, essays, folk songs and her autobiography

1920 – First news program to be broadcast on the radio, in Detroit MI

1928 – Kurt Weill’s Die Dreigoschenoper (Threepenny Opera)  premieres in Berlin

Threepenny Opera – Lotte Lenya as Pirate Jenny

1935 – Act prohibiting export of U.S. arms to belligerents signed by FDR

1936 – Marva Collins born, American educator and lecturer, founder of Westside Preparatory School in Chicago, Illinois, known for successfully providing a classical education to students from poverty and those often wrongly labeled as learning disabled

1939 – Frank Sinatra and the Harry James Band record “All or Nothing at All”

1943 – USS Harmon is commissioned, first U.S. Navy ship named after a black person, Leonard Roy Harmon, posthumous recipient of the Navy Cross. Aboard the USS San Francisco during the WWII Battle of Guadalcanal, he was helping evacuate and treat the wounded under fire, and was killed when he deliberately stood in front of a wounded shipmate to protect him from enemy gunfire. 

1944 – Dame Elizabeth “Liz” Forgan born, English journalist and media executive; worked for The Guardian, as an editor and columnist (1978-1998), then as a non-executive director of the Guardian Media Group (1998-2006), becoming Chair of the Scott Trust in 2003, which owns the Guardian newspapers; Managing Director of BBC Network Radio (1993-1996); Dame Commander since 2006

1944 – Christine King born, British historian and university administrator; expert on Nazi Germany; Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Staffordshire University (1995-2011); Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

1946 – Ann Coffey born, British Labour politician; Member of Parliament since 1992; Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (2007-2010); councilor to the Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council (1984-1992)

1947 – Yumiko Ōshima born, Japanese manga artist and member of Year 24 Group; she made her debut in 1968 with Paula’s Tears. Recipient of the 1973 Japan Cartoonists Association Award for Excellence for Mimoza Yakata de Tsukamaete

1954 – Julie Brown born, American comedian, scriptwriter, songwriter, actress and television director.  She got her first big break when Lily Tomlin saw her doing stand-up in a comedy club and gave her a part in the 1981 film, The Incredible Shrinking Woman. In 1984, Brown released her first album, Goddess in Progress, featuring her best-known satirical song, “Cause I’m a Blonde.” She wrote, produced and starred in the 1988 hit film, Earth Girls Are Easy

1955 – Julie Maxton born in Scotland, British barrister, legal scholar, and academic administrator; a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple since 2012; Executive Director of the Royal Society since 2011; Registrar of the University of Oxford (2006-2010); at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, Professor of Law (1993-2000), then Dean of the Faculty of Law (2000-2005)

1956 – Mária Balážová born, Slovak contemporary artist, sculptor and printmaker; member of the artists’ group East of Eden

1956 – Tsai Ing-wen born, Taiwanese Democratic Progressive politician, legal scholar and attorney; current President of Taiwan (the Republic of China) since 2016, Taiwan’s first woman president, and first president of both Hakka and aboriginal descent. She is also Taiwan’s first president to be elected without previously serving as Mayor of Taipei

1957 – The Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia) gains its independence from the United Kingdom

1962 – Trinidad and Tobago become independent members of British Commonwealth

1964 – California officially becomes the most populous U.S. state

1965 – U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created by act of Congress

1980 – Poland’s Solidarity labor movement is born out of the Gdansk agreement ending a 17-day strike

1982 – G. Willow Wilson born, American comics writer, prose author, essayist and journalist. Known for her graphic novel, Cairo, written after living in Egypt. She relaunched the Ms. Marvel title for Marvel Comics, featuring 16-year-old Muslim superhero Kamala Khan. She converted to Islam in 2003, and taught English in Cairo, where she met a physics teacher, and they became engaged. He moved with her to the U.S. and is a legal advocate for refugees. Wilson has contributed articles to several publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times Magazine. She was the first Western journalist granted a private interview with Ali Gomaa after his promotion to the position of Grand Mufti of Egypt. Noted for her  memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, about life in Egypt during the Mubarak regime, and her historic fantasy novel, The Bird King

1985 – “Night Stalker” killer Richard Ramirez is captured by East Los Angeles residents

1990 – East and West Germany sign treaty reconciling their political and legal systems

1993 – First ‘Lawyer Appreciation Day’ was not received favorably, so it is renamed ‘Love Litigating Lawyers Day’ * These lawyers are hired to get justice when someone has done you wrong, such as personal injury cases

1994 – The IRA declares Northern Ireland cease-fire after 25 years of bloodshed

1994 – Russia ends its military presence in the former East Germany and the Baltics

1997 – Princess Diana, Dodi Al-Fayed and her driver are killed in Paris car crash while fleeing paparazzi

2001 – Sally Finn and Peter Streker start Overdose Awareness Day * as a local Salvation Army program in Australia to acknowledge the grief of bereaved families and support prevention programs. In 2012, the Australian Penington Institute expands the program and coordinates with efforts in other countries, now an International Day

2002 – The World Health Organization (WHO) establishes African Traditional Medicine Day *

2006 – Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream, stolen on August 22, 2004, is recovered in a raid by Norwegian police

2009 – Walt Disney Co. announces it is acquiring comic book giant Marvel Entertainment for $4 billion USD

2010 – President Barack Obama ended the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, declaring no victory after seven years of bloodshed

2013 – We Love Memoirs Day * is started by Victoria Tweed and Alan Parks, originators of the We Love Memoirs chat group on Facebook

2015 – U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that North America’s tallest mountain had officially been returned to its original Athabascan name, Denali, which means ‘high or great one.’ The name of the 20,320-foot mountain was changed to Mount McKinley in 1897, the same year that William McKinley was inaugurated as U.S. President.  Alaska restored the mountain’s original name in the state’s annals in 1975, and had been asking the federal government to do the same, but McKinley’s home state, Ohio, had always vigorously objected. Secretary Jewell noted in her announcement, “President McKinley never visited, nor did he have any significant historical connection to, the mountain or to Alaska.”

2019 – Ken Macdonald, former director of public prosecutions, spoke about why the  prosecution declined to offer evidence in the 2004 trial of whistleblower Katherine Gun.  In 2003, Gun was a British translator for the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), a UK intelligence agency, when she leaked top-secret information to The Observer, concerning a request by the United States for compromising intelligence on diplomats from member states of the Security Council, who were due to vote on a second United Nations resolution on the prospective 2003 invasion of Iraq. She was charged with an offense under the Official Secrets Act. Gun’s case became a cause célèbre among anti-war activists, and many people stepped forward to urge the government to drop the case, including Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Daniel Ellsberg (the US government official who leaked the Pentagon Papers). Macdonald insisted that the case was not dropped to stop the Attorney General’s advice on the legality of the Iraq War from being revealed, but that Gun would not have received a fair trial without the disclosure of information that would have compromised national security. Gavin Hood, the director of Official Secrets, the docudrama about Katherine Gun, expressed skepticism about Macdonald’s statement and called for the declassification of the official documents referred to by Macdonald.

Katherine Gun


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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