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The Independent Online
Today Dorothy Parker of the New Yorker, who at the death of slow- moving President Coolidge had asked, "How could they tell?" herself definitely died in 1967.

Saturday German composer Schumann was born in 1810; after injuring his hand in his finger-strengthening contraption, he was forced to give up his day job as a pianist.

Sunday In 1549 The Book of Common Prayer became the authorised version throughout England and a 400-year bestseller. In 1934 Donald Duck was hatched in The Little White Hen, with voice-over by Clarence Nash, who had wanted to be a doctor but instead became the biggest quack in the country. Geoffrey Pattie, (Conservative, Chertsey) was the first MP to be heard in the 1975 radio coverage of Parliament.

Monday Oxford won the first Boat Race, held in 1829 near Henley - although recently they were, according to the Cambridge Vice-Chancellor, lucky to come second. Well, for ***** sake - in 1986 Irish citizen Bob Geldof was made a honorary knight.

Tuesday In 1952 Denis Compton hit his 100th century. Gala Dali, wife of surrealist Salvador, died in 1982; he had always sworn that he would eat her if she went to the Great Studio in the Sky first - but he was on a diet at the time.

Wednesday Happy camper Sir Billy Butlin, who brought the first dodgem cars to his Jungle Amusement Park in Skegness, died in 1980.

Thursday In 1988 Maria Kalinina won the first controversial "Miss Moscow" competition; the prizes included a tele-vision set.

JONATHAN SALE

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