Today in History February 12

881 – Pope John VIII crowns Charles the Fat, the King of Italy: Holy Roman Emperor
1502 – Vasco da Gama sets sail from Lisbon, Portugal, on his second voyage to India.
1554 – A year after claiming the throne of England for nine days, Lady Jane Grey is beheaded for treason.
1832 – Ecuador annexes the Galopagos Islands.
1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People  is founded.
1912 – The Xuantong Emperor, the last Emperor of China, abdicates.
1924 – George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue received its premiere in a concert titled “An Experiment in Modern Music”, in Aeolian Hall, New York, by Paul Whiteman and his band, with Gershwin playing the piano.
1946 – World War II: Operation Deadlight ends after scuttling 121 of 154 captured U-boats.
1974 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, is exiled from the Soviet Union.
1994 – Four thieves break into the National Gallery of Norway and steal Edvard Munch’s iconic painting The Scream.
1999 – President Bill Clinton is acquitted by the United States Senate in his impeachment trial.
2001 – NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft touches down in the “saddle” region of 433 Eros, becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.
2004 – San Francisco begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom.
2009 – Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashes into a house in Clarence Center, New York while on approach to Buffalo Niagara International Airport, killing all on board and one on the ground.
As famous as da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Munch’s The Scream, American Gothic by Grant Wood was first shown at the
 Art Institute of Chicago in 1930.
While it was seen by some, including Gertrude Stein,  as a satire on the narrowness of rural life and a part of the trend toward critical depictions of middle America, Wood reject this notion. With hard times looming around the Great Depression, it was seen as American pioneer austere spirit.
A cottage in nearby Iowa, provided the inspirations for the Gothic backdrop. Grant was said to want to paint the house along with “the kind of people I fancied should live in that house”. As models, he choose his sister and his dentist.
Births
AD 41 – Britannicus, Roman son of Claudius (d. 55)
1606 – John Winthrop the Younger, English-American lawyer and politician, Governor of Connecticut (d. 1676)
1791 – Peter Cooper, American businessman and philanthropist, founded Cooper Union (d. 1883)
1809 – Charles Darwin, English geologist and theorist (d. 1882)
1809 – Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States (d. 1865)
Grant Wood died at the age of 51 from pancreatic cancer

1857 – Eugene Atget, French photographer (d. 1927)

1877 – Louis Renault, French engineer and businessman, co-founded Renault (d. 1944)
1904 – Ted Mack, American radio and television host (d. 1976)
1923 – Franco Zeffirelli, Italian director, producer, and politician
1938 – Judy Blume, Jewish-American author and educator
Deaths
1804 – Immanuel Kant, German anthropologist, philosopher, and academic (b. 1724)
1942 – Grant Wood, American painter and academic (b. 1891)
1971 – James Cash Penney, American businessman and philanthropist, founded J. C. Penney (b. 1875)
1994 – Donald Judd, American painter and sculptor (b. 1928)
2000 – Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, created Peanuts (b. 1922)
2014 – Sid Caesar, American actor and comedian (b. 1922)
This list is compiled from many internet and other sources of information including wikipedia, the New York Times, a multitude of websites and old books.

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