Holy Days of Obfuscation
A select semi-secular calendar, compiled by Gregory J. Rosmaita

Neglected and forgotten events and birthdays.
Food for thought, not just worms.

Choose a Month
January | February | March | April |
May | June | July | August |
September | October | November | December
list of accesskeys for this document


January

January 3

1926:
William Loughborough, inventor, activist, actor, director, musician, all-around visionary, and one of the few people who actually lives up to his mononymic -- "Love" -- born.

January 4

1748:
under the leadership of Sam Adams, the first issue of the Independent Advertiser is published in Boston, proclaiming: Liberty can never subsist without equality. So, when men's riches become immeasurably or surprisingly great, a People who regard their own security ought to make strict inquiry how they came by them.
1809:
Louis Braille, musician and inventor of the tactile reading system for the blind that bears his name, born in Coupvray, France

January 6

1706:
Benjamin Franklin born whilst the British and their colonies were still ticking it old style

January 7

1610:
Galileo Galilei makes his first observation of the four Galilean moons: Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa.
1891:
Zora Neale Hurston, author, anthropologist and ethnographer extrodinaire, born in Notasulga, Alabama.

January 10

1924:
percussionist, drummer, composer arranger, human-rights activist and educator Max Roach -- born in the Township of Newland, Pasquotank County, North Carolina, which borders the southern edge of the Great Dismal Swamp, although he mainly grew up in Brooklyn

January 13

1976
first public demonstration of the first reading machine capable of translating print into spoken words by inventor Ray Kurzwiel

January 14

1896
John Dos Passos -- chronicler, poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, graphical artist and author of the imcomparable U.S.A. trilogy -- born in Chicago. If you've never read anything by Dos Passos, check out the Project Gutenberg's Dos Passos titles -- everything the man wrote is worthy of a reading; you may violently disagree with him from work to work, but he has one of the most distinctive authorial voices in american literature.

January 17

1706:
Benjamin Franklin's after-the-factual birthday

January 19

1809:
Author, essayist, critic and poet Edgar Allan Poe born

January 30

1911:
Little Jazz, a.k.a. Roy Eldridge born

February

February 2 (Candlemas)

1970:
Phil Schaap, jazzologist extraordinaire, broadcasts his first show on WKCR (FM), New York City

February 4

1746:
artist; composer; trans-atlantic freedom fighter; military engineer extrodinaire; active abolitionist; national hero of Poland, Lithuania, Belarus, and the U.S.; and namesake of the highest mountain in Australia, Tadeusz Kościuszko (a.k.a. Andrzej Tadeusz Bonawentura Kościuszko, by virtue of a double-baptism) born in the no-longer-extant town of Mereczowszczyzna (near the modern town of Kosava, Belarus), then part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

February 5

1852:
The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia -- one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, opens to the public.
1924:
The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the "BBC pips".
1994:
Byron De La Beckwith is convicted of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers... 2 previous trials of Beckwith -- both held in 1964 -- had resulted in hung juries

February 8

1899:
Alonzo "Lonnie" Johnson -- father of the single-string guitar solo and one of the greatest guitarists of any genre -- born in New Orleans, Louisiana.

February 18

1930:
Pluto (the planet, not the dog) discovered by Clyde Tombaugh, as he studied photographs taken in January; after confirmation, news of the discovery was telegraphed to the Harvard College Observatory on March 13, 1930.

February 21

1828
The first edition of The Cherokee Phoenix published.

February 23

1685:
George Friedrich Händel, born in Halle, Germany
1848
John Quincy Adams dies shortly after being carried from the floor of the House of Representatives after suffering a fatal stroke. JQA is the only ex-President who ever served in the House. (Pre-presidency, JQA also served in the U.S. Senate and had been offered a seat on the Supreme Court)

February 28

1749:
the first edition of Henry Fielding's incomparable The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling is published.

March

March 3

1924:
Although its origins -- or, at least, its melody -- date back to 1893, Happy Birthday To You was first published on this date as Happy Birthday to You, with its nearly-universally familiar lyrics, in 1924 by Clayton F. Summy. The copyright on the song is currently owned by Time-Warner (which bought the rights in 1988) and which will not expire (at least in the U.S.) until 2030, which means that "unauthorized public performances for pay" of Happy Birthday to You, such as those performed by a band at a party, are technically illegal, unless royalties are paid to the copyright holder, so the next time you sing Happy Birthday to You, keep an eye over your shoulder for Time-Warner's lawyers...

