Births: Samuel Pepys, naval official and diarist, 1633; George Frederick Handel, composer, 1685; Meyer Amschel Rothschild, banker, 1743; Gertrud Elisabeth Mara (Schmeling), soprano, 1749; Sir George Frederick Watts, sculptor and painter, 1817; Franz von Stuck, sculptor and painter, 1863; William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, novelist, 1868; Victor Fleming, film director, 1883; Karl Jaspers, philosopher, 1883; John Gilbert Winant, diplomat, 1889; Erich Kastner, poet and writer for children, 1899.

Deaths: Agostino Carracci, painter, 1602; Eugene IV, pope, 1447; Ferdinand V, King of Castile and Leon, 1516; Sir Joshua Reynolds, painter, 1792; John Keats, poet, 1821; John Quincy Adams, sixth US president, 1848; Joanna Baillie, poet and playwright, 1851; Karl Friedrich Gauss, mathematician and astronomer, 1855; Sir George Thomas Smart, organist, 1867; Auguste Bonheur, painter, 1884; William Butterfield, architect, 1900; Ernest Christopher Dowson, poet, 1900; Samuel Rawson Gardiner, historian, 1902; Francisco Idalecio Madero, Mexican politician, killed 1913; 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; Paul-Louis-Charles Claudel, poet, playwright and diplomat, 1955; Stan Laurel (Arthur Stanley Jefferson), comedian, 1965; Fannie Hurst, novelist, 1968; Laurence Stephen Lowry, painter, 1976; Sir Adrian Boult, conductor, 1983.

On this day: the Cato Street Conspiracy to murder cabinet ministers was discovered, 1820; lawn tennis, then called 'Sphairistike', was patented, 1874; Emile Zola was imprisoned in France for writing the open letter J'accuse, 1898; the US Steel Corporation was founded by JP Morgan, 1901; in Russia, the February Revolution began (Old Style date), 1917; Benito Mussolini founded the Fascist Party in Italy, 1919; the present building of the Vaudeville Theatre, London, opened, 1926; the musical show Wonderful Town was first produced, London, 1953; 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.

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