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TODAY: Births: Reginald Pole, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1500; Alfred Stevens, painter, 1828; Ottmar Mergenthaler, inventor of the Linotype machine, 1854; George Grossmith, the Younger, actor, 1874; Irving Berlin (Israel Isadore Baline), 1888; Paul Nash, painter, 1889; Dame Margaret Rutherford, actress, 1892; William Grant Still, composer, 1895; Mikhail Alexandrovich Sholokhov, novelist, 1905. Deaths: Sir Edward Dyer, poet, buried 1607; Catharine Cockburn, playwright and author, 1749; William Pitt, first Earl of Chatham, statesman, 1778; Spencer Perceval, prime minister, assassinated in the House of Commons by John Bellingham, 1812; Tom Cribb, pugilist, 1848; Jeanne-Francoise Julie-Adelaide Bernard Recamier, society leader, 1849; Sir John Frederick Herschel, astronomer, 1871; Big Jim Colosimo, Chicago racketeer, shot dead by Al Capone, 1920; Juan Gris, Cubist painter, 1927; Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby, spy for the Soviet Union, 1988. On this day: Constantinople was dedicated as the new capital of the Roman Empire, 330; Peter Stuyvesant, explorer, arrived at New Amsterdam (New York), 1647; the City of Greater New York, consisting of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Richmond, was created, 1898; the New York World's Fair reopened, 1940; Siam changed its name to Thailand, 1949; the Daily Sketch newspaper appeared for the last time, 1971; the musical show Cats was first produced, London, 1981. Today is the Feast Day of St Ansfrid, St Asaph, St Comgall, St Francis di Girolamo, St Gengulf or Gengoul, St Ignatius of Laconi, St Mayeul or Majolus, St Mamertus, St Richard Reynolds, St Tudy or Tudec of Brittany and St Walter of L'Esterp.

TOMORROW: Births: John Bell, surgeon, 1763; Emma (Lyon), Lady Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson, 1765; James Sheridan Knowles, playwright, 1784; Edward Lear, artist, humorist and versifier, 1812; Florence Nightingale, pioneer of nursing, 1820; Dante Gabriel Rossetti, poet and painter, 1828; Jules-Emile Frederic Massenet, composer, 1842; Gabriel-Urbain Faure, composer, 1845; Lord Aberconway (Charles Benjamin Bright McLaren) politician, 1850; Wilfrid Hyde White, actor, 1903; Leslie Charteris (Leslie Charles Bowyer Yin), novelist and creator of the "Saint", 1907. Deaths: Waldemar the Great, king of Denmark, 1182; Thomas Wentworth, first Earl of Strafford, statesman, executed, 1641; August Wilhelm von Schlegel, poet and critic, 1845; Sir Charles Barry, architect, 1860; Daniel-Francois Esprit Auber, composer, 1871; Bedrich Smetana, composer, 1884; Joris-Karl Huysmans, writer, 1907; Erich von Stroheim (Erich Oswald Stroheim), actor and director, 1957; John Edward Masefield, poet, 1967; John Smith QC, politician, 1994. On this day: the insurrection against the king known as the "Day of the Barricades" occurred in France, 1588; during the American Revolutionary War, Charleston fell to the British, 1780; a 20-ton meteorite struck the earth near Blackstone, Virginia, 1922; the General Strike in Britain collapsed, 1926 Captain Amundsen crossed the North Pole in the airship Norge, 1926; the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth took place, 1937; the blockade of Berlin by the Soviet Union was lifted, although other disputes caused the airlift to continue, 1949; in Britain, the voting age was reduced from 21 to 18, 1969. Today is the Feast Day of St Dominic of the Causeway, St Epiphanius of Salamis, St Ethelhard, St Germanus of Constantinople, St John Stone, St Modoaldus, Saints Nereus and Achilleus, St Pancras of Rome and St Rictrudis.