January 23 in History

By October 1847, Elizabeth Blackwell (above) was 26 and had been studying medicine privately for a couple of years. She applied to medical schools and she was rejected by each one.

Hobart College (then called Geneva Medical College) in Geneva, New York, received her application and created its own standard to use in the decision to accept or deny her for matriculation: the administration put her cause up for a vote among the student body of 150 male students.

If even one student rejected her, against the votes of the 149 others, she would be rejected. The student body came through: the 150 voted unanimously to accept her as a fellow student, and on this date in 1849, Blackwell graduated with her class.

Blackwell was the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. She practiced medicine in America and in Europe in the 1850s and ’60s.

* * * *
The first of two photographs that led to Clyde Tombaugh’s discovery of the dwarf planet Pluto was taken on this date in 1930. The next was taken six nights later, and when he looked at the two photos he saw that one dot out of many dots had moved in those six nights.

Pluto was not in fact the ninth planet, it was the first member of the Kuiper Belt to be discovered; we now know that there are several other objects almost as large as Pluto orbiting the sun at distances between 30 AU and 50 AU from the Sun. (One AU is the earth’s distance from the Sun: 93 million miles.)

Tombaugh died in 1997, and the New Horizons probe, which visited Pluto in 2015, carries some of his ashes on board.

* * * *
The first episode of Roots, a miniseries based on Alex Haley’s novel of the same name, aired on ABC 40 years ago tonight.

* * * *
Toots Shor died on this date in 1977. Samuel Barber died on this date in 1981. Salvador Dalí died on this date in 1989. Northrop Frye died in 1991 on this date. Nell Carter died 14 years ago today. Bob Keeshan died on this date in 2004. Johnny Carson died on this date in 2005. E. Howard Hunt died ten years ago on this date. Ryszard Kapuściński died on this date ten years ago. Jack LaLanne died six years ago today. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died two years ago today.

* * * *
Django Reinhardt was born on this date in 1910 Reinhardt at work:

Ernie Kovacs was born on this date in 1919.

* * * *
Jeanne Moreau is 89 today. Sir Derek Walcott is 87 today. Chita Rivera is 84 today. Rutger Hauer is 73. Senator Tom Carper is 70. Robin Zander is 64. Mariska Hargitay is 53 today. Tiffani Thiessen is 43.

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  1. loisajay · January 23, 2017

    Sad when I know more of the people who died on this date than who were born…..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sandmanjazz · January 24, 2017

    Hi, I’ve nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger award. https://sandmanjazz.wordpress.com/2017/01/24/the-sunshine-blogger-award/
    Hope you enjoy the challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

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