|Italy's 1000-lire bill honors Dr. Maria Montessori.|
Saturday, August 31, 2013
Friday, August 30, 2013
It is the birthday of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797), who created one of the most beloved monsters of all time in her gothic novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus (1818). Shelley also wrote Mathilda (1959), a story of incest and suicide. She also edited the works of her husband, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Here is the story of how Frankenstein got written, delightfully told by Jack Perkins.
Thursday, August 29, 2013
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
|Photograph of Roger Tory Peterson by Alfred Eisenstadt|
Monday, August 26, 2013
|Biggers finished The House Without a Key after a vacation in Hawaii. Inset: Charlie Chan of the movies.|
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Friday, August 23, 2013
Labels: New York Herald, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody. The New York Herald Tribune, The New Yorker, Will Cuppy
Thursday, August 22, 2013
It is the birthday of Austrian composer Josef Strauss (1927), the middle brother of the Viennese musical dynasty that included Johann Strauss II (1825) and Eduard Strauss (1835). Their father, Johann Strauss I (1804), was a composer, too, and encouraged his sons' talents, though he wanted Josef to become an engineer. Johann II, also known as the Son, was called the Waltz King. He wrote The Blue Danube and Tales of the Vienna Woods and other of the most well-known Strauss waltzes. He once said of brother Josef, who was called Pepi in the family, "Pepi is the more gifted of us two; I am merely the more popular."
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
It is the birthday of jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden (1905), who was known as the father of the jazz trombone and the best trombone player in the world. He created an innovative self-taught playing style, expanded the role of the trombone in jazz bands, and injected a blues element to nearly everything he played. He was an accomplished vocalist, composer and bandleader as well. He recorded with such luminaries as Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Eddie Condon, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, and Jimmy McPartland. He appeared in the movies The Birth of the Blues (1941), The Strip (1951), The Glass Wall (1953), and Jazz on a Summer's Day (1960), a documentary about the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. This 1956 TV program Stars of Jazz features Jack Teagarden.
Monday, August 19, 2013
It is the birthday of aviation pioneer Orville Wright (1871), who is credited, along with this brother Wilbur, with building the world's first successful airplane because they concentrated on designing a three-axis control to allow the pilot to steer the flying machine. After years of the brothers' experimenting, Orville finally piloted the first powered aircraft on December 17, 1903 on sand dunes near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The world took little note. There were only five witnesses. It was not until Wilbur's flight in August 1908 in Paris the public acclaimed the Wright brothers' achievement. The following month, Orville flew their flying machine for more than an hour for U.S. Army officials in Virginia. Despite the caption, the video is from a later demonstration, not 1903.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Friday, August 16, 2013
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
|Caxton Showing the First Specimen of His Printing to King Edward IV at the Almonry,Westminster (1851)|
Monday, August 12, 2013
Saturday, August 10, 2013
It is the birthday of German Baroque composer Hieronymus Praetorius (1560), who wrote Masses and other choral pieces using many voices divided into several groups in the then-progressive Venetian polychoral style. He also wrote pieces for accompaniment by organ as he was an organist as well a choral director. His father Jacob was a composer as was his son, also named Jacob. Hieronymus is particularly remembered for 10 settings of the Magnificat or Canticle of Mary (eight of which survive). Here is a presentation of his Magnificat II.
Friday, August 9, 2013
It is the birthday of writer Pamela Lyndon Travers (1899), who created the magical English nanny Mary Poppins, and wrote seven sequels after the initial success of her first novel Mary Poppins (1934). While working in the British Ministry of Information in New York during World War II, Roy Disney contacted her about adapting the story for a Disney film. She was not pleased with the results, especially the animation, and never allowed another Disney production. In the 1990s, she agreed to a British stage version as long as no Americans were involved. She died in 1996 at the age of 96. Here is a fascinating British television program about Pamela Travers.
Thursday, August 8, 2013
It is the birthday of writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896), who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1939 for her novel The Yearling (1938), the beloved coming-of-age story set in the Florida backwoods in the late 1800s. This video from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection tells about Rawlings' arrival in Florida in 1928.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
|Benjamin appeared on the CSA two-dollar bill. Top left: Gamble Mansion in Ellenton, where Benjamin hid.|
Monday, August 5, 2013
Saturday, August 3, 2013
Friday, August 2, 2013
|In the Wake of the Ferry (1907) was depicted on a U.S. postage stamp honoring Sloan in 1971.|
Thursday, August 1, 2013
|Richard Henry Dana, Jr. and Herman Melville|
Dana, though born into an educated, upper class New England family, decided to take time off from his studies at Harvard to sign on as an able-bodied seaman on a merchant vessel bound for California. He returned to Boston, finished school and became a lawyer. He published Two Years Before the Mast (1840) and then wrote a handbook for seafarers, The Seaman's Friend (1841). Dana pursued a lucrative career as a lawyer.
Melville, who was four years younger, was enthralled with Dana's book, though scholars doubt that he was spurred to go to sea because of it. Melville spent much longer time at sea. He was born in New York City to an established family with Boston roots, but his father went bankrupt and then died when Herman was 12. As a youth, he first worked on a ship bound for Liverpool. Later he worked aboard a whaler, jumped ship in the South Pacific, lived among island natives, became a beachcomber, worked on other ships, lived in Hawaii and eventually returned to Boston and wrote about his adventures.
In 1850, he wrote to Dana that he was halfway through writing Moby-Dick (1851). They exchanged letters but scholars say the younger Melville was much more open and detailed in his. Dana seemed stilted and reserved, though he did apparently help Melville find a publisher in London. Melville was a far more prolific writer, and critics say, a far better one. Moby-Dick is considered to be among the greatest American novels and a fine example of world literature.