July 31, 2011

July 31: Black Tot Day, 1970

It was the last day that rum was issued as a daily ration to the Royal Navy. It was the end of a long tradition.

Read article here.

Pictured: 18th century engraving of Admiral Vernon, who invented grog when he began watering down the sailors' rum.

July 30, 2011

July 30: Maria Anna Mozart Born, 1751

Maria Anna Mozart was the other child prodigy in the Mozart household. She toured Europe with her father and brother -- until she got too old.

Read article here.

Pictured: Maria Anna Mozart, called Nannerl to her family. Portrait by Pietro Antonio Lorenzoni, c. 1763.

July 29, 2011

July 29: Mary, Queen of Scots Marries Lord Darnley, 1565

On July 29, 1565, Mary, Queen of Scots married her cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. It was said to be a true love match.

Then it got ugly.

Read article here.

Pictured: Mary at 13. She was already Queen of Scots, and was living in France with her husband-to-be, the Dauphin Francis.
Portrait by Francois Clouet, c. 1555

July 28, 2011

July 28: Bonus Army in Washington, D. C.

In 1932, veterans from all over the country came to Washington D.C. They wanted the bonuses they had been promised for their service, and they wanted it sooner, rather than later.

After all, it was the height of the Depression...

Read article here.

Pictured: the burning of the Bonus Army's "Hooverville" in Ancostia Flats. Photo by Signal Corp Photographer, 1932.

July 27, 2011

July 27: Macbeth Defeated by Siward, 1054

Yes, there was a real Macbeth, and on this day in 1054 he was apparently defeated by the Earl of Northumbria.

It wasn't quite the story that Shakespeare told.

Read article here.

Pictured: 19th century engraving of Macbeth.

July 26, 2011

July 26: George Catlin Born, 1796

George Catlin was one of the first artists who depicted the lives and characters of the Native American.

Read about his life and works here.

Left: Catlin's portrait of the Mandan Chief Four Bears, c. 1833.
Below: Portrait of Catlin by William Fisk, 1849.

July 25, 2011

July 25: Death of Joaquin Murrieta, 1853

Joaquin, so the legend goes, became a bandit when his wife was raped and his brother killed, by marauding Americans. What's the real truth about 19th century bandit Joaquin Murrieta?

Read article here.

Pictured: artist's depiction of Joaquin Murrieta, by Thomas Armstrong, about 1848.

July 24, 2011

July 24: The Eastland Disaster, 1915

On July 24, 1915, the S. S. Eastland rolled over in the Chicago harbor, just 20 feet from shore. 844 people died -- all in about five minutes.

Read article here.

Pictured: 1915 photograph of rescue attempts by the Kenosa tugboat and other ships. From the Chicago Daily News, July 24, 1915.

July 23, 2011

July 23: First Typing Machine Patent, 1829

The typographer had the first patent issued in the US for a typing machine. It's creator was William A. Burt, who later revolutionized surveying with his invention of the solar compass.

Read article here.

July 22, 2011

July 22: The Pied Piper Steals 130 Children

It's an old, old legend, and there seems to be some historical basis to it.

Read article here.

Pictured: The Pied Piper. Illustration by Kate Greenaway, 1888

July 21, 2011

July 21: Temple of Artemis Destroyed by Arson, 356 BC

The Temple of Artemis was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. On July 21, 356 BC, an arsonist destroyed it, just so that we would never forget his name.

Read article here.

Pictured: 16th century depiction of the Temple, based on Renaissance architecture. Engraving by Philips Galle, 1572, after painting by Maarten van Heemskerck.

July 20, 2011

July 20: Alleged Moon Landing, 1969

Was it real, or was it faked? There's a lot to be said on both sides of the question.

Read article here.

Pictured: Buzz Aldrin on the moon, NASA photograph. Note reflection of Armstrong (taking photo) and the landing craft in the reflection of his face plate.

July 19, 2011

July 19: Lizzie Borden Born, 1860

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
Gave her father forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her mother forty-one.

There are a few things wrong with the rhyme. It wasn't her mother; it was her stepmother. The Bordens only received a total of 29 whacks, not 81. And Lizzie may not have done it -- the jury certainly didn't think so.

Read article here.

Pictured: 1889 photograph of Lizzie Borden.

July 18, 2011

July 18: Edward I Expels Jews from England, 1290

On July 18, 1290, Edward I issued the Edict of Expulsions, which ordered all the Jews to leave England.

Read why and what happened here.

Pictured: Edward I of England.

July 17, 2011

July 17: Wrong Way Corrigan Takes Off, 1938

Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan took off from New York for California on July 17, 1938. Somehow he ended up in Ireland. There's reason to believe it wasn't an accident.

Read article here.

Pictured: Douglas Corrigan outside his plane, the Sunshine. Picture by U.S. Air Force, public domain.

July 16, 2011

July 16: Anne Askew Burned at the Stake, 1546

She was the only woman ever tortured at the Tower of London. Her adversaries hoped that she would name Queen Catherine Parr as one of her fellow Protestants.

Read article here.

Pictured: The execution of Anne Askew, woodcut.

