On This Day
1582 – Adoption of the Gregorian calendar begins, eventually leading to near-universal adoption.
The adoption of the Gregorian Calendar was an event in the modern history of most nations and societies, marking a change from their traditional (or old style) dating system to the modern (or new style) dating system that is widely used around the world today. Some countries adopted the new calendar from 1582, some did not do so before the early twentieth century, and others did so at various dates between; however a number continue to use a different civil calendar. For many the new style calendar is only used for civil purposes and the old style calendar remains used in religious contexts. Today, the Gregorian calendar is the world’s most widely used civil calendar. During – and for some time after – the change between systems, it has been common to use the terms Old Style and New Style when giving dates, to indicate which calendar was used to reckon them.
The Gregorian calendar was decreed in 1582 by the papal bull Inter gravissimas by Pope Gregory XIII, to correct the erroneous assumption in the then-current Julian calendar that a year lasts 365.25 days, when in reality it is about 365.2422 days. Although Gregory’s reform was enacted in the most solemn of forms available to the Church, the bull had no authority beyond the Catholic Church and the Papal States. The changes he was proposing were changes to the civil calendar, over which he had no formal authority. They required adoption by the civil authorities in each country to have legal effect.
The bull became the canon law of the Catholic Church in 1582, but it was not recognised by Protestant churches, Eastern Orthodox Churches, and a few others. Consequently, the days on which Easter and related holidays were celebrated by different Christian churches diverged.
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Born On This Day
1906 – Alicia Patterson, American journalist and publisher, co-founded Newsday (d. 1963)
Alicia Patterson (October 15, 1906 – July 2, 1963) was the founder and editor of Newsday, which became a respected and Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper. With Neysa McMein, she created the Deathless Deer comic strip in 1943.
Alicia was the middle daughter of Alice (née Higinbotham) and Joseph Medill Patterson, the founder of the New York Daily News, and the great-granddaughter of Joseph Medill, owner of the Chicago Tribune.[a] Her mother’s father was Harlow Higinbotham, partner of Marshall Field’s Department Store in Chicago. Patterson’s sisters were Elinor (1904–1984) and Josephine (1913–1963).
The family lived on a farm in Libertyville, Illinois in her earliest years, during a period when her father eschewed capitalism. He returned to the publishing world in 1910, as editor of the Chicago Tribune. He sent Patterson to Germany to live with a family and learn German when she was four years old. During her childhood, Patterson was raised by her father as if she were his son. He taught her daring sports, like high diving and jumping while horseback riding, to test her courage.
Patterson attended the Francis Parker School and University School for Girls in Chicago. She was then sent to finishing schools in Maryland and Lausanne, Switzerland, from which she was expelled for violating the rules. She attended the Foxcroft School in Virginia, where she finished second in her class, and was then sent to a school in Rome where she was expelled for behavior issues.
At age 19 years, she had her coming-out party in Chicago, after having spent a year in Europe with her mother and sister.
Her half-brother, James J. Patterson (1922–1992), was the son of Joseph Patterson and Mary King (1885–1975), who married in 1938, the same year James’ and Alice’s divorce was finalized.
Patterson married James Simpson, Jr., the son of Marshall Field’s chairman of the board, according to her father’s bidding. The couple lived together only one year and were divorced in 1930. During that period, she learned how to fly a plane with her father and hunted game in Indochina.. In 1931 she married Joseph W. Brooks and was divorced in 1939.
In 1939, she married her third husband, Harry Guggenheim, who had been a United States ambassador to Cuba. Guggenheim was on active duty for the military during World War II, during which time Patterson ran Newsday. When Guggenheim returned, he ran the administrative aspects of the business.
She worked in the promotion department of her father’s Daily News in 1927, before being assigned as a reporter. She socialized with other young reporters at speakeasies and misspelled the names of the parties involved in a high-profile divorce case, for which the newspaper was sued for libel. She returned to Chicago after she was fired, then married Harry Frank Guggenheim, who was Jewish.
Patterson also had a career in comics, creating the character Deathless Deer with Neysa McMein. It ran in the Boston Herald and the Chicago Tribune in 1943.
Harry Guggenheim used a portion of the Guggenheim family’s fortune to help his wife purchase a newspaper in Hempstead and found Newsday in 1940. Guggenheim awarded 49% of the paper’s stock to his wife, and retained 51% for himself. Newsday’s use of investigative journalism, “lively style”, and coverage of liberal and international politics led it to become a respected newspaper. In 1954, it won the Pulitzer Prize and became the country’s largest suburban magazine. Patterson used the paper as a vehicle to create an identity for Long Island.
Alicia Patterson died aged 56, of complications following stomach surgery for an ulcer, on July 2, 1963. Her ashes are interred at her hunting lodge in Kingsland, Georgia.
John Steinbeck, Patterson’s friend since 1956, wrote a series of articles in the form of “Letters to Alicia” for Newsday following her death. In them he expressed his controversial views, such as his support for President Lyndon B. Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War and his perception of moral decline within the United States. The series was written at the request of Harry Guggenheim, who became the editor of the newspaper following Patterson’s death, with Patterson’s nephew, Joseph Medill Patterson Albright, working as his assistant editor.[b]
She was memorialized by Joan Miró’s mural, Alicia, at the Guggenheim Museum, proposed by Harry F. Guggenheim, who was then president of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
The Alicia Patterson Foundation, created in accordance with her will, presents an annual prize to mid-career journalists.
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