August 12: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
ON THIS DAY IN 1923, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “EBERBACH, BADEN, AUG. 11 (AP) — Grover Bergdoll last night for a second time escaped from an attempt to kidnap him and spirit him across the border into occupied territory for delivery to American authorities for trial and punishment. Bergdoll himself was badly injured, being beaten over the head with a rubber billy while his assailants were trying to stun and carry him off. One of his assailants was killed and another seriously wounded, while a third, together with an American officer giving the name of First Lt. G.H. Griffith, and an American chauffeur, Victor Neilsen, were captured and barely escaped lynching at the hands of the enraged friends and sympathizers with Bergdoll. The attempt was made late last night in the dark corridor of the Hotel Post und Krone, belonging to Bergdoll’s cousin, while Bergdoll was going to his room about 11 o’clock … Bergdoll and his brother Erwin were the most notorious draft evaders in the country during the World War. Erwin served a sentence at Leavenworth and only recently was released to return to the home of his wealthy mother, Mrs. Emma Bergdoll, in Philadelphia. Grover made several attempts to escape the custody of Federal authorities. At last, while he was on leave at his mother’s home in custody of soldiers, he made good his escape.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1926, the Eagle reported, “Though members of the Board of Education, vacation-bound, were not in sufficient force yesterday to provide a quorum for the regular slated meeting, nevertheless, it was learned that among educational officials the enrollment shift in the elementary schools of Brooklyn and Queens is arousing some concern. The sudden growth of enrollment in Queens and the changes at different levels of Brooklyn’s educational system became noticeable in the statistical report recently submitted to the Board of Education by Superintendent of Schools William J. O’Shea. In the first place, where the average daily register in the regular grades of the elementary schools, exclusive of the junior high schools, was showing a drop in Manhattan for the month ending June 30 over the same month last year of more than 18,000, Brooklyn’s register stood still and Queens’ leaped forward by more than 4,000 pupils. Two factors are responsible for this change, according to education officials, the restriction of immigration being one. This has resulted in fewer children entering the lower grades of the elementary schools. But how to account for Brooklyn maintaining an average daily register increase of 156 out of a total of 298,247 and Queens showing an increase of 4,339 out of a total daily average of 95,714? Acting Superintendent of Schools Harold G. Campbell laid this condition to the unusual exodus of families from the boro of Manhattan to Brooklyn and Queens. This explanation, combined with the decrease caused by restriction of immigration, would tend to clear up Manhattan’s big loss, Brooklyn’s stationary position and Queens’ unexpected gain in elementary school enrollment.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1934, the Eagle reported, “VATICAN CITY — The Vatican, which inspired and guided the recent international crusade against alleged abuses of the motion picture screen, is particularly well pleased with the results in the United States, attributed to the concerted action of its cardinals. The board of strategy to which these operations had been entrusted will now proceed to develop the second and positive part of its program for a complete reform of the films. It is proposed to create a chain of motion picture theaters which will specialize in films coming up to the standards of the ecclesiastic authorities. These films are to be supplied by groups of producers who pledge themselves to meet the moral requirements of the Roman Catholic Church. The full moral and material support of the Catholic Action and its kindred organizations throughout the world will be assured to these reformed theaters and studios with a view of making these enterprises self-sustaining and eventually profitable.”
ON THIS DAY IN 1939, the Eagle reported, “A weekend truce in the jurisdictional battle between actors and stagehands prevailed today as all sides awaited the decision of the board appointed by the American Federation of Labor’s executive council to unscramble the theatrical union dispute. Action was deferred until Monday, when the executive group will resume its meetings in Atlantic City. While both sides marked time pending a decision as to whether stagehands have a right to take actors into their union, which they have done and thus provoked a fight with the actors’ union, informal conferences were planned for tonight and tomorrow between the various groups. Meantime, the scene of the controversy moved to New York City. Ralph Morgan, president of the Screen Actors Guild, accompanied by members of that group including Mischa Auer, Jean Muir, Binnie Barnes, Wayne Morris, Edward Arnold and Miriam Hopkins, arrived in New York last night en route to Hollywood where a mass meeting is planned for tomorrow evening. ‘The only thing I’ll tell our people Sunday night is to get ready to go into the front line trenches if necessary,’ Morgan announced. He said the actors had been generous in letting the AFL council withhold its verdict until next week because he had considered the possibility of calling for a strike vote at the Hollywood mass meeting in the event of an adverse decision.”
NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include “Love at First Bite” star George Hamilton, who was born in 1939; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), who was born in 1949; “Supernatural” star Jim Beaver, who was born in 1950; jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny, who was born in 1954; “Thirteen Days” star Bruce Greenwood, who was born in 1956; rapper and producer Sir Mix-a-Lot, who was born in 1963; “Parenthood” star Peter Krause, who was born in 1965; International Tennis Hall of Famer Pete Sampras, who was born in 1971; N.Y. Giants Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress, who was born in 1977; “Psych” star Maggie Lawson, who was born in 1980; “Face/Off” star Dominique Swain, who was born in 1980; and “Paper Towns” star Cara Delevingne, who was born in 1992.
Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.
“When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”
— author and educator Edith Hamilton, who was born on this day in 1867
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