This Day in History

"Casey at the Bat" Published in the San Francisco Examiner (1888)
"Casey at the Bat" was one of the most popular poems in late 19th-century America. Recited in vaudeville performances and later taken up by many celebrities, the poem tells the story of an overconfident baseball player—the "mighty Casey"—who strikes out while trying to show off. Ernest Thayer, who wrote the poem, avoided acknowledging authorship for many years because he thought it was embarrassingly bad. Which two real-life towns have laid claim to being the Mudville mentioned in the poem? Discuss

US President Grover Cleveland Gets Married in the White House (1886)
Though President Cleveland entered the White House a notorious bachelor—having allegedly fathered a child out of wedlock—he did not remain single for long. Having become the executor of his deceased law partner's estate a decade earlier, Cleveland had supervised the upbringing of his partner's daughter, Frances. She visited him in the White House in 1885, and the two were married in the Blue Room a year later, making him the only president to be married there. He was how many years her senior?

Court Martial of Benedict Arnold Begins (1779)
When Arnold was court-martialed in 1779, it was not for the treason that would later make his name synonymous with betrayal. The charges involved fiscal irregularities and were relatively minor. Though he was largely exonerated, the trial sullied his reputation. Despite having distinguished himself in various American military campaigns—he was wounded more than once—Arnold was subsequently passed over for promotion. Embittered, he hatched what plot to aid the British in the American Revolution?

Today

Raoul Dufy (1877)
Dufy was a French designer and painter best known for his outdoor scenes of gaiety and leisure, like horse races, parades, and concerts. He also designed textiles and illustrated books. Dufy studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and experimented with Impressionism and, later, Fauvism. In the early 1920s, he developed his distinctive style characterized by sketchily drawn objects on bright, decorative backgrounds. Later, he completed one of the largest modern paintings, an ode to what? Discuss

Johnny Weissmuller (1904)
Weissmuller was a five-time Olympic gold medalist with 67 world records in swimming when, in 1932, he turned in his swimsuit for a loincloth and became Tarzan, the Ape Man. He starred in 12 Tarzan films and created the memorable "Tarzan yell" before being replaced by a younger actor in 1948. He then went on to star in a series of Jungle Jim movies adapted from comic books. Afterward, he ran his own swimming pool company. His face appears in the collage on the cover of what iconic record album?

James Hadley Billington (1929)
Billington is a US scholar and the 13th Librarian of Congress. He earned his PhD in 1953 as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, taught at Harvard and Princeton, and published several significant books on Russia. He served as director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars from 1973 to 1987, when he became Librarian of Congress. There, he has fostered cooperation between libraries worldwide and encouraged the use of digital media. He has been decorated by what countries?