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March 26: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

March 26, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1911, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “More than 150 persons, according to the estimate at an early hour this morning — nine-tenths of them girls from the East Side — were crushed to death on the pavements, smothered in smoke, or shriveled crisp yesterday afternoon in the worst fire New York has known since the steamship General Slocum was burned to the water’s edge off North Brother’s Island in 1904. Nearly all, if not all, of the victims were employed by the Triangle Shirtwaist Company on the eighth, ninth and tenth floors of a ten-story loft building at 23 Washington place, on the western fringe of the downtown wholesale clothing, fur and millinery district. The partners of the firm, Isaac Harris and Max Blanck, escaped unscathed from the office on the tenth floor, carrying with them over an adjoining roof Blanck’s two young daughters and a governess. There was not an outside fire escape on the building.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1931, an Eagle editorial said, “The German astronomers reporting the observation of a new asteroid — presumably — in the area of the Constellation Virgo, no doubt know something of the thrill that Keats derived from reading Chapman’s Homer and supposed ‘stout Cortez’ — he should have said Balboa — to have felt on seeing the Pacific. It is a modest edition of the same thrill; the same in kind, for it, too, springs from the sense of having discovered something hidden from others’ view. Everyone who has read proofs must have some slight sense of this elation on detecting a typographical error not previously observed by the printer or the proof reader. And, in fact, the detection of these asteroids corresponds in astronomy to the spotting of misplaced commas and superfluous letters in a printed text. As far as human intelligence can tell, these eccentric bits of matter, the casual asteroids or comets, bear no essential relation to the readable text of the heavenly systems. They are just there. As the astronomer cannot strike them out with the proof reader’s convenient ‘dele,’ he does the next best thing by attaching to them a name and thus making them serve the infinitesimally useful purpose of monuments to the memory of ancient worthies or mythical characters. On the whole, the reader of printed proofs has the better of the game in this respect. To the substantial joy of discovery he can add that of destruction or amendment. The astronomer just has to let the asteroids stay in the text.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1948, the Eagle reported, “WASHINGTON (U.P.) — Air-minded senators threatened today to kick up a row over the treatment given the Air Force in the administration’s $14,000,000,000 defense program. Senators Henry Cabot Lodge (R., Mass.) and William F. Knowland (R., Cal.) were critical of the plan to expand air power only through strengthening of the present 55-group Air Force. And Senator Lister Hill (D., Ala.) said there was a good chance Congress would provide the 70 groups recommended by Air Force officials and the Congressional Air Policy Board. Generally, however, members of Congress reacted in a fairly calm manner to the tough foreign policy talk of administration spokesmen before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday. In urging more billions for defense, the military leaders revealed that foreign submarines — obviously Russian — were operating off American shores. And they spoke openly of Russia as a potential enemy, a practice rare in peacetime.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1954, the Eagle reported, “Audrey Hepburn, petite, 24-year-old winner of the Oscar for being the best movie actress of the year, thinks she may grow up to deserve it — someday. ‘My goal is to be a really good actress,’ she said. Winning the award, she added, ‘is like being given something to wear when you’re small that you can grow into.’ Currently starring in the stage play ‘Ondine,’ she was presented her Oscar at the Center Theater, Manhattan, while in Hollywood, the main bulk of the 26th Academy Awards were being presented at the Pantages Theater … Miss Hepburn won the best actress award for her first picture, ‘Roman Holiday’ … Frank Sinatra, to the shouts and applause of 2,800 celebrities and fans in the Pantages Theater, collected the best supporting actor award for his first serious role, that of a tragic GI in ‘From Here to Eternity.’”

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Steven Tyler
Evan Agostini/AP
Diana Ross
Peter Kramer/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who was born in 1930; Oscar-winning actor Alan Arkin, who was born in 1934; former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was born in 1940; “Fear of Flying” author Erica Jong, who was born in 1942; journalist Bob Woodward, who was born in 1943; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Diana Ross, who was born in 1944; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), who was born in 1948; “Mama’s Family” star Vicki Lawrence, who was born in 1949; “What’s Happening!!” star Ernest Lee Thomas, who was born in 1949; “Three Amigos” star Martin Short, who was born in 1950; Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, who was born in Brooklyn in 1954; Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen, who was born in 1960; “Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli, who was born in 1966; “Road Trip” star Amy Smart, who was born in 1976; and “Atonement” star Keira Knightley, who was born in 1985.

Michael Imperioli
Invision/AP

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SPANNING THE YEARS: Othmar Ammann was born on this day in 1879. The renowned civil engineer and bridge builder was born in Switzerland and emigrated to the U.S. in 1904. His designs included the George Washington, Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone, Verrazzano-Narrows and Bayonne bridges. He also was involved in the planning and construction of the Lincoln Tunnel. He received the National Medal of Science in 1964, the same year the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge opened to traffic. He died in 1965.

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WAR AND REMEMBRANCE: Ground was broken for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on this day in 1982. The memorial, part of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.,  honors those who served in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, those who died and those who are unaccounted for. It was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1982 in a ceremony attended by President Ronald Reagan and tens of thousands of veterans.

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

 

Quotable:

“It takes a long time to get to be a diva. I mean, you gotta work at it.”

— Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Diana Ross, who was born on this day in 1944


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