Day in History 14 April – Simone de Beauvoir

On this day in 1986, existentialist philosopher, public intellectual, social theorist and author, Simone de Beauvoir died of pneumonia in Paris at the age of 78.  Born Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir on 9 January 1908 in Paris.  Perhaps best known for her metaphysical novels, including She Came to Stay (1943) and The Mandarins (1954), and for her treatise The Second Sex (1949).  Also noted for her lifelong polyamorous relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre.  Scholarly discussions have analyzed the influences of Beauvoir and Sartre on one another.  She is seen as having influenced Sartre’s masterpiece, Being and Nothingness.  Yet she wrote much on philosophy that is independent of Sartrean existentialism.  The Final Footprint – Beauvoir is interred with Sartre in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.  In 2006, the city of Paris commissioned architect Dietmar Feichtinger to design a footbridge solely for pedestrians and cyclists across the Seine River.  The bridge was named the Passerelle Simone-de-Beauvoir in her honor.  It leads to the new Bibliothèque nationale de France.  Other notable Final Footprints at Montparnasse include; Charles Baudelaire,  Samuel Beckett, Emmanuel Chabrier, Guy de Maupassant, Adah Isaac Menken, Camille Saint-Saëns, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Seberg, and Susan Sontag.

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Day in History 13 April – Harry Kalas – Wallace Stegner

On this day in 2009, sportscaster, Ford C. Frick Award-winning lead play-by-play announcer for Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies, Harry Kalas, died from a heart attack in the press box at Nationals Park, several hours before the Washington Nationals’ home opener against the Phillies.  Born Harry Norbert Kalas on 26 March 1936 in Naperville, Illinois.  He graduated for the University of Iowa and served two years in the U. S. Army.  Kalas made his major league debut with the Houston Astros in 1965 and  was hired by the Phillies in 1971.  He called the first game at The Astrodome, six no-hit games, six National League Championship Series, three World Series (1983, 1993, and 2008), the first game at Veterans Stadium (10 April 1971), the last game at Veterans Stadium (28 September 2003), and the first game at Citizens Bank Park (12 April 2004).  Kalas worked in the booth alongside Richie Ashburn for 27 seasons.  The two became best friends and beloved figures in Philadelphia.  Kalas’ signature home run call was “Swing … and a long drive, this ball is … outta here!”  He was known for his love of Frank Sinatra’s version of the song, “High Hopes” (written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn), a song he sang at numerous events, including the Phillies’ championship celebrations in his later years.  On 29 October 2008, Kalas was finally able to call a Phillies’ championship-winning moment in the World Series when Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske to win the 104th Fall Classic:  “One strike away; nothing-and-two, the count to Hinske. Fans on their feet; rally towels are being waved. Brad Lidge stretches. The 0-2 pitch — swing and a miss, struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again, and stays perfect for the 2008 season! 48-for-48 in save opportunities, and let the city celebrate! Don’t let the 48-hour wait diminish the euphoria of this moment, and the celebration. And it has been 28 years since the Phillies have enjoyed a World Championship; 25 years in this city that a team that has enjoyed a World Championship, and the fans are ready to celebrate. What a night!”

Baseball is my favorite sport and I enjoy listening to games on the radio.  The Phillies are one of my favorite teams, in part, due to Kalas’ voice.  I was listening to the game he would have called they day he died.  He is missed.  The Final Footprint – Kalas is interred in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.  His grave is marked by an individual upright granite marker with a replica of a microphone on top.  The terms of endearment; LOVING HUSBAND LOVING FATHER FRIEND TO ALL, are engraved on the monument.  On either side of the monument are four seats from Veteran’s Stadium.  Kalas became the fourth person to be given the honor of having their body lie in repose inside a major-league baseball stadium, after Babe Ruth, Jack Buck, and Miller Huggins, when his casket was displayed behind home plate and fans were encouraged to pay their respects at Citizens Bank Park.  Friends, broadcast partners, and every player on the Phillies team roster, passed by his casket to pay respects before it was placed in a hearse which carried him out of Citizens Bank Park one final time.  His grave was resurfaced with sod that originally came from Citizens Bank Park.  On 17 April 2009, at the first home game after Kalas’ death, fans sang along with a video of Harry singing “High Hopes” during the seventh-inning stretch, instead of the traditional “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.

