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Births: Samuel Pepys, naval official and diarist, 1633; George Frederick Handel, composer, 1685; Meyer Amschel Rothschild, banker, 1743; Sir George Frederick Watts, sculptor and painter, 1817; William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, novelist, 1868; Erich Kastner, poet and writer for children, 1899.

Deaths: Agostino Carracci, painter, 1602; Ferdinand V, King of Castile and Leon, 1516; Sir Joshua Reynolds, painter, 1792; John Keats, poet, 1821; Karl Friedrich Gauss, mathematician and astronomer, 1855; Sir George Thomas Smart, organist, 1867; Auguste Bonheur, painter, 1884; William Butterfield, architect, 1900; Samuel Rawson Gardiner, historian, 1902; Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th US President, 1924; Dame Nellie Melba (Helen Porter Mitchell), operatic singer, 1931; Sir Edward William Elgar, composer, 1934; Leo Hendrik Baekeland, inventor of Bakelite, 1944; Stan Laurel (Arthur Stanley Jefferson), comedian, 1965; Laurence Stephen Lowry, painter, 1976; Sir Adrian Boult, conductor, 1983.

On this day: lawn tennis, then called 'Sphairistike', was patented, 1874; in France, Emile Zola was imprisoned for writing the open letter J'accuse, 1898; the United States Steel Corporation was founded by JP Morgan, 1901; in Russia, the February Revolution began, 1917; Benito Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in Italy, 1919; Guyana became a republic within the Commonwealth, 1970.

Today is the Feast Day of St Alexander Akimetes, St Boisil or Boswell, St Dositheus, St Milburga or Mildgytha, St Polycarp of Smyrna, St Serenus or Cerneuf the Gardener and St Willigis.