The Year in Music, Art, Literature and Drama History


16 Jan – The first edition of El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (Book One of Don Quixote) by Miguel de Cervantes was published in Madrid, Spain (1605).

17 Jan – Popeye the Sailor, a comic character created by Elzie Segar, first appeared in the Thimble Theater comic strip (1929).

12 Feb – George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue premiered in Aeolian Hall, New York (1924).

18 Feb – Samuel Clemens, AKA Mark Twain, published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the United States (1885).

21 Feb – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto (1848).

23 Feb – The estimated date that Johannes Gutenberg printed the first book from movable type, and his first book, the Bible (1455).

6 Mar – Norman Rockwell published Freedom from Want in the Saturday Evening Post, continuing the Four Freedoms series after President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous 1941 address (1943).

17 Mar – President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opened the National Gallery of Art (1937).

2 Apr – Composer Ludwig van Beethoven led the premiere of his Symphony 1 in C major in Vienna (1800).

26 Apr – William Shakespeare, writer of the plays Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, and many others, was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon in England (1564).

1 May – Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro was performed for the first time, in Vienna, Austria (1786).

2 May – The drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof earned author Tennessee Williams a Pulitzer Prize (1955).

3 May – Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction (1937).

4 May – The Pulitzer Prize for fiction was awarded to Ernest Hemingway for Old Man and the Sea (1953).

5 May – The Music Hall in New York City, now known as Carnegie Hall, opened for its first public performance with Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as its guest conductor (1891).

11 May – The world’s oldest known printed book, the Diamond Sutra, was printed in China (868).

21 Aug – Italian Vincenzo Peruggia stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre (1911). He was finally apprehended and the painting returned two years later.

31 Aug – Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Leigh, Hollywood screen stars, were married (1940).

8 Sep – Margaret Gorman of Washington DC, aged 16, became the first Miss America (1921).

30 Oct – Orson Wells performed the radio broadcast of author H.G. Wells’ famous story, the War of the Worlds. Its realism caused many to think that it was really happening (1938).

31 Oct – Sculptor Gutzon Borglum completed his presidential sculptures on Mount Rushmore (1941).

27 Nov – Macy’s first Thanksgiving Day parade is held (1924).

28 Nov – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, premiered at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig (1811).

3 Dec – The musical Camelot, later associated with the Kennedy administration, debuted at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway (1960).

7 Dec – The Royal Opera House, the third theater on the site, opened in Covent Garden, London (1732).

9 Dec – A Charlie Brown Christmas by Peanuts creator Charles Schultz premiered on CBS (1965).

15 Dec – “Gone with the Wind” premiered at Loew’s Grand Theater in Atlanta, Georgia (1939).

21 Dec – The world’s first full-length animated feature, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, opened at the Carthay Circle Theatre (1937).

27 Dec – The national anthem of India, “Jana Gana Mana”, was first sung in the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress (1911).

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