Wallace_StegnerOn this day in 1993, novelist, short story writer, environmentalist, and historian, “The Dean of Western Writers”, Wallace Stegner died in Santa Fe, New Mexico as the result of a car accident.  Born Wallace Earle Stegner on 18 February 1909 in Lake Mills, Iowa.  He and grew up in Great Falls, Montana; Salt Lake City, Utah; and the village of Eastend, Saskatchewan.  Stegner won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 for Angle of Repose, and the U.S. National Book Award in 1977 for The Spectator Bird.  He taught at the University of Wisconsin and Harvard University. Eventually he settled at Stanford University, where he founded the creative writing program.  His students included Wendell Berry, Sandra Day O’Connor, Thomas McGuane, Ken Kesey, and Larry McMurtry.  Stegner married once; Mary Stuart Page (1934 – 1993 his death).


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Day in History 12 April – FDR – Josephine Baker

On this day in 1945, the 44th Governor of New York, 32nd President of the United States, FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt died from a stroke at his home, The Little White House, in Warm Springs, Georgia at the age of 63.  Born on 30 January 1882 in Hyde Park, New York.  His parents were each from wealthy old New York families of Dutch and French ancestry.  He graduated from Harvard.  FDR married Eleanor Roosevelt, the niece of Theodore Roosevelt, who was also FDR’s fifth cousin.  In 1921, Roosevelt contracted an illness which was diagnosed as polio but may have actually been Guillain–Barré syndrome, which left him permanently paralyzed from the waste down.  The only POTUS elected to more than two terms, he served as president from the depths of the Great Depression to the verge of victory in World War II.  He died less than a month before Germany’s unconditional surrender in May and four months before Japan’s unconditional surrender in August.  The Final Footprint – Roosevelt is interred in the Rose Garden at his home in Hyde Park which is now a National Historic Site and home to his Presidential Library.  Eleanor was interred next to him upon her death in 1962.  Their graves are marked by a large white marble monument engraved with their names and birth and death years.


josephineBaker_BananaOn this day in 1975, dancer, singer, actress, Civil Rights activist, spy, “Black Pearl,” “Bronze Venus”, “The Creole Goddess”, Josephine Baker died from a cerebral hemorrhage at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris at the age of 68.  Born Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri on 3 June 1906.  Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, Zouzou (1934) or to become a world-famous entertainer.  Baker, who refused to perform for segregated audiences in America, is also noted for her contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.  She was offered unofficial leadership in the movement in the United States by Coretta Scott King in 1968, following Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.  Baker, however, turned down the offer.  She was also known for assisting the French Resistance during World War II, and received the French military honor, the Croix de guerre and was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.  Baker became a citizen of France in 1937.  She first traveled to Paris for a new venture, and opened in “La Revue Nègre” on 2 October 1925, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.  Baker became an instant success for her erotic dancing and for appearing practically nude on stage.  After a successful tour of Europe, she returned to France to star at the Folies Bergère, setting the standard for her future acts.  Baker was married four times; Willie Wells, Willie Baker, Jean Lion, and composer Jo Bouillon.  The Final Footprint – Baker received a full Roman Catholic funeral which was held at L’Église de la Madeleine.  The only American-born woman to receive full French military honors at her funeral, Baker locked up the streets of Paris one last time.  After a family service at Saint-Charles Church in Monte Carlo, she was interred at Monaco’s Cimetière de Monaco.  In 1991, The Josephine Baker Story, was broadcast on HBO.  Lynn Whitfield portrayed Baker, and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special—becoming the first Black actress to win the award in this category.

