1770-1827, German composer. Recognized as one of the greatest composers who ever lived, his work is generally divided into three distinct periods. The first, influenced by Mozart and Haydn, includes the First and Second Symphonies and the Pathetique piano sonata. The second, or middle, period features the Third (Eroica) symphony, the Fourth through Eight symphonies, and his lone opera, Fidelio. His final period, beginning around 1816, consisted of more intense works including the Ninth (Choral) symphony (based on Schiller's Ode to Joy), the Missa Solemnis, and the late string quartets including Grosse Fugue. Though
Beethoven began going deaf in his 30's and was completely deaf in his 40's, his work continued to flourish.
1918-90, American conductor and composer. His major works include the ballet Fantasy Free (1944), and the musicals On the Town (1944), Candide (1956), and West Side Story (1957). From 1958-69 he served as musical director of the New York Philharmonic.
Berzelius, Jons Jacob - 1779-1848, Swedish chemist who discovered the elements Selenium, Cerium, and Thorium. Also credited with coining the words allotropy, isomerism, and protein
family of English novelists and poets; in 1846 the sisters published a pseudonymous collection of their poems, and the next year their most famous works appeared. In 1847 was the publication of Anne's Agnes Grey, Emily's Wuthering Heights, and Charlotte's Jane Eyre. Soon after 1847, the family was decimated by tuberculosis; Emily died in 1848, Anne died in 1849 shortly after her Tenant of Wildfell Hall appeared. Charlotte outlived her sisters her novels Shirley (1849), Villette (1853), and The Professor
(1857) were all popular upon their release. They published under the following pseudonyms: Anne, Acton Bell; Emily, Ellis Bell;
Charlotte, Currer Bell.
102-44 BCE., Roman statesman. In 63 BCE, he undertook the reform of the calendar and the result was the Julian
Calendar. In 60 BCE, he organized the First Triumvirate, made of Pompey, commander in chief of the army; Marcus Crassus, the wealthiest person in Rome; and Caesar. In the years 58-49 BC, during the Gallic Wars, he established his reputation as one of the greatest military commanders of all time, ultimately bring all Gaul under Roman control. Crassus' death in 53 BC ended First Triumvirate and set Pompey and Caesar at odds. In 50 BC, the senate ordered Caesar to disband his army, but two tribunes, Marc Antony and Cassius Longinus, vetoed the bill. In 49 BC, Caesar crossed the Rubicon to enter Italy, thus beginning a Civil War. On the Ides of March, 44 BC, he was stabbed by senators by a group of conspirators including Casca, Cassius, and Brutus. His will left everything to his grandnephew Octavian (later Augustus). He married three times to Cornelia, Pompeia, and Calpurnia. During his reign, Caesar made the Roman Empire possible by uniting the states after a century of disorder and by establishing an autocracy in place of the oligarchy.
1924-, 39th president of the US (1977-1981). Born in Plains, GA, he graduated from the US Naval
Academy at Annapolis. After stint in navy, he returned home to his peanut farm. He served as governor of GA from 1970-75. A
political outsider, he and running mate Walter Mondale won 1976 Presidential Elections, narrowly defeating Ford. Carter's presidency was plagued with shortcomings, but be successfully negotiate an important peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, the Camp David Accords. Carter was easily defeated by Regan in 1980, due to his inability to release 50 US Hostages in Iran. After presidency, he
served internationally observing elections and worked with Habitat for Humanity.
1946-, 42nd president of the US (1993-2001). Born in Hope, AR as William Jefferson Blythe. Graduated from Georgetown University, Yale Law School and was a Rhodes scholar. In 1976, he was elected attorney general of
Arkansas and, in 1978, became nation's youngest governor. He lost reelection campaign for governor in 1980, but regained it in 1982 and was reelected twice more in 1986 and 1990. An underdog, he was 1992 Democratic nomination for president, and he and running mate Al Gore defeated incumbent George HW Bush and independent Ross Perot. Won reelection in 1996 over Bob Dole. Became 2nd president to be impeached in House of Representatives in 1998, but was later acquitted the following year.
1890-1969, 34th president of the US (1953-61). A West Point graduate, Eisenhower rose to prominence during WWII. In 1942, he was named US commander of the European theater, and in 1943 he became supreme commander of the
Allied Expeditionary Force. He directed the Allied invasion of Europe in June 1944, and later that year was made a five-star general. He served as president of Columbia University from 1948-50, and resigned from the Army in 1952 to campaign for the Republican
presidential nomination. He easily defeated Adlai Stevenson in the 1952 presidential election. One of Eisenhower's first decisions as president was to end the Korean War. Despite a heart attack in 1955, he easily won reelection in 1956. In 1957, he sent troops to
Central High School in Little Rock, AR to enforce court ordered school desegregation. Also in 1957, Eisenhower put forth the
Eisenhower Doctrine, which committed the US to an active role in the Middle East to protect the area from Communist aggression. The Cold War escalated before the end of his term, and he broke relations with Cuba just before leaving office in 1961.
