24 September-Jim Henson

Jim Henson was a puppeteer who is best known for creating the Muppets. A native of Mississippi, USA he was also a film maker, artist and inventor. Henson, who began creating his puppets whilst in college, was the recipient of several awards.

James Maury Henson was born Greenville, Mississippi in 1936. He grew up in Hyattsville, Maryland. He studied at the University of Maryland and graduated with a degree in home economics in 1960. During his time as a student Henson, having created characters like Kermit the Frog, founded the Muppets Inc. in 1958.

In 1969 Jim Henson began working on the children’s show Sesame Street. The Muppet show which he created in 1976 gained an international audience. It led to the production of films such as The Muppet Movie in 1979 and The Muppets Take Manhattan in 1984. Jim Henson died at the age of 53 on May 16th 1990. He received several awards for his work including three Emmy Awards and three Grammy Awards. He was nominated for an Oscar in 1966 for his movie Time Piece.

Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, was born in the year 1936 On This Day.

Jim Henson by Alan Light on 1989-09-01 00:00:00

Muppets Mural

18 September-Big Tom

Big Tom was an award winning country singer, musician and songwriter who was a native of Co Monaghan, Ireland. He became famous as the frontman of the showband, Big Tom and The Mainliners. Big Tom’s career spanned over five decades and he was inducted into the Irish Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Big Tom was born Thomas McBride near Castleblayney, Co Monaghan in 1936. Having worked in England for a time he returned to Ireland in 1965. With six other locals he established The Mainliners and began playing in venues around Ireland. He had his first hit with ‘Gentle Mother’ in 1966. It became one of the best-selling records in Ireland of all time. Big Tom had several other successful recordings including ‘Old Log Cabin For Sale’, ‘Broken Marriage Vows’, ‘The Sunset Years Of Life’ and ‘Back To Castleblayney’.

Big Tom, award winning Irish country singer, musician and songwriter was born in the year 1936 On This Day.

File:Portrait of Singer Big Tom (Nov 2004).jpg

Big Tom (Tom McBride)



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





09 October-Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam is located on the Colorado River about 50km (30 miles) southeast of Las Vegas Nevada. When it was completed in 1935 it became the largest hydroelectric station in the world. Until then the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme in Ireland was the largest. The Hoover dam was called the Boulder Dam at first. The name was changed to the Hoover Dam in 1947.

Construction on the Hoover Dam began on September 17th 1930. It was completed more than two years ahead of schedule. Both the Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme and the Hoover dam continue to supply electricity in their respective countries. The Shannon Hydroelectric Scheme supplies 2% of Ireland’s power. The Hoover Dam supplies electricity to California, Nevada and Arizona.

The Hoover Dam generators began to generate electricity from the Colorado River and transmit it 266 miles to Los Angeles for the first time in the year 1936 On This Day.

Hoover Dam



19 September-Martin Fay of The Chieftains

Martin Fay was a musician who was a native of Dublin. A fiddle player, he was one of the founders of the traditional Irish band, the Chieftains. The Chieftains helped popularise Irish music across the world. Their genres include Traditional Irish, Irish folk and Celtic.

Martin Joseph Fay was born in Cabra, Dublin in 1936. He trained as a classical musician and played the violin the orchestra of the Abbey Theatre. In 1963, with Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy Martin Fay founded the Chieftains. He remained a member of the band until his retirement in 2002.

Martin Fay, musician and founding member of the Irish band, the Chieftains, was born in Dublin in the year 1936 On This Day.

The Chieftains 13 Nov 2005 UCH 1