26 February-Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss & Co was the first company to make blue jeans. The company, which was founded by Levi Strauss in 1853 in San Francisco, California continues to operate to this day. Strauss and a tailor called Jacob Davis were granted a patent to manufacture heavy duty work pants in 1873.

Levi Strauss was born in Buttenheim, Germany in February 1829. At the age of 18 he moved with his family to New York. He began working with his brothers in their dry goods business. In 1853 he moved to California during the gold rush as a representative of the family business. During the following years he ran the business successfully.

He was contacted in 1872 by Jacob Davis, who had invented a way of making work pants using rivets to make them stronger. Strauss and Davis were granted a patent for the invention on May 20th 1873. They began manufacturing the new pants which came to known as blue jeans.

Levi Strauss was born in the year 1829 On This Day.

Levi Straus

 

 

 

26 February-Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash was a singer, songwriter and actor who wrote the song ‘Forty Shades of Green’ whilst on a visit to Ireland in 1959 when he was 27 years old. Cash, who was a regular visitor to Ireland during his lifetime, was born was born in Arkansas, USA 1932. He recorded over 1500 songs throughout his career and was playing the guitar and writing songs from the age of 12.

In 1950 at the age of 18, Johnny Cash joined the United States Air Force. He was posted to Germany where he formed his first band. On being discharged from the Air Force in 1954 Cash married Vivian Liberto whom he had met when he was training for the Air Force. His first chart success came in 1955 with songs such as ‘Cry, Cry, Cry’ and ‘Folsom Prison Blues’. Folsom Prison Blues was written in 1953 when Cash was stationed in Germany. He had his first number 1 hit with ‘I Walk the Line’ which he wrote and recorded in 1956. It sold over 2 million copies.

Johnny Cash became a musical superstar with a heavy tour schedule on which the use of drugs and alcohol became a frequent occurrence. He is quoted as saying, ‘I took all the drugs there are to take, and I drank’. He was divorced by his wife in 1966. In 1968 Cash married June Carter, who had helped him to stop his drug taking habit. He had proposed to her while they were performing on stage in London, Ontario, Canada.

Throughout the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, despite health problems and surgery, Cash continued to write, record, and with June Carter, maintain a busy schedule. During his career he gave concerts in prisons such as Folsom, San Quentin and Österåker and was an activist for Native Americans. The winner of multiple awards his music ranged across several genres including country, rock and roll, folk and gospel. With his deep distinctive singing voice he came to be regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. June Carter died in May 2003. Johnny Cash died four months later at the age of seventy one.

Johnny Cash (J.R. Cash) was born in Kingsland, Arkansas, USA in the year 1932 On This Day.

Johnny Cash 1970 – 2000

 

 

25 February-George Harrison

George Harrison was a guitarist, singer, songwriter and film producer. He was the lead guitarist of the world famous rock group the Beatles. The band was one of the most commercially successful in music history.

George Harrison was born in Liverpool, England in February 1943. Interested in music from a young age he was given his first guitar at age 14 by his father. He learned to play the guitar and formed his own band called the Rebels.

Harrison met Paul McCartney on the school bus and later joined McCartney and John Lennon as a member of the Quarrymen. The Quarrymen would eventually become the Beatles in August 1960 and would be joined by Ringo Starr. The Beatles disbanded in 1970 and Harrison pursued a successful solo career. He also established a movie production company. He died at the age of 58 in Los Angeles, California on November 29th 2001.

George Harrison was born in the year 1943 On This Day.

George Harrison

 

25 February-Thomas Moore

Thomas Moore, Ireland’s National Bard, appeared on stage in Kilkenny City each year between 1808 and 1810, in charitable performances with the Kilkenny Players. Moore was a poet, satirist, composer and musician who was a close friend of Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. During his lifetime his writings, which are still popular today, aroused support in London for Irish nationalism.

Thomas Moore was born above his parents’ grocery shop on Aungier Street in Dublin on May 28th 1779. His father was a native of Moyvane, County Kerry and his mother was Anastasia Codd from Wexford town. Thomas Moore entered Trinity College Dublin in 1795 to study law. He was a contemporary of and friendly with Robert Emmett. However he was persuaded by his mother not to get involved in revolutionary activities.

Having graduated with a BA degree Moore moved to London in 1780 to study law at Middle Temple. He became a popular figure in London society and the publication of Odes of Anacreon established him as a poet. Lord Moira became a patron and through his influence Moore was appointed Admiralty Registrar in Bermuda in January 1803. However he did not enjoy the boredom and seclusion of Bermuda and moved to the United States after four months. He toured the United States and returned to London via Canada in November 1804.

Thomas Moore was a very close friend of Lord Byron. Byron entrusted his memoirs to Moore for publication after his death. However, Moore was persuaded by Byron’s family to destroy them. Moore later celebrated Byron’s life by editing and publishing his letters and journals. Moore wrote 130 original poems. Among his best known are poems such as ‘The Minstrel Boy’, ‘The Last Rose of Summer’ and ‘Oft, in the Stilly Night’, which are lyrics written to Irish tunes. As well as writing his melodies Moore also wrote biographies of United Irishman Lord Edward Fitzgerald and playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

Whilst performing in Kilkenny, Moore met the actress Elizabeth Dyke. They were married in 1811 and later settled in Bromham, Wiltshire in England. Regarded as a hero by Irish nationalists, Moore is reported not to have liked Daniel O Connell. Moore, who was a catholic himself, was a strong advocate of Catholic Emancipation. When emancipation was granted in 1829 he is reported to have said: ‘Now that the Paddies are happy, I consider my politics entirely at an end’.

Moore’s Melodies continue to be popular and are performed to this day. A version of the Minstrel Boy is performed on the soundtrack of the movie Black Hawk Down. Monuments to Moore can be found in several locations including in Dublin close to Trinity College, at The Meeting of the Waters near Avoca, County Wicklow and in Central Park, New York City.

Thomas Moore poet, singer, songwriter, and entertainer died at the age of 72 in the year 1852 On This Day.

Image taken from page 10 of ‘[The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore,

Moore Monument, Westmoreland Street (looking to O’Connell Bridge, including a tram), Dublin City.

 

 

24 February-Gregorian Calendar

The Gregorian calendar is the most widely used international calendar. It is called after Pope Gregory XIII who introduced the calendar in 1582. The Gregorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar, at first in countries that were predominantly Roman Catholic. It was introduced in other countries in the ensuing centuries.

The Julian calendar was instituted by the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar in 46 BC. It calculated the year at 365 days and 6 hours. However the actual length of the year is 365 days, five hours, forty-eight minutes, forty six seconds.

During the centuries following the introduction of the Julian calendar the discrepancy led to a slippage of days. Easter for instance was being celebrated later each year. This led Pope Gregory to introduce the new calendar in 1582. It was not introduced in Great Britain and Ireland until 1752.

By the time it was introduced in Great Britain and Ireland on September 2nd 1752 in the Julian calendar there was a difference of 12 days. The introduction of the Gregorian calendar meant that people went to bed on September 2nd and woke the following morning on September 14th. It is reported that people protested at the loss of 12 days from their lives. The Gregorian was not introduced in Greece until 1924, Iran 1925 and Turkey 1926.

The Gregorian calendar was instituted by Pope Gregory XIII by the papal bull ‘Inter gravissimas’ in the year 1582 On This Day.

Rome