1170-1240, Italian mathematician. The Fibonacci Sequence is a sequence of numbers in which each term is the sum of the two preceding terms. 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21...
Fielding, Henry - 1707-54, English writer. Noted for the comedy Tom Thumb (1730), the novel Tom Jones (1749), and the novel
Joseph Andrews (1742), a parody of Samuel Richardson's Pamela.
kings of Prussia. Frederick William I, 1688-1740 ruled from 1713-40 and was succeeded by his son Frederick II (or Frederick the Great). Frederick William II, 1744-97, who ruled from 1786-97, was the nephew and successor of Frederick II. His son, Frederick William III, 1770-1840, ruled from 1797-1840 and is best known for accepting the Treaty of Tilsit (1807), effectively making Prussia a French vassal. Frederick William IV, 1795-1861, was the son and successor of Frederick William III and ruled
from 1840-61. In 1857 his mental instability necessitated the regency of his brother and successor, William I.
1833-1901, 23rd president of the US (1889-93). The grandson of William Henry Harrison, he defeated Grover
Cleveland in the 1888 presidential election in what is arguably the most corrupt campaign in US history. He was defeated in his bid for reelection in 1892 by Cleveland.
Harrison, William Henry - 1773-1841, 9th president of the US (March 4 - April 4, 1941). Harrison served as governor of the Indiana Territory (1800-12) and engaged Tecumseh's forces in the 1811 battle of Tippecanoe. He served in the War of 1812, capturing Detroit from the British and won the battle of the Thames (1813). He served as a US representative (1816-9) and senator (1825-28) from
Ohio. In1840, he garnered the Whig party presidential nomination, and, with his running mate John Tyler, used the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" to win the election. He died after only one month in office. He was the grandfather of 23rd president Benjamin Harrison.
1889-1945, German dictator. While imprisoned in 1923, he wrote Mein Kampf (which means "my struggle"), the "Nazi bible" which put forth his anti-Semitic beliefs and his plans for world domination. Hitler's rise to power began in earnest when President Paul von Hindenburg named him chancellor in 1933, and the Reichstag gave him dictatorial powers. With the help of
Himmler, Goebbels, Goering, and others he quickly took control of all facets of German life. He established concentration camps and
made anti-Semitism the law of the land. His aggressive foreign policy and the appeasement policy of Chamberlain led to the Munich Pact of 1938. He allied himself with Italy's Mussolini and Spain's Franco and prepared Germany for war. With his invasion of Poland in 1939, World War II began. Hitler's plans ultimately failed, and the Third Reich collapsed. He married his longtime mistress on April 29, 1945, and the two committed suicide the very next day.
1743-1826, 3rd president of the US (1801-9). At the Second Continental Congress he drafted the Declaration of
Independence, showing his respect for the though of John Locke and other philosophers. In 1779, he became governor of Virginia. In
1785, he became minister to France. Appointed secretary of states (1790-93) by President Washington, he defended against the Federalist policies of Alexander Hamilton. He served as vice president (1797-1801) during which he protested the Alien and Sedition Acts by writing the Kentucky Resolutions. His party prevailed in the presidential election of 1800, but Aaron Burr, who had been slated to become vice president, tied Jefferson in the vote. Jefferson was chosen president by the House of Representatives, largely under the urging of Alexander Hamilton, who considered Jefferson less dangerous than Burr (ironic since Hamilton was killed by Burr in a duel in 1804). Jefferson was the first president inaugurated in Washington D.C., a city he helped plan. Highlights of his
presidency include pushing the Louisiana Purchase (1803) and planning the Lewis and Clark expedition. After his term in office, he retired to his home, Monticello. While at Monticello, he oversaw the founding of the University of Virginia.
