In their quest to collect all the knowledge of the known world, Roman authors also recorded the strange and the fabulous.
1942 – Germany lands 4 saboteurs on Long Island
1944 – German counter attack on Villers-Bocage, Normandy
1974 – IMF establishes its “oil facility”, a special fund for loans to nations whose balance of payments have been severely affected by high oil prices
1978 – Film “Grease” opens, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, based on the 1971 musical
1981 – 39 Unification church couples wed in Germany
1988 – George Harrison releases “This is Love”
1763 – Jose B de Andrada e Silva, premier of Brazil
1854 – Charles Algernon Parsons, British inventor (steam turbine)
1869 – Ede Poldini, Hungarian composer (La poupée valsante), born in Pest (d. 1957)
1951 – Jonathan Hogan, actor (House on Carroll St), born in Chicago, Illinois
1970 – Mikael Ljungberg, Swedish wrestler (d. 2004)
1990 – Aaron Johnson, British actor
1550 – Veronica Gambara, Italian poet, dies at 64
1810 – Johann Gottfried Seume, German writer (Spaziergang nach Syrakus), dies at 47
1865 – Cleaveland J Campbell, Union brigadier general, dies at about 29
1905 – Theodoros Delyannis, premier Greece, murdered
1944 – Christopher Heseltine, cricketer (2 Tests for England 1895-96), dies
2002 – John Hope, American meteorologist (b. 1919)
1903 – The Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity is founded at the University of Michigan School of Music
1942 – Tornado kills 35 in Oklahoma City
1952 – 2nd Berlin International Film Festival: “One Summer of Happiness” wins Golden Bear (audience vote)
1957 – Paul Anderson of US back-lifts a record 2850 kg (6,270 lbs)
1973 – Yanks trade wife swapper Mike Kekich for Lowell Palmer
1977 – Groundbreaking ceremony for John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
1577 – Paul Guldin, Swiss astronomer and mathematician (d. 1643)
1908 – Alphonse Ouimet, Canadian TV pioneer and president of the CBC (d. 1988)
1910 – Bill Naughton, English playwright (d. 1992)
1928 – Michael Wishart, artist
1968 – Sherry Stringield, actress (ER)
1992 – Allie DiMeco American musician and actress (The Naked Brothers Band)
1687 – Jurriaen van Streeck, Dutch still life painter, buried
1878 – Hendrik J Jut, Dutch murderer [Head of Jut], dies at 26
1972 – Saul David Alinsky, radical writer (John L Lewis), dies at 63
1986 – Antoon Breyne, Belgian journalist, dies at 76
1986 – Tony Desimone, combo leader (Ernie in Kovacsland), dies at 66
1994 – Ron Goldman, waiter, murdered with wife of O.J. Simpson at 27
1919 – 51st Belmont: J Loftus riding Sir Barton wins in 2:17.6 and Trip Crown
1940 – Italy declares war on Allies
1964 – Manfred Mann record Do Wah Diddy Diddy Dum Diddy Do
1978 – 24th LPGA Championship won by Nancy Lopez
1988 – “Everything Your Heart Desires” by Daryl Hall and John Oates peaks at #3
1992 – Tracy Austin, 29, is youngest inductee of International Tennis Hall of Fame
1917 – James Bostock, painter/engraver
1927 – Marcus Fox, conservative MP/chairman (1922 Committee)
1940 – Joey Dee, singer (Hey Let’s Twist, 2 Tickets to Paris), born in Passaic, New Jersey
1962 – Michael Kenny, WLAF offensive assistant (Scottish Claymores)
1968 – Sophie Okonedo, English actress (Hotel Rwanda), born in London
1982 – Diana Taurasi, American basketball player
1216 – Henry of Flanders, Emperor of the Latin Empire
1949 – Koci Xoxe, Albanian vice-premier, executed
1988 – Giuseppe Saragat, president of Italy (1964-71), dies at 89
1990 – Clyde McCoy, American jazz trumpeter (wah wah sound), dies at 86
2008 – Ove Andersson, Swedish rally driver (b. 1938)
2015 – Ornette Coleman, American jazz saxophonist and composer (Free Jazz), dies at 85
The London International Surrealists Exhibition
A Light in the Darkness
A massive wagon train, made up of 1,000 settlers and 1,000 head of cattle, sets off down the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri. Known as the “Great Emigration,” the expedition came two years after the first modest party of settlers made the long, overland journey to Oregon.
After leaving Independence, the giant wagon train followed the Sante Fe Trail for some 40 miles and then turned northwest to the Platte River, which it followed along its northern route to Fort Laramie, Wyoming. From there, it traveled on to the Rocky Mountains, which it passed through by way of the broad, level South Pass that led to the basin of the Colorado River. The travelers then went southwest to Fort Bridger, northwest across a divide to Fort Hall on the Snake River, and on to Fort Boise, where they gained supplies for the difficult journey over the Blue Mountains and into Oregon. The Great Emigration finally arrived in October, completing the 2,000-mile journey from Independence in five months.
In the next year, four more wagon trains made the journey, and in 1845 the number of emigrants who used the Oregon Trail exceeded 3,000. Travel along the trail gradually declined with the advent of the railroads, and the route was finally abandoned in the 1870s.
In Washington, D.C., humanitarians Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons found the American National Red Cross, an organization established to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters in congruence with the International Red Cross.
