Flashcards in Famous People Deck (115):
Aaron, Hank (Henry)
b. Mobile, AL, 1934
Baseball Player (Outfielder).
Hit 755 home runs in a 23-year (1954-76) career with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. Ranks second on the all-time list for career HR and first for RBI (2,297). Won three gold gloves, played in 24 All-Star games and named NL MVP in 1957.
Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem (Lew Alcindor)
b. New York, NY, 1947
Basketball Player (Center)
Combined height, skill and athletic ability to become one of the top "big men" in basketball. Led UCLA to three straight NCAA titles, earning All-American honors three times and College Player of the Year twice. With the Milwaukee Bucks and L.A. Lakers, he scored the most points in league history (38,387) and was named MVP a record six times and winning six NBA Championships.
b. Le Pallet, France, 1079
Philosopher and Theologian
Born into wealth, gave up his aristocratic life to devote himself to philosophy. Distinguished with is work on the concept of universals. Later, fell in love with and married his student, Heloise. Incurring the anger of her Uncle, she entered a convent and he entered the monastic life where he developed the use of dialectical analysis in philosophical argument.
b. Middletown, CT, 1893
American diplomat and lawyer.
Secretary of State (1949-1953) under Truman, he helped shape the postwar policy of containment of Soviet expansionism, including the Marshall Plan for rebuilding Europe and NATO to oppose the Soviets militarily. Critics faulted him for failures in Asia, including Communist victory in China in 1949 and the invasion of South Korea in 1950.
b. San Francisco, CA, 1902
Best known for his technical expertise and innovations and for documenting and preserving the landscape of the American West. He helped found the famous photography group f/64, was granted three Guggenheim Fellowships to photograph national parks and monuments and worked with the Sierra Club. He developed the zone system of metering and exposure.
Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1942); Mount Williamson (1945); and countless images of Yosemite.
b. Boston, MA 1838
Descendant of two presidents, he went into law, then journalism, and then history. His nine volume History of the United States of America (1889-91) was acclaimed as one of the finest pieces of historical writing. Best remembered for his Pulitzer Prize winning autobiography, The Education of Henry James (1918).
History of the United States of America (1889-91); The Education of Henry James (1918)
Adams, John Coolidge
b. Worcester, MA, 1947.
American Composer and Conductor.
He began composing as a teenager at Harvard and first to submit a musical composition as his senior thesis. Drawing on sources from jazz, pop and electronic music, his work is characterized by the minimalist techniques of repetition and simplicity. Won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2003.
Nixon in China [Opera] (1987); The Death of Klinghoffer [Opera] (1991), On the Transmigration of Souls [PP] (2003); Doctor Atomic [Opera] (2005).
Adams, John Quincy
b. Braintree, MA ,1767
Sixth U.S. President, 1825-1829.
First president's son to become president, he spent his teens in Europe with father on diplomatic missions. As Monroe's Secretary of State, he purchased Florida from Spain, patched relations with Britain and conceived of the Monroe doctrine. Chosen for the presidency by the House, after losing both the popular vote and the electoral vote to Andrew Jackson. Returned to politics in 1830 as congressman from Massachusetts and collapsed and died on the House floor at age 80.
b. Braintree, MA, 1735
Second U.S. President, 1797-1801.
Gained attention defending the British soldiers after the Boston Massacre (1770). During the Revolution he persuaded the Continental Congress to commission Washington as Commander-in-Chief, declare independence. Wrote the MA state constitution (1779), negotiated peace with Britain (1782) and served as first Vice President. Passed the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), which permitted the government to deport foreign-born residents and indict anyone who published "false, scandalous and malicious" writings.
b. Boston, MA, 1722.
Revolutionary Leader, Governor of Mass.
Second cousin of John Adams, he was an early voice in the fight for independence, helping to encourage the Stamp Act riots. Skillful propagandist, he helped organize the Boston Tea Party. Member of the First Continental Congress and signed the Declaration of Independence. Helped draft the Mass. Constitution of 1780.
b. Cedarville, IL, 1860.
In 1889, she founded Hull House, a pioneering facility that offered education, vocational training, child care, legal aid, and recreational facilities to anyone in need. Her success inspired the settlement house movement, which brought social services to poor urban areas throughout the US. She also spoke out on women's suffrage and labor reform. Campaigned against US entry into WWI and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.
b. Rudolfsheim, Austria, 1870.
Psychiatrist and founder of the school of individual psychology.
Acolyte of Freud, later disagreed with Freud's emphasis on sex. Focussed instead on childhood feelings of inferiority. His humanistic approach assumes that an individual is capable of self-determination and the ability to cope with society. His therapy is encouraging and optimistic, and designed to help the individual reach a state of social maturity.
Understanding Human Nature (1927); What life Should Mean to You (1931).
b. Eleusis, 524 BC
d. 456 BC
The oldest of the three great playwrights of ancient Greece. His Oresteia (458 BC) trilogy is considered his masterpiece, exemplifying his concerns with justice, cycles of violence, and civic law. Of his more than 90 plays, only seven survive intact. He is credited with introducing a second actor to the stage.
The Persians (472 BC); The Suppliants (463 BC); Prometheus Bound (undated).
Akbar (Abu al-Fath Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar)
b. Umarkot, India, 1542
He assumed power in 1556 and was the greatest of the Mogul Emperors. The Moguls were descended from the Mongolian tribesmen who had conquered much of Asia in the 13th century. By the 16th century, the Moguls had accepted Islam and were patrons of literature and the arts. At first, he ruled Punjab (around Delhi) but quickly expanded across the entire Indian subcontinent. Introduced reforms increasing centralization and treated subjects fairly with religious tolerance for all.
d 1334 BC
Formerly Amenhotep IV
"He who serves the Aton"
Egyptian Pharaoh 1351-1334 BC.
An 18th-dynasty (New Kingdom) king, encouraged worship of Aton, a unitary god which had no human or animal form. Aton is often regarded as the first manifestation of a monotheistic god. He and his wife, Nefertiti moved from Thebes to Tell el-Amarna, and the empire declined during his rule, because of his preoccupation with his worship of Aton. Succeeded by his son-in-law, Tutankhamen.
Albee, Edward (Franklin)
b. Washington, DC, 1928
The Zoo Story (1959); The American Dream (1961); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1962); Tiny Alice (1964); A Delicate Balance [PP] (1966); Seascape [PP] (1975); Three Tall Women [PP] (1991).
b. Lauingen an der Donau, Germany, 1200
The teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas, he was a Dominican bishop, was a philosopher and innovator. He brought Aristotelian knowledge to contemporary scientific thought, creating a precedent for the study of science within the Christian Church.
Aldrin, Buzz (Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr.)
b. Montclair, NJ, 1930
Air Force pilot who flew dozens of combat missions in Korea, he earned a PhD from MIT before joining the US space program. As part of the 1966 Gemini 12 flight, he took a historic 5 and 1/2 hour space-walk. In 1969 he was part oft he crew of Apollo 11.
