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The Independent Culture
Births: Etienne de Condillac, philosopher, 1715; William Hutton, local historian and topographer, 1723; Jacques Necker, financier, 1732; Fitzroy James Henry Somerset, first Baron Raglan, field marshal, 1788; Karl Begas, painter, 1794; Frederick Sleigh Roberts, first Earl Roberts, field marshal, 1832; Johan Severin Svendsen, composer, 1840; Sir Charles Villiers Stanford, composer, 1852; William Willett, promoter of daylight saving, 1856; Hermann Sudermann, playwright, 1857; Lewis Milestone, film director, 1895; John Innes Mackintosh Stewart ("Michael Innes"), literary scholar and writer, 1906; David Fyodorovich Oistrakh, violinist, 1908; Truman Capote, writer, 1924; Marc Bolan (Mark Feld), singer, songwriter and bandleader, 1947.

Deaths: St Jerome, 420; Sir Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, poet, murdered 1628; Henry King, poet and prelate, 1669; George Whitefield, religious leader, 1770; James Brindley, canal engineer, 1772; Augustin-Francois Cesar Prouvencal de Saint-Hilaire, botanist and traveller, 1853; Franz Adam, painter, 1886; Georges-Ernest Jean-Marie Boulanger, French general and politician, committed suicide 1891; Charles Napier Hemy, painter, 1917; Frederick Edwin Smith, first Earl of Birkenhead, Lord Chancellor, 1930; Sir Robert Hadfield, metallurgist, 1940; Richard Austin Freeman, author and creator of "Dr John Thorndyke", 1943; Lewis Fry Richardson, physicist, 1953; James Dean, actor, killed 1955; Simone Signoret (Simone Kaminker), actress, 1985.

On this day: the Siege of Yorktown began, 1781; Mozart's opera The Magic Flute was first performed, Vienna 1791; the University of Berlin was opened, 1810; Bizet's opera The Pearl Fishers was first performed, Paris 1863; artificial silk (rayon) was first patented, 1902; the Balkan League was formed by Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro, 1912; Benito Mussolini formed the first Fascist government in Italy, 1922; the discovery of penicillin was first announced, 1928; the first experimental television broadcast by the BBC took place, 1929; Gershwin's opera Porgy and Bess was first performed, Boston 1935; the Morning Post newspaper was last issued, 1937; Germany and the Soviet Union signed a pact agreeing on the partition of Poland, 1939; identity cards were issued in Britain, 1939; a British Expeditionary Force of 158,000 men was sent to France, 1939; after 277,264 flights, the Berlin airlift ended, 1949; Cinerama was first exhibited by the inventor, Fred Waller, in New York, with the feature entitled This is Cinerama, 1952; Botswana became independent, 1966; BBC Radio 1 broadcast for the first time, 1967.

Today is the Feast Day of St Gregory the Enlightener, St Honorius of Canterbury, St Jerome and St Simon of Crepy.