Barton, born in Massachusetts in 1821, worked with the sick and wounded during the American Civil War and became known as the “Angel of the Battlefield” for her tireless dedication. In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned her to search for lost prisoners of war, and with the extensive records she had compiled during the war she succeeded in identifying thousands of the Union dead at the Andersonville prisoner-of-war camp.
She was in Europe in 1870 when the Franco-Prussian War broke out, and she went behind the German lines to work for the International Red Cross. In 1873, she returned to the United States, and four years later she organized an American branch of the International Red Cross. The American Red Cross received its first U.S. federal charter in 1900. Barton headed the organization into her 80s and died in 1912.
On this day in 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world’s most famous garments: blue jeans.
In San Francisco, Strauss established a wholesale dry goods business under his own name and worked as the West Coast representative of his family’s firm. His new business imported clothing, fabric and other dry goods to sell in the small stores opening all over California and other Western states to supply the rapidly expanding communities of gold miners and other settlers. By 1866, Strauss had moved his company to expanded headquarters and was a well-known businessman and supporter of the Jewish community in San Francisco.
Jacob Davis, a tailor in Reno, Nevada, was one of Levi Strauss’ regular customers. In 1872, he wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points–at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly–to make them stronger. As Davis didn’t have the money for the necessary paperwork, he suggested that Strauss provide the funds and that the two men get the patent together. Strauss agreed enthusiastically, and the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings”–the innovation that would produce blue jeans as we know them–was granted to both men on May 20, 1873.
Strauss brought Davis to San Francisco to oversee the first manufacturing facility for “waist overalls,” as the original jeans were known. At first they employed seamstresses working out of their homes, but by the 1880s, Strauss had opened his own factory. The famous 501brand jean–known until 1890 as “XX”–was soon a bestseller, and the company grew quickly. By the 1920s, Levi’s denim waist overalls were the top-selling men’s work pant in the United States. As decades passed, the craze only grew, and now blue jeans are worn by men and women, young and old, around the world.
T.E. Lawrence, known to the world as Lawrence of Arabia, dies as a retired Royal Air Force mechanic living under an assumed name. The legendary war hero, author, and archaeological scholar succumbed to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident six days before.
Thomas Edward Lawrence was born in Tremadoc, Wales, in 1888. In 1896, his family moved to Oxford. Lawrence studied architecture and archaeology, for which he made a trip to Ottoman (Turkish)-controlled Syria and Palestine in 1909. In 1911, he won a fellowship to join an expedition excavating an ancient Hittite settlement on the Euphrates River. He worked there for three years and in his free time traveled and learned Arabic. In 1914, he explored the Sinai, near the frontier of Ottoman-controlled Arabia and British-controlled Egypt. The maps Lawrence and his associates made had immediate strategic value upon the outbreak of war between Britain and the Ottoman Empire in October 1914.
Lawrence enlisted in the war and because of his expertise in Arab affairs was assigned to Cairo as an intelligence officer. He spent more than a year in Egypt, processing intelligence information and in 1916 accompanied a British diplomat to Arabia, where Hussein ibn Ali, the emir of Mecca, had proclaimed a revolt against Turkish rule. Lawrence convinced his superiors to aid Hussein’s rebellion, and he was sent to join the Arabian army of Hussein’s son Faisal as a liaison officer.
Under Lawrence’s guidance, the Arabians launched an effective guerrilla war against the Turkish lines. He proved a gifted military strategist and was greatly admired by the Bedouin people of Arabia. In July 1917, Arabian forces captured Aqaba near the Sinai and joined the British march on Jerusalem. Lawrence was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. In November, he was captured by the Turks while reconnoitering behind enemy lines in Arab dress and was tortured and sexually abused before escaping. He rejoined his army, which slowly worked its way north to Damascus, which fell in October 1918.
Arabia was liberated, but Lawrence’s hope that the peninsula would be united as a single nation was dashed when Arabian factionalism came to the fore after Damascus. Lawrence, exhausted and disillusioned, left for England. Feeling that Britain had exacerbated the rivalries between the Arabian groups, he appeared before King George V and politely refused the medals offered to him.
After the war, he lobbied hard for independence for Arab countries and appeared at the Paris peace conference in Arab robes. He became something of a legendary figure in his own lifetime, and in 1922 he gave up higher-paying appointments to enlist in the Royal Air Force (RAF) under an assumed name, John Hume Ross. He had just completed writing his monumental war memoir, The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and he hoped to escape his fame and acquire material for a new book. Found out by the press, he was discharged, but in 1923 he managed to enlist as a private in the Royal Tanks Corps under another assumed name, T.E. Shaw, a reference to his friend, Irish writer George Bernard Shaw. In 1925, Lawrence rejoined the RAF and two years later legally changed his last name to Shaw.
In 1927, an abridged version of his memoir was published and generated tremendous publicity, but the press was unable to locate Lawrence (he was posted to a base in India). In 1929, he returned to England and spent the next six years writing and working as an RAF mechanic. In 1932, his English translation of Homer’s Odyssey was published under the name of T.E. Shaw. The Mint, a fictionalized account of Royal Air Force recruit training, was not published until 1955 because of its explicitness.
In February 1935, Lawrence was discharged from the RAF and returned to his simple cottage at Clouds Hill, Dorset. On May 13, he was critically injured while driving his motorcycle through the Dorset countryside. He had swerved to avoid two boys on bicycles. On May 19, he died at the hospital of his former RAF camp. All of Britain mourned his passing.