Friday, May 6, 2011

Today in History!

On May 6th in history…

  • 1876 – The most expensive piece of art sold (for its time), Duchess of Devonshire painted by Thomas Gainsborough is of Georgiana Spencer, an ancestor of Princess Diana was stolen a few weeks later from the Thomas Agnew & Sons art gallery by Adam Worth, the “Napoleon of Crime”. The painting was finally returned to England in 1901, and purchased by Wall Street financier J.P. Morgan for a reported $150,000.
  • 1937 – German airship and pride of Nazi Germany Hindenburg explodes in Lakehurst, New Jersey as it is docking. The airship was 804 feet long and carried 36 passengers and 61 crewmembers. It fell 200 feet to the ground killing 13 passengers, 21 crewmen and 1 crewman on the ground.
  • 1940 – Famous author John Steinbeck wins the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath. The Californian author is also famous for his other novels Tortilla Flat (1935), Dubious Battle (1935) and Of Mice and Men (1937). He also penned the scripts for successful films like Forgotten Village (1941) and Viva Zapata (1952). Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in 1962, and died in 1968.
  • 1954 – Oxford University medical student Roger Bannister breaks the long unobtainable record, the four minute mile, completing the task in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Although his record would not stand for long, Bannister went on to win several track and field championships before focusing on medicine full time.
  • 1994 – For the first time since the Ice Age, England and European mainland are connected thanks to the opening of the English rail tunnel under the English Channel. The “Chunnel” is under water for 23 miles, about 150 feet below the channel floor. Roughly 30,000 people travel a day in the Chunnel, by car, shuttle or freight train.
Until next time…

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