March 5

1862:
Peter Newell, author of Topsy-Turveys, the Rocket Book and the Slant Book, amongst other classics, as well as illustrator for his own and others' works, born in McDonough County, Illinois.

March 13

1733
Joseph Priestley, a man who wasted not a minute of his life, born in Birstal, West Yorkshire

March 16

Happy St. Harry's Day!
Yeah, St. Harry's... Harold was Patrick's younger brother -- sort of a medieval Indiana Jones (substitute tonsure for fedora) in that he was deathly afraid of snakes. Having heard tell of the plague of snakes which infested Ireland, he told Patrick he'd catch up with him, set out in a seperate barque, took a wrong turn, and consequently fell off the face of the earth. He's the patron saint of liars, people with two left feet, and still holds the world's freefall record... He's also the soggiest saint in Christendom.

March 17

1776:
"Evacuation Day (Boston)": the British, under General William Howe, evacuate Boston -- the real reason why March 17 has been a public municipal holiday in Boston for over 230 years...
2008:
David Paterson becomes the first blind governor of any of the United States upon his ascension to the governorship of New York upon the resignation of Elliott Spitzer.

March 18

1837:
Grover Cleveland -- "the man so nice, they elected him twice", but to non-consecutive terms -- born in Caldwell, New Jersey. actually, if presidents were elected by direct popular vote, ol' Grover would have been the first three term president in the history of the United States, for he won the popular vote in every presidential election he contested: United States Presidential Election of 1884, United States Presidential Election of 1888, and United States Presidential Election of 1892...
1881:
Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth opens for the first time at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

March 19

1895:
Auguste and Louis Lumière record their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph.
1979:
The United States House of Representatives begins broadcasting its day-to-day business via the cable television network C-SPAN.

March 20

1727:
Sir Isaac Newton, dies in London at the age of 84.

March 25

1857:
Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, patents the phonautograph, the earliest known device for recording sound.

March 26

1911:
Animator, caricaturist and director T. Hee born and named "Thornton Hee".

March 29

1909:
Pianist, composer, and singer Aubrey Wilson Mullican, better known as Moon Mullican, born in Polk County, Texas.
1943:
Eric Idle, author, songwriter, actor, vocalist and comedian, born in South Shields, County Durham, England.
1945
Walt "Clyde" Frazier one of the greatest basketballers ever, born in Atlanta, Georgia.

April

April 1

1897:
Lucille Bogan, the raunchiest of the first wave of recorded blues singers, and creator of the immortal Shave 'Em Dry (best heard in its unexpurgated, originally unreleased alternate version), the Sloppy Drunk Blues and the Coffee Grindin' Blues born.

April 4

1915:
Muddy Waters, neé McKinley Morganfield, born in the Delta

April 5

1820:
the incomparable Nadar, born Félix Tournachon.

April 6

1792:
George Washington casts the first Presidential veto in the history of the United States.
1887:
Anne Sullivan teaches Helen Keller the word "water"
1966:
Timothy Leary, in a speech at New York City's Town Hall, compares LSD to a microscope, stating that: the drug is to psychology what the microscope is to biology.

April 7

1827:
John Walker sells the first friction match, which he had invented the year before, thereby starting a strange chain of events which, through a linguistic freak, became associated with a "radical" American political movement, the Locofocos, their name being a corruption of loco focos, in 1835, when the Equal Rights Party merged with the Working Man's Party. The party was so named because its members carried friction matches on their persons to relight the gaslights when more conservative members of the public and/or their hirelings extinguished the gas so as to prevent their members from gathering and speaking in public and/or private places.
1915:
Billie Holiday, born Eleanora Fagan, in Philadelphia.
1933:
Declaring, Americans deserve a drink, FDR signs an executive order allowing the legal sale of beer in the United States, eight months before the ratification of the Twenty-First Amendment, repealing Prohabition

April 14

1866:
Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher, born in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts

April 15

1755
Doctor Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language published.

April 16

1862:
President Abraham Lincoln issues the Compensated Emancipation Act, freeing 3,100 enslaved residents of Washington, DC, nine months before the promulgation of the far more famous Emancipation Proclamation. The date was celebrated by Washington's African-American population from 1866 through 1901. In 2005, the municipality of the District of Columbia re-established Emancipation Day, as a public municipal holiday.

April 19

1943
Bicycle Day: using himself as a guinea pig, Albert Hoffman (who lived to the hearty age of 102), ingested 250 micrograms of LSD, and then road his bicycle home through the streets of Basel, Switzerland, on the first intentional acid trip.

