Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2011-07-17
July 17: Donald Sutherland

Donald Sutherland (1934) It was on this date, July 17, 1934, that actor Donald Sutherland was born Donald McNichol Sutherland in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. The unusual-looking, lanky actor reached a height of 6'4" (1.93 m) by adulthood, and his distinctive voice seems to have been bequeathed to his son, actor Kiefer Sutherland. After […]

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2011-07-16
July 16: Escape into Religious History

Muhammad's Hegira (622) It was on this date, July 16, 622, by tradition and on the Western calendar, that Muhammad's hegira (or hijra, هِجْرَة) occurred — that is, his flight from Mecca to Medina (then called Yathrib) in order to escape persecution and found a community of believers. History shows the event taking place in […]

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2011-07-16
July 16: Putting the “Christian” in Science

Mary Baker Eddy (1821) and "Christian Science" It was on this date, July 16, 1821, that Mary Baker Eddy was born near Concord, New Hampshire into a Congregationalist family. A sickly youth, Eddy studied alternative medicine, alongside the Bible, in search of a mind-body-Bible connection. Prompted by her supposed recovery from a life-threatening accident in […]

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2011-07-15
July 15: Let God Sort Them Out

The First Crusade Captures Jerusalem (1099) Then Kills Everyone It was on this date, July 15, 1099, that the First Crusade, or "Campaign of the Cross," achieved its objective and captured Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulcher. Once the Muslim citizens of Jerusalem lost control of their city, the Crusaders then proceeded, with the zeal of […]

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2011-07-14
July 11: Whistler's Father (1834)

James McNeill Whistler (1833) It was on this date, July 11, 1834, that American painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. His father was an Army Major and Whistler himself was educated at West Point, from which he was dismissed. Whistler was a leading proponent of the credo, “art for art’s sake” […]

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2011-07-14
July 14: John Chancellor

John Chancellor (1927) It was on this date, July 14, 1927, that American news reporter, anchor, and NBC commentator John Chancellor was born in Chicago, Illinois. A high school drop-out, Chancellor got his first job as a copy boy at the Chicago Sun-Times. From there his assignments extended from the 1957 desegregation of Central High […]

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2011-07-13
July 13: Pious Fraud

The Third Secret of Fátima Revealed (1917) It was on this date, July 13, 1917, that the Third Secret of Fátima was revealed by the Virgin Mary to three peasant children in a rural village north of Lisbon. At least, that is how Lucia dos Santos remembered it. But by this time she had been […]

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2011-07-12
July 12: William Osler

William Osler (1849) It was on this date, July 12, 1849, the Anglo-American physician William Osler was born in Bond Head, Canada West (now Ontario). He took his MD in 1872 and taught medicine from 1874-1884. In 1889 he became the first professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University and was one of the four […]

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2011-07-12
July 12: Günther Anders

Günther Anders (1902) It was on this date, July 12, 1902, that Austrian philosopher Günther Anders, originally Günther Siegmund Stern, was born in Breslau, the offspring of Clara and William Stern, founders of child psychology. An assimilated Jewish intellectual, he found that there were too many writers using the name Stern, so his editor suggested […]

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2011-07-12
July 12: Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau (1817) It was on this date, July 12, 1817, the writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts. He graduated Harvard in 1837 and discovered a talent for writing about nature. Thoreau embraced the Transcendentalist belief in personal insight and experience, but he was neither a critical nor a […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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Daily Almanac

May 25: W.P. Kinsella (1935)

W.P. Kinsella (1935) It was on this date, May 25, 1935, that Canadian novelist W.P. Kinsella was born William Patrick Kinsella in Edmonton, Alberta. A writer of baseball fiction, Kinsella's bestselling 1982 novel, Shoeless Joe, was made into the very successful 1989 motion picture Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones. Kinsella […]



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