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February 14: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

February 14, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1846, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “Everybody knows and therefore need not be informed that this is the day appointed for billing, cooing, and billet-doux-ing, generally denominated as St. Valentine’s Day. It is about the most pleasant carnival of the year, and fraught with darts and smarts and twittering hearts. Postmen are scouring the streets like locomotives, to deliver the great conglomeration of missives with which the post office is crowded. The postmaster of this city has put on eight extra hands to accomplish this momentous and pithy business.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1861, the Eagle reported, “Yesterday it was officially announced that Abraham Lincoln has been elected President of the United States for four years from the 4th of March next. This was pretty generally expected throughout the country; our own mind was pretty well satisfied of the fact by reading an ‘extra’ in the grey twilight of a cool and crisp morning about the 7th of November last. There were rumors in the party papers of all sorts of plots to prevent the counting of the electoral vote, but the event proved they were altogether groundless. The ceremony was performed in the usual way, and no improper manifestations were indulged in.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1949, the Eagle reported, “ROME (U.P.) — Pope Pius XII told an extraordinary secret consistory of cardinals today that Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary had been forced to make a confession and called his trial ‘artificial and captious.’ The Pontiff told the assembled princes of the Church that ‘the principal aim of the entire (Cardinal Mindszenty) sentence was that of upsetting the Catholic Church in Hungary.’ Cardinal Mindszenty was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of treason by a Peoples Court in Budapest after a three-day trial. Six co-defendants also were found guilty and sentenced to prison. ‘However, in spite of the insufficiency and the lack of security of information, we cannot omit mentioning the opinion which the civilized world has given about this judgment,’ the Pope said. ‘Above all, about the excessive and suspect rapidity of the procedure, the artificial and captious construction of the accusations, the physical condition of the Cardinal — which is inexplainable without unspeakable influences — the condition which suddenly made of a man who until then was exceptionally energetic by nature and by conduct of life, a being that was weak of action, appeared to be an accusation not against the accused but against those who accused and condemned him. In particular we believe it is our duty to declare that that which was stated during the trial is absolutely without truth.’ He said the trial in Budapest used Cardinal Mindszenty as a means of attacking the Vatican by charging it with directing the Hungarian people to oppose the Communist government.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Brooklyn Heights Press reported, “Speaking before an audience of one thousand persons here Sunday, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. predicted a ‘new age’ for the ‘American Dream,’ an age which he said would be pervaded by racial equality, equal opportunity and an aesthetic, Platonic love among mankind. The Negro integrationist leader stated that this dream, with ‘its amazing universalism,’ still remains unfulfilled. Its fulfillment, he declared, depends on the uprooting of racial segregation, the abnegation of the belief that one race is superior to another, and an ‘action program’ of legislation, court orders and executive orders on civil rights. Whatever action is to be taken must be within the framework of non-violence, Dr. King stressed. Dr. King spoke at Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims here, as part of ceremonies commemorating the church’s designation as a National Historic Landmark by the Department of the Interior. The title of his address was ‘The Continuing Struggle for Human Freedom.’ Speaking in the 116-year-old church where Henry Ward Beecher, Plymouth’s first minister, once auctioned to freedom a Negro slave girl, Dr. King spellbound a large part of the near-capacity audience with his deliberate, sonorous delivery, and received a standing ovation at the end of his 40-minute talk.”

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Renee Fleming
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Mike Bloomberg
Mike Groll/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, who was born in 1941; former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who was born in 1942; “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” actor Andrew Robinson, who was born in 1942; journalist Carl Bernstein, who was born in 1944; sportscaster Pat O’Brien, who was born in 1948; magician Teller, who was born in 1948; motivational speaker and former baseball player Dave Dravecky, who was born in 1956; opera star Renee Fleming, who was born in 1959; Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, who was born in 1960; “Just Shoot Me!” star Enrico Colantoni, who was born in 1963; “Shaun of the Dead” star Simon Pegg, who was born in 1970; former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who was born in 1972; Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas, who was born in 1972; and “The Good Doctor” star Freddie Highmore, who was born in 1992.

Jim Kelly
Winslow Townson/AP

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THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. was born on this day in 1859. In response to a challenge to American engineers to create a monument that would dwarf the new Eiffel Tower, he built the Ferris Wheel for the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. When the exposition opened, 38,000 people a day had their ups and downs. Ferris died in 1896.

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YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE: James Bond died on this day in 1989. The noted ornithologist wrote the influential “Birds of the West Indies” in 1936. In 1953, while searching for a name for the protagonist of his novel “Casino Royale,” author Ian Fleming, who enjoyed birdwatching, chose the name Bond … James Bond.

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

 

Quotable:

“No place epitomizes the American experience and the American spirit more than New York City.”

— former Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who was born on this day in 1942


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