April 22

1707:
Henry Fielding, the father of the modern English narrative novel, and still one of the greatest authors ever to write in the English language, born in Sharpham, in Somerset, England
1915:
Charles Mingus born in Nogales, Arizona.

April 29

1899:
Edward Kennedy Ellington, better known as "the Duke", born in the segregated southern American town of Washington, DC.
1917:
dancer, choreographer, poet and poineering filmaker, author, ethnographer and ethnomusicologist Maya Deren born Eleanora Derenkowsky in Kiev.

April 30

1896:
The great guitarist, bluesman, preacher, and performer, the Rev. Gary Davis born, in Laurens, South Carolina.

May

May 8

1910:
Mary Lou Williams, one of America's -- let alone jazz's -- greatest pianists, composers, and arrangers, born Mary Elfrieda Scruggs in Atlanta, Georgia

May 18

1911:
Big Joe Turner born in Kansas City, Missouri

May 21

1904:
Thomas "Fats" Waller begins his all-too-brief life

May 22

1914:
Sun Ra arrives on Planet Earth (Birmingham, Alabama, to be specific) from Saturn and (temporarily) adopts the nomme de terre Herman "Sonny" Blount

May 25

Happy Venerable Bede's Day! (Anglican observance)
aside from writing the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, "better" known as The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Bede (ca. 672 to 735), also known as the "Venerable Bede" and "The English Doctor of the Church", is credited with the invention of the footnote. He also re-edited the Vulgate Bible, through both comparative research and the collation of several dispirate sources, in order to create a single volume bible; a practice which was highly unusual at the time. Whereas before Bede, the bible had been circulated as separate books, Bede's version of the Vulgate served as the official version of the bible for the whole of Western Christendom until the Reformation, and remained the Catholic church's cannonical bible until 1966.

May 26

1926:
Miles Davis born.

May 27

Happy Venerable Bede's Day! (Catholic observance)
Whilst the Anglican church celebrates the feast of Saint Bede, a.k.a. "The Venerable Bede", two days earlier, the Catholic church celebrates Venerable Bede's Day today, May 27th, basing its calculations on historical accounts that record the date of Bede's death as the eve of the Feast of the Ascension, 735, a moveable feast which falls 39 days after Easter Sunday.

May 28

1898:
Andy Kirk, one of swing's biggest clouds of joy, born.

June

June 1

1495:
The first written record of "Scotch whiskey" appears in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland. Friar John Cor is listed as distiller.
1869:
The voting machine patented by Thomas Alva Edison.
1968:
Helen Keller dies at the age of 87.

June 7

1949
The first edition of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is published.

June 9

1934:
Donald Duck makes his debut in the cartoon The Wise Little Hen, loudly protesting: I have a belly-ache!

June 10

1772:
Eight boatloads of Rhode Islanders take advantage of the grounding of H.M.S. Gaspée -- a British ship of the line which had been patroling the New England coast attempting to interdict violators of the Navigation Acts -- to plunder and burn the ship. No individual or group of individuals were ever charged with what the British considered an act of piracy.

June 12

1664:
The colonies of Nieuw-Amsterdam and Nieuw-Nederland surrender to the British, effectively ending Dutch settlement in North America, save for a brief return to Dutch rule for approximately a year, during the Third Anglo-Dutch war (1672-1674). The settlements on the eastern side of the Hudson River were rechristened New York, whilst the western settlements (which not only flanked the Hudson, but which included settlements on the Delaware River, populated mostly by Finns and Swedes, was renamed New Jersey.

June 15

1775
the colony of Delaware votes to separate all ties with the British Parliament and King. It is no coincidence that the vote was conducted on the anniversary of John Lackland's signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.

June 19

Juneteenth
Juneteenth commemorates the date in 1865, upon which Union troops, under the command of Gordon Granger, landed on Galveston Island, Texas, to take possession of the state from the Confederates. In one of his first formal acts, Granger announced that the Emancipation Proclamation promised not only the freedom of all of those held in slavery in Texas, but to assert an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves. Since 1980, Juneteenth has been celebrated as a state holiday in Texas.

July

July 4

1883
Rube Goldberg, inventor of the Rube Goldberg Machine and winner of the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning, born Reuben Garret Lucius Goldberg, in California.
1900:
Louis Armstrong's birthday (observed)

July 8

1908:
Louis Jordan -- human being extrodinaire -- born in Brinkley, Arkansas

July 9

1865
the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is adopted

July 11

1938:
The Count Basie Orchestra opens at The Famous Door, launching the "old testament" band's national career, thanks to both the Decca recordings they had made during the previous two years under the direction of producer and impressario John Hammond, as well as the national radio broadcasts that originated from The Famous Door.

