Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–1894) was an American physician,
professor, lecturer and author. Regarded by his peers as one of the
best poets of the 19th century, he is considered a member of the
Fireside Poets. His most famous prose works are the "Breakfast-Table"
series, which began with The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table (1858).
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Holmes was educated at Phillips
Academy and Harvard College. He began writing poetry at an early age;
one of his most famous works, "Old Ironsides", was published in 1830.
Following training at the prestigious medical schools of Paris, Holmes
was granted his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1836. He taught at
Dartmouth Medical School before returning to teach at Harvard and, for
a time, served as dean there. During his long professorship, he became
an advocate for various medical reforms and notably posited the
then-controversial idea that doctors were responsible for carrying
puerperal fever from patient to patient. Holmes retired from Harvard in
1882 and continued writing poetry, novels and essays until his death in
1894. Surrounded by Boston's literary elite—which included friends such
as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and James Russell
Lowell—Holmes made an indelible imprint on the 19th century literary
world. Holmes's writing often commemorated his native Boston area, and
much of it was meant to be humorous or conversational. Holmes also
coined several terms that are now popular, including "anesthesia" and
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Ottoman forces led by Suleiman the Magnificent defeated and killed
Louis II, the last Jagiellonian king of Hungary and Bohemia, at the
Battle of Mohács.
As neighboring countries began conspiring against him, Frederick II of
Prussia launched a preemptive invasion of Saxony, starting the Seven
The Treaty of Nanking, an Unequal Treaty ending the First Opium War,
was signed, forcing the Chinese Qing Dynasty to give foreign trading
privileges, war reparations, control of Hong Kong, and other
concessions to the British.
Two car bombs exploded outside of the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, killing
Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the spiritual leader of the Supreme
Islamic Iraqi Council, and over eighty others.
Storm surges of Hurricane Katrina caused multiple breaches in levees
around New Orleans, flooding about 80 percent of the city and many
neighboring areas for weeks.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. A mass or other ceremony to honor and remember a dead person.
2. A musical composition for such a mass.
3. A piece of music composed
to honor a dead person
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Mankind has advanced. Human progress is ceaseless. We can ... conclude
that building just societies is a fool's errand. We are always, despite
our advances, only one sin away from slipping into the abyss of terror
and ignorance. But that is not so. Generations upon generations have
driven the human race farther and farther from darkness.