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Births: Dr Benjamin Rush, politician, 1745; John Burke, genealogist, founder of Burke's Peerage, 1787; Khristo Botev, poet and revolutionary, 1848; King Camp Gillette, safety-razor inventor, 1855; Sir William Newzam Prior Nicholson, painter and engraver, 1872; Joseph Erlanger, neuro-physiologist, 1874; Humbert Wolfe, poet, 1885; Clifford Grey, actor, author and lyricist, 1887; Stella Dorothea Gibbons, poet and novelist, 1902; Kathleen Mary Kenyon, archaeologist, 1906; Jack Lovelock, athlete and surgeon, 1910.

Deaths: St Edward the Confessor, 1066; Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, 1589; Antonio Lotti, organist and composer, 1740; The Empress Elizabeth Petrovna of Russia, 1762; Sir William Hillary, founder of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, 1847; Joseph Gillott, steel pen manufacturer, 1873; John Westland Marston, poet, 1890; John Calvin Coolidge, 30th US president, 1933; Humbert Wolfe, poet, 1940; George Washington Carver, scientist, 1943; Roberto Gerhard, composer, 1970.

On this day: Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Princess Ida was first performed, London, 1884; the National Socialist Party was formed in Munich by Anton Drexler, 1919; the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) was established, 1919; the first woman governor, Mrs Nellie Tayloe Ross, was elected in the US, 1925; King Alexander of Yugoslavia established himself as a dictator, 1929; President Giscard d'Estaing promulgated a law making French compulsory in advertising, instructions on consumer goods etc, 1976.

Today is Wassail Eve (tonight is Twelfth Night) and the Feast Day of St Apollinaris, St Convoyon, St Dorotheus the Younger, St Gerlac, St John Nepomucene Neumann, St Simeon Stylites and St Syncletica.