July 20

1925:
Frantz Fanon, essayist, psychoanalyst, and revolutionary, born in Martinique

July 28

1902:
Karl Popper, father of critical rationalism and co-conceptor of falsifiability, born in Vienna

August

August 2

1776
the Declaration of Independence (at least, the parchment version of the Declaration preserved at the National Archives) is actually signed.

August 4

1901:
Louis Armstrong's after-the-factual birthday

August 5

1735:
New York Weekly publisher John Peter Zenger acquited of sedition and libel charges filed by colonial New York's governor William Cosby, in the case of The Crown v. Zenger. Zenger's attorney, the Philadelphian Andrew Hamilton -- who represented Zenger pro bono -- successfully defended Zenger by arguing that Zenger's articles were not libelous because they were based on fact. This landmark decision is almost universally credited as the foundation of the United States' principle of the "freedom of the press" and for outlining the responsibilities of both media and government in a functioning democracy.
1914:
anniversary of the instalation of the first stop light in Cleveland, Ohio

August 7

1936
Rahsaan Roland Kirk, multi-instrumentalist (in the fullest sense of the word) and one of the greatest reedmen ever, born in Columbus, Ohio.

August 9 - International Day of the World's Indigenous People

1854
Henry David Thoreau's Walden published.
1930:
voiced by Margie Hines, Betty Boop makes her screen debut as a supporting character in the cartoon Dizzy Dishes. In her debut, Betty is unmistakably the character which the world would come to love, save for her ears, which clearly reveal she began life as an anthropomorphic dog.

August 10

1920
Mamie Smith and Her Jazz Hounds record Crazy Blues; within a month of its release, on OKeh records the 78 RPM record sold 75,000 copies, and is widely acknowledged as the "very" first "blues ever commercially issued. (listen to Crazy Blues via YouTube)

August 13

1899
Alfred Hitchcock born

August 19

1906:
Eddie Durham, guitarist, trombonist, composer, arranger, and inventor born. The first musician to perform on an electrically amplified guitar, Durham was also largely responsible for the "riff-based" sound that the Basie band brought to New York in 1936. Although no one seems to remember his name, his legacy lives on whenever a guitar is plugged into an amp, or whenever Glenn Miller's smash hit, In the Mood, which Durham arranged, is played.

August 21

1904:
William "Bill" Basie, also known as "the Count", born in Red Bank, New Jersey

August 24

1905
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup born in Forest, Mississippi

August 26

1898:
William Samuel McTier, a.k.a. Blind Willie McTell, Blind Willie, Blind Sammie and Georgia Bill -- born in Thomson, Georgia
1919:
The Nineteenth Amendment passed.

August 27

1890:
Man Ray, born in Philadelphia to Russian immigrant parents, who name him Emmanuel Radnitsky.
1909:
Lester Young, the "President of the Tenor Saxophone", born in Woodville, Mississippi.

August 29

1898
Preston Sturges, one of the greatest screenwriters, directors, and producers of any era, genre and nationality, born in Chicago as Edmund Preston Biden.
1913
Tarzan makes his first appearance in print
1920:
Charlie "Bird" Parker enters this vale of tears. (Kansas City, Kansas, to be exact...)

September

September 8

1886:
Poet, author, sportsman, decorated war hero, and anti-war crusader, Seigfried Sassoon born,

September 10

1908:
Composer, pianist, engineer, and electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott, Harry Warnow, born in Brooklyn

September 13 (Roald Dahl Day)

1916:
Roald Dahl born

September 20

1976:
New Rose recorded by Dave Vanian, Brian James, Captain Sensible, and Rat Scabies -- performing as The Damned -- at Pathway Studios, London; the song was subsequently released as a 7-inch single on Stiff Records on October 22, 1976.
2011:
the proscription against openly homosexual individuals serving in the u.s. military is lifted, thereby expanding the pool of americans with an unalienable equal right to get killed for their country...

September 23

1926:
John Coltrane, visionary and saint of the African Orthodox Church, born in Hamlet, North Carolina

September 24

1923:
Theodore "Fats" Navarro, trumpeter extrodinaire, began his all-too-short life in Key West, Florida, from which he escaped as soon as he could; "I don't like Key West at all," he later stated, "I'll never go back."

