1586 – Said by some to be the date that Thomas Harriot first introduced the Potato to Europe.
1655 – Cyrano de Bergerac died. French dramatist and duelist. He is now best remembered for the works of fiction which have been woven, often very loosely, around his life story, most notably the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand. In these fictional works he is featured with an overly large nose, which people would travel from miles around to see. Portraits suggest that he did have a big nose, though not nearly as large as described in Rostand’s play and the subsequent works about him.
1844 – Gerard Manley Hopkins born. English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest, whose posthumous fame established him among the leading Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.
1887 – Marcel Duchamp born. French artist whose work is most often associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. Considered by some to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century, his output influenced the development of post-World War I Western art.
1932 – U.S. President Herbert Hoover ordered the United States Army to forcibly evict the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans gathered in Washington, D.C.
The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand immediate cash-payment redemption of their service certificates. Its organizers called it the Bonus Expeditionary Force to echo the name of World War I’s American Expeditionary Force, while the media called it the Bonus March. It was led by Walter W. Waters, a former Army sergeant.
Many of the war veterans had been out of work since the beginning of the Great Depression. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 had awarded them bonuses in the form of certificates they could not redeem until 1945.
1945 – A U.S. Army B-25 bomber crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building, New York, killing 14 and injuring 26.