TODAY: Births: Robert Southey, poet, 1774; Sir Frederick Arthur Gore Ouseley, composer, 1825; Sir Joseph Barnby, conductor and academic principal, 1838; Mary Roberts Rinehart, novelist and playwright, 1876; Marguerite "John" Radclyffe-Hall, author, 1880; Cecil Blount De Mille, film producer and director, 1881. Deaths: Philippe de Champaigne, painter, 1674; William Blake, poet and painter, 1827; George Stephenson, locomotive engineer, 1848; Thomas Mann, novelist, 1955; Ian Lancaster Fleming, novelist, creator of "James Bond", 1964; Thomas Edward Driberg, first Baron Driberg, journalist, 1976; Henry Fonda, actor, 1982. On this day: the Crusaders were victorious at the Battle of Ascalon, 1099; the Duke of Wellington's troops entered Madrid, 1812; in a contest, the schooner America beat the British yacht Aurora, giving rise later to the "America's Cup", 1851; the United States and Spain concluded an armistice over Cuba and other possessions, 1898. Today is the Feast Day of St Euplus, St Jambert, archbishop of Canterbury, St Murtagh or Muredach and St Porcarius and his Companions.

TOMORROW: Births: Erasmus Bartholin, physicist, 1625; Annie Oakley (Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee), crack shot, 1860; John Logie Baird, television pioneer, 1888; Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, film director, 1899; Archbishop Makarios III (Michael Christodolou Mouskos), Cypriot priest and president, 1913. Deaths: Gerard David (Gheeraert Davit), painter, 1523; Ferdinand-Victor Eugene Delacroix, painter, 1863; Sir John Everett Millais, painter, 1896; Florence Nightingale, nursing pioneer, 1910; Jules-Emile Frederic Massenet, composer, 1912; Herbert George Wells, novelist, 1946. On this day: Cortes, leading his Spanish troops, took Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), 1521; the French armies were defeated at Blenheim by the Austrians and English, 1704; the frontier between East and West Germany was closed after the East Germans sealed the border, 1961; the last hangings in Britain took place when two men were executed for murder at Liverpool and Manchester, 1964; the last US troops left Vietnam, 1972. Today is the Feast Day of St Benildus, St Cassian of Imola, St Hippolytus of Rome, St Maximus the Confessor, St Narses Klaietus, St Pontian, pope, St Radegund, queen, St Simplician of Milan, St Wigbert.

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