24th July 1914 (Friday)

BORN  TODAY: in Colonial Beach, Virginia, USA, the son of Lithuanian/ Austrian immigrants, – Edwin “Honest Ed” Mirvish, Canadian businessman, philanthropist and theatre impresario.


Labour Relations: In Saint John, New Brunswick, striking street (trolley) car workers supported by 10,000 sympathisers rampage and riot on the city’s streets.


Arts and Literature: In Cornwall, in England’s West Country, Forence Munnings (nee Carter-Wood) aged 26, the muse and wife of the artist Alfred Munnings, takes her own life by cyanide poisoning.



4th June, 1914 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Salt Lake City, Utah – George Shephard “Shep” Houghton. Hollywood actor from 1927 to 1975 and the oldest surviving cast member of “Gone With the Wind”. Happy Centenary, Sir!



Philanthropy: Scottish-American steel magnate Andrew Carnegie visits Coventry, in central England, where he is granted the Freedom of the City after financing the building of three public libraries in the area (part of the 380 he provides in Britain, and a total of 3000 worldwide).



3rd June 1914 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY: on Menorca, in the Balearic Islands – Ignacio Ponseti: son of a watchmaker; graduate of Barcelona University; medical officer for the Spanish loyalists; refugee from the Spanish Civil War; family doctor in Mexico; orthopedic specialist in Iowa; developer of the Ponseti technique for correcting congenital clubfoot;  and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The Ponseti International Association, the global leader in training and educating healthcare providers on the treatment for congenital clubfoot, is named in his honour.




Society and culture: Cecil Sharp, the English folk song collector, “collects” the sailors sea shanty “Noah’s Ark Shanty” from Captain Hole of Wachet, in Somerset.


Aristocracy: In Paris, Henry Sackville-West, neglected scion of an aristocratic English family, shoots himself minutes after the death of his wife.

In the small hours of the morning of 3 June 1914, a woman and her husband were found dead in a sparsely furnished apartment in Paris. It was only when the identity of the couple was revealed in the English press a fortnight later that the full story emerged. The man, Henry Sackville-West, had shot himself minutes after the death of his wife from cancer; but Henry’s suicidal despair had been driven equally by the failure of his claim to be the legitimate son of Lord Sackville and heir to Knole. The Disinherited reveals the secrets and lies at the heart of an English dynasty, unravelling the parallel lives of Henry’s four illegitimate siblings: in particular his older sister, Victoria, who on becoming Lady Sackville and mistress of Knole, by marriage, consigned her brothers and sisters to lives of poverty and disappointment”

[Bloomsbury publishing – “The Disinherited” by Robert Sackville-West]

“Brilliantly exposes the shadowy side of the Victorian aristocracy and the horrors of life on the wrong side of the blanket . . . A marvellous book – a gripping story, superbly researched and related with grace and humour in elegant, enjoyable prose.”[The Literary Review].



Philanthropy: The Bishop of Chester (UK) performs the dedication ceremony for the new Emmeline Winstanley Home For Boys in Knutsford. The home is a gift from an anonymous donor. Later in this same year it will be converted to house the sons of soldiers and sailors killed during the war.


Journalism and letters: Mildred Aldrich, Bostonian teacher and journalist who, after sixteen years working as a journalist and translator in Paris, has recently moved to Huiry, to a house on a hillside overlooking the Marne Valley, writes the first of her letters which will later be published collectively as “A Hilltop on the Marne”, recording a civilian’s account of life “On the Edge of the War Zone”



6th March 1914 (Friday)

BORN TODAY: in Edinburgh – the Usher Hall, a concert hall for the people of Scotland’s capital city, funded by the generosity of the famous eponymous brewing family. Happy Centenary!



4th December 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: In Vienna, Austria-Hungary – Robert Adler – son of Max Adler, the sociologist,  and inventor of the world’s first TV remote control, and hero of couch potatoes everywhere. Refugee from the nazis he fled to London before emigrating to the US in 1941, where demand for labour saving TV devices was at its highest…


~ Also, in Montreal, Canada – Mark Robson, prolific film director whose output included Peyton Place (1957) and Valley of the Dolls (1967), thereby doing his fair share to boost demand for TV remote control devices.


~ and in Glasgow, Scotland – ISOTOPES.


Women’s suffrage – Courtesy of the UK’s infamous “cat and mouse act”, Mrs Emily Pankhurst finds she is temporarily introduced to the pleasures of Exeter gaol, in the west of England.


Society and Culture:

~ The Daily Mail (UK newspaper) reports on the 200th performance of “The Marriage Market” at Daly’s Theatre in London: ” Miss Gertie Millar as a fascinating Western girl finds an ideal partner in the imperturbable Englishman of Mr. G. P. Huntley… Mr. Harry Dearth as the Captain uses his fine voice to excellent effect in a rollicking sailor song, “Here’s good luck to the ladies.”  


~ The Manchester Guardian (newspaper) reports on a recent aristocratic fund raising event at London’s Albert Hall in aid of East End invalid kitchens: “Lady Randolph Churchill plays Empress Theodora in lavish fundraiser”. (aka – rich girls love to dress up).


