This Week In History: 10/26 – 11/1

Sunday, October 26th: Doonesbury is first Published

On October 26th, 1970, Doonesbury was first published in 28 papers. Originally a comic strip for the Yale Daily News called “Bull Tales,” the comic was renamed after its principle character as it spread across the country. By G.B. Trudeau, the comic traces a complicated family story, along with true social commentary. Indeed, the comic has been labeled “too political” by several newspapers, but every time a newspaper has tried to drop the comic, there have been so many complaints that the newspapers have reversed their decisions. On May 5th, 1975, Trudeau became the first comic strip artist to win a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

Monday, October 27th: Federalist Papers are Published

The Federalist Papers were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay to promote the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the original eighty-five were published in The Independent Journal, the New York Packet, and the Daily Advisor, beginning on October 27th, 1787. Since these initial newspapers were all in New York, most of the papers being with the greeting: “To the People of the State of New York.” The papers were later published in a more permanent form in 1788 by J. & A. McLean publishing firm.

Tuesday, October 28th: Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony Premiers

On October 28st, 1893, Pyotr Tchaikovsky led the first performance of his 6th and final completed symphony in St. Petersburg. Tchaikovsky died 9 days after the premier, making this his last composition to premier in his lifetime. Consisting of an Adagio, Allegro Non Troppo, Allegro con Gracia, Allegro molto Vivace, and an Adagio Lamentoso for the finale, the piece was entitled in Russian “passionate” or “emotional.” Tchaikovsky did compose one more piece before he died, but it was not performed until after his death.

Wednesday, October 29th: International Red Cross is Founded

International Committee of the Red Cross was founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland, after a conference between thirteen different European states and kingdoms. The major decisions of the conference was the foundation of the organization, an agreement for neutrality and protection for wounded soldiers, the utilization of volunteer forces for relief assistance on the battlefield, and the introduction of the red cross seal as a distinctive protection symbol for medical personnel in the field.

Thursday, October 30th: Birth of Fyodor Dostoevsky

Born on October 30th in the old style of dates November 11th in the new style of dates, Fyodor Dostoevsky was a Russian novelist and writer. His works were exceedingly psychological, and were placed in the context of the troubled atmosphere of 19th-century Russia. His first novel was published in 1846, called Poor Folk, but his other great works include Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov. In total, he wrote eleven novels, three novellas, seventeen short novels, and many short essays.

Friday, October 31st: Halloween

Halloween or All Hallows Evening, or All Saints’ Eve, while mostly known for children gallivanting off through neighborhoods in search of candy, the holiday actually signifies many important time periods for different religions, including but not limited to the Triduum of Allhallowtide in the Western Christian Church, and Celtic harvest festivals on which the Christian holiday is based. Happy Halloween!

Saturday, November 1st: Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is First Exhibited

On November 1st, 1512 Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel was first exhibited. Michelangelo was originally reluctant to take the work, but eventually Pope Julius II was able to convince force the project to begin in 1508. The ceiling comprises 343 figures, and it is largely believed that Michelangelo read and reread the Old Testament while he went along painting, drawing inspiration from the text as he painted. The ceiling is one of the greatest artistic feats of mankind, showcasing some of the most incredible artistry in existence.