Today in History: June 21

Today is the first full day of summer. The summer solstice came last evening at 6:34 p.m. EDT.

* * * *
It took two ratifying conventions for New Hampshire to accept the United States Constitution, one in February and one in June, but on this date in 1788, by a vote of 57–47, New Hampshire ratified the Constitution. With New Hampshire, nine of the 13 states had ratified the document as the law of the new land, which set in motion the process of forming the new nation’s federal government.

* * * *
John Lee Hooker died 15 years ago today.

The great bluesman said he was born in 1917, but he also offered some other years when pressed; sometimes he claimed he was younger than was likely true, and sometimes he only added or subtracted a year in either direction. His grave says 1917, and it also offers his title: “King of the Boogie.”

Researchers have found that his name appears in the 1920 U.S. Census and that his parents reported him that year as seven years of age. Thus, when he died, he was anywhere from 80 to 88 years of age, which seems appropriate: He always appeared older than possible, like he was a visitor from another century sent here to check up on us all and eventually report back to wherever the crossroads really sits. Not knowing his age simply makes his timeless blues truly timeless.

In 1992, Sir Van Morrison paid John Lee Hooker a visit:

* * * *
Carroll O’Connor died 15 years ago today.

* * * *
Reinhold Niebuhr, author of the “Serenity Prayer,” was born on this date in 1892. Al Hirschfeld was born in 1903 on this date. Jean-Paul Sartre was born on this date in 1905. Mary McCarthy was born on this date in 1912. Jane Russell was born on this date in 1921. Judy Holliday was also born on this date in 1921. Maureen Stapleton was born on this date in 1925. Françoise Sagan was born on this date in 1935. Benazir Bhutto was born 63 years ago today.

* * * *
Bernie Kopell is 83. Mariette Hartley is 76. Joe Flaherty is 75. Ray Davies is 72. “Family Ties” alert: both Meredith Baxter and Michael Gross are 69 today. Ian McEwan is 68. Anne Carson is 66. Nils Lofgren is 65. Berkeley Breathed is 59. Jim Breuer is 49 today. Juliette Lewis is 43. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge is 34. Edward Snowden is 33.

Follow The Gad About Town on Facebook! Subscribe today for daily facts (well, trivia) about literature and history, plus links to other writers on Facebook.

Follow The Gad About Town on Instagram!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. lifelessons · June 21, 2016

    Love “Baby Please Don’t Go!” Thanks, Mark.


  2. tnkerr · June 21, 2016

    John Lee Hooker – One of my favourite bluesmen.


Please comment here. Thank you, Mark.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.