On This Day
1902 – Willis Carrier creates the first air conditioner in Buffalo, New York.
Willis Haviland Carrier (November 26, 1876 – October 7, 1950) was an American engineer, best known for inventing modern air conditioning. Carrier invented the first electrical air conditioning unit in 1902. In 1915, he founded Carrier Corporation, a company specializing in the manufacture and distribution of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
1872 – The Ballot Act 1872 in the United Kingdom introduced the requirement that parliamentary and local government elections be held by secret ballot.
The Ballot Act 1872 was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that introduced the requirement that parliamentary and local government elections in the United Kingdom be held by secret ballot.
Employers and land owners had been able to use their sway over employees and tenants to influence the vote, either by being present themselves or by sending representatives to check on the votes as they were being cast. Radicals, such as the Chartists, had long campaigned for this system to end with the introduction of a secret ballot.
The Representation of the People Act 1867 (the Second Reform Act) enfranchised the skilled working class in borough constituencies, and it was felt that, due to their economic circumstances, these voters would be particularly susceptible to bribery, intimidation, or blackmail. The radical John Bright expressed concerns that tenants would face the threat of eviction were they to vote against the wishes of their landlord. It fell to Edward Aldam Leatham, husband of John Bright’s sister, to introduce the Ballot Act on leave.
Many within the establishment had opposed the introduction of a secret ballot. They felt that pressure from patrons on tenants was legitimate and that a secret ballot was simply unmanly and cowardly. Lord Russell voiced his opposition to the creation of a culture of secrecy in elections which he believed should be public affairs. He saw it as ‘an obvious prelude from household to universal suffrage’.
Election spending at the time was unlimited, and many voters would take bribes from both sides. While the secret ballot might have had some effect in reducing corruption in British politics, the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act 1883 formalised the position and is seen by many[who?] to have been the key legislation in the attempts to end electoral corruption.
This Act, in combination with the Municipal Elections Act 1875 and the Parliamentary Elections (Returning Officers) Act 1875, is considered to have ushered in the electoral practices of today.
Effect of the Act
The secret ballot mandated by the Act was first used on 15 August 1872 to re-elect Hugh Childers as MP for Pontefract in a ministerial by-election, following his appointment as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The original ballot box, sealed in wax with a liquorice stamp, is held at Pontefract museum. 16% of those who voted were illiterate and special arrangements had to be made to record their previously open oral votes.
The Ballot Act 1872 was of particular importance in Ireland, as it enabled tenants to vote against the landlord class in parliamentary elections. The principal result of the Act was seen in the General Election of 1880, which marked the end of a landlord interest in both Ireland and Great Britain.
The Act inspired Belgian minister Jules Malou to implement a similar system in Belgium, which he did with the act of 9 July 1877 (la loi du 9 juillet 1877 sur le secret du vote et les fraudes électorales). The following elections of 1878 were a victory for the Liberal Party.
Born On This Day
1921 – Mary Osborne, American guitarist (d. 1992)
Mary Osborne (July 17, 1921 – March 4, 1992) was an American jazz guitarist.
Osborne was born in Minot, North Dakota, the tenth of eleven children. Her family was musically inclined; her mother played guitar and her father, in addition to constructing violins, allowed his barbershop to be the meeting place for the town’s musicians.:260 As early as 3 years of age, she showed an interest in music. Osborne’s earliest instruments included piano, ukulele, violin, and banjo. At age nine, she first played the guitar. At ten, she started playing banjo in her father’s ragtime band. She also came to be featured on her own radio program, which she would continue to perform on twice weekly until she was fifteen. At twelve she started her own trio of girls to perform in Bismarck, North Dakota. The music she was playing during this time period was largely “hillbilly”, or country music, in which the guitar was simply used to accompany her own vocals.
At the age of fifteen, Osborne joined a trio led by pianist Winifred McDonnell, for which she played guitar, double bass, and sang. During this time, she heard Charlie Christian play electric guitar in Al Trent’s band at a stop in Bismarck. She was enthralled by his sound, at first mistaking the electric guitar for a saxophone. She said of it, “What impressed everyone most of all was his sense of time. He had a relaxed, even beat that would sound modern even today.” Osborne immediately bought her own electric guitar and had a friend build an amplifier. She sat in with Christian, learning his style of guitar. Later, McDonnell’s trio got absorbed into Buddy Rogers’s band, after Rogers heard them play in St. Louis. But within a year of the band moving to New York in 1940, the trio broke up and left Rogers’s band, having found husbands. Osborne married trumpeter Ralph Scaffidi, who encouraged her musical career.