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Day in History 11 April – Joseph Merrick

On this day in 1890, the man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity and known as The Elephant Man, Joseph Carey Merrick died in The London Hospital (now known as the Royal London Hospital) at the age of 27.  The exact cause of Merrick’s deformities is unclear.  It is thought that Merrick suffered from either neurofibromatosis type I or Proteus syndrome or perhaps both.  He was befriended by Dr. Frederick Treves who tried to diagnose and treat Merrick’s condition and saw to it that Merrick could stay at The London Hospital.  The Final Footprint – Merrick donated his body to science.  His skeleton was mounted and remains in the pathology collection at the Royal London Hospital.  Merrick’s life story became the basis of a Tony Award-winning play and an Oscar nominated movie.  The play, The Elephant Man (1979), by playwright Bernard Pomerance, featured Philip Anglim, and later David Bowie as Merrick.  The film, The Elephant Man (1980), directed by David Lynch, featured John Hurt as Merrick and Anthony Hopkins as Frederick Treves.

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Day in History 10 April – Algernon Charles Swinburne – La Belle Otero – Nino Rota

220px-Algernon_Charles_Swinburne_by_William_Bell_ScottOn this day in 1909, English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic Algernon Charles Swinburne died at The Pines, 11 Putney Hill, Putney, London at the age of 72.  Born at 7 Chester Street, Grosvenor Place, London, on 5 April 1837.  He devised the poetic form called the roundel, a variation of the French Rondeau form.  In addition, he wrote several novels, and contributed to the famous Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica.  He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in every year from 1903 to 1907 and again in 1909.  Author H. P. Lovecraft considered that Swinburne was “the only real poet in either England or America after the death of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe.”  The Final Footprint – Swinburne was buried at St. Boniface Church, Bonchurch on the Isle of Wight.


On this day in 1965, dancer, actress and courtesan Carolina “La Belle” Otero died in her apartment at the Hotel Novelty in Nice, France.  Born Agustina Otero Iglesias on 4 November 1868 in Valga, Pontevedra, Galicia (Spain).  She reportedly married an Italian nobleman, Count Guglielmo 1882, but found a sponsor in 1888  who moved with her to Marseille in order to promote her dancing career in France.  She soon left him and created the character of La Belle Otero and became the star of Les Folies Bèrgere productions in Paris.  Soon she was one of the most sought after women in Europe, serving as a courtesan to wealthy and powerful men.  Apparently her lovers included; Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Kings of Serbia, and Kings of Spain as well as Russian Grand Dukes Peter and Nicholas, the Duke of Westminster and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio.  Allegedly, duels were fought over her and some of her lovers committed suicide after the affairs ended.  It was once said that her extraordinarily dark black eyes were so captivating that they were “of such intensity that it was impossible not to be detained before them.”  Otero said, “Women have one mission in life: to be beautiful. When one gets old, one must learn how to break mirrors.”   The Final FootprintOtero is interred in Cimetiére du Château in Nice.  Gaston Leroux is interred there as well.


nino_rotaOn this day in 1979, Italian composer, pianist, conductor and academic Nino Rota died at the age of 67 in Rome.  Born Giovanni Rota Rinaldi on 3 December 1911 in Milan, Italy.  Perhaps best known for his film scores, notably for the films of Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli.  He will forever be remembered for his film scores for the first two films of Francis Ford Coppola‘s Godfather trilogy, receiving the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Godfather Part II (1974).  The Final Footprint – Rota shares a simple gravesite with his mother Ernesta, his brother Luigi, and his cousins Maria and Titina.  The gravesite is at Cimitero Verano in Rome.  The entrance near the gravesite is Portonaccio.  There is a marble grave marker which lists the names of those interred.  Special thanks to Nina Rota, Mr. Rota’s daughter, for her assistance.  For more on Nino Rota visit his website –

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Day in History 9 April – Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Willie Stargell


On this day in 1882, English poet, illustrator, painter and translator Dante Gabriel Rossetti died on Easter Sunday at the country house of a friend in Birchington-on-Sea, England, of Brights Disease at the age of 53.  Born Gabriel Charles Dante Rossetti on 12 May 1828 in London.  He founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 with William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was later to be the main inspiration for a second generation of artists and writers influenced by the movement, most notably William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones.  His work also influenced the European Symbolists and was a major precursor of the Aesthetic movement.