July 15, 2011

July 15: Thomas Bulfinch Born, 1796

Thomas Bulfinch led a quiet life. His day job was as a bank clerk. But every evening he went home to his boarding house, and created his great work -- still a bestseller after more than 150 years -- Bulfinch's Mythology.

Read article here.

Pictured: Thomas Bulfinch.

July 14, 2011

July 14: Quentin Roosevelt Killed in Action, 1918

Quentin Roosevelt was the youngest son of Theodore Roosevelt, and grew up in the White House. He was killed in action during World War I.

Read article here.

Pictured: The Roosevelt family. Left to right: Quentin, Theodore Roosevelt Sr., Theodore Jr., Archie, Alice, Kermit, Mrs. Edith Roosevelt, and Ethel.

July 13, 2011

July 13: The New York Draft Riots, 1863

The New York Draft Riots took place over four days in 1863. They started out as a protest against the draft, but soon turned into a bloody pogrom.

Read article here.

Pictured: Depiction of the riots from the August 1, 1863 edition of Harper's Bazaar.

July 12, 2011

July 8: Etienne de Silhouette Born, 1709

Etienne de Silhouette was the Controller-General of France for a brief while. He was so famous for his miserliness that a whole new (cheap) form of portraiture was named after him.

Read article here.

Pictured: Silhouette of Jane Austen, from the second edition of Mansfield Park. The work is believed to be the work of Mrs. Collins.

July 12: The Bisbee Deportation, 1917

On this day in 1917, nearly 1300 striking miners were forced from their home and abandoned in Hermanas, New Mexico. Were the men enforcing this lawless vigilantes, or public-minded citizens?

Read article here.

Pictured: Strikers on the long march to the cattle car. From the Arizona Historical Society.

July 11, 2011

July 11: Thomas Bowdler Born, 1754

Thomas Bowdler was known for his Family Shakespeare -- Shakespeare with all the naughty bits taken out. As it turned out, most of the work was done by his sister.

Read article here.

Bowdler was also a very good chess player. He even beat the best player of his time once or twice -- Francois-Andre Danican Philidor. Of course, Philidor may have been blindfolded.

Pictured: Philidor at one of his famous chess matches.

July 10, 2011

July 10: Lady Jane Grey Becomes Queen of England

Lady Jane Grey was Queen of England, but for only nine days. The 16-year-old girl got caught up the schemes of her elders and suffered the consequences of their folly.

Read article here.

Pictured: The Execution of Lady Jane Grey. Painting by Paul Delaroche, 1833.

July 9, 2011

July 9: Henry VIII Divorces Anne of Cleves, 1540

Henry called her "the Mare from Flanders" and wouldn't consummate their marriage. Nevertheless, she got a nice settlement when she agreed to the annulment. Read article here.

Pictured: Hans Holbein the Younger's betrothal portrait of Anne, 1539.

July 8, 2011

July 9: Etienne de Silhouette Born, 1709

Etienne de Silhouette was a man so insignificant and cheap, that he earned lasting fame. Learn why here.

Pictured: Self portrait by Joseph Martin Klaus, silhouette artist, about 1776.

July 6, 2011

July 7: Anton Karas Born, 1906

Anton Karas was the man behind the music in the iconic 1949 film, The Third Man. 

Read article here.

Photograph of zither by Ludwig Gruber, and released into the public domain by him on Wikimedia Commons.

July 6: The Sedan Nuclear Test

On July 6, 1962, we conducted a test nuclear explosion at Yucca Flat, Nevada.

Read article here.

Pictured: The Sedan Nuclear test. Photograph by the U.S. Department of Energy.

July 5, 2011

July 5: Birth of Dolly the Sheep, 1996

Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult somatic cell. Her life was very short -- only six years, about half the expected lifespan of a sheep of her breed.

Read article here.

Photograph: Dolly as she appears today, stuffed and mounted at the Museum of Scotland.
Photograph by Tony Barros, posted on Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.0 Generic License.

July 4, 2011

July 4: Lewis Carroll Tells Alice a Story, 1862

On July 4th, 1862, two young men and three little girls went for a picnic. On the way, one of the men, Charles Dodgson, told them a story about a little girl who was bored and looking for adventure.

The story has been read and loved by millions of children ever since. Charles Dodgson, of course, is the real name of author Lewis Carroll. The book was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. 

Read article here.

Pictured: the Liddell girls, left to right: Edith, Lorina, and Alice. Photograph by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), 1859.

July 3, 2011

July 3: Dog Days of Summer

The Romans called them the Dog Days because they were the days when the Dog Star ruled the sky. And, they could be days of bad fortune.

Read article here.

Pictured: Artist's rendition of Sirius A & B, the Dog Star. By G. Bacon, NASA

July 2, 2011

July 2: James A. Garfield Shot by Charles Guiteau, 1881

On this day in history, Charles Guiteau shot President James A. Garfield.

Guiteau claimed that he hadn't murdered the President. The doctors did that.

Read article here.

Pictured: Illustration of Garfield's shooting from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, July 16, 1881

July 1, 2011

July 1: Grover Cleveland's Secret Surgery

On July 1, 1893, Grover Cleveland had a secret operation. He feared calamity if the public knew he was ill. Read article here.

Pictured: 1899 oil portrait of Grover Cleveland by Anders Zorn.