TODAY: Births: Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th US president, 1856; Philip Wilson Steer, artist, 1860; St John Greer Ervine, playwright and dramatic critic, 1883; Earl "Fatha" Hines, jazz pianist, 1905. Deaths: St Francis de Sales, 1622; Queen Mary II (of William and Mary), 1694; Rob Roy (Robert Macgregor), clan chief, 1734; Thomas Babington Macaulay, first Baron Macaulay, author and statesman, 1859; George Robert Gissing, novelist, 1903; Alexandre- Gustave Eiffel, engineer, 1923; Maurice Joseph Ravel, composer, 1937; Victor Emmanuel III, former King of Italy, 1947; Jack Lovelock, athlete and surgeon, killed 1949; Paul Hindemith, composer, 1963; Sam Peckinpah, film director, 1984. On this day: Westminster Abbey was dedicated, 1065; Spain recognised the independence of Mexico, 1836; in the United States, the first patent for chewing gum was issued, 1869; the world's first public film show took place in Paris, 1895; Messina, Sicily was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake, when over 150,000 lives were lost, 1908; the independence of Estonia was proclaimed, 1917; the Irish Free State became the Republic of Ireland, 1937; Ahmen Soekarno was elected president of the Indonesian Republic, 1949. Today is the Feast Day of St Antony of Lerins, The Holy Innocents (Childermas) and St Theodore the Sanctified.

TOMORROW: Births: Jeanne-Antoinette, Marquise de Pompadour, mistress of Louis XV, 1721; Charles Macintosh, chemist and inventor of waterproof clothing, 1766; Charles Goodyear, inventor of vulcanised rubber, 1800; William Ewart Gladstone, statesman, 1809; Alexander Parkes, chemist, inventor of a second method of vulcanising rubber, 1813; Pablo Casals, cellist, 1876; Vera Mary Brittain, author, pacifist and feminist, 1893; Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs, Soviet spy, 1911. Deaths: St Thomas Beckett, murdered 1170; Jacques-Louis David, painter, 1825; William Crotch, composer, 1847; Christina Georgina Rossetti, poet, 1894; Rainer Maria Rilke, poet, 1926; Donald Robert Perry Marquis, journalist and humorist, 1937; The Earl of Stockton (Harold Macmillan), statesman, 1986. On this day: the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, opened, 1720; Sarah Siddons, as Portia, made her first appearance on the London stage, 1775; Texas became the 28th of the United States, 1845; the massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, took place, when 200 Sioux Indians were killed, 1890; Radio Luxembourg started operating, 1930; the City of London was the subject of a fire- bomb raid, 1940; the magazine Life ceased publication, 1972. Today is the Feast Day of St Ebrulf or Evroult, St Marcellus Akimetes, St Thomas of Canterbury and St Trophimus of Arles.

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