Anniversaries

Births: Isaac Watts, hymn writer and author of 'O God, Our Help in Ages Past', 1674; John Jacob Astor, fur trader and merchant, 1763; Hippolyte-Paul Delaroche, painter, 1797; Therese Cathline Johanna Alexandra Tietjens, soprano, 1831; Johan August Sodermann, composer, 1832; Sir Donald Francis Tovey, musicologist, 1875; Maxim Maximovich Litvinov (Wallach), Soviet leader, 1876; Erle Stanley Gardner, novelist and creator of 'Perry Mason', 1889; Mary Clare, stage and film actress, 1894; James Cagney, actor, 1899; Christina Ellen Stead, novelist, 1902.

Deaths: William Somerville, poet, 1742; Adam Smith, political economist and writer, 1790; Charlotte Corday, murderess of Marat, executed 1793; Charles Grey, second Earl Grey, statesman, 1845; John Lingard, historian, 1851; James Abbott McNeill Whistler, painter, 1903; Alvaro Obregon, president of Mexico, assassinated 1928; George William Russell ('AE'), poet, 1935; Henri-Constant-Gabriel Pierne, organist and composer, 1937; Dragolub (Draza) Mihailovic, Serbian nationalist, executed 1946; Billie Holiday (Eleanora Holiday), jazz singer, 1959.

On this day: the Moors defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Fraga, 1134; the Hundred Years' War ended after the defeat of the English at Castillon, 1453; Martin Frobisher reached Baffin Land, 1577; the Bridgewater Canal, linking Worsley and Manchester, opened 1761; the Russians defeated the Swedish Fleet, 1788; Thomas Saint patented the first sewing machine, 1790; the Champs de Mars massacre by the Marquis de La Fayette restored order in Paris, 1791; Punch magazine was first published, 1841; the Battle of Waitzen ended, 1849; George Phillips Bond, astronomer, made the first photograph of a star, 1850; Cecil Rhodes became prime minister of Cape Colony, 1890; Robert Bridges became Poet Laureate, 1913; the Baghdad railway was completed, 1940; the Potsdam Conference was held to consider the occupation of Germany, 1945; Disneyland opened in California, 1955; the first London performance of the musical comedy Oh, My Papa was staged, 1957; the musical show Irma La Douce was first performed, London 1958; Donald Campbell reached a speed of 429.3 mph in his car Bluebird at Lake Eyre, South Australia 1964; the US Apollo spacecraft and the Russian Soyuz ship docked successfully while in orbit, 1975; the Humber Estuary Bridge was opened, 1981.

Today is the Feast Day of St Clement of Okhrida and his Companions, St Ennodius, St Kenelm, St Leo IV, Pope, St Marcellina, St Nerses Lampronazi, The Seven Apostles of Bulgaria, St Speratus and his Companions, The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, The Martyrs of Scillium.

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