December 10: ON THIS DAY in 1945, General Patton paralyzed by injuries suffered in crash
ON THIS DAY IN 1945, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Heidelberg, Dec. 10 (U.P.) — Gen. George S. Patton lay in serious condition with a spinal injury and head wounds today in a hospital room guarded by white-helmeted military police while his wife and a famous nerve surgeon rushed to his bedside by plane from the United States. Gen. Patton has suffered a fractured neck vertebra and is completely paralyzed below the third cervical vertebra, an army medical bulletin revealed today. (The third cervical vertebra is approximately at the shoulder.) The bulletin said diagnosis made at 5 p.m. Sunday, about six hours after Patton was injured when an army truck hit his car near Mannheim, also found a ‘posterior dislocation of the fourth cervical.’ The seven cervical vertebrae form the top part of the spinal column … Doctors and nurses have been warned not to speak to newspapermen concerning Patton and the hospital grounds are closed to the press. Inside, American soldiers talk freely about Patton, saying he is in bad shape.”
EMILY DICKINSON WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1830. One of America’s greatest poets, Dickinson was reclusive, mysterious and frail in health. Seven of her poems were published during her life, but after her death in 1886, her sister Lavinia discovered almost 2,000 more poems written on the backs of envelopes and other scraps of paper locked in her bureau. They were published gradually, over 50 years, beginning in 1890. Dickinson now is recognized as one of the most original poets of the English-speaking world.
ON THIS DAY IN 1880, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Experiments made in the West, where the telephone came earlier into general use than in this part of the country, have demonstrated the possibility of extending telephonic communication between points far more widely separated than the public has any idea of. Chicago and Milwaukee, about the same distance apart as New York and Philadelphia, have for some time been connected. From St. Louis recently a single line to Omaha, a distance of over 400 miles, was sufficient to make communication fairly intelligible, and the success of the experiment was encouraging to the belief that with further improvements the limit can be indefinitely extended. A company is in the process of incorporation in New York to talk up the subject of remote telephoning, and connect New York with all the principal cities of the state … A series of lines will connect New York with the river towns, those of Long Island, and radiate to the Canadian frontier. This information, which five years ago would have seemed incredible, now causes no wonder.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1897, the Eagle reported, “The city officials are now making arrangements for the proper observance of the actual consolidation of Brooklyn and New York. Whether the exercises will take the form of a wake or a celebration has not as yet been decided. It is likely also that this point will not be definitely determined, for it seems to be the desire of the mayor and the other officials to simply and fitly observe the formal passing away of the old city into the new and not to give any vent to their feelings regarding the birth of the greater city.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1906, the Eagle reported, “Christiania, Norway, Dec. 10 — The Norwegian Parliament today conferred the Nobel Peace Prize upon President [Theodore] Roosevelt … The American minister, Mr. [Herbert] Peirce, in an eloquent speech, thanked Parliament in the president’s name. He said that words were inadequate to express the deep emotion which he experienced at receiving this distinguished testimonial in behalf of the president, who recently cabled that he regarded this prize as one of the greatest honors which any man in any position throughout the world could receive. The award, Mr. Peirce added, would deeply appeal to the hearts of the American people. Mr. Peirce then read a message from President Roosevelt expressing his deep thanks and saying there was no gift he could appreciate more.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1928, the Eagle’s “Cinema Circuit” column stated, “Since nearly always there is to be found a little good even in the worst picture, the saving grace of ‘Three Week Ends’ manifests itself in the occasionally clever direction of Clarence Badger. But even Mr. Badger’s shrewder touches go for nothing in the face of this amazingly stupid story. The best performances are given by Harrison Ford as the lascivious bachelor and by Jack Raymond in the role of the former’s secretary. These exhibitions were worthy of a far better vehicle than ‘Three Week Ends.’”