ON THIS DAY: January 8, 2018

January 8th is

Earth’s Rotation Day *

Argyle Day

Bubble Bath Day

English Toffee Day

Joy Germ Day *


MORE! Wilkie Collins, Emily Greene Balch and Terry Brooks, click



Orthodox and Coptic Christian extended Christmas and Epiphany holidays

Japan – Coming of Age Day


On This Day in HISTORY

871 – Alfred the Great leads a West Saxon army to repel a Danelaw Viking invasion

1454 – The papal bull Romanus Pontifex awards the Kingdom of Portugal exclusive trade and colonization rights to all of Africa south of Cape Bojador

1547 – First Lithuanian-language book, Simple Words of Catechism, is published in Königsberg

1638 – Elisabetta Sirani born, Italian Baroque painter and printmaker; best-known woman artist in Bologna in her day; established an academy for other woman artists which was so successful that, with her commissions, she supported her entire family; her sudden death at aged 27 led to her maidservant being suspected of poisoning her, but there was no evidence of poison; possibly she died from a ruptured peptic ulcer

Portia Wounding Her Thigh, by Elisabetta Sirani (A story from Plutarch: Portia Catonis, wife of Brutus, who became the only woman to know about the plot to kill Julius Caesar beforehand. Her husband would not confide in her, fearing she would confess under torture, so she stabbed her thigh in secret, and kept silence for a day to prove to him that she could withstand pain. The painting is probably an allegory, showing the lengths to which a woman has to go in order to prove herself worthy of a man’s trust and respect) 1668 – Jean Gilles born, French composer

1675 – The New York Fishing Company becomes the first U.S. chartered corporation

1697 – Last execution for blasphemy in Britain;  Thomas Aikenhead, a student, at Edinburgh. From his indictment: “. . . the prisoner had repeatedly maintained, in conversation, that theology was a rhapsody of ill-invented nonsense, patched up partly of the moral doctrines of philosophers, and partly of poetical fictions and extravagant chimeras: That he ridiculed the holy scriptures, calling the Old Testament Ezra’s fables, in profane allusion to Esop’s Fables; That he railed on Christ, saying, he had learned magick in Egypt, which enabled him to perform those pranks which were called miracles: That he called the New Testament the history of the imposter Christ; That he said Moses was the better artist and the better politician; and he preferred Muhammad to Christ: That the Holy Scriptures were stuffed with such madness, nonsense, and contradictions, that he admired the stupidity of the world in being so long deluded by them: That he rejected the mystery of the Trinity as unworthy of refutation; and scoffed at the incarnation of Christ.”   

1705 – Premiere performance of George Frideric Handel’s Almira in Hamburg

1746 – Second Jacobite rising: the forces of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, “Bonnie Prince Charlie,” occupy the town of Stirling, and begin the siege of Stirling Castle

1790 – George Washington delivers first State of the Union address in New York City

1806 – Cape Colony (Dutch Kaapkolonie)  in South Africa becomes a British colony

1811 – An unsuccessful revolt of more than 200 slaves in St. Charles and St. James, Louisiana, is led by Charles Deslondes, a slave brought to Louisiana from Haiti after slaves there overthrew French control of the island

1812 – Sigismond Thalberg born, Swiss virtuoso pianist and composer

1815 – Battle of New Orleans: Andrew Jackson’s American forces are victors over the British, two weeks after the War of 1812 officially ended, before either side got the news

1824 – Wilkie Collins born, English writer; Woman in White

1830 – Hans von Bülow born, German pianist and composer

1835 – The United States national debt is zero for the first and only time

1836 – Lawrence Alma-Tadema born in Holland, Pre-Raphaelite British painter, notable for his exaggerated romanticization of “classical” subjects

The Favourite Poet (1888) by Lawrence Alma Tadema 1851 – Earth’s Rotation Day * – Léon Foucalt demonstates how the earth rotates with a lead-filled brass ball, now known as the Foucalt Pendulum

1854 – Fanny Bullock Workman born, American mountaineer, geographer, travel writer and cartographer; one of the first professional women mountaineers, setting several women’s altitude records; a champion of women’s rights and suffrage; in the picture below, she is on the Silver Throne Plateau in Kashmir (at almost 21,000 feet above sea level), holding a newspaper with the headline “Votes for Women”

1856 – Borax is discovered by Dr. John Veatch

1860 – Emma Booth born, daughter of the founders of the Salvation Army; ran the Salvation Army’s first training school for women; married Frederick Tucker and they worked together in India, then returned to London headquarters, and then were assigned to America; Emma’s success there, primarily proselytizing prisoners and working on a farm colony experiment for the urban poor, earned her the title ‘The Consul’; she was killed at age 43 in a train accident on her way to Chicago

1867 – African American men are granted the right to vote in Washington, D.C.

