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Births: John Philip Kemble, actor, 1757; Jacques-Emile Blanche, painter, 1861; Hugo von Hofmannsthal, playwright and poet, 1874; John Ford (Sean Aloysius O'Fearna), film director, 1895; Stephen Meredith Potter, writer and "gamesman", 1900; William Clark Gable, actor, 1901; James Langston Hughes, poet, 1902; Sidney Joseph Perelman, humorous writer, 1904.

Deaths: Rene Descartes, scientist and philosopher, 1650; Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, 1733; Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Godwin), author of Frankenstein, 1851; George Cruikshank, caricaturist and illustrator, 1878; Sir George Gabriel Stokes, mathematician, 1903; Carlos I, King of Portugal, and the Crown Prince, assassinated 1908; Piet Mondrian, abstract painter, 1944; Buster (Joseph Francis) Keaton, silent film comedian, 1966.

On this day: Mount Etna, Sicily, began violent eruptions, 1865; the first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary was published, 1884; La Boheme, the opera by Puccini, was first staged in Turin, 1896; the first British labour exchanges opened, 1910; clothes rationing ended in Britain, 1949; the United Arab Republic was formed by a union of Egypt and Syria, 1958.

Today is the Feast Day of St Bride or Brigid of Kildare, St Henry Morse, St John of the Grating, St Pionius, St Seiriol and St Sigebert III of Austrasia.