Today's History Trivia for May 11
1659 Christmas Is Illegal Celebration of the Christmas holiday is made illegal in Massachusetts. The Puritans associated such celebrations with paganism and idolatry. Violators were fined. This remained in effect until 1681.
1992 Obsessed David Letterman fan Margaret Ray is arrested for the 7th time after trespassing on Letterman's property. She had previously been arrested for breaking into his home, sleeping in his bedroom, and stealing his Porsche.
1992 First woman to head an FBI field office Burdena Pasenelli is selected to head the field office in Anchorage, Alaska.
1930 First U.S. planetarium The Adler Planetarium and Astronomical Museum of Chicago opens.
1892 Youngest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby 15-year-old Alonzo "Lonnie" Clayton rides Azra to victory. Source: The Great Black Jockeys
1862 Civil War The Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia (formerly the Merrimac) is blown up by her commander to prevent capture by Union forces.
1858 Minnesota becomes the 32nd state.
1682 Religious Freedom Massachusetts repeals its law requiring capital punishment for Quakers reentering the territory after banishment.
Today's Birthdays for May 11
1993 Andrew Gobea American medical first. He was the first newborn to receive gene therapy. His genes were altered to correct ADA enzyme deficiency - an inherited condition known as "bubble boy" disease. Hopefully, he will be able to avoid the current standard treatment of regular injections of white blood cells, costing over $100,000 a year.
1811 Chang and Eng Bunker d. 1874 Siamese-born American twins joined at the chest. They are they source of the term "Siamese Twins." They toured Europe and the U.S., eventually settling in North Carolina where they married two sisters, who bore them 22 children. "Chang" and "Eng" is Thai for "Left" and "Right." Source: Guinness Book of World Records
1946 Robert Jarvik American surgeon. He performed the first successful implant of a permanent artificial heart (1982) into Dr. Barney Clark.
1935 Doug McClure d. 1995 American actor. TV: The Virginian (Trampas).
1927 Mort Sahl Canadian-born American comedian, specializing in political and social satire.
1920 Denver Pyle d. 1997 American actor. TV: The Dukes of Hazzard (Uncle Jesse) and The Doris Day Show (1968-70, Buck Webb - Doris Day's Father).
1912 Foster Brooks d. 2001 comic, "The Lovable Lush." TV: The drunk on Dean Martin's celebrity roasts. Quote: "I never drew a sober breath from Friday night to Monday. Eight years ago, I quit. Fellow made me a $10 bet I couldn't quit, and I haven't had a drink since. At the time I needed the $10." -Interview with the Los Angeles Times in 1972.
1911 Phil Silvers d. 1985 (Philip Silversmith), American Emmy-winning comic actor. The "The King of Chutzpah". Film: Top Bananna (1954) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966). TV: The Phil Silvers Show (Sgt. Bilko, Emmy).
1906 Jacqueline Cochran d. 1980 (Bessie Lee Pittman), American aviator. She was the first civilian awarded the U.S. Distinguished Service Medal, the first woman to break the sound barrier (1953), and the first woman to break Mach 2 (1960), the first woman to pilot a bomber across the North Atlantic (1941), the first woman inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame, the first pilot to make an instrument landing, the first woman President of the Federation Aeronautique lnt'l (58-61), and the first pilot to fly above 20,000 feet with an oxygen mask. She was the first woman to compete in the famous Bendix Trophy Transcontinental Race across the U.S. (1934) and was the first woman to win it (1938). The Associated Press named her "Woman of the Year in Business" for her cosmetics business (1953, 1954). Source Jackie Cochran: An Autobiography
1904 Salvador Dali d. 1989 Spanish artist, The Persistence of Memory (1931).
1888 Irving Berlin d. 1989 (Israel Bayline), songwriter. Music: God Bless America, and White Christmas. Recordings of White Christmas have sold over 100,000,000 copies.
1884 Alma Gluck d. 1938 Romanian-born American singer. Music: Carry Me Back to Old Virginny (1915); the first single recording to sell 1,000,000 copies.
1852 Charles Warren Fairbanks d. 1918 26th U.S. Vice-President (1905-09).
1752 Johann Friedrich Blumenbach d. 1840 German naturalist and physiologist. He originated the science of natural anthropology and proposed the division of humans into the five species: Caucasian, Mongolian, Malay, American, and African/Ethiopian.
Deaths for May 11
2006 Frankie Thomas b. 1921 American actor. TV: Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (title role) (1950).
2006 Floyd Patterson b. 1935 American heavyweight boxing champion (1956-59, 1960-62). He was the youngest boxer to win the world heavyweight title (21 years old) and the to regain the title.
2001 Douglas Adams b. 1952 British author, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1980).
1993 Leigh Wiener b. 1929 American photographer, his work appears in the National Portrait Gallery. He is the only person to have photographed Marilyn Monroe living, at the scene of her death, and at the morgue. He died from radiation poisoning received while photographing atomic tests for Life magazine.
1979 Lester Raymond Flatt b. 1914 American bluegrass singer, with Earl Scruggs, Foggy Mountain Breakdown (1948), and the themes for The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction.
1973 Lex Barker b. 1919 (Alexander Crichlow Barker), American actor. Film: played Tarzan in five of the movies between 1949 and 1953.
1923 Henry Martyn Robert b. 1837 American army engineer and author of Robert's Rules of Order (1876).
1831 John Trumbull b. 1750 American poet. He was a political satirist during the American Revolution, with his epic satirical piece M'Fingal.
1814 Robert Treat Paine b. 1731 American politician, signer of the Declaration of Independence.