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Monday, January 31, 2005

Today in history--January 31

1752: Lawyer Gouverneur Morris, the man who is sometimes credited with the idea of "American" (as opposed to "New Yorker" or "Virginian" as a nationality, is born in what will later be known as the Morrisania neighborhood in the Bronx.

Hadleys_mill 1849: The British Parliament repeals the Corn Laws, allowing imported grain free access into the Britain.  In response, brothers Joseph and Jonah Hadley begin plans for a new steam-powered mill at Gloucester to grind imported grain.

1851: Daniel Spangler Kaufman, a lawyer who served as the first Jewish congressional representative from Texas, dies at age 37.   He had been elected to the Congress of the Republic of Texas at only 25, in 1838, and went to Congress upon annexation.

1872: Pearl Zane Gray (later "Grey"), an Ohio dentist would would become one of the first millionaire American authors, is born in Zanesville, Ohio.

1929: The Soviet Union exiles Leon Trotsky.  Hardly any of your students are old enough to remember when the difference between a Stalinist and a Trotskyite was taken seriously.

1930: Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. introduces a new product in a plaid package: its Scotch brand transparent tape.

1933: "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust" . . . and Silvercup Bread's The Lone Ranger makes its radio debut on WXYZ, Detroit, and the Mutual Broadcasting System.  His "faithful Indian companion Tonto" does not appear until the eleventh program.

1946: Yugoslavia, needing a new post-war constitution, decides that it can't do better than accept the highly successful Soviet model.

1961: Ham the Astrochimp becomes the first higher primate sent into outer space by the United States.

1968: The Republic of Nauru, the only country too small to have a capital, declares its independence from Australia.

1974: Film entrepreneur Samuel Goldwyn (born Schmuel Gelbfisz in Warsaw) dies in Los Angeles.  His last name took its final form after the Anglicized Samuel Goldfish entered a partnership with the Selwyn Brothers to form "Goldwyn."

1990: The first McDonalds restaurant opens in Moscow.  Russia, not Idaho.

1995: George Abbott, who was involved in nearly 200 Broadway shows and films over a career that ran from 1911 to 2002, dies at age 107.

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