Alexander the Great
b. Pelle, Macedonia, 356 BC
d. 323 BC
He became king of Macedonia in 336 BC, was one of the greatest military leaders in history. He conquered greece in 335 BC, then invaded Persia. He defeated the Persians at the battle of Issus (in modern Turkey) in 333 BBC. He seized Egypt the following year. In 331 BC he defeated the Persians again and marched East, arriving in 326 BC on the banks of the Indus River. On his death at age 33, his empire collapsed.
Ali, Muhammad (Cassius Clay)
b. Louisville, KY, 1942
After winning a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics, he won the heavyweight crown with a surprise knockout of Sonny Liston in 1964. A Black Muslim, he changed his name and was stripped of his title for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War (a decision that was eventually reversed in court). He won back the belt in 1974 (defeating George Foreman in Zaire in the heavily hyped "Rumble in the Jungle") and again in 1978. Career highlights included three classic bouts with Joe Frazier, including the "Thrilla in Manila" in 1975. Parkinson's disease eventually robbed him of the irrepressible wit and graceful motion that were his trademarks.
Allen, Woody (Allen Stewart Konigsberg)
b. Brooklyn, NY, 1935
Movie Director, Writer and Actor
After writing jokes for television and doing stand-up comedy, he directed film comedies of angst and sex. His messy breakup with Mia Farrow became tabloid fodder.
Annie Hall (1977); The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985); Hannah and Her Sisters (1986); Radio Days (1987).
b. Kansas City, MO, 1925
One of the most adventurous and influential American directors of the late 20th century. He is most famous form movies that reflected the disillusionment of the 1970s. Hallmarks of his movies included an improvisational style, multiple narratives and multilayered soundtracks. He received an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement in 2006.
M*A*S*H (1970); McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971); Images (1972); The Long Goodbye (1973); California Split (1974); Nashville (1975); Gosford Park (2001); A Prairie Home Companion (2006).
b. Trier, Gaul, 339 or 340
Bishop, Theologian, Father of Catholic Church
Raised and educated in Rome, he became a provincial governor and, though a layman, was persuaded to become bishop of Milan in 374. He then took holy orders and became a defender of the faith against the Arian heresy, which denied the divinity of Christ. He also established the authority of the church over emperors in issues of faith and morality. His sermons influenced Augustine's conversion and were incorporated into the Hexaemeron. Helped establish the Christian musical tradition.
b. Borge, Norway, 1872
In 1897-99, he sailed with the Belgica expedition - the first to winter in Antarctica - to locate the southern magnetic pole. He was the first to transit the Northwest Passage (1903-06). In 1910, he sailed the Fram to the coast of Antarctica and with four companions was the first to reach the South Pole, on December 16, 1911. He later transited the Northeast Passage from Norway to Alaska (1918-20), and in 1925 he flew a dirigible over the North Pole. He died when another dirigible crashed in the Arctic.
b. Philadelphia, PA, 1897
Considered the greatest contralto of her era. She was barred from many U.S. venues because she was black. In 1939, after successful European tours, she planned a concert in Washington's Constitution Hall, owned by the D.A.R. When the D.A.R. refused to let her perform, Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the organization in protest. Instead, she performed at the Lincoln Memorial for 75,000 fans. In 1955, she became the first African American to perform with theNew York Metropolitan Opera. Won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.
b. Camden, OH, 1876
Short-story writer whose work influenced writers such as Hemingway and Faulkner. His fiction, characterized by patterns of everyday speech and a deep connection to place, is exemplified by his most famous work, Winesburg, Ohio (1919), a series of interrelated short stories narrated by the newspaper reporter and all taking place in the fictionalized town of its title.
b. Osaka, Japan, 1941
He is self-taught and has no degree in architecture but has read deeply-especially the works of Le Corbusier-and traveled widely, filling sketchbooks with what he has seen. His early buildings were houses and later buildings embody concrete cast in stark geometrical forms. He won the Pritzker Prize in 1995.
Azuma House (1977)
Chikatsu-Asuka Historical Museum (1990-94)
Church of the Light (1989)
b. near Vicchio, Italy, c. 1395-1400
Painter and Dominican Friar
One of Florence's most sought-after artists of the early Renaissance. His style, though somewhat conservative, was influenced by Masaccio, and he is admired for strong three-dimensional spatial compositions. He is best known for fresco cycles at the Vatican and St. Peter's in Rome, as well as his fresco of The Annunciation (c. 1440-50) at the monastery of St. Marco in Florence.
Angelou, Maya (Marguerite Johnson)
b. St. Louis, MO, 1928
Poet and Author
Honored throughout her long and prolific career for her poetry, autobiographical work, and contributions to the chronicling of the African-American experience. In her early life, also worked as an actor and dancer, traveling throughout Europe and living for a time in Egypt and Ghana, where she worked on African Review. Her memoir details the racial oppression and violence of her childhood in rural Arkansas.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1970)
The Heart of a Woman (1981)
All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986)
Anthony, Susan B.
b. Adams, MA, 1820
Feminist Social Reformer
Working with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, she campaigned successfully to expand New York's Married Women's Property Law (1848), which granted women the right to own property. During the Civil War, they formed the first national women's organization, which also lobbied for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing freedom to African Americans. In 1869, they founded the National Women Suffrage Association. She cast a ballot in the 1872 presidential election, an act of defiance that landed her in jail. Her crusade for female suffrage succeeded 14 years after her death.
b. ca. 82 B.C.
d. 30 B.C.
Roman General and Statesman
General under Julius Caesar and a member of the Second Triumvirate along with Octavian and Lepidus after Caesar's assassination. Antony formed an alliance with Cleopatra in Egypt (41 B.C.), but returned to Rome and married Octavian's sister. In 32 B.C. the triumvirate defeated Brutus and Cassius and divided the empire among themselves. When the triumvirate disintegrated, he fled to Egypt. He and Cleopatra were defeated by Octavian's forces in the battle of Actium in 31 B.C. and he committed suicide the next year.
Aquinas, Thomas (Saint)
b. Rocca Secca (by Naples), c. 1225
Theologian and Philosopher
The greatest figure of scholasticism, a saint of the church, and the founder of what Pope Leo XIII (1879) declared to be the official philosophy of Roman Catholicism. His system, as expressed in the Summa Theologica (1267-73) and other writings, is based on the works of Aristotle. The universe is seen as an ordered construct of things, ascending to God, the only necessary and self-sufficient being. The truths of faith and reason are complementary; there are no conflicts between theology and science or philosophy.
Arafat, Yasir (Muhammad 'Abd ar-Ra'uf al-Qudwah
b. Cairo, 1929
Palestinian political leader
The founder of Fatah, one of the main military components of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. He became PLO chairman in 1969, and leader of its political arm in 1973. His efforts at diplomacy in the Middle East won him a share of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, with Israel's Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. He became president of the Palestinian Authority in 1996.
b. ca. 287 B.C.
d. ca. 212 B.C.
