Jan 23 2011

On This Day in History January 23

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 23 is the 23rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 342 days remaining until the end of the year (343 in leap years).

On this day in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell is granted a medical degree from Geneva College in New York, becoming the first female to be officially recognized as a physician in U.S. history.

Blackwell, born in Bristol, England, came to the United States in her youth and attended the medical faculty of Geneva College, now known as Hobart College. In 1849, she graduated with the highest grades in her class and was granted an M.D.

Banned from practice in most hospitals, she was advised to go to Paris, France and train at La Maternite, but had to continue her training as a student midwife, not a physician. While she was there, her training was cut short when in November, 1849 she caught a serious right eye infection, purulent ophthalmia, from a baby she was treating. She had to have her right eye removed and replaced with a glass eye. This loss brought to an end her hopes to become a surgeon.

In 1853 Blackwell along with her sister Emily and Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, founded their own infirmary, the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, in a single room dispensary near Tompkins Square in Manhattan. During the American Civil War, Blackwell trained many women to be nurses and sent them to the Union Army. Many women were interested and received training at this time. After the war, Blackwell had time, in 1868, to establish a Women’s Medical College at the Infirmary to train women, physicians, and doctors.

In 1857, Blackwell returned to England where she attended Bedford College for Women for one year. In 1858, under a clause in the 1858 Medical Act that recognized doctors with foreign degrees practising in Britain before 1858, she was able to become the first woman to have her name entered on the General Medical Council’s medical register (1 January 1859).

In 1869, she left her sister Emily in charge of the college and returned to England. There, with Florence Nightingale, she opened the Women’s Medical College. Blackwell taught at London School of Medicine for Women, which she had co-founded, and accepted a chair in gynecology. She retired a year later.

During her retirement, Blackwell still maintained her interest in the women’s rights movement by writing lectures on the importance of education. Blackwell is credited with opening the first training school for nurses in the United States in 1873. She also published books about diseases and proper hygiene.

She was an early outspoken opponent of circumcision and in 1894 said that “Parents, should be warned that this ugly mutilation of their children involves serious danger, both to their physical and moral health.” She was a proponent of women’s rights and pro-life.

 393 – Roman Emperor Theodosius I proclaims his nine year old son Honorius co-emperor.

971 – In China, the war elephant corps of the Southern Han are soundly defeated at Shao by crossbow fire from Song Dynasty troops.

1368 – In a coronation ceremony, Zhu Yuanzhang ascends to the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming Dynasty rule over China that would last for three centuries.

1510 – Henry VIII of England, then 18 years old, appears incognito in the lists at Richmond, and is applauded for his jousting before he reveals his identity.

1533 – Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII of England, discovers herself pregnant.

1546 – Having published nothing for eleven years, Francois Rabelais publishes the Tiers Livre, his sequel to Gargantua and Pantagruel.

1556 – The deadliest earthquake in history, the Shaanxi earthquake, hits Shaanxi province, China. The death toll may have been as high as 830,000.

1570 – James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, regent for the infant King James VI of Scotland, is assassinated by firearm, the first recorded instance of such.

1571 – The Royal Exchange opens in London.

1579 – The Union of Utrecht forms a Protestant republic in the Netherlands.

1656 – Blaise Pascal publishes the first of his Lettres provinciales.

1719 – The Principality of Liechtenstein is created within the Holy Roman Empire.

1789 – Georgetown College, the first Catholic University in the United States, is founded in Georgetown, Maryland (now a part of Washington, D.C.)

1793 – Second Partition of Poland: Russia and Prussia partition Poland for the second time.

1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York, becoming the United States’ first female doctor.

1855 – The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, Minnesota, a crossing made today by the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge.

1870 – In Montana, U.S. cavalrymen kill 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in the Marias Massacre.

1879 – Anglo-Zulu War: the Battle of Rorke’s Drift ends.

1897 – Elva Zona Heaster is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The resulting murder trial of her husband is perhaps the only case in United States history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.

1899 – Emilio Aguinaldo is sworn in as President of the First Philippine Republic.

1900 – The Battle of Spion Kop between the forces of the South African Republic and the Orange Free State and British forces during the Second Boer War resulted in a British defeat.

1907 – Charles Curtis of Kansas becomes the first Native American U.S. Senator.

1912 – The International Opium Convention is signed at The Hague.

1920 – The Netherlands refuses to surrender ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany to the Allies.

1937 – In Moscow, 17 leading Communists go on trial accused of participating in a plot led by Leon Trotsky to overthrow Joseph Stalin’s regime and assassinate its leaders.

1941 – Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.

1943 – World War II: Troops of Montgomery’s 8th Army capture Tripoli in Libya from the German-Italian Panzer Army.

1943 – World War II: Australian and American forces finally defeat the Japanese army in Papua. This turning point in the Pacific War marks the beginning of the end of Japanese aggression.

1943 – Duke Ellington plays at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the first time.

1943 – World War II: The Battle of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse on Guadalcanal during the Guadalcanal campaign ends.

1945 – World War II: Karl Donitz launches Operation Hannibal.

1950 – The Knesset passes a resolution that states Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

1958 – Overthrow in Venezuela of Marcos Perez Jimenez

1960 – The bathyscaphe USS Trieste breaks a depth record by descending to 10,911 m (35,798 feet) in the Pacific Ocean.

1963 – Guinea-Bissau War of Independence offially begins when PAIGC guerrilla fighters attacked the Portuguese army stationed in Tite.

1964 – The 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the use of poll taxes in national elections, is ratified.

1967 – Diplomatic relations between the Soviet Union and Ivory Coast are established.

1968 – North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo (AGER-2), claiming the ship had violated their territorial waters while spying.

1973 – President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam.

1973 – A volcanic eruption devastates Heimaey in the Vestmannaeyjar chain of islands off the south coast of Iceland.

1986 – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.

1997 – Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.

2002 – “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh returns to the United States in FBI custody.

2002 – Reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan and is subsequently murdered.

Holidays and observances

   * Bounty Day, celebrate the burning of the Bounty in 1790 (Pitcairn Island)

   * Christian Feast Day:

         o Abakuh

         o Blessed Marianne of Molokai

         o Emerentiana

         o January 23 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)



  1. TMC

    The Jewish Buddha says:

    Be aware of your body.

    Be aware of your perceptions.

    Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.

  2. RiaD

    did y’all see about jane hamsher & bradley manning?


  3. TMC

    I was following Jane on Twitter as it was happening. Truly Kafkaesque. I fell like I’m living in Soviet Russia

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