Rossetti’s art was characterised by its sensuality and its medieval revivalism.  His early poetry was influenced by John Keats.  His later poetry was characterised by the complex interlinking of thought and feeling, especially in his sonnet sequence The House of Life. Poetry and image are closely entwined in Rossetti’s work; he frequently wrote sonnets to accompany his pictures, spanning from The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1849) and Astarte Syriaca (1877), while also creating art to illustrate poems such as Goblin Market by the celebrated poet Christina Rossetti, his sister.  Rossetti’s personal life was closely linked to his work, especially his relationships with his models and muses Elizabeth Siddal, Fanny Cornforth, and Jane Morris.  Rossetti married Siddal on Wednesday 23 May 1860 at St Clement’s Church in the seaside town of Hastings.  She died of a laudanum overdose on 11 February 1862, and Rossetti buried many of his poems with her.  Later, his friends persuaded him to exhume the poetry, which he published in 1870.  They were sensual and erotic, and caused a scandal.  The Final Footprint – Rossetti is interred in the churchyard of All Saints in Birchington-on-Sea, under a tombstone designed by fellow artist, Ford Madox Brown.


  • Ecce Ancilla Domini (1850), Tate Britain, London

  • The Tune of the Seven Towers (1857), watercolour, Tate Britain

  • How Sir Galahad. Sir Bors, and Sir Percival were fed with the Sanc Grael; But Sir Percival’s Sister Died Along the Way (1864), watercolour, Tate Britain

  • Found (1865–1869, unfinished), Delaware Art Museum

  • The Blessed Damozel (model: Alexa Wilding)

  • Lady Lilith (1867), Metropolitan Museum of Art (model: Fanny Cornforth)

  • Lady Lilith (1868), Delaware Art Museum (Fanny Cornforth, overpainted at Kelsmcott 1872–73 with the face of Alexa Wilding)

  • Beata Beatrix (1864–1870), Tate Britain (model: Elizabeth Siddal)

  • Jane Morris (The Blue Silk Dress) (1868), oil on canvas, Kelmscott Manor

  • Pia de’ Tolomei (1868–1880), Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence (model: Jane Morris)

  • Proserpine (1874) (model: Jane Morris)

  • A Vision of Fiammetta (1878), one of Rossetti’s last paintings, now in the collection of Andrew Lloyd Webber (model: Marie Spartali Stillman)

  • La Belle Dame sans Merci (1848), pen and sepia with some pencil

  • Drawing of Elizabeth Siddal reading (1854)

  • Hamlet and Ophelia (1858), pen and ink drawing

  • Drawing of Annie Miller (1860)

  • Portrait of Marie Spartali Stillman (1869)

  • Drawing of Fanny Cornforth, graphite on paper (1869)

  • The Roseleaf (Portrait of Jane Morris) (1870), graphite on wove paper

  • The Maids of Elphen-Mere, Rossetti’s first published woodcut illustration (1855)

  • King Arthur and the Weeping Queens, one of two illustrations by Rossetti for Edward Moxon’s illustrated edition of Tennyson’s Poems (1857)

  • Golden Head by Golden Head, illustration for Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862)

  • Sir Tristram and la Belle Ysoude drink the potion, stained glass panel by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co., design by Rossetti (1862–63)

  • Death of a Wombat (1869)

