March 8, 2015

It Happened on March 8th

Caxton showing his printing device to King Edward IV and his family.

William Caxton Translates The Mirror of the World, 1481
William Caxton is known for setting up the first printing press to England. He was also the first English retailer of printed books (his competition in London were all Dutch, French, or German) and he did many of his own translations. 

The Mirror of the World was one such work, translated by Caxton from the French. It was an encyclopedic work, and may have been the first English book to contain illustrations. (Caxton's Cato was published about the same time and contains many of the same illustrations. No one knows which book was printed first.) The Mirror deals with creation, the seven liberal arts (grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy, and music), geography, the natural world, and an explanation of heaven and the celestial paradise. 

Anne Bonny

Anne Bonny's Birthday, 1782
Anne Bonny was one of the world's most famous female pirates. She was born the daughter of an Irish attorney and his maidservant. Her father, reluctant to hurt his business practice by acknowledging an illegitimate child, dressed her as a boy, and claimed she was the son of a relative. When his wife discovered the charade and cut off his funds, he took Anne and her mother and immigrated to the Carolinas. 

Anne married a small-time pirate named Jack Bonny and moved to New Providence Island in the Bahamas, a noted pirate hang-out. There she made the acquaintance of Calico Jack Rackham, a notorious pirate. She became his mistress, and later sailed with him, becoming a formidable pirate in her own right. Eventually she was captured and sentenced to be hanged, but she "plead her belly" (asked for a temporary reprieve because she was pregnant) and received a stay of execution. No one knows what happened to Anne ultimately: there is no record of either her execution, or her release.

Micky Dolenz's Birthday, 1945
Micky Dolenz was one of the four Monkees, a pop group assembled for television in the 1960's. It featured the music and antics of a pop group, and had been inspired by the success of the Beatle's movie A Hard Day's Night. 

None of the Monkees had worked together as a group before, and some of them were not actually musicians. Micky Dolenz, who sang and played percussion for the group, had to take drumming lessons before he was even able to mime convincingly. 

The television show was a success, and the Monkees produced several hits that are still recognized today: I'm a Believer, Last Train to Clarksville, Daydream Believer, and Pleasant Valley Sunday.
Death of Hachiko, 1935
You may have seen the 2009 movie, Hachi: A Dog's Tale, starring Richard Gere. The movie is a remake of a 1987 Japanese film called Hachiko Monogatari. The real Hachiko was an Akita dog who had been adopted by a professor at the University of Toyoko. The dog met his master at the train station every day when the professor returned home. When the professor died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage, the dog continued to go to the train station to meet him -- for nine years after his death. 

Haichiko died of cancer in 1935, and his stuffed and mounted remains are now on exhibit in the National Museum of Japan. A bronze statue of the dog now keeps watch at Shibuya Train Station.

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