FYI December 31, 2017

On This Day

1757 – Empress Elizabeth I of Russia issues her ukase incorporating Königsberg into Russia.
Russian Prussia[1] refers to two periods in the history of Prussia. Since 1991 Russian Prussia has been a synonym for Kaliningrad Oblast.
18th century

During the Seven Years’ War parts of Prussia briefly came under Russian control and were governed by Russian governors. Imperial Russian troops occupied East Prussia at the beginning of 1758. On December 31, 1757, Empress Elizabeth I of Russia issued a ukase about the incorporation of Königsberg into Russia.[2] On January 24, 1758, the leading burghers of Königsberg submitted to Elizabeth.[3] Five Imperial Russian general-governors administered the city during the war from 1758–62; the Russian army did not abandon the town until 1763.[4]

After World War II

The Soviet leader Stalin decided to incorporate the northern part of East Prussia into the Soviet Union. Klaipėda Region became part of the Lithuanian SSR, while Kaliningrad Oblast was associated with the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. With the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the independence of Lithuania and Belarus Kaliningrad Oblast became an exclave of Russia.

A ukase, or ukaz (/juːˈkeɪs/;[1] Russian: указ [ʊˈkas], formally “imposition”), in Imperial Russia, was a proclamation of the tsar, government,[2] or a religious leader (patriarch) that had the force of law. “Edict” and “decree” are adequate translations using the terminology and concepts of Roman law.

From the Russian term, the word ukase has entered the English language with the meaning of “any proclamation or decree; an order or regulation of a final or arbitrary nature”.[1]

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Born On This Day

1805 – Marie d’Agoult, German-French historian and author (d. 1876)
Marie Catherine Sophie, Comtesse d’Agoult (31 December 1805 – 5 March 1876), was a French romantic author, known also by her pen name, Daniel Stern.

Marie was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, as Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, the daughter of Alexander Victor François, Vicomte de Flavigny (1770–1819), a footloose émigré French aristocrat, and his wife Maria Elisabeth Bethmann (1772–1847), a German banker’s daughter. The young Marie spent her early years in Germany and completed her education in a French convent after the Bourbon Restoration.

She entered into an early marriage of convenience with Charles Louis Constant d’Agoult, Comte d’Agoult (1790–1875) on 16 May 1827, thereby becoming the Comtesse d’Agoult. They had two daughters, Louise (1828–1834) and Claire (1830–1912). They were divorced on 19 August 1835.

From 1835 to 1839, she lived with virtuoso pianist and composer Franz Liszt, who was six years younger, and was then a rising concert star. She became close to Liszt’s circle of friends, including Frédéric Chopin, who dedicated his 12 Études, Op. 25 to her (his earlier set of 12 Études, Op. 10 had been dedicated to Liszt). D’Agoult had three children with Liszt; however, she and Liszt did not marry, maintaining their independent views and other differences while Liszt was busy composing and touring throughout Europe.

Their children were:

Blandine (1835–1862), who was the first wife of future French prime minister Émile Ollivier but died at the age of 26
Cosima (1837–1930), who first married pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow and then composer Richard Wagner, and
Daniel (1839–1859), who was already a promising pianist and gifted scholar when he died of tuberculosis.

In 1876, she died in Paris, aged 70, and was buried in Division 54 of Père Lachaise Cemetery.

She was portrayed by Geneviève Page in the 1960 film Song Without End, opposite Dirk Bogarde as Liszt, by Klara Luchko in the 1970 film Szerelmi álmok – Liszt, by Fiona Lewis in the 1975 Ken Russell film Lisztomania, opposite Roger Daltrey as Liszt, and by Bernadette Peters in the 1991 James Lapine film Impromptu, which last dramatized encounters between d’Agoult, Liszt (Julian Sands), Chopin (Hugh Grant), and George Sand (Judy Davis).

Her first stories (Hervé, Julien, and Valentia) were published in 1841-1845. Her best-known work (written as “Daniel Stern”) is the Histoire de la révolution de 1848 (appearing from 1850–53, in 3 volumes). D’Agoult’s other works include the novel Nélida (1846), Lettres Républicaines in Esquisses morales et politiques (1849, collected articles), Trois journées de la vie de Marie Stuart (1856), Florence et Turin (1862), Histoire des commencements de la république aux Pays-Bas (1872), “A Catholic Mother Speaks to Her Children” (1906, posthumously), and Mes souvenirs (1877, posthumously).

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By Bradley Brownell: John Portman’s Renaissance Center Design Defined Detroit’s Skyline

John Calvin Portman Jr. (December 4, 1924 – December 29, 2017) was an American neofuturistic architect and real estate developer widely known for popularizing hotels and office buildings with multi-storied interior atria. Portman also had a particularly large impact on the cityscape of his hometown of Atlanta, with the Peachtree Center complex serving as downtown’s business and tourism anchor from the 1970s onward.[1] The Peachtree Center area includes Portman-designed Hyatt, Westin, and Marriott hotels. Portman’s plans typically deal with primitives in the forms of symmetrical squares and circles.

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