1909-91, American inventor. In 1937, Land established the Polaroid Corp. and invented the Polaroid camera in 1947. Landon, Alf - 1887-1987, American politician. He served as governor of Kansas (1933-7) and was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for president in 1936. His daughter, Nancy Landon Kassenbaum, (1932-) was first elected US senator from Kansas in 1978. La Salle, Robert - 1643-87, French explorer. In 1682, La Salle and his assistant, Henri de Tonti, descended the Mississippi to its mouth and took possession of the whole valley, naming is Louisiana. 1807-70, Confederate general in the US Civil War. The son of Henry Lee, he served in the Mexican War, was superintendent at West Point (1852-5), and led the capture of John Brown at Harpers Ferry. After the succession of the southern states, he declined the field command of the US forces. After the succession of Virginia, he took command of the Army of Northern Virginia and began the Seven Days Battles. Lee's troops destroyed the Union army at the second battle of Bull Run, but his first invasion of the North was halted by General G.B. McClellan in the Antietam Campaign. He stopped the Union advances at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, but lost his best lieutenant, Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville. His second invasion of the North ended in defeat in the Gettysburg campaign. Lee was named general in chief of all Confederate armies in February 1865, but soon surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse (April 9, 1865). 1774-1809, American explorer. He headed the famed Lewis and Clark expedition (1803-6) and in 1807 was made governor of the Louisiana Territory.
Lewis, Sinclair - 1885-1951, American novelist. Great satirical 20th century American author known for the novels Main Street (1920), Babbitt (1922), Arrowsmith (1925, Pulitzer), Elmer Gantry (1927), Dodsworth (1929), It Can't Happen Here (1935), and Cass Timberlane (1945). In 1930 he became the first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
1809-65, 16th president of the US (1861-5). Born in a log cabin in Kentucky, Lincoln was almost entirely self- educated. In 1834, he was elected to the state legislature in Indiana, and in 1836 became a lawyer. He served one term in Congress
(1847-9) as a Whig, and failed in his attempt to become a senator in 1855. In 1856, he joined the new Republican Party, and ran against Stephen A. Douglas in the 1858 Senate election. Douglas won the 1858 Senate election, but Lincoln won great acclaim in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates. In 1860 he was nominated by the Republicans for president, and won against a divided Democratic
party. By his inauguration day, seven southern states had already succeeded, and four more succeeded shortly thereafter. In 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that abolished slavery in the Confederacy, and later that year gave the brilliant Gettysburg Address. In 1864 he was easily reelected over General George McClellan. On April 14, 1865, while attending the play Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in Washing D.C., he was shot and killed by actor John Wilkes Booth.
1913-1994, 37th US President (1969-1974). He was first thrust into the national eye while serving as a US Representative from California (1947-1951) during his investigation of Alger Hiss. He also served as a US senator (1951-53); he was
elected to the vice presidency under Dwight Eisenhower in 1952, and they were reelected in 1956. In 1960, he was narrowly defeated
for the presidency by John F. Kennedy, and in 1962, he was defeated in the California gubernatorial race. Not to be denied, Nixon won the 1968 Republican presidential nomination and he and running mate Spiro Agnew defeated Hubert H. Humphrey and George C. Wallace in the 1968 election. He and Agnew were easily reelected in 1972, soundly defeating George McGovern. During his presidency, he made a high profile visit to China in 1972. In 1973, Agnew resigned and was replaced by Gerald Ford. Investigations into the Watergate Affair revealed significant corruption in the Nixon administration, and in 1974 the US House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings. On August 9, 1974, Nixon became the first president to resign. His successor, Gerald Ford, granted him full pardon. Nixon retired to his home in Yorba Linda, CA.
1888-1953, American playwright. His first full-length play was the Pulitzer winning Beyond the Horizon (1920). Other works include The Emperor Jones (1920), Anna Christie (1921, Pulitzer), The Hairy Ape (1922), Desire Under the Elms (1924), Strange Interlude (1928, Pulitzer), the trilogy Mourning Becomes Electra (1931), his only comedy Ah, Wilderness! (1933), The
Iceman Cometh (1946), and the autobiographical masterpiece Long Day's Journey into Night (1956, Pulitzer); O'Neill was awarded
Novel Prize in Literature in 1936.
Peter I (Peter the Great), 1672-1725, reigned from 1682-1725. He served as joint czar with Ivan V, he Peter had more control. Had St. Petersburg build to replace capital at Moscow; Fought Sweden in the Great Northern War, where he won at Poltava. Succeeded by second wife Catherine I in 1724. Peter II, 1715-30, ruled from 1727-1730, was grandson of Peter I. Succeeded Catherine I. Peter II was succeeded by his cousin Anna. Peter III, 1728-1762, succeeded his aunt Elizabeth, but was quickly forced to
abdicate in favor of his wife Catherine the Great.