Greek Mathematician, Physicist and Inventor
He spent most of his life in Syracuse (on Sicily). He developed the mathematical theory of simple machines, such as the lever and pulley, as well as the basic law of hydrostatics and applied these laws to build practical devices. He showed how to write numbers as great as one could desire and how to find the areas bounded by parabolic curves. He considered his greatest achievement to be the discovery of how to calculate the volume of a sphere by comparing it with a similar-sized cylinder.
b. ca. 448 B.C.
d. ca. 388 B.C.
Considered the greatest comic poet of his time, he wrote the only complete existing examples of Greek Old Comedy. Little is known about his life, but Athens became his home and its politics, society, and prominent figures were the subjects of his satire. He parodied everything from Socrates and the sophists in The Clouds (423 B.C.) to the Peloponnesian War in Lysistrata (B.C. 411 B.C.), in which the women of Athens boycott their husbands until a peace is reached. The other nine of his 11 surviving plays (out of 50 attributed to him) are:
The Acharnians (425 B.C.)
The Knights (424 B.C.)
The Wasps (422 B.C.)
The Peace (421 B.C.)
The Birds (414 B.C.)
The Thesmophoriazusae (the Women at Demeter's Festival 411 B.C.)
The Frogs (405 B.C.)
The Ecclesiazusae (the Women in Politics B.C. 392)
The Plutus (388 B.C.)
b. Stagira, Chalcidice, Greece, 384 B.C.
d. 322 B.C.
One of the greatest figures in western intellectual history, he was a pupil and colleague of Plato for 20 years, and served as tutor to the future Alexander the Great when Alexander was a boy of 13. He is considered the founder of formal logic and in six works known as the Organon, set out a system that survived for centuries. He pioneered the study of zoology and established the Lyceum in Athens, the world's first institution with a research library. Unlike Plato's Academy, the Lyceum offered lectures free of charge to the general public. His wide-ranging writings on ethics (The Nicomachean Ethics), politics (Politics), rhetoric, poetry (Ars Poetica), and science (Physics) made such a significant contribution to human knowledge that Dante dubbed him "the master of those who know."
Armstrong, Louis Daniel
b. New Orleans, LA., 1901
Jazz trumpeter and Vocalist
The first important soloist and arguably the most influential musician in the history of jazz. His virtuoso trumpet playing, beginning with his Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles, featured dynamic, brassy, highly imaginative improvisation. He was also the first singer to scat sing a record (Heebie Jeebies, 1926), when he purportedly dropped his lyric sheet while recording and was forced to improvise nonsense lyrics. Other important works include:
Muskrat Ramble (1926)
West End Blues (1928)
Chinatown, My Chinatown (1932)
When the Saints Go Marching In (1939)
Armstrong, Neil Alden
b. Wapakoneta, Ohio 1930
A Navy pilot during the Korean War, He became a test pilot for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, which developed into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He piloted the first manual docking in space as commander of Gemini 8 in 1966. Three years later, on July 20th, he became the first man to set foot on the Moon, declaring the accomplishment "...one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."
b. Norwich, CT, 1741
American Military Leader in the Revolutionary War
He distinguished himself in engagements against the English but became embittered over slow promotions and fell into debt. He offered his services to the English in 1779 in exchange for a high command and a substantial fee. His treason was discovered, and he went over to the English, commanding engagements in VA and CT. After the war he was shunned by London society and his name became synonymous with treason.
b. Laleham, England, 1822
Poet, Critic, Essayist
He composed one of the most beloved English poems, "Dover Beach" (ca. 1851), emblematic of the Victorian's loss of spiritual certainty, as well as "The Forsaken Merman" (1849), "The Scholar Gypsy" (1853) and "Thyrsis" (1866). As a poet, he expressed alienation, but as a critic - in Essays in Criticism (1865, 1888) and The Study of Poetry (1880) - he praised uplifting literature that gives value to human life. He wrote extensively about society and culture (Culture and Anarchy, 1869). "Culture" for him encompassed an openness of mind and appreciation of the arts necessary to combat middle-class "Philistinism."
Arthur, Chester A.
b. Fairfield, VT, 1829
Twenty-First U.S. President, 1881-1885
A true machine politician, he worked for Republican candidates in New York and enjoyed several patronage jobs during the Civil War. President Grant appointed him collector of the port of New York in 1871, and he prospered there until 1879. In 1880 "Half-Breed" Republicans nominated him for vice president; he acceded to the presidency on Sept. 19, 1881, after James A. Garfield was assassinated. He rooted out post office graft and signed the Pendleton Civil Service Act (1883) that established the tradition of permanent federal employment based on merit rather than party affiliation, but Democrats in Congress thwarted the rest of his initiatives.
Astaire, Fred (Frederick E. Austerlitz Jr.)
b. Omaha, NE, 1899
Dancer, Actor, and Singer
He began his career as a child star working with his sister, Adele. In 1917-31, they were regulars on Broadway, starring in a number of classic shows, including Oh, Lady Be Good (1924) and Funny face (1927). He went to Hollywood in 1933, where he was partneres with Ginger Rogers, and the two became icons in a series of dance musicals, notably Top Hat (1935), which established his debonair image. His success continued with a number of partners after WW II, on film, record and television.
Ataturk, Kemal (Mustafa Kemal)
b. 1881 Salonika (now Thessaloniki)
He whose last name means "Father of Turks," founded the Republic of Turkey and was its first president (1922-38). As a soldier, he patched together the Turkish forces of the vanquished Ottoman Empire at the end of WW I and repelled invasions by Greece, Britain, France and Italy. As president, he encouraged national and ethnic pride while simultaneously implementing reforms that laid the groundwork for democracy, modernization of the legal and educational systems, and adoption of the Latin alphabet and European-style names.
b. Hunnic Empire, ca. 406
King og the Huns, 434-53
"Scourge of God"
Ruled the vast territory extending at one time from Germany well into Asia. He ruled from 434 to 445 with his brother, whom he murdered, and then alone until his death in 453. Best known for his savagery and ongoing conflicts with the Roman Empire, particularly his invasions of Gaul (451) and northern Italy (452). Although defeated in Gaul, he moved on the sack many cities in northern Italy; he nearly invaded Rome but for a shortage of provisions and the mediation of Pope Leo I. After his death his empire disintegrated.
