Archive for the ‘History’ Category

See the Organs Working!

October 2, 2018

Today marks the day in 1937 that the very first x-ray movie of human organs in action was created.   A movie camera had been placed in front of a flouroscopic screen; the pictures showed the motion of assorted internal organs, including the heart, stomach, diaphragm, and lungs.

Where: New York City.
Who: Dr. William Holmes Stewart, Dr. William Joseph Hoffman, and Dr. Francis Henshall Ghiselin.
What: at the convention of the American Roentgen Ray Society.

Source: Famous First Facts, by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell

Ancient History, Number Two!

September 27, 2018

By “ancient history,” I will be referencing events from September 27th, that occurred pre-1492 (i.e., before “Columbus sailed the ocean blue”).  Note: most of these will be from the medieval world (476 AD – 1492 AD) as many earlier events don’t always have specific dates.

  • Roger II, Count of Sicily and Duke  of Apulia, undertakes to recognize Anacletus II  as pope in return for Anacletus making him king of Sicily  and Apulia.  (1130 AD)
  • Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse dies; he is succeeded by his son-in-law, Alfonse of Pontiers, , the brother of King Louis IX of France, marking the definitive integration of Languedoc into France (1249 AD)
  • King Wladyslaw I of Poland defeats the Teutonic Knights  at Plowse, Poland.  (1331 AD)
  • Cosimo de’ Medici the Elder, financier and stateman, born in Florence, Italy. (1389 AD)
  • by the Treaty of Mielno, the Teutonic Knights (a German Christian military order) end their war with Poland and Lithuania.  (1422 AD)

Source: Volume 1 of the Chronology of World History: Prehistory — AD 1491: The Ancient and Medieval World.

The First Century-Ride!

September 6, 2018

According to wikipedia, “a century ride is a road cycling ride of 100 miles (160.9 km) or more within 12 hours, usually as a cycling club-sponsored event.”  Did you know that the very first century ride occurred on September 6th in 1882?

Who: the Boston Bicycle Club (Boston, MA)
Route: from Worcester to Boston (102.5 miles) via South Framington, Natick, Wellesley, Dedhamm, Stoughton, Brockton, Randolph, Braintree, Quincy, Mattapan, Waltham, and Newton.
Start time: 4:38 AM; End time: 9:30 PM (12 hours and 6 minutes of actual riding time)

Seven men completed the entire length of the ride.

Source: Famous First Facts, by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell

Ancient History, Number One!

August 26, 2018

By “ancient history,” I will be referencing events from August 26th, that occurred pre-1492 (i.e., before “Columbus sailed the ocean blue”).  Note: most of these will be from the medieval world (476 AD – 1492 AD) as many earlier events don’t always have specific dates.

  • the basilica of St. Peter and other places outside the walls of Rome are plundered by Arab raiders from the Aghlabid Emirate of Ifriqiya. (846 AD)
  • King Louis IX sails from France on the Seventh Crusade.  (1248 AD)
  • English King Edward III uses cannons against the French at the battle of Crecy, but the battle is actually won by skilled English archers using longbows.  (1346 AD) England defeated the French; King Phillip VI of France escapes, to Amiens, France.  Among those killed on the French side:
    • King John I of Bohemia (succeeded by Charles)
    • Louis of Neves, Count of Flanders (succeeded by  his son Louis de Maele
  • Tokhtamysh, Khan of the “Golden Horde,” sacks Moscow, Russia, and then withdraws after having restored his suzerainty over Russia.  (1382 AD
  • the Swiss are defeated at St. Jakob on the Birs by French freebooters sent by King Charles VII of France to assist Frederick of Austria.  (1444 AD)

Source: Volume 1 of the Chronology of World History: Prehistory — AD 1491: The Ancient and Medieval World.


July 8, 2018

Happy Sunday!  Kidnapping, i.e., “the unlawful carrying away (asportation) and confinement of a person against his or her will,” has been around for quite some time.  But did you know that the very first “recorded” kidnapping occurred on this date in 1524, in a letter from Giovanni da Verrazano to Francis I (then King of France)?  The letter claims that Verrazano’s crew

“tooke a [Native Amercan] childe . . .  [an] olde woman to being into France, and going about to take . . . [a] young woman which was very beautiful and of tall stature, they could not possibly, for the great out cries that she made, bring her to the sea; and especially having great woods to pass through adn being farre from teh ship, we purposed to leave her behinde, beareing away the childe only.”

