Births: Matthew Merian the Elder, engraver and bookseller, 1593; Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, theologian, 1627; Jean-Philippe Rameau, composer, 1683; Mrs Felicia Dorothea Hemans, poet, 1793; Henri Scheffer, painter, 1798; William Michael Rossetti, civil servant and brother of the poet, 1829; Karl Klindworth, pianist and conductor, 1830; Leon Boellmann, composer, 1862; Sir Charles Blake Cochran, impresario, 1872; John Howard Lawson, scriptwriter and playwright, 1886; George Douglas Howard Cole, socialist and novelist, 1889; Roberto Gerhard, composer, 1896; William Harrison Faulkner, novelist, 1897; Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkovich), painter, 1903; Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich, composer, 1906; Robert Bresson, film director, 1907.

Deaths: Philip I, the Handsome, King of Spain, 1506; Samuel Butler, poet and satirist, 1680; Johann Heinrich Lambert, mathematician, 1777; Richard Porson, scholar, 1808; Jacques-Etienne-Joseph-Alexandre Macdonald, Duc de Tarente, soldier, 1840; Johann Baptist Strauss the Elder, composer, 1849; Charles Cottet, painter, 1925; Helen Broderick, comedienne and actress, 1959; Emily Post (Price), writer and columnist, 1960; Nikolai Poliakov (Coco the Clown), 1974; Leopold III, former King of the Belgians, 1983; Walter Pidgeon, actor, 1984.

On this day: King Harold II defeated his brother the Earl Tostig and King Harold Hardrada of Norway at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, 1066; Publick Occurrences, both Foreign and Domestic, the first American newspaper, was published in Boston by Benjamin Harris, but was immediately suppressed, 1690; the relief of Lucknow by Havelock and Outram began, 1857; the comedy opera Dorothy was first produced in London, 1886; the Royal Court Theatre, London, opened 1888; 226 people died when the French battleship Liberte exploded in Toulon Harbour, 1911; the German High Commissioner in Norway set up a government with Vidkun Quisling at its head, 1940; the first transatlantic telephone cable (Newfoundland-Oban) between America and Britain came into use, 1956; Norway voted in a referendum against joining the Common Market, 1972; the first London performance of the musical show Stepping Out was presented, 1984.

Today is the Feast Day of St Albert of Jerusalem, St Aunacharius or Aunaire, St Ceolfrith, St Finbar or Bairre, St Firminus of Amiens, St Sergius of Radonezh and St Vincent Strambi.

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