Auden, W(ystan) H(ugh)
b. York, England, 1907
In his early career, he was one of a group of English poets dedicated to new techniques and leftist politics. he attacked his country's social and economic system before settling in New York, where he wrote his famous ruminative poem on the outbreak of WW II, "September 1st, 1939." He was a poet of versatile style, simple yet haunting diction, and a range of themes from love to art to politics; his sensibility combined modern psycological insight and homosexual orientation with Catholic faith. Other noted poems are:
Lay Your Sleeping Head, My Love;
Musee des Beaux Arts;
In Memory of W.B. Yeats
Augustine (of Hippo)
b. 354. Tagaste, Numidia, North Africa
Roman Catholic Theologian, Saint, Father and Doctor
In his youth, he took a mistress and joined the Manichaean sect - a period lamented in his Confessions (401). In Italy after 376, he was influenced by Plato and, inspired by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, he embraced Christianity in 387. He became a priest and was bishop of Hippo, in Africa, about 395. A strenuous apologist in a sectarian age, he produced profuse writings that are fundamental to Christian teaching, emphasizing the Fall of Man and his dependence on God's saving grace. City of God (413-26) is his great apologetic work and treatise on God and history. On the Trinity (400-416) is his greatest dogmatic work.
Augustus (Gaius Octavius, or Octavian)
b. 63 B.C.
d. 14 A.D.
Great-Nephew and heir of Julius Caesar, First Roman Emperor 27 B.C.
His reign ushered in a perios of peace and prosperity for Rome and the golden age of Latin literature. Upon Caesar's murder by the Roman Senate in 44 B.C., he returned to Rome to avenge Caesar's death. He joined Mark Anthony and Lepidus to form the Second Triumvirate and defeat their rivals Brutus and Cassius in 42 B.C. When Anthony joined forces with Cleopatra in Egypt, he fought and defeated Mark Anthony at he Battle of Actium in 31 B.C., becoming sole ruler, although he kept up the guise of republican rule as princeps civitatis, or "first citizen," until 27 B.C., when he was renamed Augustus. After his death he was deified, leaving behind a system of government that remained in place for centuries.
Aung San Suu Kyi
b. Rangoon, Burma (now Yangon, Myanmar) 1945)
Nonviolent political activist, Winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Peace
She began her fight for democracy and human rights in 1988 in response to the brutal military regime of U Ne Win. She went on to serve as general-secretary of the National League for Democracy (N.L.D.), which sought multiparty, parlimentary seats, but the results were ignored by the government. She was placed under house arrest in 1989 and was released in 1995 after vigorous protests from the world community. She and the N.L.D. continue to be harassed, and she was in house arrest again from 2003 to 2010.
b. Stevenson, Hampshire, England, 1775
She lived and wrote almost anonymously in her family's home. Focusing on young women and their families and the urgency of arranging appropriate marriages, her novels are revered for their precision of language and form; skillful, often satirical, delineation of character and society; and combination of comis inteligence and moral seriousness are fully achieved within a small frame. Her first book, Sense and Sensibility, begun in her early twenties, was not published until 1811. It was followed by:
Pride and Prejudice (1813);
Mansfield Park (1814);
Northanger Abbey (1818)
Austin, Stephen Fuller
b. Wythe County, TX, 1793
American Political Leader in Early Texas
He founded a settlement in Texas in 1822 and in 1833 went to Mexico City to persuade the Mexican government to grant the settlers self-government. The Mexicans jailed him when he urged the settlers not to wait but to set up their own government. He returned to Texas in 1835 and went to Washington, D.C., where he won military and financial support for the Republic of Texas. He was secretary of state in Sam Houston's cabinet in 1836.
b. New York City, NY, 1923
Best known to the general public for his photographs of the rich and famous, he started at Harper's Bazaar. He shot the French collections in Paris from 1947 to 1984 for Harper's and later for Vogue. He became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker in 1992. Throughout his career, he collaborated with writers such as James Baldwin and Truman Capote on publications that featured their works. His photographs of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War are also famous. He received many honors, including the InternationalCenter of Photography Award, and was named one of the world's ten greatest photographers by Popular Photography magazine.
Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel
b. Weimar, Germany, 1714
The second surviving son of Johan Sebastian Bach, he was a successful musician and composer in his own right. He served as court harpsichordist for Frederick II of Prussia, and then succeeded his godfather, georg Telemann, as Kantor of the Hamburg Johanneum. His Essay on the Trus Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments (1744) influenced musicians for several generations. He composed nearly 150 keyboard sonatas, including "Prussian" Sonatas (174), and 20 symphonies. Although he wrote two oatorios, and almost 250 pieces of sacred music, he was most interested in keyboard composition, and between 1779 and 1787 he published Sonatas, Fantasias, and Rondos for Connoisseurs and Amateurs.
Bach, Johann Christian
b. Leipzig, Germany, 1735
"The London Bach"
The 11th son of Johann Sebastian Bach received his musical training from his father and his brother Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. He received his fame in London and helped to user in the "classical" era of music by writing 90 symphonies, many operas, and chamber pieces. In addition to composing, he served as music master to Queen Sophie Charlotte, and accompanied George III when the king played the fluet. He taught the eight-year-old Mozart, and the two were inseparable during Mozart's stay in London. His influence can be heard in several of Mozart's piano sonatas and concertos.
Bach, Johann Sebastian
b. Eisenach, 1685
German Composer and Organist of the Baroque Period
He was the most important member of a large musical family. He was married twice and fathered 20 children, including his sons Carl Philipp Emanuel and Johann Christian, also noted composers. During his life he was besk known as an organist and as music director in Leipzig. Later generations discovered that his musical genius perfectly balanced technical mastery, intellectual controll, and an almost limitless inventiveness. Notable works include:
The Brandenberg Concertos;
Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins;
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor;
Die Kunst der Fuge (The Art of Fugue);
Die Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-Tempered Klavier); Goldberg Variations;
St. John Passion;
St. Matthew Passion;
Cantata No. 140 (Wachet auf) (he wrote over 300 cantatas);
Mass in B Minor
b. London, 1561
Philosopher, Writer and Statesman
In public life he became loard chancellor (1618) at the court of James I; dismissed because of bribery charges, he retired to his estate to write. His philosophical work, a foundation of the scientific revolution, is found in the Novum Organum (1620) and other books. In opposition to older a priori methods of scholasticism, he championed the inductive method of science, arguing that scientific theories should arise only from careful observation and experiment. His best-known literary works are the Essays (1597-1625).
Baker, James Addison, III
b. Houston, TX, 1930
Baker became under secretary of commerce under President Gerald R. Ford in 1975 and was White House Chief of Staff (1981-85) under President Ronald Reagan. He was secretary of the treasury (1985-88) in the second Reagan Administration and became secretary of state under President George H.W. Bush (1989-92). As secretary of state he served during the Persian Gulf War (1990-91) and organized a Middle East peace conference in 1991.
Balanchine, George (Georgi Melitonovich Balanchivadze)
b. St. Petersburg, Russia, 1904
Choreographer and Co-Founder of the New York City Ballet.