1885-1972, American-born poet. A leader of the imagist poets, Pound was one of the most controversial poets of the
20th century. He moved to Europe in 1907, including stints in England, Paris and Italy. He broadcast Fascist propaganda in WWII, was indicted for treason after the war, and was confined in a mental hospital (1946-58). Nonetheless, Pound was extremely talented poet
whose works include Homage to Sextus Propretius (1918), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920), Cathay (1915), and an epic, the Cantos
1882-1945, 32nd president of the US (1933-45). Roosevelt earned a law degree from Columbia University in 1905, was elected to the NY state senate in 1910, and served as assistant secretary of the navy (1913-20) before running as a vice presidential candidate with James Cox on the losing Democratic ticket in 1920. He was elected governor of NY in 1928, and
was reelected in 1930. Nominated by the democrats in 1932, he defeated president Hoover. FDR took office at a time of huge financial crisis, so he rushed a flood of reform measures designed to revive the economy through congress in his first months in office,
the so-called "hundred days." He set up many new agencies including the National Recovery Administration, the Public Work
Administration, and Social Security. These reforms and many others were collectively referred to as the New Deal. Roosevelt was aided by his "Brain Trust," an academic group of his closest advisors. His presidential firsts include being the first president to broadcast on the radio, broadcasting his popular fireside chats. He easily won reelection in 1936 and broke precedent by seeking and winning a third reelection in 1940 and a fourth in 1944. As commander in chief, Roosevelt led the US through the majority of WWII. On April 12, 1945, he died suddenly from a cerebral hemorrhage.
1858-1919, 26th president of the US (1901-9). A Harvard graduate (1880), Roosevelt began his career in politics as a Republican state legislator in NY. In 1884, saddened by the deaths of his mother and wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, he
retired briefly to his ranch in the Dakota Territory. Returning to NY in 1886, he married Edith Kermit Carow. In 1898, he formed the
Rough Riders regiment that fought in Cuba during the Spanish American war. He returned a hero, and parlayed this fame into a successful run for vice president on William McKinley's ticket in 1900. He became president in 1901 and at age 42 after McKinley was assassinated. As president he began his "trust busting" by initiating several lawsuits against the big trusts. He was reelected in
1904 by a landslide. Events of his second term include the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) and mediating the treaty to end the Russo-Japanese War (1904) for which he won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize. In 1912, Roosevelt ran for president as the third- party Bull Moose (or Progressive) party candidate. He received more votes than incumbent president Taft, but lost the election to Woodrow Wilson.
1564-1616, English dramatist. Most scholars consider Shakespeare to be the greatest dramatist of the
English language. The son of a businessman, he was born in the town of Stratford-on-Avon in 1564. Though he did not receive an
extensive formal education (his education ended at the local school), his many allusions to classical literature, history, and the Bible show that he was extremely well read. At age 18, he married Anne Hathaway. They had a daughter the next year and twins two years later. Around 1590, Shakespeare moved to London, joining the theatrical company Lord Chamberlain's Men in 1594. He worked for this company as an actor, playwright, and stockholder. Though scholars have questioned the true authorship of Shakespeare's plays in the past, it is now widely believed that he was, in fact the author of all of his plays. He wrote 36 plays beginning in the 1590s with the light comedies The Comedy of Errors, The Taming of the Shrew, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Between 1595 and 1601, he wrote mostly more mature comedies including The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It. His great tragedies appeared mostly between 1602 and 1608. His work during this period included Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and the dark comedy Measure for Measure. In 1610, Shakespeare retired back to Stratford and wrote his final play, The Tempest. He died in 1616, probably on his fifty-second birthday.
1770-1850, English poet. With Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he wrote Lyrical Ballads (1798), which included "Tintern Abbey," introduced Romanticism to England. Also wrote poems "London, 1802," and "I wandered lonely as a cloud." Wren, Sir Christopher - 1632-1723, English architect, mathematician, and astronomer. Best known for rebuilding London after the
1666 Great Fire and constructed St. Paul's Cathedral
1732-1799, 1st president of US (1789-97). Before his rise to prominence, Washington lived at Mount Vernon and worked as surveyor. Served in French and Indian War (1754-58) with rank of Lt. Colonel. Washington's events in this war included surrendering Ft. Necessity (1754) and capturing Ft. Duquesne (1758). In 1759, married Martha Dandridge Custus and entered Virginia House of Burgesses that same year. A leader in movement for independence, he was delegate to 1st and 2nd Continental Congresses and in 1775 was chose to command Continental army. During this war, he won battles at Trenton (1776), Princeton (1777) and Yorktown (1781), the last leading to surrender of Cornwallis, while he lost at Brandywine (1777) and endured winter at Valley Forge (1777-78). He presided over Federal Convention (1787) which adopted constitution and was unanimously elected 1st president of US. During his two terms in office, he put down the Whiskey Revolt. He declined a 3rd term and in his Farewell Address, he warned US to "steer clear of permanent alliances." He died in Mount Vernon in 1799.