1867 – Emily Greene Balch born, American economist, sociologist, academic and pacifist; a central leader of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), for which she won the 1946 Nobel Peace Prize

1877 – Crazy Horse and his warriors fight their last battle against U.S. Cavalry at Wolf Mountain, Montana Territory

1881 – Linnie Marsh Wolfe born, American librarian and author; won the 1946 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for her book Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir

1886 – The Severn Railway Tunnel, Britain’s longest, opens

1889 – Herman Hollerith is issued a US patent for the ‘Art of Applying Statistics’ — his punched card calculator; his company Tabulating Machine Company, becomes IBM

1891 – Bronislava Nijinska born, Polish ballet dancer and innovative choreographer; founder of a dance school called L’Ecole de Mouvement (School of Movement) to train dancers in more modern movement for ballet

1904 – The Blackstone Library is dedicated, marking the beginning of the Chicago Public Library system

1906 – Arthur Rubinstein makes his debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall (note: copies of his first recording, made in 1910, are very rare, and the sound quality is poor; this 1928 recording is the first quality recording made of Rubinstein)

1908 – “Fearless Nadia” (Mary Ann Evans) born in Australia, Bollywood stuntwoman and actress whose father’s military career took the family to India and Pakistan, where she took ballet and tumbling, then become a touring performer, and worked for the Zarko Circus; she tried out for Hindi film mogul J.B.H. Wadia, and started appearing in his movies, starring in Hunterwali (Woman with a whip – 1935); she married J.B.H.’s younger brother, director Homi Wadia, in 1961, becoming Nadia Wadia

1909 – Ashapoorna Devi born, Indian feminist, prolific Bengali-language author and poet; her mother taught her to read and got books for her because as a girl she wasn’t allowed to go to school; when she was 13, she sent out one of her poems secretly, and “Bairer Dak” (The Call from the Outside) was published. In spite of her arranged marriage at age 15, and running a household for an extended family, she wrote and published hundreds of poems, novels, books for children, and short stories, many of them opposing traditional Hindu gender-based discrimination; honored with many Indian literary awards

1912 – The African National Congress is founded, now the Republic of South Africa’s governing social democratic political party

1913 – The poet Harold Munro opens the doors of the Poetry Bookshop in London, where Robert Frost and Ezra Pound meet for the first time

The Poetry Bookshop in Bloomsbury, and Harold Munro

1918 – U.S. President Woodrow Wilson announces his “Fourteen Points” for the aftermath of World War I. an outline of the steps he believed needed to assure world peace, including the founding of the League of Nations

1925 – Russian composer Igor Stravinsky debuts in America, conducting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a program of his own compositions

1935 – Elvis Presley born, American Rock ‘n Roll icon

Elvis with Sweetpea 1937 – Shirley Bassey born in Wales, daughter of a Nigerian father and English mother, jazz and contemporary singer; notable for recording James Bond theme songs, including Goldfinger

1940 – World War II: Britain introduces food rationing

1942 – Stephen Hawking born, British physicist and author; A Brief History of Time

1944 – Terry Brooks born, American fantasy author; Shannara and Landover series

1945 – Nancy Bond born, American children’s, fantasy and historical fiction author

1947 – David Bowie born, chameleon British rocker

1951 – Nancy Tei Yamashita born, Japanese-American novelist and playwright

1952 – My Friend Irma, starring Marie Wilson, debuts on TV

1958 – Bobby Fisher, age 14, wins the U.S. Chess Championship for the first time

1959 – Charles De Gaulle becomes president of France’s Fifth Republic

1961 – French referendum supports Charles de Gaulle’s Algerian policies

1963 – Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is exhibited in the United States for the first time, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a “War on Poverty” in the U.S.

1968 – Otis Redding’s single “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay” released

1971 – Bowing to international pressure, President of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto releases Bengali leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from prison, arrested after declaring the independence of Bangladesh

1973 – Soviet space mission Luna 21 is launched

1973 – The trial of seven men accused of illegal entry into Democratic Party headquarters at Watergate begins

1975 – Ella T. Grasso becomes Governor of Connecticut, the first woman elected as a U.S. Governor who was not succeeding her husband

1978 – The Northern Mariana Islands commonwealth status with U.S. goes into effect

1981 – Joan White launches ‘Joy Germ’ Day on her mother’s birthday to celebrate the contagious spreading of Joy

1982 – Bell System Break-up: AT&T agrees to divest itself of twenty-two subdivisions

1994 – Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 leaves for the Mir space station, staying until March 22, 1995, for a record 437 days in space

2002 – President George W. Bush signs ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ into law 

2004 – The RMS Queen Mary 2, the largest ocean liner ever built, is christened by her namesake’s granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II

2005 – The cost of a U.S. first class Postage Stamp is raised to 39¢

2009 – Archeologists discover Queen Sesheshet’s mummy in a 4300 year old pyramid

2011 – The attempted assassination of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, and subsequent shootings in Casas Adobes AZ in which five people are killed


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