He studied at Russia's Imperial Theater, first choreographing as a student in 1919. He made his first European tour in 1924 as a dancer/choreographer with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, remaining with the company for five years. In 1933, he was invited to the U.s. by dance promoter Lincoln Kirstein; a year later , they co-founded the School of American Ballet. The two formed a number of short-lived companies through the 1930's and early 40's until finally, in 1948, the successfully established the New York City Ballet, for which he became principal choreographer. Among his best known dances are:
Union Jack (1976)
Balboa, Vasco Nunez de
b. Jerez de los Caballeros, Spain 1475
Explorer and Conquistador
He arrived on the Caribbean coast of South America in 1501. In 1510, he founded Darien, Panama, the oldest permanent European settlement on the American mainland. In 1513, he led an expedition across the mountains of Panama and was the first European to see the Pacific; he claimed it and all the lands it touched for Spain. In 1516, he led another expedition that transported two ships from the Caribbean to the Pacific. Accused of treason, he and four allies were beheaded in Panama in 1519.
b. New York City, NY, 1924
Novelist, Essayist and Playwright
He was a child of a poor African-American family in Harlem. He left NYC for Paris in 1948 and first rose to literary prominence in 1953 with the publication of his autobiographical Go Tell It on the Mountain, one of the first novels to reveal the pain of racism. Returning off and on to the US until the time of his death, he was a participant in the civil rights movement; most of his essays (Notes of a Native Son, 1955; The fire Next Time, 1963) and dramatic works (Blues for Mr. Charlie, 1964) are powerful commentaries on civil rights and racism.
b. Jamestown, NY, 1911
One of TV's best-loved entertainers, she was also one of the most powerful executives in show business. She started out as a Ziegfeld girl, then moved to Hollywood and worked her way up from bit parts to lead roles in B-movies. Stardom seemed to have passed her by, but at the age of 40 she moved from movies to TV and starred with her husband, Desi Arnaz, in the pioneering sitcom I Love Lucy (1951-57), in which she was finally able to display her genius for slapstick comedy. As owner of Desilu Productions, she was the first woman to head a Hollywood studio.
Balzac, Honore de
b. Tours, France, 1799
Novelist and Short Story Writer
A prolific novelist, he wrote for years under various pseudonyms before publishing his first novel under his own name (Les Chouans, 1829). He is considered the founder of realism and an innovator in the use of the omniscient point of view, and his work displayed keen observations about French society. His works are collected in the 24 volume Comedie Humaine (1869-76).
Baraka, Amiri (LeRoi Jones)
b. Newark, N.J., 1934
Poet and Playwright
He rose to prominence in the 1960's with his collection of poetry, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note (1961), and his play Dutchman (1964). His early work focused on African-American rage and racial oppresion, and on black nationalism. He went on to found the Black Arts Repertory Theatre in Harlem in 1965. He has published prolifically, counting among his works several volumes of poetry, plays, collections of essays, and short stories.
b. West Chester, PA, 1910
20th Century American Composer
In 1963 he composed his String Quartet, subsequently known as the famous Adagio for Strings. In addition to two symphonies and a violin concerto, he wrote a Piano Sonata (1949), which is considered a landmark of 20th century American piano music, and a Piano Concerto (1962) for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. He composed song settings from texts by a range of writers, notably Dover Beach, to the Victorian poem by Matther Arnold. In 1958 his opera Vanessa, with a libretto by his lifelong partner Gian Carlo Menotti, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.
b. Madison, WI, 1908
In 1947 at Bell Telephone Laboratories, he, with William Bradford Schockley and Walter H. Brittain, developed the first transistor that eventually replaced larger vacuum tubes, which consumed more power, in electronic applications from consumer products to the emerging computer industry. The three received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956. His later studies of superconductivity won him a secon Nobel Prize in 1972, making him the only scientist to receive two Nobel Prizes in the same field.
b. South Africa, 1922
At Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, he caused an international sensation in 1967 when he performed the world's first heart transplant on a human being. His paitent, a middle-aged diabetic with incurable heart disease, received the heart of a young accident victim and died 18 days later. But the surgery was a milestone, and its success rate improved markedly by the 1980's after new drugs were developed to fight the body's rejection of donor organs.
Barnum, P.T. (Phineas Taylor)
b. Bethel, CT, 1810
In 1841 he bought Scudder's American Museum in NYC, where he exhibited the midget General Tom Thumb, and the Siamese twins Chang and Eng. In 1871 he created an innovative traveling circus with animals, including Jumbo the elephant, and freaks, and called it "The Greatest Show on Earth." He merged his circus in 1881 with another owned by James Anthony Bailey.
Barrymore, Ethel (Ethel Blythe)
b. Philadelphia, PA, 1879
"First Lady of American Theater"
She had style and wit that made her a star of stage, screen, vaudeville, radio and TV. Her best known stage roles were in Alice Sit by the Fire (1905) and The Corn Is Green (1940-42). She won an Academy Award for her supporting role in None but the Lonely Heart (1944). In 1928, she appeared in The Kingdom of God, the first production staged at a theater named after her in NYC.
Barrymore, Lionel (Lionel Blythe)
b. Philadelphia, PA, 1878
The oldest son in the first family of American theater, he was a star of stage, screen and radio, as well as a musician and artist. A well-regarded character actor, he is remembered for screen roles in Captain Courageous (1937), Key Largo (1948), and more than a dozen Dr. Kildare films. He won an Academy Award as best Actor in 1931 for A Free Soul.
Barton, Clara (Clarissa)
b. Oxford, MA, 1821
Founder of the American Red Cross
"Angel of the Battlefield"
During the Civil War, she nursed the wounded and navigated enemy lines to deliver supplies. Relief work in europe during the Franco-German War introduced her to the International Red Cross. She returned home in 1873, and successfully lobbied for the U.S. to sign the Geneva Convention, allowing medics to treat those wounded in battle and mandating humane treatment for prisoners of war. In 1881, she organized the American Association of the Red Cross. She served as its president until 1904, expanding its mission to assist victims of natural disasters.
Baruch, Bernard Mannes
b. Camden, SC, 1870
Speculating on Wall Street (1891-1912), he became immensely wealthy; he then had the leisure to consult on financial and other matters with several generations of American political leaders, beginning with Woodrow Wilson. Before and during WW I he helped find ways of finacing war industries, and later, in the administration of FDR, he helped shape economic policies. He continued to offer advice during WW II and in 1946 Truamn appointed him ambassador to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission.
b. Riga, Latvia, 1948
He studied in Riga and then at the Vaganova School in Leningrad, becoming a principal dancer with the Kirov Ballet in 1967-74. He defected while touring Canada in 1974 and was immediately engaged by American Ballet Theatre as a principal dancer; with the exception of one year at New York City Ballet (1978-79), he remained with ABT through 1989, becoming its artistic director in 1980. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project. He has also appeared in several Hollywood films and on TV as a dramatic actor.
