Day in History 9 February – Fyodor Dostoyevsky – Bill Haley

On this day in 1881, writer and essayist, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, died in St. Petersburg, Russian Empire at the age of 59 from a  pulmonary haemorrhage.  Born Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky on 11 November 1821 in Moscow, Russian Empire.  His notable novels include; Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot ( 1869) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880).  Dostoyevsky’s works explored human psychology in the troubled political, social and spiritual context of 19th-century Russian society.  Considered by many as a founder or precursor of 20th-century existentialism and acknowledged by critics as one of the greatest and most prominent psychologists in world literature.  In his posthumous collection of sketches A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway cited Dostoyevsky as a major influence.  In a book of interviews with Arthur Power (Conversations with James Joyce), Joyce praised Dostoyevsky’s prose: …he is the man more than any other who has created modern prose, and intensified it to its present-day pitch.  It was his explosive power which shattered the Victorian novel with its simpering maidens and ordered commonplaces; books which were without imagination or violence. In her essay The Russian Point of View, Virginia Woolf said:  The novels of Dostoevsky are seething whirlpools, gyrating sandstorms, waterspouts which hiss and boil and suck us in. They are composed purely and wholly of the stuff of the soul. Against our wills we are drawn in, whirled round, blinded, suffocated, and at the same time filled with a giddy rapture. Out of Shakespeare there is no more exciting reading. Dostoyevsky married twice;  Mariya Dmitriyevna Isayeva (1857 – 1864 her death) and  Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (1867 – 1918 his death).  The Final Footprint – Reportedly, among Dostoyevsky’s last words was his quotation of Matthew 3:14–15: “But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptised of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness“, and he finished with “Hear now—permit it. Do not restrain me!”  When he died, his body was placed on a table, following Russian custom.  Dostoyevsky is interred in Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery in Saint Petersburg near his favourite poets, Karamsin and Zhukovsky.  His grave is marked by a large granite monument featuring his bust and the inscription; Verily, Verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (Excerpt from John 12:24, which is also the epigraph of his final novel, The Brothers Karamazov.)  A statue in his honor was installed in Omsk.  There is a Dostoyevsky monument outside the Russian State Library in Moscow.  The Dostoyevsky statue was erected outside the Mariinsky Hospital, his birthplace in Moscow.

Bill Haley
Haley smiling

Bill Haley in 1974

On this day in 1981, musician, singer and songwriter Bill Haley died possibly from a heart attack at his home in Harlingen, Texas at the age of 55. Born William John Clifton Haley on July 6, 1925 Highland Park, Michigan. One of  the first artists to popularize rock and roll in the early 1950s with his group Bill Haley & His Comets. They had  million-selling hits such as “Rock Around the Clock”, “See You Later, Alligator”, “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, “Rocket 88”, “Skinny Minnie”, and “Razzle Dazzle”.

Sunday, August 7, 1955 rehearsal publicity photograph on the Ed Sullivan Show or Toast of the Town, CBS, Hartford, Connecticut

Bill Haley and the Comets performing during 1974

Bill Haley and Elvis Presley at the Brooklyn High School Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio, October 20, 1955

Bill Haley was married three times:

  • Dorothy Crowe (11 December 1946 – 14 November 1952) (divorced) (2 children)
  • Barbara Joan Cupchak (18 November 1952 – 1960) (divorced) (5 children)
  • Martha Velaesco (1963 – 9 February 1981; his death) (3 children)

Bill Haley on a lobby card from the 1956 Columbia Pictures film Rock Around The Clock. (One hair lock is styled into a kiss curl)

The Final Footprint 

After a small funeral service, Haley was cremated.

Sunday, April 28, 1957 second appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show rehearsal photograph, CBS

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