Year
1860

James Barrie is born

James Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, is born in Scotland on this day.

Barrie attended the University of Edinburgh and worked as a reporter for the Nottingham Journal for two years after college. He moved to London in 1885 and became a freelance writer. His first collection of sketches, Auld Licht Idylls, was published in 1888 and became a success, followed by an account of his newspaper days, When a Man’s Single. He published a collection of stories in 1889 and a bestselling novel, The Little Minister, in 1891.

The Little Minister was dramatized in 1897, and Barrie shifted his focus from prose to drama, enjoying a series of successes. In 1904, he wrote Peter Pan. Although he wrote many other plays, few are still performed today, and none had the staying power of Peter Pan. In 1913, he was made a baronet and in 1922 received the Order of Merit. He became president of the Society of Authors in 1928 and Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in 1930. Barrie died in London in 1937.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Former POW is ambassador to Vietnam

Twenty-two years and 10 days after the fall of Saigon, former Florida Representative Douglas “Pete” Peterson becomes the first ambassador to Vietnam since Graham Martin was airlifted out of the country by helicopter in late April 1975. Peterson himself served as a U.S. Air Force ...read more

FDA approves the pill

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Captain Blood steals crown jewels

In London, Thomas Blood, an Irish adventurer better known as “Captain Blood,” is captured attempting to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. Blood, a Parliamentarian during the English Civil War, was deprived of his estate in Ireland with the restoration of the ...read more

Byrd flies over the North Pole?

According to their claims, polar explorer Richard E. Byrd and co-pilot Floyd Bennett fly over the North Pole on this day in the Josephine Ford, a triple-engine Fokker monoplane. It would have been the first time an aircraft flew over the top of the world. The pair had taken off ...read more

Aldo Moro found dead

On May 9, 1978, the body of former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro is found, riddled by bullets, in the back of a car in the center of historic Rome. He was kidnapped by Red Brigade terrorists on March 16 after a bloody shoot-out near his suburban home. The Italian government ...read more

L. Ron Hubbard publishes Dianetics

On this day in 1950, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986) publishes Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health. With this book, Hubbard introduced a branch of self-help psychology called Dianetics, which quickly caught fire and, over time, morphed into a belief system ...read more

Demonstrations held in Washington

Between 75,000 and 100,000 young people, mostly from college campuses, demonstrate peacefully in Washington, D.C., at the rear of a barricaded White House. They demanded the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations. Afterwards, a few ...read more

Soccer fans trampled in Ghana

On this day in 2001, during a soccer match at Accra Stadium in Ghana, an encounter between police and rowdy fans results in a stampede that kills 126 people. This tragedy was the worst-ever sports-related disaster in Africa’s history to that time. The Accra Hearts of Oak, ...read more

Cunanan continues murder spree

The body of William Reese, 45, a cemetery caretaker, is found in rural Pennsville, New Jersey, on May 9, 1997. He had been shot in the head with a Golden Saber .38-caliber bullet. Police soon determined that the killer was Andrew Cunanan, a 27-year-old man already wanted for ...read more

West Germany joins NATO

Ten years after the Nazis were defeated in World War II, West Germany formally joins the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a mutual defense group aimed at containing Soviet expansion in Europe. This action marked the final step of West Germany’s integration into the ...read more