September 27

1924:
Earl "Bud" Powell, pianist and composer extrodinaire, born

October

October 1

1932:
Albert Collins, A.K.A. "The Iceman" and "The Master of the Telecaster", born in Leona, Texas

October 10

1917:
Thelonius Sphere Monk born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina
1941:
WKCR, the radio voice of Columbia University becomes the first station in the world to broadcast on the FM band

October 20

1882
Margaret Dumont -- the comic foil to Groucho Marx in seven of the Marx Brothers films -- born in Brooklyn, New York... Groucho called Dumont (born Daisy Juliette Baker) practically the fifth Marx brother.
1906:
Crockett Johnson, author of (amongst other classics of English literature) Harold and the Purple Crayon and creator of Barnaby and Mr. O'Malley, born -- and named David Johnson Leisk -- on East 58th Street, in New York City.

October 21

1912:
Don Byas, one of the greatest artists to ever pick up a tenor sax, and a key (if largely unsung) figure in the birth of bop, born in Muskogee, Oklahoma

October 31

1587:
Leiden University's Library opens

November

November 2

1979:
the Damned smash it up second time around with the release of the perfect album Machine Gun Etiquitte

November 5

1855:
Eugene V. Debs -- five-time presidential candidate (in 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920) of the Socialist Party of America. Debs' 1912 campaign was his and the Socialist Party of America's most successful; Debs received 6 percent of the popular vote for president. In 1920, Debs ran for president whilst imprisoned in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, on the charge of sedition for a speech denouncing American participation in World War I; that he was still imprisoned 2 years after the war ended, was due in no small part to the Supreme Court's ruling against him, in which Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., famously wrote that free speech does not include: the right to shout 'fire' in a crowded theater. Debs was finally released from prison on December 25, 1921, when President Warren G. Harding commuted Debs' sentence to time served, thereby releasing Debs from his imprisonment. As a fellow socialist once stated of Debs, That old man with the burning eyes actually believes that there can be such a thing as the brotherhood of man. And that's not the funniest part of it. As long as he's around I believe it myself.
1917:
In the case of Buchanan versus Warley (245 U.S. 60), the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declares a local ordinance compelling racial segregation of residential housing in Louisville, Kentucky unconstitutional in respect to the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and therefore a violation of individuals' civil rights.

November 10

1690:
William Hogarth, born

November 16 - (International Day for Tolerance)

1776:
Commander Johannes de Graaff, governor of the Dutch island of Sint Eustatius orders a return cannonade upon receiving a salute from a visiting American brig, the Andrew Doria -- the first international acknowledgment of the independence of the United States. The British took offence -- not only to the recognition accorded a ship flying the flag of the Thirteen Colonies, but to the continued openess of Sint Eustatius to American ships (such as the Andrew Doria) seeking desperately needed arms, ammunition and other war material in defiance of both the British navy's blockade of the Thirteen Colonies and the Dutch nation's professed neutrality in that conflict at the time of the exchange of salutes. When, in 1781, the British declared war on the Dutch Republic the incident was specifically cited in the declaration of war. The resultant Fourth Anglo-Dutch War led to British occupation of the island nicknamed The Golden Rock. The Dutch regained control of Sint Eustatius in 1784.
1931:
Hubert Sumlin -- one of the most influential and extraordinary electric guitarists of any era or genre -- born in Greenwood, Mississippi.
1938
LSD is first synthesized by Albert Hofmann at a laboratory in Basel, Switzerland. LSD would not be ingested by a human until five years later, when Doctor Hofmann used himself as a guinea pig on what has become known as Bicycle Day.

November 17

1916
historian, essayist, novelist and raconteur Shelby Foote born in Greenville, Mississippi
1983
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejèrcito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional) is founded in Chiapas
1969
negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki to begin the first round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks aimed at negotiating a limit on the number of strategic weapons each country could build and maintain. SALT I led to the signing of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and an interim agreement between the two powers to freeze development and deployment of strategic ballistic missile launchers at existing levels.

November 22

1744:
Abigail Adams (neé Smith), patriot, born in Weymouth, Massachusetts

November 23

1936:
on a (presumably stormy) monday, at his first recording session, held at the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio, Texas for the Vocalion label , Robert Johnson records Come On in My Kitchen.

November 24

1859:
Darwin's On the Origin of Species first published.

