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May 11: Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin (1888)

Irving Berlin

It was on this date, May 11, 1888, in a Russian-Jewish ghetto, that the American songwriter who gave us "White Christmas" and "God Bless America," Irving Berlin was born. He emigrated at the age of five and spent the next 95 years becoming one of the most celebrated film and stage songwriters in US history.

In her biography of her father, Irving Berlin: A Daughter's Memoir, Mary Ellin Barrett refers to her father's "agnosticism," (p.123) and describes him as a "nonbeliever." Irving Berlin follows a long tradition of freethinkers who used the religious vocabulary familiar to the majority. He died of a heart attack in New York City on 22 December 1989.

Originally published May 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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October 15: Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844) It was on this date, October 15, 1844, that German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born in Röcken, Saxony, the son of a Lutheran pastor who died when he was five. Brought up by pious relatives, Nietzsche was educated at the universities of Bonn (1864-65) and Leipzig (1864-68), becoming a professor at the […]



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