20 October-Balfe

Michael Balfe was a composer and musician who was a native of Dublin, Ireland. The Bohemian Girl which contains the aria ‘I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls’ is regarded as his most famous composition. During his career he composed over 20 operas and numerous songs.

Michael William Balfe was born in Pitt Street, Dublin on May 15th 1808. The name of the street was changed to Balfe Street by Dublin Corporation in 1917. From a young age his musical talent was apparent. As a child he moved with his family to Wexford. He made his first appearance as a violinist at the age of nine at the Rotunda Concert Rooms in Dublin.

At the age of sixteen Balfe moved to London following the death of his father. He played for a time in the orchestra at Drury Lane theatre before moving to Italy in 1825. He sang leading roles in operas by composers such as Rossini. He returned to London in 1833. In 1835 his popularity was established when his first opera in English, The Siege of Rochelle, was produced at Drury Lane. He became a noted conductor and composer during his lifetime. There is a large statue of Balfe in the entrance foyer of the Drury Lane Theatre Royal, London.

Michael Balfe, composer and musician who was a native of Dublin, died in the year 1870 On This Day.

Michael William Balfe

National Library of France

“The Bohemian girl : opera in three acts” (1880)

 

20 October-Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan was a teacher who educated the blind and deaf Helen Keller. She became Keller’s friend and lifelong companion. Sullivan herself had impaired eyesight, having contracted trachoma at the age of five. The story of Sullivan and Keller has been told in various dramas down the years including the in the film 1962 film ‘The Miracle Worker’.

Anne Sullivan was born Johanna Mansfield Sullivan in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts on April 14th 1866. Her parents had emigrated from County Limerick, Ireland to the United States during the 1840’s. Due to her impaired eyesight Sullivan was educated at Perkins School for the Blind in Boston. She underwent several operations which helped improve her vision. She graduated as the valedictorian of her class in 1886.

Following graduation Sullivan was employed by the parents of Helen Keller to teach their 7 year old daughter who was blind and deaf. Sullivan’s efforts were successful and Keller was admitted to Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1900. Sullivan accompanied Keller to college and assisted her with her studies. Keller became the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1904.

Sullivan and Keller remained close companions. They travelled widely giving lectures and appearing in vaudeville performances. They were awarded honorary degrees from several universities. Anne Sullivan’s health began to decline and she died in New York in 1936. Helen Keller died aged 87 on June 1st 1968.

Anne Sullivan, the teacher who educated the blind and deaf Helen Keller, died aged 70 in the year 1936 On This Day.

Anne Sullivan photo

Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller

Photo by The Library of Congress

 

 

 

 

19 October-Luther

Martin Luther was a Roman Catholic theologian and Augustinian Friar who began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The publication of his 95 theses on October 31st 1517 called into question some of practices then in vogue in the Catholic Church. The Theses and other writings gained numerous followers who split from the Catholic Church.

Martin Luther was born in Eisleben in present day Germany on November 10th 1483. Having joined the Augustinian Order he was ordained a priest in 1507. He began teaching at the University of Wittenberg and was made a Doctor of Theology in 1512. He visited Rome in 1510 where some of the corrupt practices he witnessed there, led him to publish his Theses.

He was excommunicated by Pope Leo X in 1521 and declared a heretic and outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. His writings however became popular across northern and eastern Europe. Luther made the bible accessible to the laity by translating it into the German language. He made strong written attacks on people of the Jewish faith saying their homes should be destroyed and their liberty curtailed. Luther married a former nun with whom he had six children. He died on February 18th 1546 at the age of 62.

Martin Luther, a Roman Catholic priest who began the Protestant Reformation in 16th-century Europe, was made a Doctor of Theology (Doctor in Biblia) in the year 1512 On This Day.

Luther

 

 

18 October-Elizabeth Arden

Elizabeth Arden was a businesswoman and beauty pioneer who was a native of Canada. She founded the cosmetics, skin care and fragrance company Elizabeth Arden, Inc. in 1910. The company became an international success and Elizabeth Arden became one of the wealthiest women in the world. In 1962 she purchased Barretstown Castle in Co Kildare. The castle was her home until her death in 1966.

Elizabeth Arden was born Florence Nightingale Graham in Ontario, Canada on December 31st 1878. Having spent time training to be a nurse she moved to New York to work for a pharmaceutical company where she studied skin care. She opened her first salon, The Red Door in New York in 1910. By 1966 there were over 100 Elizabeth Arden salons around the world. Today Elizabeth Arden Inc. is a subsidiary of Revlon, Inc.

Elizabeth Arden, businesswoman, beauty pioneer and founder of Elizabeth Arden, Inc. died aged 87 in the year 1966 On This Day.

 Elizabeth Arden Building New York

Elizabeth Arden Body Lotion

 

17 October-Marconi

Guglielmo Marconi was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was a native of Italy. His father Giuseppe was from Bologna, Italy. His mother was Annie Jameson from Daphne Castle, Co Wexford, Ireland. Marconi’s great grandfather was John Jameson, founder of Irish whiskey distillers Jameson & Sons. Through his own research and using research carried out by others Marconi developed the first effective system of radio communication.

On December 12th 1901 Marconi succeeded in sending the first wireless signal across the Atlantic to America. He routed the signal through Marconi House, Rosslare, Co Wexford and Clifden in Co Galway. The signal was received 3,500km (2,200 Miles) in Newfoundland.

Marconi founded the Marconi Telephone Company and became a successful businessman. He continued to experiment with radio technology. In 1907, having built high-powered radio transmission stations on both sides of the Atlantic, he established regular transatlantic transmissions. Marconi died in Rome on July 20th 1937.

Guglielmo Marconi began offering limited commercial wireless telegraph service between Ireland and Nova Scotia in the year 1907 On This Day.

Marconi Wireless Telegraph Station, Malin Head, Co. Donegal

Guglielmo Marconi.jpg

Marconi

Library of Congress