Baudelaire, Charles Pierre
b. Paris, 1821
Poet and Critic
He published only one book of poems, Les Fleurs du Mal (Flowers of Evil), which appeared in 1857 and was expanded in 1861 and 1868. Its bold, sensuous contents introduced French symbolism and defined the beginning of modernism in French poetry. In it he developed a theory of "correspondences" among the senses, and as its title suggests, explored beauty's evanescence and closeness to decay and evil. Six of its poems were banned as obscene. His life was troubled by spiritual, physical and financial turmoil, and he was an important critic of art and literature. A volume of his prose poems was published posthumously.
Beardsley, Aubrey (Vincent)
b. Brighton, England, 1872
Draftsman and Writer
He was mentored by the artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones and was a member of the aesthetic movement. His black-and-white ink drawings were influenced by the pre-Raphaelites, art nouveau, and Japanese prints, and often shocked critics with their curious combination of sensual and grotesque elements. He died of tuberculosis. His work includes:
Hamlet Patris Manem Sequiiur ("Hamlet Following the Ghost of His Father") (1891);
A Footnote (self-portrait) (1896)
b. Pottsville, PA, 1930
A professor of economics and sociology at the University of Chicago, he is noted for applying the principles of economic theory to other aspects of human behavior, such as crime, family life, addictions, and racial discrimination. His seminal work on education, Human Capital (1964), argued that investing in education and training is analogous to investing in business equipment. In 1992 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, and in 2000 he received the National Medal of Science for his work in social policy.
Becket, Thomas a (Thomas of London)
b. London, c. 1118
Chancellor of England 1155-62
Archbishop of Canterbury, 1162-70
As chancellor, he was a favorite of King Henry II. But after his consecration, believing he had to answer to a higher authority, he publicly opposed the king's attempt to exert royal authority over the Catholic Church. He lived in exile in France (1164-70), but on his return to Canterbury, he was murdered by knights of Henry's court. He was canonized in 1173; his shrine was the object of Catholic pilgrimages for centuries until Henry VIII had it destroyed.
b. Dublin, Ireland, 1906
Playwright, Novelist, Short-Story Writer
Considered the leading "absurdist writer," he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969. He first achieved worldwide recognition with the production of his play Waiting for Godot (1952). Equally facile writing in both English and French, he proved an innovator not only in the sparseness and abstractness of the worlds he created, but also in his sense of wordplay and his ability to create comedy while exploring man's existential isolation and futile quest for meaning. Notable works include the plays Endgame (1957) and Krapp's Last Tape (1958), the short stories collected in More Pricks Than Kicks (1934), and the novels Murphy (1938) and the trilogy Molloy (1951), Malone Dies, and The Unnameable (1953).
Bede (Saint) (the Venerable)
b. Jarrow, Northumbria, England, 672 or 673
Monk, Historian, Theologian
The Anglo-Saxon Benedictine monastery at Jarrow, where he was brought up and which he later joined, was a center of learning, and there he became the greatest historian and leading scholar of the early Middle Ages. His Ecclesiastical History of the English People, ending in 731, is celebrated for its thoroughness and accuracy, and in it he introduced into the West the practice dividing dating before and after Christ's birth. He wrote a History of the Abbots; an encyclopedia, De Natura Reru, commentaries on scripture and the Church Fathers and treatises on astronomy.
Beethoven, Ludwig van
b. Bonn, Germany 1770
German Composer and Pianist of the Late Classical Period
In early 1790s Vienna he drew attention as both a pianist and composer, but his writing was considered odd and difficult. His career began to flourish around 1800, the year of his first symphony. From 1801 to 1811 he grew progressively deaf, but the handicap never inhibited his development as one of the very greatest Western composers. Many notable works. He wrote one opera, Fidelio (1805).
Begin, Menachem Wolfovitch
b. Brest-Litovsk, Russia (now Belarus) 1913
Zionist leader and Prime Minister of Israel (1977-83)
During WW II he feld from Europe to Palestine, where he became a military leader and commander of the Irgun, a resistance force that used terrorist tactics against the British. After Israel's independence he became head of the opposition Herut Party (1948-67). He was elected prime minister of Israel in 1977, and though he steadfastly refused to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, he agreed to return the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt. For his role in the historic Camp David Accords, he shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
Bell, alexander Graham
b. Edinburgh, Scotland, 1847
Scottish-Born American Inventor
On March 7, 1876, the U.S. Patent office issued a patent on his device that sent intelligible words over wire by converting sound waves into a varying current of electricity. Some have called it the single most valuable patent in history. Though he is generally credited with the invention of the telephone, others made substantial contributions to its invention and subsequent development.
b. Lachine, near Montreal, Canada, 1915
The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1976, he was the dean of a group of Jewish-American writers whose work had great influence on postwar American literature. His heroes are often eccentric, Jewish intellectual rogues. Three of his books won the national book award:
The Adventures of Augie March (1953);
Mr. Sammler's Planet (1971)
He also won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for:
Humboldt's Gift (1975).
b. Nursia (Norcia), Italy, ca. 480
d. ca. 547.
Founder of the Benedictine Monastic Order
He is the most important figure in the history of organized monasticism because he wrote and established the guide - calde "The Rule of St. Benedict" - under which monks of his and other orders have been organized ever since. It provided for stong authority under an abbot, combined with prescriptions for all aspects of community life, including daily prayer and manual labor. He emerged from a period as a hermit to organize 12 monasteries at Monte Cassino, between Rome and Naples, where he imposed his rule and lived out his life.
Benedict XVI (Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger)
b. Marktl, German, 1927.
After serving as a close advisor to Pope John Paul II for more than two decdes, he was elected Pope in 2005, becoming the oldest newly elected pope in the last few centuries. A respected theologian, his views on the future of the church were of a similarly conservative nature as those fo the previous pope's, and like John Paul II, he reached out to other religions and countries around the world. His papacy encountered several problems, including a decline in church attendance and, most notably, a number of sexual and physical abuse cases brought against priests which bishops in Europe and the U.S. covered up. In 2013, he became the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415 and is referred to as Pope Emeritus.
Benny, Jack (Benjamin Kubelsky)
b. Chicago, IL. 1894
Star of stage, radio, TV and film (The Horn Blows at Midnight, 1945), he got his start in show business while he was still in high school, playing violin for the orchestra of a vaudville theater. He starred in numerous programs for NBC Radio in the 1930s and 1940s, becoming famous for his miserliness, his screechy violin, and his twenty-year-long mock feud with a fellow comedian, Fred Allen. As host of The Jack Benny Show from 1950 to 1965, he was one of a group of ex-vaudevillians and radio stars who came to represent the "golden age" of television.
b. London, 1748
Philosopher and Political Theorist.
The founder of utilitarianism, he held that the fundamental moral principle is the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people, and that actions and policies should be judged in accordance with this principle. In his view, public welfare was bound up with personal happiness. His major work is Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789). Many 19th century legislative and legal reforms in criminal law, the justice system, and the extension of the political franchise were influenced by him and his followers.
