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Births: Lyman Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz, 1856; Pierre Curie, physicist, 1859; Katherine Anne Porter, author, 1890; James Mason, actor, 1909. Deaths: Edmund Kean, actor, 1833; Daniel O'Connell, Irish leader, 1847; Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, poet, 1886; Tsuyoshi Inukai, Japanese prime minister, assassinated, 1932; Sir Robert Menzies, former prime minister of Australia, 1978; Rita Hayworth (Margarita Carmen Cansino), actress, 1987.

On this day: the Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians at the Battle of Hexham, 1464; the Anabaptists were defeated at the Battle of Frankenhausen, 1525; Captain Bartholomew Gosnold was the first European to set foot in New England, 1602; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, (named after Elias Ashmole) was founded, 1679; an attempt was made by James Hatfield to assassinate King George III at the Drury Lane Theatre, 1800; the Theatre Royal Covent Garden (Royal Opera House) third theatre was opened, 1858; Giuseppe Garibaldi defeated the Neapolitan army at the Battle of Calatafimi, 1860; the US Department of Agriculture was inaugurated, 1862; General Henri Petain became French commander-in-chief, 1917; the world's first long-distance regular air mail service was begun between Philadelphia and New York, 1918; Germany ceded Upper Silesia to Poland, 1922; the first London production of the musical show Music Box Revue was presented, 1923; the world's first air hostess, Ellen Church, flew in a Boeing 80A from Oakland, California to Cheyenne, Wyoming, 1930; the Gloster-Whittle E28/39 turbojet flew for the first time, 1941; Burma was evacuated by British and Indian troops, 1942; the Vienna Treaty was signed by Britain, France, the US and USSR, restoring Austria as an independent nation, 1955; a British nuclear bomb was exploded at Christmas Island, in the central Pacific, 1957; General Spinola was inaugurated as president of Portugal, 1984; Mme Edith Cresson became the first woman prime minister of France, 1991.

Today is the Feast Day of Saints Bertha and Rupert, St Dymphna, St Gerebernus, St Hallvard, St Hilary of Galeata, St Isaias of Rostov, St Isidore of Chios, St Isidore the Farmer, St Peter of Lampsacus and St Torquatus and his Companions.


Births: Sir Dudley North, financier and economist, 1641; Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, educationist, 1804; David Edward Hughes, inventor of the microphone and teleprinter, 1831; HE Bates, novelist, 1905; Henry Fonda, actor, 1905; Liberace, pianist and entertainer, 1919.

Deaths: Charles Perrault, author and fairy-tale writer, 1703; Button Gwinnett, American revolutionary leader, from wounds during a duel, 1777; Sir Edmund William Gosse, poet and author, 1928; James Agee, author and screenwriter, 1955; Michael Abdul Malik, Black Power leader, hanged for murder in Trinidad, 1975; Irwin Shaw, author, 1984.

On this day: in Holland, the Batavian Republic was established, 1795; the Lombardic Republic was established, 1796; in France, the Senate and Tribune proclaimed Napoleon emperor, 1804; during the Peninsular War, the French were defeated by the Allies at Albuera, 1811; the Kentucky Derby was first run at Louisville, Kentucky, 1875; the world's first electric tram went into public service, Lichterfelde, near Berlin, 1881; some remains of Neanderthal man were found in Jersey, 1911; the Zeppelin Deutschland was wrecked at Dusseldorf, 1911; the White Star liner Majestic, the largest vessel to date, completed her first voyage from Southampton to New York in five and a half days, 1922; the first Academy Awards for films ceremony was held in Hollywood, the best actor and actress being Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor, 1929; the first British air hostess, Daphne Kearley, flew in an Avro 642 from Croydon to Le Bourget, France, 1936; a 'bouncing bomb' invented by Dr Barnes Wallis was dropped on the Mohne and Eder dams in the Ruhr, Germany, 1943; an earthquake in Northern Japan killed 47 and injured 217, 1968; the Soviet spacecraft Venus 5 touched down on Venus, 1969; the Queen become the first British monarch to address the US Congress, 1991.

Tomorrow: is the Feast Day of St Brendan, St Carantoc or Carannog, St Domnolus of Le Mans, St Germerius or Germier, St Honoratus of Amiens, St John Nepomucen, St Peregrinus of Auxerre, St Possidius, St Simon Stock and St Ubaldus of Gubbio.