3rd August 1914 (Monday)

BORN TODAY: in Bellevue , France – a son and third child to the dancer Isadora Duncan, each with different fathers. Her first two children drowned in a freak motor accident in the River Seine in Paris in April 1913. This third child survived only a few hours.




Eastern Front: German troops invade Poland, capturing Kalish, Chenstokhov and Bendzin.

Western Front: Belgium rejects the German ultimatum at 7.00AM. The British government and parliament, previously divided along party lines, finds solidarity in its interests to preserve Belgian neutrality. The British foreign secretary  comments:

“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”

Germany declares war on France as one and a half million German troops move towards Belgium and France. Another half million are moving Eastward…


Sources: “Almanac of World War 1”  – “The Guns of August” – “Hansard” (record of the proceedings of the British Parliament).



Migration: The town of Utica, in Oneida County, New York State enjoys “Old Home Week” when former citizens who have gone out into the world are welcomed back, and everyone’s mutual prosperity is celebrated.


 Globalisation: the Panama Canal is officially opened to commercial traffic. (some sources say August 15th).



20th June 1914 (Saturday)

BORN TODAY: “Blast” magazine – emblematic of the modern art movement in England,and recognised as a seminal text of pre-war 20th-century modernism”. [Wikipedia]. Only two issues (in 1914 and 1915) struggled into a world pre-occupied with weightier matters. A classic case of unlucky timing, perhaps?


Click to access blast_manifesto_05.pdf

Shipping News: In Hamburg, shipbuilders Blohm + Voss launch the largest steamship in the world: the SS Bismarck. The launch ceremony is graced with the presence of  Countess Hanna von Bismarck, grand-daughter of the Iron Chancellor, who struggles to break the customary bottle of champagne but is assisted by the Kaiser, Wilhelm II. [Wikipedia]

In 1920 she (the vessel, not the Countess) will be turned over to the British as compensation for the sinking of HMHS (hospital ship) Britannic, and renamed RMS Majestic.



Trees: New Zealand farmer and diarist George Adkin is planning a new shelter belt for part of his land. He is having trouble sourcing Lawson’s Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsonia) but considering using Bishop Pine (Pinus muricata) instead – both native trees of the West coast of North America.


Walnuts: In California, the Pacific Rural Press reports the huge strides made by the local walnut growing businesses in recent years, including improved marketing, statistical analysis, better distribution networks, improved grading and packing etc.  Calfornia now [1914] provides over 40% of America’s annual demand of 60million pounds weight, in 45 of the 49 mainland states.



20th May 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY:  in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire (England) – John ‘Ted’ Edward Dickinson, left-handed cricketer.


World Affairs: In Athens, the Ottoman Ambassador to Greece proposes to the Greek Premier Venizelos a “population exhange” whereby the muslim communities of Macedonia (including Salonica – now Thessaloniki) will be “swapped” for the Greek communities  in and around Smyrna (now Izmir) on the Anatolian coast.


Global oil: The British government and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) sign an agreement for the British Government to become a majority (51%) shareholder in APOC. The agreement gives the British government the right to appoint two directors on the Board who have the power of veto on any questions relating to British national interests. Also on the same day, a contract is signed between APOC and the British Admiralty by which APOC guarantees the supply of oil to the British Admiralty for 30 years at fixed prices.


Exploration: In St Petersburg (later Petrograd, then Leningrad, now St Petersburg again) Sergei Fedorovich Oldenburg leaves for his second Russian Turkestan expedition, accomapnied by the  artist V. S. Bikenberg, topographer N. A. Smirnov, photographers Dudian and Romberg, seven Kazakh guards, and a Chinese interpreter. The expediton will take 3 months to reach its final destination  –  the ‘caves of a thousand Buddhas’ at Mogao, near Dunhuang.


Society and culture: In a village south of Lyon in France, Monsieur Falour accepts a wager to eat 50 eggs and a pound of bread at a single sitting. Sadly, he drops dead after the 45th egg.

Men, eh?




