Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2012-01-21
January 21: Helen Hamilton Gardener (1853)

It was on this date, January 21, 1853, that Helen Hamilton Gardener was born, the daughter of a clergyman. She graduated from the Cincinnati (Ohio) Normal School in 1873 and was a schoolteacher for two years until she married Charles S. Smart. The couple moved to New York City in 1880, where Alice Smart came […]

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2012-01-20
January 20: "Piltdown Man" Hoax Fossils Exposed (1953)

It was on this date, January 20, 1953, that the “Piltdown Man” fossils — found in the village of Piltdown, near the Sussex town of Lewes — were admitted to be a hoax. Touted by its discoverer, Charles Dawson, and its chief defender, paleontologist Sir Arthur Keith, as the long-sought “missing link” between ancient and […]

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2012-01-19
January 19: James Watt (1736)

It was on this date, January 19, 1736, that Scottish inventor James Watt was born in Greenock, the son of a merchant. After some education in London, Watt made his reputation as an engineer in Glasgow. He radically improved the steam engine of his day and made such important contributions to industrialization, including coinage of […]

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2012-01-19
January 19: Auguste Comte (1798)

It was on this date, January 19, 1798, that the French founder of the philosophy of Positivism, Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte, was born in Montpellier. Auguste Comte was reared a Catholic, but gave that up to become a disciple of Saint-Simon. In 1824, when they had a falling out, he developed his own […]

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2012-01-19
January 19: Edgar Allan Poe (1809)

It was on this date, January 19, 1809, that American poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe was born Edgar Poe in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of itinerant actors who died within two years. Edgar was reared in Richmond, Virginia, by merchant John Allan, from whom Poe took his middle name. Poe showed great […]

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2012-01-18
January 18: Baron de Montesquieu (1689)

It was on this date, January 18, 1689, that French jurist and nobleman Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu was born in Bordeaux of a wealthy family. He was educated in science, history and law, and came into his fortune in 1716. He came into fame at age 32 with his […]

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2012-01-18
January 18: Jacob Bronowski (1906)

It was on this date, January 18, 1906, that British mathematician Jacob Bronowski was born in Łódź, Poland. Fleeing the Russian conquest of Poland in World War I, the Bronowski family emigrated to Germany, then in 1920 moved to London. Bronowski was known to his friends as “Bruno,” and studied mathematics at Jesus College, Cambridge, […]

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2012-01-17
January 17: Benjamin Franklin (1706)

It was on this date, January 17, 1706, that American statesman, scientist, writer, printer and philosopher Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Although his formal schooling was brief, Franklin believed “the doors to wisdom are never shut,” and taught himself logic, history, science, algebra, geometry, navigation, English grammar, and could get along in five […]

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2012-01-16
January 16: The "Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom" Becomes Law (1786)

It was on this date, January 16, 1786, that the Virginia Legislature adopted the “Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.” Written by Thomas Jefferson almost ten years earlier as “An Act for Establishing Religious Freedom,” and proposed to the legislature when Jefferson became Governor of Virginia in 1779, It took a mighty push from both Jefferson […]

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2012-01-15
January 15: Molière (1622)

It was on this date, January 15, 1622, that French poet and playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, who became famous under the pen name Molière, was baptized in Paris where he was born. The son of an upholsterer who was valet to the King, his initial education was with the Jesuits at the Collège de Clermont… To […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


Daily Almanac

September 1: Auguste Forel

Auguste Forel (1848) It was on this date, September 1, 1848, that Swiss physiologist Auguste-Henri Forel was born in La Gracieuse, near Morges, Switzerland. He was fascinated as a boy with insects of all kinds, but was persuaded to study medicine at the University of Zürich, 1866-1871. In spite of that, he published papers on […]



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