November 25

1783:
Evacuation Day (New York City): after 7 years of uninterrupted occupation, British military forces, under the command of Sir Guy Carleton, evacuate New York City along with more than 29,000 loyalists. Once a patriotic holiday in NYC -- second only to the Fourth of July -- celebration of "Evacuation Day" was a casualty of the politico-cultural pressure exuded during the initial bonding of the "special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K.", once public opinion had turned virulently anti-German in response to Imperial Germany's policy of unrestricted submarine warfare during WWI

November 28 (Ka Lā Hui: Hawai'ian Independence Day)

1757:
poet, artist, visionary, nudist William Blake born at 28 Broad Street (now Broadwick Street) in the Soho district of London.
1814:
the age of the availability of newspapers to a mass audience begins with the first printing of The Times (of London) on automatic, steam powered presses.
1843:
The Kingdom of Hawai'i is officially recognized as an independent nation by the United Kingdom and France.

November 29

1915:
Billy Strayhorn born in Dayton, Ohio.

November 30

1774:
a letter of recommendation from Benjamin Franklin in his pocket, Thomas Paine arrives in Philadelphia

December

December 1

1083:
Anna Comnena, scholar and Byzantine princess, is born in the Porphyra Chamber of the imperial palace of Constantinople. After her husband’s death, Anna Comnena retired to a convent; it was there that she wrote the Alexiad, an account of the reign of her father, Emperor Alexios I Komnenos of Byzantium -- a unique historical document written from the point-of-view of the daughter of an emperor. It is also the only known surviving Byzantine account of the First Crusade compiled from eyewitness accounts.
1955:
In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress and local civil rights activist Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man, thereby triggering her arrest for violating the city's racial segregation laws, precipitating the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

December 3 - International Day of Persons With Disabilities

1854:
in what is acclaimed by many to be the birth of Australian democracy, more than 20 gold miners barricaded in the Eureka Stockade in Ballarat, Victoria, are killed by state troopers; part of the Eureka Rebellion, an uprising of miners of European descent protesting the expense of the requisite Miner's Licence, which the miners considered "taxation without representation", as well as the actions of the government and its agents -- in particular, the police and military -- during Australia's Victorian gold rush.
1857:
Joseph Conrad -- one of the indisputable masters of the English language, even though he did not learn the language until he was in his twenties -- is born to ethnically Polish parents in Berdichev (part of the Kiev Governorate of the Russian Empire) and is named Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski.
1997:
representatives from 121 countries sign the Ottawa Treaty, prohibiting the manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel landmines. The United States, the People's Republic of China, and the Russian Federation, however, do not sign the treaty.

December 5

1933:
The Twenty-First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which repeals the Eighteenth Amendment, which prohibited the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors", ratified, thereby ending Prohibition.

December 6

1965:
the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, abolishing slavery and prohibiting involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime, becomes law.

December 7

1904:
Clarence "Ducky" Nash, voice artist extrodinaire -- best known for his thirty years of voicing Donald Duck -- born in Watonga, Oklahoma, whose main street today bears his name.

December 8

1861:
Georges Méliès, magician and film pioneer, born in Paris, France. In 1913 Méliès' film company was forced into bankruptcy, and although his company was bought by Pathé Frères, over 500 of his films on celluloid stock were seized by the French army to be melted down into boot heels during World War I.

December 9

1793:
Noah Webster begins publication of New York City's first daily newspaper, The American Minerva.

December 10

1815:
the enchantress of numbers and the namesake of the U.S. Department of Defense's high-level object-oriented programming language, Ada Lovelace, born in London to Anne Isabella Milbanke and Lord Byron.

December 11

1906
Jack Purvis, trumpeter, tombonist, arranger, composer, ship's cook, arms smuggler, impostor, convicted robber and prison-band leader, born in Kokomo, Indiana.

December 14

1782
The Montgolfier brothers' first balloon lifts off on its first test flight.
1964:
in Heart of Atlanta Motel versus United States (379 U.S. 241), the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Congress can use the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause as a tool to fight discrimination.

December 17

1973:
The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental diseases.
1989:
the first episode of the television series The Simpsons -- Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire -- airs in the United States.

December 21

1979:
The Lancaster House Agreement is signed, effectively ending the era of white minority rule in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), under Ian Smith, who had seperated the British colony of Southern Rhodesia from the British Empire in 1965 in order to preserve white rule.

December 25

1907:
Cabell Calloway III, better known as Cab Calloway, born in Rochester, New York

List of ACCESSKEYs Defined for This Document

An accesskey has been defined for each month in the year. In an attempt at mnemonics, i have assigned numeric accesskeys to the first nine months of the calendar (1 equals January through 9 equals September), then used the first letter of the remaining months as the accesskeys for October through December.


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created April 2, 1999
last updated June 15, 2012