10th May 1914 (Sunday)


~ in Chicago, Illinois – Carl Hammer, computer promoter who “probably spoke at more professional meetings and delivered more lectures than any member of his generation. He was fellow of the IEEE, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York Academy of Science, and the World Organization of General Systems and Cybernetics. He received distinguished service awards from ACM and the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, the Chester Morrill Memorial Award from Association for Systems Management, and was named the 1973 Man of the Year by the Data Processing Management Association”. [www.computer.org]


~ in the village of Khaira-Chhota in Patiala, in British India – Chaudhary Kumbharam Arya, “freedom fighter, parliamentarian and popular leader of farmers in Rajasthan” and “radical thinker” [Wikipedia]


~ at Dorridge, in Warwickshire, England –   John Basil Goodey, Ph.D, “the leading British authority for the identification and classification of plant and soil nematodes… [who] assisted in a complete course  [on nematology] at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi in 1964 under the aegis of the Rockefeller Foundation”.


World Affairs:

~ in the French “Protectorate” of Morocco, a french foreign legion force under General Baumgarten successfully takes and enters the Berber stronghold of Taza, between the RIf and Middle-Atlas mountain ranges.



~ In German governed Cameroon, Rudolf Douala Manga Bell and Ngoso Din are arrested during a mutiny against German rule and accused of high treason. They will be tried on 7th August, at a time of high tension after European war has been declared, and hanged on August 8th.


Society and Culture: V.I. Lenin publishes “Corrupting the Workers with Refined Nationalism” in Pravda.


26th March, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Saxon, South Carolina – William Childs (“Westy”) Westmoreland, four star general who commanded US military operations in Vietnam from 1964 to 1968.


Shipwrecks: In Brisbane, Australia, the steamship St Paul, carrying chromium ore from New Caledonia which was ultimately bound for Europe, strikes Smith’s Rock and sinks within minutes with a loss of 18 lives, including the Captain’s.


20th February 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Johannesburg, South Africa – John Charles Patrick Croghan Daly, Jr., game-show host.


Society and culture: In Frankfurt, Germany, Rosa Luxemburg stands trial for encouraging public disobedience by making anti-war speeches in which she called on young German men to refuse to take up arms against their French brothers. She is given a one year prison sentence.


Shipping accidents: The Fethard lifeboat is destroyed in a storm off the coast of Ireland with the loss of 9 of its 14 crew while attempting to rescue the crew of the cargo ship “Mexico” with a cargo of South American mahogany.


17th February 1914 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY: in Newcastle, northern England – George Mathwin Forrester – RAF Hurricane Pilot who died during the Battle of Britain in July 1940, aged 26.


Arms Race: In the British Parliament, the First Lord of the Admiralty (Winston Churchill) declines to answer a question from a member about comments in the German Parliament regarding proposals for mutual reductions in naval construction.


World Affairs: Hjalmar Hammarskjöld replaces Karl Albert Staaf as Prime Minister of Sweden.


Aftermath of the Second Balkan War: In Northern Epirus (previously part of the Ottoman Empire, but recently granted to newly formed Albania under the Protocol of Florence), Greek forces lead an armed rebellion to declare the Independence of Norther Epirus from the Albanians.


Society and Culture: The National Opera Company of Canada collapses after just one season amid accusations and scandal.


Science and technology: the New York “American” magazine reports on US senate intentions for formally inquire into the use of babies and infants for vivisection experiments.


Shipwrecks: In Massachusetts, USA – the Italian cargo ship “Castagna”, laden with guano from Uruguay, runs aground on Cape Cod. Five of the thirteen crew perish of cold before lifesavers are able to reach them.

Click to access CAHOONSHOLLOW.pdf

Boxing Day, 26th December 1913 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Petropavlovsk in the Russian Empire (now Petropavl in Kazakhstan) – Vladimir Tretchikoff, the man who brought us the painting “Chinese Girl” (aka “the Green Lady”) one of the best selling art prints of the twentieth century. With his family he fled to China in 1917 before moving to Singapore, and eventually to South Africa, but only after his passenger ship was bombed by the Japanese and he was taken captive by the Japanese for the remainder of the war.


Antipodean romance: George Adkin, New Zealand farmer and diarist waxes lyrical on a wonderful day with his beloved Maud, concluding his diary entry with: “a most enjoyable, successful + never-to-be forgotten day.”  [Museum of New Zealand].


Globalisation:  The Western Mail, in Perth, Western Australia, reports on recent efforts by the Philippines authorities to introduce the plant Carludovica palmata, so that the locals can compete in the global market for Panama Hats.