~ Meanwhile, in Russia –  V.I. Lenin publishes his paper: “The Poverty of the People’s Teachers”.  “The Russian state spends hundreds of millions of rubles on the maintenance of its civil service, the police, the army, etc., while dooming teachers in the people’s schools to starvation. The bourgeoisie “sympathises” with public education—with the proviso, however, that the teachers live in worse conditions than the servants in the manor-houses and the houses of the rich….”


Extreme Weather – Georgetown, Colorado, records the highest single day’s (recorded) snowfall in US history – 63 inches (1.6 metres).


5th June 1913 (Thursday)

BORN TODAY: in Rijeka on the Kvarner in Austria-Hungary (now Croatia) – Guido Nonveiller, Croatian entomologist. Officer in the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War, captured by Franco’s forces, later a member of the French Resistance movement during WW2. Founder and director of the Federal Institute for Plant Protection in Yugoslavia, then a plant protection officer in Tunisia and,  later still, Cameroon. Prolific author in German, French, English, Spanish, Italian and Serbo-Croat.

Arms Race: at the Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson shipyard in Wallsend, UK – the British Royal Navy launches the destroyer HMS Sarpedon (later Laertes). 

Society and Culture: In London, the Ambassadors Theatre opens for the business of pleasure.

At London’s Albert Hall, a Grand Gala Ball is held as a charity benefit in aid of the The Incorporated Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Help Society. The theme for the evening is the “Procession of Courts”, a lavish costume event where each “court” occupies a separate section of the hall and is hosted by a high society hostess. For example: The “Court of France” is organised by Lady Paget; “Portugal” by the Marchioness of Donegal; “Turkey” by the Countess Fitzwilliam; “Holy Roman Empire” by the Countess of Drogheda; and so on. A romantic evocation of a civilised and harmonious Europe which – if it ever existed – has slipped quietly away somewhere in the late nineteenth century.

In Robeson County, North Carolina, Pembroke Mayor McInnis reports that Town Council have made it clear that the new Railroad Station must have THREE waiting rooms in order to accommodate the three races in Pembroke: “the White, the Negro and the Cherokee Indian”, observing of the Cherokee that “there are some of the Indians who are very nice and good people and there is a large majority of them who are otherwise”. [http://www.learnnc.org/]

Science and technology: The journal “Nature” reports on the recent work of the (US) Eugenics Record Office, including a “series of quarto memoirs, beautifully printed at the expense of Mr. Rockefeller” which includes a study of the “Hill Folk” of New England. Recording that 700 individuals had descended from 2 individuals it comments that “Feeblemindedness, alcoholism and the evils which spring from each or both in combination are terribly prevalent among them, and their distribution within the families is clearly shown in the extensive pedigree charts which embellish the memoir”.

(The Eugenics Record Office in New York State was opened in 1910. Over the years it advocated laws that led to forced sterilisation before it was eventually closed in 1944).

27th April 1913 (Sunday)

BORN TODAY, in Buenos Aires, Argentina – Julio Jorge Nelson (real name – Isaac Rosofsky), poet and broadcaster.

Society and culture: Dr Albert Schweitzer opens for business, treating patients at his new hospital in a remote part of Gabon.

James Armstrong, aged 39, a miner at Bebside colliery in County Durham, UK, dies from injuries sustained earlier in the month when a piece fo stone fell from the roof on to his back.

In Malta, the 24th International Eucharistic Congress comes to an end. It will be the last of its kind.

15th April 1913 (Tuesday)

BORN TODAY – “Scouting” (for Boys) – the magazine of the Boy Scouts of America.

First Balkan War: Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire agree to a cessation of hostilities.

Arms Race: In Portsmouth, UK – HMS Spanker, originally launched in 1889, is recommissioned after being converted to a minesweeper.

Women’s Suffrage: In St Leonards-On-Sea, on England’s South Coast, “Levetleigh’ the country mansion of Arthur Du Cros, local Member of Parliament and outspoken critic of the suffragette movement, is destroyed in an arson attack. The suffragettes leave calling cards, including literature and a postcard.

Shipping Accidents: Today marks the first anniversary (1913) of the loss of 1502 lives when the RMS Titanic sank (in 1912) in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Society and culture: The society “Our Lady’s Nurses for the Poor” is founded in Sydney, Australia, by Eileen O’Connor and Father Edward McGrath. Worthy Centenary!  http://ourladysnurses.org.au/

9th April 1913 (Wednesday)

BORN TODAY (place unknown) – George Christopher Stead, who served as the last Ely Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge, UK, from 1971 to 1980.

Early flight: The Times of London reports that yesterday evening crowds of people gathered in Cardiff, Wales, to watch the lights of an airship or an aeroplane moving at speed out across the Bristol Channel to towards England.

Society and Culture: In Rome, Mother Mary Potter, the founder of the Little Company of Mary Sisters, goes to meet her maker. Accompanying her on that final journey from Rome is Henriette Hertz, a German born philanthropist and art collector, who has also spent her final days in Rome at the Palazzo Zuccari, and has recently (January 1913) seen her “Bibliotheca Hertziana” (gifted by her to the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute) inaugurated.

Also travelling a similar path today, William Whiting Borden, who has renounced the family fortune in Chicago and is training to be a missionary to China. He dies of cerebral meningitis while training in Egypt, aged 25.

At the University of Copenhagen, Axel Olrik’s “temporary” (since 1896) position teaching Scandinavian folklore is converted into an “extraordinary professorship”. After his death in 1917 the professorship lapses and is not revived until the 1960s.