Giovanni da Verrazzano was the first European explorer (Italian)  to sail into New York Harbor and is credited with charting the Atlantic coast of North America between the Carolinas and Newfoundland. The Verrazano–Narrows Bridge in New York was named after him.

All Hail, the Bookseller!

June 7, 2018

Bookselling has been around for centuries and represents “the retail and distribution end of the publishing process” (Wikipedia).  But did you know that the first “organization of booksellers” wasn’t established until this date in 1801?  Yep, it was the American Company of Booksellers (in New York City).  Their mission: “to improve quality, to avoid interference, to discontinue importations, to favor a literary fair, to recommend correspondence, and to promote the general interest.”  Mathew Carey (from Philadelphia, PA) was the first president of this organization.  Interestingly enough, the very first “book fair” occurred less than a year after the formation of this organization (June 1, 1802) and was held in the Coffee House on Beaver Street (New York City) to display the offerings of various publishers and bookseller.  This first event was attended by forty-six booksellers and was so successful that a similar event was held the following year in Philadelphia.  Moving forward, it became an annual event that alternated between New York and Philadelphia.

Source: Famous First Facts by Joseph Nathan Kane, Steven Anzovin, and Janet Podell, p. 336.

Architectural History!

May 27, 2018

Did you know that on this date in 1930, the Chrysler Building opened to the public and was, at the time, the tallest man-made structure in the world?  It would only hold this distinction until May 1st of the following year when it was surpassed by the Empire State Building which remained the tallest building in the world until 1970 when it was surpassed by the north tower of the World Trade Center.  It remains the tallest “brick” building in the world.  Here are some other fun facts about the Chrysler Building . . .

  • address: 405 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan, New York,  NY 10174
  • 1,046 feet tall (antenna spire)
  • 77 floors
  • Art Deco architectural style
  • 1,196,958 sq ft of area
  • 32 elevators
  •  391,881 rivets
  • 29,961 tons of steel
  • 3,826,000 bricks
  • 3,862 windows
  • the lobby contains the world’s very first digital clock
  • construction averaged four floors per week (quick!)
  • no one was killed during the construction
  • architect: William Van Alen
  • Chrysler refused to pay Van Alen (initially). Van Alen had to sue Chrysler to get paid (and did), but Van Alen’s reputation was tarnished by the incident.
  • designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976
  • designated a New York City Landmark in 1978

The 3rd of May . . .!

May 3, 2018

The Third of May 1808

“The Third of May 1808,” was a painting commissioned by the provisional government of Spain to commemorate the Spanish resistance to Napoleon’s armies during the occupation of 1808 in the Peninsular War.  It was painted by Francisco Goya in 1814 along with a companion piece, “The Second of May 1808” (aka “The Charge of the Mamelukes“).  Both paintings are currently in the public domain and are displayed in Madrid’s Museo del Prado.


Eugene Delacroix!

April 26, 2018

Eugene_delacroixBorn on this date in 1798, Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix became the leader of the French Romantic School.  Delacroix was also a talented lithographer who had illustrated many of the works of William Shakespeare, Walter Scott, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  Delacroix’s most famous painting, Liberty Leading the People, is based upon the 1830 revolution against Charles X.   Delacroix was influenced by Theodore Gericault, Francisco Goya, Michelangelo, Peter Paul Rubens, and Diego Velazquez, and maintained friendships with Theophile Gautier, Dante Alighieri, Lord Byron, William Shakespeare, and Adolphe Thiers.  Delacroix, in turn, had an influence on the following artists: Paul Cézanne, Gustav Courbet, Odilon Redon, Édouard Manet, and Pablo Picasso.  Some pretty fine company to associate with if you ask me.

Unheeded Warnings!

April 14, 2018

Despite receiving numerous warning of sea ice, it wasn’t until her lookouts actually saw the ice that the danger was realized and by then it was too late to take evasive action.  The Titanic struck the iceberg at approximately 10:40 PM and began sinking on this date in 1912.  A tragic event indeed.   When they made the movie “Titanic,” I’m sure the Hollywood took more than their share of liberties with the story (for entertainment value, of course), but the theme song, “My Heart Will Go On,” by Celine Dion continues to stir my emotions.