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Births: Friedrich von Drieberg, writer on music, 1780; Felice, Count Orsini, Italian nationalist, 1819; George MacDonald, poet and novelist, 1824; Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, poet, 1830; Melvil Dewey, inventor of the library cataloguing system, 1851; Ernest Howard Shepard, illustrator of 'Winnie the Pooh', 1879; Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, first Earl Alexander of Tunis, 1891; Antonin Novotny, Czech political leader, 1904; Olivier Messiaen, composer and organist, 1908.

Deaths: Paolo Uccello (Paolo di Dono), painter, 1475; Edmund Gunter, mathematician, 1626; Dr Thomas Southwood Smith, sanitary reformer, 1861; Alfred Bernhard Nobel, industrialist and philanthropist, 1896; Charles Rennie Mackintosh, architect, painter and art nouveau pioneer, 1928.

On this day: Robert Thomson patented the first pneumatic tyres, 1845; Louis Napoleon was elected President of France by a large majority, 1848; Cuba became independent of Spain, 1898; the US acquired Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippine Islands, 1898; the first Nobel Prizes were awarded, 1901; the Aswan Dam in Egypt was opened, 1902; the National Farmers' Union was founded in London, 1908; Piccadilly underground station was opened, London 1928; King Edward VIII abdicated, and became Duke of Windsor, 1936; the UN General Assembly issued the Declaration of Human Rights, 1948; a Concorde aircraft made its first scheduled flight from London to Singapore, 1977.

Today is the Feast Day of St Edmund Gerhings, St Eulalia of Merida, St Eustace White, St Gregory III, pope, St John Roberts, Saints Mannas, Hermogenes and Eugraphus, St Melchiades or Miltiades, St Polydore Plaaden and St Swithin Wells.