In the 1940s, Osborne sat in on jam sessions on 52nd Street, where she played with some of the biggest names in jazz and quickly made a name for herself. In 1941 she went on the road with jazz violinist Joe Venuti. In 1942 she was working freelance in Chicago when she made a recording with Stuff Smith. In 1945 Osborne headlined a performance with Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins, and Thelonious Monk in Philadelphia, to reviews and audiences that praised her specifically. Osborne, Tatum, and Hawkins went on to record in concert in New Orleans. In 1945 Osborne moved back to New York. There she recorded with Mary Lou Williams in 1945, Coleman Hawkins, Mercer Ellington, and Beryl Booker in 1946, and led her own swing trio. Her trio lasted from 1945–1948 and played in clubs on 52nd street, had a year-long engagement at Kelly’s Stables, and made several recordings. Throughout the 1950s, she played with Elliot Lawrence’s Quartet on The Jack Sterling Show, a daily morning CBS radio program, and appeared on the television show Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts. The last few years of the decade she spent recording, both with Tyree Glenn and as a leader. Shortly after, Osborne felt that she had been doing the same thing musically for too long and wanted a change. In 1962 she started learning Spanish classical guitar under Alberto Valdez-Blaine. She used classical techniques, such as pick-less playing, in her jazz playing.:264
In 1968, Osborne moved and settled into Bakersfield, California, where she lived the rest of her life. With her husband, she started the Osborne Guitar Company. She taught music and continued to play jazz locally and in Los Angeles. She played in the Newport and Concord festivals in the early 1970s, and in the Kool Jazz Festival in New York in 1981. In 1989 and 1990, she played at the Los Angeles Classic Jazz Festival, and in 1990 also played at the Playboy Jazz Marathon. In 1991, in what would be her final performances, Osborne returned to The Village Vanguard in New York for a week-long engagement.
Osborne died in March 1992 at the age of 70, the result of mesothelioma cancer.
A Girl and Her Guitar (Warwick, 1959)
Now’s the Time (Halcyon, 1977)
Now and Then (Stash, 1981)
Esquire’s All-American Hot Jazz Sessions (RCA, 1988) with the 52nd Street All-Stars, RCA Studio 2, New York City, February 27, 1946. Produced by Leonard Feather
With Louis Bellson and Gene Krupa
The Mighty Two (Roulette, 1963)
1900 – Nathalie Sarraute, French lawyer and author (d. 1999)
Nathalie Sarraute (French: [natali saʁot]; July 18, 1900 – October 19, 1999) was a French lawyer and writer.
Sarraute was born Natalia Ilinichna Tcherniak (Russian Ната́лья Ильи́нична Черня́к, Natalya Chernyak) in Ivanovo (then known as Ivanovo-Voznesensk), 300 km north-east of Moscow in 1900 (although she frequently referred to the year of her birth as 1902, a date still cited in some reference works). She was the daughter of Pauline (née Chatounovsky), a writer, and Ilya Tcherniak, a chemist. She was of Russian Jewish origin. Following the divorce of her parents, she spent her childhood shuttled between France and Russia. In 1909 she moved to Paris with her father. Sarraute studied law and literature at the prestigious Sorbonne, having a particular fondness for contemporary literature and the works of Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf, who greatly affected her conception of the novel, then later studied history at Oxford and sociology in Berlin, before passing the French bar exam (1926–1941) and becoming a lawyer.
In 1925, she married Raymond Sarraute, a fellow lawyer, with whom she would have three daughters. In 1932 she wrote her first book, Tropismes, a series of brief sketches and memories that set the tone for her entire oeuvre. The novel was first published in 1939, although the impact of World War II stunted its popularity. In 1941, Sarraute, who was Jewish, was barred from working as a lawyer as a result of the Vichy regime’s anti-Jewish laws. During this time, she went into hiding and made arrangements to divorce her husband in an effort to protect him (although they would eventually stay together).
Sarraute died at the age of 99 in Paris, France. Her daughter, the journalist Claude Sarraute, was married to French Academician Jean-François Revel.
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One bullet. He can not be rehabilitated nor can he atone for either crime.
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