Benton, Thomas Hart
b. Neosho, MO, 1889
Painter, Illustrator and Lithographer.
An American scene painter, or regionalist, he was part of a movement of socially conscious nationalist artists who rejected academic styles and European modernism. He embraced an illustrational style, seeking to document American life in works such as:
America Today (1930);
The Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley (1934).
b. Karlsruhe, Germany, 1844
In 1885, he built a three-wheeled vehicle that was the world's first practical automobile powered by an internal combustion engine. His company started manufacturing four-wheeled cars in 1893, and merged with Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in 1926 to become Daimler-Benz, maker of Mercedes-Benz cars.
b. Vienna, 1885
While embracing both atonality and the 12-tone method, hr brought a welcome emotionality to what were often perceived as cold and calculating forms; he became one of the most influential composers of the early 20th century. His early studies with Schoenberg, along with a freindship with Webern, influenced his entry into avant-garde. Notable works include:
Chamber Concerto for Pianoforte, violin and 14 wind instruments (1923-25);
Lyric Suite for string quartet (1925-26);
Der Wein (1929);
Violin Concerto (1935);
Wozzeck [Opera] (1914-22);
Lulu [Opera] (1929-35).
b. Uppsala, Sweden, 1918
Film and Stage Director.
A superb visual stylist, he became a master at using film to analyze human psychology as well as to depict such grand themes as alienation, isolation, and the search for God. He first won international acclaim for his explorations of the metaphysical, as in The Seventh Seal (1957) and Virgin Spring (1960), but then grew fascinated with female psychology, as revealed in Persona (1966) and Cries and Whispers (1962). In 1982, older and softer he reaffirmed the positive values of life and love in Fanny and Alexander.
b. Stockholm, Sweden, 1915
In her best-known roles, she struck the perfect balance between naturalness and exoticism, self-assurance and vulnerability. She was already a star in Sweden when David O. Selznik brought her to the United States to remake Intermezzo in 1939. He gained international stardom as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca (1942), followed by For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Notorious (1946) and Joan of Arc (1948). She abandoned Hollywood and her family for Italian director Roberto Rossellini, with whom she had three children including the actress Isabella Rossellini. Her later films include Murder on the Orient Express (1974), for which she won her third Oscar.
b. New York, NY, 1908
Comedian, Early TV Star.
"Mr. Television" and "Uncle Miltie"
He achieved fame on television with his immensely popular variety show, Texaco Star Theater (1948-54). A slapstick comic who grew up in vaudeville and was known for his rapid delivery and trademark cigar, he appeared in 19 films between 1937 and 1968, notably Let's Make Love (1960) and It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), and was a regular television presence until 1966. In 1984 he was among the first to be inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
Berlin, Irving (Israel Isadore Baline)
b. Tumen, Russia, 1988
One of the most successful practitioners of American popular song before WW II, with thousands of songs to his credit, he could not read or write music; but employed a secretary to notate the compositions he plunked out on the black keys of hi piano. Memorable compositions include:
"Alexander's Ragtime Band" (1911);
"God Bless America" (1918);
"Puttin' on the Ritz" (1929);
"Cheek to Cheek" (1933);
"Isn't This a Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain)" (1935);
Let's Face the Music and Dance" (1936)
"White Christmas" (1942);
"There's No Business Like Show Business" (1946).
Berners-Lee, Sir Tim
b. London, 1955.
Credited with having invented the World Wide Web, he began working in computer science in the 1970's. In the 1980's he developed a program that provided links between files (later known as hypertext). Between 1990 and 1991, he wrote the programs for the first web server and first web browser.
Bernini, Giovanni Lorenzo
b. Naples, 1598.
Italian Architect, Sculptor, Painter and Poet of the Baroque.
His enormous baldacchino (begun in 1624), the canopy over the altar in Saint Peter's in Rome, helped to establish his reputation at an early age. The Ecstacy of St. Teresa (1646), his statue in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome, is an example of his mastery of Baroque churches, including San Andrea al Quirinale (1678) in Rome, but he is best known for the magnificent colonnade (1655-67) that forms the piazza in front of the entrance facade of Saint Peter's.
Berra, Yogi (Lawrence)
b. St. Louis, MO, 1925.
Baseball Player and Wordsmith.
The Yankee catcher was one of the best to ever play his position, but he is just as famous for his colorful, sometimes convoluted sayings that contain the ring of truth like "it ain't over til it's over," and "the future ain't what it used to be." He played from 1947 through 1963, and he holds the record for the most World Series games player (75). He was named Most Valuable Player three times and was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Berry, Chuck (Charles Edward Anderson Berry)
b. St. Louis, MO, 1926.
Rock 'n' Roll Guitarist, Vocalist, and Songwriter.
He defined the instrumental voice of rock 'n' roll, in particular, its guitar and the straight-ahead 4/4 rock beat. He was also a key shaper of the rock 'n' roll song form, and surprisingly intelligent lyricist. Key recordings include:
"Roll Over Beethoven" (1956);
"Rock and Roll Music" (1957);
"School Day" (1957);
"Sweet Little Sixteen" (1958);
"Johnny B. Goode" (1958);
"Memphis, Tennessee" (1964);
"No Particular Place to Go" (1965).
b. Strassburg, Germany (now Strasbourg, France), 1906.
A theoretical physicist who was a central figure in quantum physics, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his work on the production of energy in stars. He is more familiarly known for his work with atomic weapons. In 1943, he headed the theoretical division of the Los Alamos Laboratory, which was part of the Manhattan Project. He later designed the hydrogen bomb, but came to believe that such a weapon was immoral, and he became an outspoken advocate fo nuclear arms control. His later years were marked by political activism and his desire to develop nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels.
b. Vienna, 1903.
Imprisoned at Dachau and Buchenwald during the Nazi occupation of Austria, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1939 and published a shocking psychological study of concentration cam prisoners' behavior. A psychology professor at the University of Chicago and director of the Orthogenic School for Children (1944-73), he developed a widely accepted theory of autism that blamed parents. After his death by suicide, many of his theories were discredited.
b. Winsford, U.K., 1881.
English Labor Leader and Statesman.
Beginning with a series of manual jobs, he joined the labor movement and in 1911 became a full time official of the Dockers' Union. For the next three decades he was active in labor organizing and in 1940 he joined the cabinet of Winston Churchill as minister of labor and national service. In 1945 he became secretary of state for foreign affairs in the cabinet of the Labour prime minister Clement Atlee, where he helped organize the Berlin airlift and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
b. Albuquerque, NM, 1964.
Founder and CEO of Amazon.com.
After graduating from Princeton with degrees in electrical engineering and computer science, he worked a string of jobs before landing at D.E. Shaw & Co., a New York based investment bank, He quit the bank in 1994 and opened a virtual bookstore out of his garage and in July 1995 Amazon.com sold its first book. He went on to create a diversified online business that sold almost everything. In 2007 Amazon.com released the Kindle, a handheld e-reader that helped create the explosion in the e-book market and by 2010 revenue for the whole company had reached over $34 Billion.
