17 November-Rodin

Auguste Rodin was a French Sculptor who became world famous in his lifetime. Oscar Wilde held Rodin’s work in great esteem. A bust which he cast of his friend George Bernard Shaw can be seen in the Musée Rodin in Paris. After the World Fair in Paris in 1900 his work was in great demand by wealthy clients. His sculptures include such famous pieces as ‘The Age of Bronze’, ‘The Kiss’ and ‘The Thinker’.

François-Auguste-René Rodin was born Paris in 1840. He entered a drawing school at the age of 13 but four years later failed to gain entry to École des Beaux-Arts. He worked for a time in the decorative arts. By the mid 1860’s he had completed his first major work, ‘Mask of the Man With the Broken Nose’. During the following years Rodin became a world-renowned artist.

Auguste Rodin, world renowned French sculptor, died in Meudon at the age of 77 in the year 1917 On This Day.

Museé Rodi

15 October-Mata Hari

Mata Hari was a native of the Netherlands. She was a professional dancer who also worked as a spy for the French government during World War I. However she was suspected by the French, of being a double agent. She was arrested and tried for being a German spy and executed by firing squad.

Mata Hari was born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle in Leeuwarden, Netherlands on August 7th 1876. She studied at a teachers college in Leiden. She later married Dutch army Captain Rudolph MacLeod and the couple lived in Java and Sumatra until 1902. They returned to Europe and following their separation Margaretha began to dance professionally in Paris under the name Mata Hari.

Mata Hari began to work as a spy for France in 1917. She agreed to use her meetings with Germans to glean information for the French authorities. She was however suspected of passing information to the Germans. She was arrested for being a double agent and found guilty by a military court in July 1917.

Mata Hari, a professional dancer who worked as a spy during World War I, was executed by firing squad by the French Government in the year 1917 On This Day.

Mata Hari

Mata Hari

30 May-Michael William 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 gave his first public performance at the Rotunda Concert Rooms in Dublin in the year 1917 On This Day.

MICHAEL WILLIAM BALFE (1808-1870) Musical Composer Lived Here

12 December-Boys Town

Boys Town is located in Nebraska, USA. It is an organisation dedicated to caring for children and families. It was founded in 1917 by Monsignor Edward Flanagan who was a native of Roscommon, Ireland. A film called Boys Town, based on the life of Fr Flanagan was made in 1938. Spencer Tracy playing the part of Fr Flanagan won an Oscar for Best Actor. Today Boys Town is a national organisation with twelve regional headquarters across the United States.

Located ten miles west of Omaha, Boys Town was originally founded to cater for homeless boys. It was opened to girls in 1979. Boys Town did not use the reform school model but instead emphasised the social preparation of children in its care. The model became the standard in several countries.

Boys Town was opened in Nebraska, USA by Monsignor Edward Flanagan from Roscommon, Ireland in the year 1917 On This Day.

Boys Town, Omaha



28 August-Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby was a comic book artist who was a native of the USA. He was one of the creators of superheroes such as The Avengers and Captain America. He was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1987. The ‘Jack Kirby Awards’ are named in his honour.

Jack Kirby was born Jacob Kurtzberg in New York City in 1917. A self-taught artist he began working in the comic book industry in 1936. During his career he worked with artists Joe Simon and Stan Lee. With Joe Simon Kirby created the superhero character Captain America. With Stan Lee he created characters such as the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk.

Jack Kirby, comic book artist and creator of several superheroes, was born in the year 1917 On This Day.

Jack Kirby

Exposition Jack Kirby