1598 King Henry IV of France signed the Edict of Nantes.
1742 Handel’s Messiah premiered in Dublin, Ireland. (See September 14th entry.)
1743 Thomas Jefferson born. (See February 13th entry.)
1852 Frar, k W. Woolworth was born.
1870 The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded.
1923 The Illinois state legislature voted to allow women to serve on juries. 1958 Van Cliburn won Moscow’s Tchaikovsky International Piano Contest.
Today is Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. Any time Americans meet freely to hear an uncensored comment by someone exercising the right to speak his or her mind we are reaping the rewards of that joyous event which took place on this day in Shadwell, Virginia in 1743. Jefferson became the principal author of the Declaration of Independence. He also contributed essential concepts to the U. S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. He bequeathed funds and his entire book collection to the establishment of the Library of Congress—our nation’s depository for every copyrighted work. Those are just a few of the reasons why Jefferson’s birthday is every American’s celebration.
New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is world famous for its magnificent collections. It was founded on this date in 1870, when America was considered an agrarian nation, and a cultural backwater. At the time, the idea that an American art museum would eventually be of equal stature to the Louvre in Paris or the Prado in Madrid seemed a bit ambitious. But on this same date in 1958, the international music world lost its long held and very similar feelings about American musicians. Texas-bom pianist Van Cliburn won Moscow’s Tchaikovsky International Piano Contest.
It’s ironic that on the same day New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 and Texas-bom pianist Van Clibum won Moscow’s Tchaikovsky International Piano Contest in 1958, we would also celebrate the birth of the man who created an American icon: the five-and-dime store. This is Frank W. Woolworth’s birthday. born in 1852, the creator of the dime store launched his empire with a shop in Rodman, New
York. Woolworth’s concept was so successful that it soon became a nationwide chain. His dime stores not only sold inexpensive perfumes, toys, candies, record albums, and housewares, they offered patrons refreshing soda fountain specialties and snacks as well. Quite a few Americans have seen the Metropolitan’s art treasures, and many have heard a live opera. But millions more Americans fondly remember their first childhood visits to Woolworth’s, though the last Woolworth’s closed its door in the late 1990s.
The cause for civil rights celebrates two notable anniversaries on this day. In 1598, King Henry IV of France signed the Edict of Nantes, granting civil rights to the Protestant Huguenots—a religious minority who had been persecuted by the Catholic majority for their beliefs. And in 1923, the Illinois state legislature voted to allow women to serve on juries. This august body decided that women were capable of responsibly deliberating a set of given facts and reaching a final decision without changing their minds.