FYI November 15, 2018

On This Day

1926 – The NBC radio network opens with 24 stations.
The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English language commercial broadcast television network that is a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles (at 10 Universal City Plaza), Chicago (at the NBC Tower) and Philadelphia (at the Comcast Technology Center). The network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the “Peacock Network”, in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company’s innovations in early color broadcasting. It became the network’s official emblem in 1979.

NBC has thirteen owned-and-operated stations and nearly 200 affiliates throughout the United States and its territories, some of which are also available in Canada via pay-television providers or in border areas over-the-air; NBC also maintains brand licensing agreements for international channels in South Korea and Germany.[1]



Born On This Day

1849 – Mary E. Byrd, American astronomer and educator (d. 1934)
Mary Emma Byrd (November 15, 1849 – July 13, 1934) was an American educator and is considered a pioneer astronomy teacher[1] at college level.[2] She was also an astronomer in her own right, determining cometary positions by photography.[3]

Personal life
Mary E. Byrd was born November 15, 1849 in Le Roy, Michigan to the reverend John Huntington Byrd and Elizabeth Adelaide Lowe as the second of six children.[4] The family moved to Kansas in 1855. Her father was strongly opposed to slavery and the slave trade. Her mother was a descendant of John Endecott. Her parents instilled in her a strong Puritan belief, making her a person of high moral principles. Her uncle, David Lowe, a Kansas judge, who served for one term in Congress, refused to seek re-election because he found “politics and ideal honesty incompatible”. She died of cerebral hemorrhage on July 13, 1934 in Lawrence, Kansas and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.[5]

In the late 19th century it was very difficult for a young woman to get a decent education.[6] This was no different for Mary Byrd and this is reflected in her education. She was a teacher, on and off, while trying to get an education. Byrd graduated from Leavenworth High School. She attended Oberlin College from 1871-1874, when John Millott Ellis was the college president. She left Oberlin before graduating. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in 1878. She studied under Edward Pickering at Harvard College Observatory. She received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Carleton College in 1904.

Byrd was one of a group of young women who were the pioneers of coeducation. Most notable in this group was probably Alice Freeman Palmer. She worked briefly at The Coast Star in Manasquan, NJ prior to her death.

Mary Emma Byrd held many teaching posts. The most important:

1883-1887 Teacher of mathematics and astronomy at Carleton College
1887-1906 Director of the observatory at Smith College[7] in Northampton, Massachusetts.

In 1906, Byrd, at the height of her career, resigned from her positions at Smith[8] because the college accepted money from Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, which she found reprehensible. Upon her resignation, she returned to Lawrence, Kansas. She continued writing, and contributed many articles to Popular Astronomy magazine.

During her life Byrd was a member of:

the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America (now the American Astronomical Society or simply AAS),
the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
the British Astronomical Association
the Anti-Imperialist League of Northampton
The American Mathematical Society (Ref. New York Mathematical Society list of members June 1892, page 6.

Mary Emma Bird has written two books:
Laboratory Manual in Astronomy which was published in 1899 and is currently available as a reprint by BiblioLife, ISBN 978-1-110-12258-5
First Observations In Astronomy: A Handbook For Schools And Colleges which was published in 1913 and is currently available as a reprint by Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 0-548-62274-4




By Al Cross: Roy Clark, who was better than ‘Hee Haw,’ dies at 85

Roy Linwood Clark (April 15, 1933 – November 15, 2018) was an American singer and musician. He is best known for having hosted Hee Haw, a nationally televised country variety show, from 1969 to 1997. Roy Clark was an important and influential figure in country music, both as a performer and helping to popularize the genre.

During the 1970s, Clark frequently guest-hosted for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show and enjoyed a 30-million viewership for Hee Haw. Clark was highly regarded and renowned as a guitarist and banjo player, and was also skilled on classical guitar and several other instruments. Although he had hit songs as a pop vocalist (e.g., “Yesterday, When I Was Young” and “Thank God and Greyhound”), his instrumental skill had an enormous effect on generations of bluegrass and country musicians. He was a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1987[2][3] and, in 2009, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.[4]

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