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News, Events, Birthdays, History - October 8 - October 15


October 11, 1884 - Eleanor RooseveltEleanor Roosevelt
The First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, the wife of Franklin Roosevelt.   Now here's an interesting fact...Eleanor's maiden name was also Roosevelt.  Her husband Franklin was her father's fifth cousin.  Their marriage was not exactly a happy one, marred early on by Franklin's affair with Eleanor's social secretary.  They were persuaded to stay together for political reasons, for the sake of their children, and for fear of losing an inheritance from Franklin's mother, who was implacably opposed to divorce.   In an era when few women had careers, Eleanor continued an active business and speaking agenda throughout her years in the White House.  She was the first to hold weekly press conferences and she authored a widely syndicated newspaper column, "My Day".

October 12, 1935 - Luciano Pavarotti
Pavarotti was an Italian operatic tenor who also crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time. He was one of "The Three Tenors" and became well-known for his televised concerts and media appearances. Pavarotti was also noted for his charity work on behalf of refugees and the Red Cross, among others.

October 14, 1890 - Dwight D. EisenhowerDwight D. Eisenhower
34th President of the United States, Eisenhower was also a five-start general in the U.S. Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during the Second World War.  As President, he oversaw the cease-fire of the Korean War, maintained pressure on the Soviet Union during the Cold War, made nuclear weapons a higher defense priority, launched the Space Race, enlarged the Social Security program, and began the Interstate Highway System. He was the last World War I veteran to serve as U.S. president, and the last president born in the 19th century.


October 10, 1973  - Agnew Resignation
Spiro T. Agnew was the 39th Vice President of the United States, serving under President Richard Nixon.  During his fifth year as Vice President, he was formally charged with having accepted bribes totaling more than $100,000, while holding office as Baltimore County Executive, Governor of Maryland, and Vice President of the United States. On October 10, 1973, Agnew was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge that he had failed to report $29,500 of income received in 1967, with the condition that he resign the office of Vice President.   Agnew is the only the second Vice-President to resign the office, and the only Vice-President  to resign because of criminal charges.   Just over a year later, Richard Nixon would resign the Presidency in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

October 13 - Columbus Day
On this day is celebrated the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.  Although Columbus was not the first to reach the Americas from Europe - he was preceded by at least one other group, the Norse, led by Leif Ericson - Columbus initiated widespread contact between Europeans and indigenous Americans.    His claim to fame, then, was not that he arrived first, but that he stayed.  Columbus would make a total of four voyages to the New World.  Columbus died in 1506 at age 55, fairly wealthy from the gold his men had accumulated during his voyages.  At his death, he was still convinced that his journeys had been along the east coast of Asia.

October 14, 1947 - Sound barrier broken
In aerodynamics, the sound barrier usually refers to the point at which an aircraft exceeds the speed of sound.  The reason the word 'barrier' was X1adopted is because a number of different aerodynamic effects make aircraft very difficult to control as they approach the speed of sound.  All of these effects, although unrelated in most ways, led to the concept of a "barrier" that makes it difficult for an aircraft to break the speed of sound.  On October 14, 1947, pilot Chuck Yeager  was credited with being the first person to break the sound barrier in an aircraft known as the X-1 (nicknamed Glamorous Glennis, after Yeager's wife).   The rocket-powered aircraft was launched from the bomb bay of a specially-modified B-29 airplane.