Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2011-10-16
October 16: Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde (1854) It was on this date, October 16, 1854, that Irish writer Oscar O'Flahertie Fingal Wills Wilde was born in Dublin. Oscar Wilde probably inherited from his feminist mother, by example if not by genetics, a flair for the dramatic in style and behavior. Wilde graduated from Oxford and moved to London to […]

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2011-10-15
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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2011-10-14
October 14: Moonies Over America

Sun Myung Moon Released from Prison (1950): Moonies in America It was on this date October 14, 1950, that Sun Myung Moon (문선명) was liberated by UN Forces from Hung Nam prison, Tong Nee Concentration Camp, in Korea, where he had been incarcerated for espionage. He was 30 years old. Four years later, Moon founded […]

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2011-10-13
October 13: Rudolf Virchow

Rudolf Virchow (1821) It was on this date, October 13, 1821, that German pathologist, anthropologist and politician, Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow, was born in Schivelbein, Pomerania, Prussia. Rudolf Virchow was one of the keenest minds in 19th century medicine in Europe, the founder of the science of cellular pathology – the theory that disease arises […]

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2011-10-13
October 13: Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce (1925) It was on this date, October 13, 1925, that American comedian Lenny Bruce was born Leonard Alfred Schneider on Long Island, New York. As the name might suggest, Bruce grew up a tough Jewish kid who expressed his ethnicity with humor. "You and I know what a Jew is," he said. "One […]

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2011-10-13
October 13: Knights Templars and Friday the 13th

The Knights Templars Arrested (1307): Unlucky 13? It was on this date, October 13, 1307 – and presumably on a Friday – that King Philip IV ("the Fair") of France arrested all of the Templar Knights. The religious order had been the subject of rumors of blasphemy and irreligious practices, but in fact the Knights […]

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2011-10-12
October 12: Jesus Sings on Broadway

Jesus Christ Superstar opens (1971) It was on this date, October 12, 1971, that the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar opened on Broadway in New York's Mark Hellinger Theater. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice were hardly household names at the time – they initially couldn't get backing to put up a show, […]

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2011-10-11
October 11: Fidei Defensor

Henry VIII (1521): Defender of the Faith It was on this date, October 11, 1521,* that Pope Leo X conferred the title Fidei Defensor, which is Latin for "Defender of the Faith," on England's King Henry VIII. That Medici pope, whose profligate spending and perverse pleasures were the outrage of Rome, was a staunch opponent […]

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2011-10-10
October 10: Henry Cavendish

Henry Cavendish (1731) It was also on this date, October 10, 1731, that British physicist and pioneer chemist Henry Cavendish was born in Nice, France. The son of Lord Charles Cavendish, and nephew of the Duke of Devonshire, he entered St. Peter's College, Cambridge in 1749 at age 18, but left without graduating four years […]

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2011-10-10
October 10: Fridtjof Nansen

Fridtjof Nansen (1861) It was on this date, October 10, 1861, that Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen was born Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen. He grew up in Frøen, on the outskirts of Christiania (now Oslo), at that time a rural area that hardened Nansen for his life's work. Nansen loved the outdoors and his parents instilled in […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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February 27: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807) It was on this date, February 27, 1807, that the first American professional poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was born in coastal Portland, Maine. Although his father steered him toward a legal career, Henry was too in love with language to turn down the newly founded chair in modern languages at Bowdoin […]



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