Billy the Kid (Henry McCarty)
b. New York City, NY(?), 1859.
He adopted many names, and only near the end of his life was he known by his most well known moniker. At an early age he took up petty crime in New Mexico. He fought in the Lincoln County War of 1878 and was one of six who ambushed and killed Sheriff William Brady. Captured in 1880, he was convicted of Brady's murder, escaped before being hanged, but was tracked down by Sheriff Pat Garrett and shot in his bedroom at Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881.
bin Laden, Osama
b. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 1957.
al-Qaeda Founder, Terrorist.
The founder and leader of the militant Islamic group al-Qaeda, which was responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, as well as other terrorist acts including the bombing of the American warship the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. Following 9/11 and the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, he evaded U.S. forces and went into hiding. He was eventually found in a secure compound near Islamabad, Pakistan, and was killed by U.S. forces on May 2, 2011.
b. West Baden, IN, 1956.
"Hick From French Lick"
One of basketball's all-time greats, with unmatched court sense and passing skills, and a deadly accurate outside shot. After leading Indiana State to the NCAA finals in 1979 against Magic Johnson and Michigan State, he signed with the Boston Celtics and was named Rookie of the Year. In his 12-year career (1980-92), the 6'9" forward led Boston to NBA championships in 1981 ,1984 and 1986, and was a three-time league MVP (1984, 1985 and 1986).
b. Brooklyn, NY, 1886.
American Inventor and Entrepreneur.
He is best known for his method of quick-freezing food to preserve freshness and taste. While in Labrador (1912-17) he observed that fish caught at temperatures of 50 degrees below zero instantly froze and retained their freshness for several months. Though he was not the first to realize the value of quick-freezing he perfected the process for fish and later vegetables and successfully commercialized frozen foods.
Bismarck, Otto von (Otto Eduard Leopold)
b. Schonhausen, Prussia (now Germany), 1815
First Chancellor of the German Empire (1871-90).
He was known for his assertion, upon taking office as Prussian prime minister, that German problems would be solved with "blood and iron." As Prussian prime minister, and later as chancellor, he transformed the weakest of the major European powers into a German empire with Prussia at its head. He presided over 20 years of peace in western Europe, yet managed to redraw the map of the continent with a powerful, unified Germany in its center.
Black, Hugo LaFayette
b. Harlan, AL, 1886
As a young lawyer, he joined the Ku Klux Klan in 1923, but he resigned to run for the U.S. Senate in 1926. He campaigned for FDR in 1932 and backed the New Deal legislation in the Senate. Roosevelt appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1937, and after a contentious process he was confirmed. He believed strongly in the literal meaning of the Constitution and argued for the absolute right of free speech. For three decades on the court he moved far from his early racist roots and was a champion of equal rights for all citizens.
b. London, 1723.
English Jurist and Legal Scholar.
In 1758, he was appointed the first professor of English law at Oxford University where his lectures were widely praised. He collected his lectures in four volumes (1765-68) and, though they have been criticized by leal scholars, his Commentaries became standard reading for generations of law students. He served in Parliament (1761-70) and was appointed a justice of the Common Pleas in 1770.
Blair, Anthony Charles Lynton (Tony)
b. Edinburgh, 1953.
Scottish-born English Statesman.
Elected to Parliament in the Labour Party in 1983, he rose quickly as he worked to free the party from its close ties to labor unions and give it a broader appeal. He became head of the Labour Party in 1994 and prime minister in the election of 1997 at the age of 44. He oversaw better relations with the European Union, separate parliaments for Scotland and Wales, and peace talks with Northern Ireland. He joined with the United States in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
b. London, 1757.
Poet and Artist.
A romantic who preceded the Romantic era, was trained as an engraver, and all of his books after Poetical Sketches (1783) were composites of art and poetry. His early lyrics, Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794), are beloved for their simple direction and rhythms and haunting images; but his later long, symbolic, prophetic poems can be difficult reading. He was a visionary who developed his own mythical system. He is seen as both a political revolutionary and religious mystic. His prophetic poems include:
Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793);
The Book of Urizon (1794);
b. Paris, 1313.
Born illegitimately, he spent his youth in Florence and Naples and became a writer against his merchant father's wishes. His early works were Il Filocolo (ca. 1336-38), a prose romance; the narrative poem Il Filostrato (ca. 1338-40), based on the Troilus and Cressida legend, and an epic, Teseida (1341). His grand achievement was the Decameron (1348-53), a volume of prose tales, both tragic and comic, some bawdy, taking place during the Black Death. This panoramic treatment of bourgeois life is one of the first and greatest works of Italian humanism and helped usher in vernacular Italian as a literary language.
b. New York, NY, 1899.
American Movie Actor.
Began on the Broadway stage playing society types; went on to Hollywood, where he had a series of routine tough-guy roles; and reached his prime playing introspective outsiders in:
High Sierra (1941);
The Maltese Falcon (1941);
Movie magic developed when he was paired with Lauren Bacall (later his wife):
To Have and Have Not (1944);
The Big Sleep (1946).
He won an Oscar for The African Queen (1951).
b. Copenhagen, Denmark, 1885.
His analysis of the hydrogen atom in 1913 explained the spectrum of glowing hydrogen gas in terms of sudden "quantum leaps" of an electron from one orbit to another. From 1918 to 1943 he led the Copenhagen Institute of Theoretical Physics, which became the principal incubator of quantum theory. He developed the philosophical basis of the theory. In 1939 his water-drop model of the nucleus of heavy elements was used to predict the properties of uranium-235, the basis of one type of atomic bomb.
Boleyn (Bullen), Anne
b. London, England, 1507.
Second Wife of Henry VIII and mother of Queen Elizabeth I.
The daughter of Thomas Boleyn, who was the Earl of Wiltshire and then Ormonde, she lived in Henry's court from 1522. Henry's decision to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, his first wife, led to his break with the Catholic Church and the start of the English Reformation. They were married in 1533. In 1536, after she had suffered a miscarriage and a stillbirth, Henry had her charged with adultery and incest. She was convicted and beheaded.
b. Caracas, New Granada (now Venezuela), 1783.
South American Soldier and Statesman.
Led independence movements against Spanish rule throughout South America. His daring attack in 1819 liberated Colombia, and led to independence for Venezuela (1821) and Ecuador (1822). Elected president of the Colombian Republic (1821-30), he preferred the soldier's life. He routed the Spanish army in Ayacucho in 1824, adding president of Peru (1824-29) to his resume, and in 1825, he freed Upper Peru, which renamed itself Bolivia in his honor. A better liberator than a president - his authoritarian constitution gave him dictatorial powers - he resigned after several revolts and an assassination attempt.