Edited by Gerald Boerner
This was a good day for events. As we look back on the events falling on this day, we note two major international and three domestic events of consequence. On the international scene, this was the day in 1533 when King Henry VIII of England married his second wife, Anne Boleyn, who was already pregnant with their daughter who would become Queen Elizabeth I upon her father’s death. Three years later, Anne Boleyn would suffer the same fate of Henry’s first wife — she would lose her head in the Tower of England. Henry VIII was desperately seeking a male heir which none of his wives was able to provide him. Under Elizabeth I, England would become a world power. The Pax Britannica was just around the corner!
More recently, this day witnessed the ascension of General Idi Amin to power in Uganda after a military coup in 1971. Amin would become a harsh dictator and rule this central African country with an iron hand for the next eight years. During his tenure, he would support terrorism that would include the detention of the 248 passengers by Palestinian and German terrorist who where aboard a hijacked Air France flight at Entebbe Airport in 1975. These hostages were freed during a daring raid by Israeli Special Forces in 90 minutes. Ultimately, he was removed from his position by Ugandan rebels and Tanzanian troops in 1979 to end his oppressive reign.
The minor international event was the staging of a futuristic, science fiction play, “Rossum’s Universal Robots,” by Czech playwright Karel Capek in 1921. The primary significance of this play, beyond its dramatic value, was the foreshadowing the actual events 58 years later on an assembly line at the Ford Motor Company’s plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, when a worker was killed by an industrial robot.
On the domestic front, this day witnessed the arrival in New Jersey of Ms. Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Jane Cochrane) after her circumnavigation of the world in 72 days in 1890. This trip was patterned after the voyage of Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne’s science fiction classic, Around the World in 80 Days that was published in 1873. While traversing the globe Ms. Bly, a journalist for the New York World newspaper whose publisher was the famed Joseph Pulitzer of the Journalism Prize fame, visited the famed Jules Verne in his home in Amiens, France. She wrote update reports for the paper. She gained her job by going undercover to expose the abuses of the mental hospitals of the day; she became a patient for one week before being rescued from the abusive environment. Through this story, she pioneered the field investigative reporting in a world dominated by male reporters. Her exposé led to the reform of the mental hospital system in New York City and eventually across the nation. She was a real hero!
A few years later, in 1915, Alexander Graham Bell initiated the first transcontinental telephone call to his assistant, Thomas Watson, in San Francisco. President Woodrow Wilson, in Washington, D.C., and AT&T President, Theodore Vail, in Atlanta also participated in this test of the system. The expansion of this system of communication would continue the process of shrinking the nation that was begun by the pony express, transcontinental telegraph, overland Butterfield Mail Stage, and the transcontinental railroad of the second half of the 19th century. It would remain to the decade of the 1960s for it to take the next step in the globalize this communication via satellite relays.
Another event that served to shrink the world was the establishment, in 1959, of the first transcontinental passenger airline jet service. American airlines put the Boeing 707 into transcontinental, nonstop service. Air travel now became the preferred mode of travel since it eliminated the multiple stops (for refueling) that made transcontinental travel by air a trying ordeal. The prop-driven Convair 990s and the Lockheed Electras were used to service regional routes. This was the prelude to the ending of passenger service by rail and transoceanic travel via steamships. The airplane would indeed shrink the world. We are now moving into the era of the super jumbo jets like the Airbus 380 and the Boeing 777 which will carry larger passenger loads over larger distances with less noise and more passenger comfort. It would seem that the future is now!
The minor event of the day was the airing, in 1937, of the first broadcast episode of the soap opera, The Guiding Light. This program started out on the radio and transitioned to television in the early 1950s. It became the longest-running dramatic broadcast in history until its cancellation in 2009.
So, today was highlighted by the international tyranny of monarchs and dictators as well as the shrinking of the nation and world by communication and transportation technologies. We are indeed living in a world that is characterized by instant communication and facilitated travel. We are fast approaching of a true world community.
We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with this day in history... GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
[ 1527 Words ]
Quotations Related to Nellie Bly:
“Could I pass a week in the insane ward at Blackwell’s Island? I said I could and I would. And I did.”
— Nellie Bly
“I always made a point of telling the doctors I was sane, and asking to be released, but the more I endeavored to assure them of my sanity, the more they doubted it.”
— Nellie Bly
“I had, toward the last, been shut off from all visitors, and so when the lawyer, Peter A. Hendricks, came and told me that friends of mine were willing to take charge of me if I would rather be with them than in the asylum, I was only too glad to give my consent.”
— Nellie Bly
“I always had a desire to know asylum life more thoroughly – a desire to be convinced that the most helpless of God’s creatures, the insane, were cared for kindly and properly.”
— Nellie Bly
“In our short walks we passed the kitchen where food was prepared for the nurses and doctors. There we got glimpses of melons and grapes and all kinds of fruits, beautiful white bread and nice meats, and the hungry feeling would be increased tenfold.”
— Nellie Bly
Notable Events of the Day: January 25th…
Noteworthy Events on this Day:
King Henry VIII of England marries his second wife, Anne Boleyn. Already pregnant, Boleyn will give birth to a daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I, on Sept. 7, 1533. Less than three years later, when the royal couple fails to produce a male heir, Henry VIII will have Anne Boleyn beheaded on charges of adultery, incest and treason, thus clearing the way for him to marry the third of his eventual six wives.
New York World journalist Nellie Bly arrives back in New Jersey, completing her around-the-world journey in a record-setting 72 days, eight days faster than the fictional Phileas Fogg of Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days.
In New York, Alexander Graham Bell inaugurates transcontinental telephone service with a phone call to Thomas Watson in San Francisco. Atlantic Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) Company President Theodore Vail in Jekyll Island, Georgia, and President Woodrow Wilson in Washington also take part in the historic call.
Czech playwright Karel Capek’s science fiction play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) premieres at the National Theater in Prague. It was the first use of the word "robot," which comes from the Czech word for forced labor. Exactly 58 years later, Robert Williams, a Ford Motor assembly line worker, would be the first person killed by a robot, while on the job in Flat Rock, Michigan.
The first episode of The Guiding Light, created by Irma Phillips, is broadcast on NBC radio. The Guiding Light would become the longest-running drama in broadcast history, as the soap opera moved to CBS television in 1952 and aired until it was canceled 2009.
American Airlines inaugurates transcontinental jet flights with the Boeing 707, the first successful commercial jet airliner. With its 707s American shifted to nonstop coast-to-coast flights, although it maintained feeder connections to cities along its old route using smaller Convair 990s and Lockheed Electras.
President John F. Kennedy holds the first live televised Presidential news conference.
General Idi Amin seizes power in a military coup in Uganda while President Milton Obote is temporarily out of the country. For the next eight years, Amin would rule Uganda as a brutal military dictator, until Ugandan rebels and Tanzanian troops toppled his regime in 1979.
National History Day Documentary 2009- Nellie Bly… (10:00)
Previously Posted Topics:
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Around the World in 72 Days: Nellie Bly…
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: 1st Transcontinental Jet Passenger Service: American Airlines…
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Alexander Graham Bell: The Telephone…
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: General Idi Amin: Tyrant of Uganda…