  • William Morris reading to Jane Morris while she takes the waters at Bad Ems (1869)

  • Mrs. Morris and the Wombat (1869)

On this day in 2001, Pittsburgh Pirate, 7-time all-star, 2-time World Series Champion, baseball Hall of Famer, Pops, Willie Stargell died of complications related to a stroke in Wilmington, North Carolina at the age of 61.  Born Wilver Dornel Stargell on 6 March 1940 in Earlsboro, Oklahoma.  Known for his towering home runs.  Only four home runs have ever been hit out of Dodger Stadium; two were by Stargell.  Dodger starting pitcher Don Sutton said of Stargell, “I never saw anything like it. He doesn’t just hit pitchers, he takes away their dignity.”  The Pirates won the World Series with Stargell in 1971 and 1979, both times defeating the Baltimore Orioles.  The Pirates ’79 team adopted the Sister Sledge hit song “We Are Family” as the team anthem.  Stargell earned the NLCS and World Series MVP awards and was named the co-MVP of the 1979 season (along with St. Louis’ Keith Hernandez).  Stargell is the only player to have won all three trophies in a single year.  I remember the ’79 World Series well.  That Pirates team is one of my favorite teams and Stargell is one of my favorite players.  The Pirates retired his number 8 in 1982.  The Final Footprint – Stargell is entombed in a garden mausoleum in Oleander Memorial Gardens in Wilmington.  The Willie Stargell statue, a 12-foot bronze statue, at PNC Park in Pittsburgh was unveiled in April 2001.

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Day in History 8 April – Gaetano Donizetti – Pablo Picasso

Gaetano_Donizetti_(portrait_by_Giuseppe_Rillosi)On this day in 1848, composer Gaetano Donizetti died in the house of a noble family, the Scotti, in Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy at the age of 49.  Born Domenico Gaetano Maria Donizetti in Bergamo’s Borgo Canale quarter located just outside the city walls on 29 November 1797.  Altogether Donizetti wrote about 70 operas.  An offer in 1822 from Domenico Barbaja, the impresario of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, which followed the composer’s ninth opera, led to his move to that city and the composition of 28 operas which were given their premieres at that house or in one of the city’s smaller houses including the Teatro Nuovo or the Teatro del Fondo.  This continued until the production of Caterina Cornaro in January 1844.  In all, Naples presented 51 of Donizetti’s operas.  During this period, success came primarily with the comic operas, the serious ones failing to attract significant audiences.  However, the situation changed with the appearance in 1830 of the serious opera, Anna Bolena which was the first to make a major impact on the Italian and international opera scene.  After 1830, his best-known works included comedies such as L’elisir d’amore (1832) and Don Pasquale (1843) and historical dramas such as Lucia di Lammermoor (the first to be written by librettist Salvadore Cammarano) in 1835, as well as Roberto Devereux in 1837.  Up to that point, all of his operas had been written to Italian librettos.  After moving to Paris in 1838, Donizetti set his operas to French texts; these include La favorite and La fille du régiment and were first performed in that city from 1840 onward.  It appears that much of the attraction of moving to Paris was not just for larger fees and prestige, but his chafing against the censorial limitations which existed in Italy, thus giving him a much greater freedom to choose subject matter.  Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, he was a leading composer of bel canto opera during the first fifty years of the Nineteenth Century.  Donizetti married Virginia Vasselli.  The Final Footprint – Donizetti was entombed in the cemetery of Valtesse but in the late 19th century his body was transferred to Bergamo’s Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.  His tomb is located to the left of the entrance, past the sepulchre of Cardinal Guglielmo Longhi, on the rear wall near the tomb of his master Simone Mayr (1852).


On this day in 1973, painter, draughtsman, and sculptor, Pablo Picasso died at his home in Mougins, France at the age of 91.  Born on 25 October 1881 in the city of Málaga in the Andalusian region of Spain and baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso.  A prolific artist, he is perhaps best known as a pioneer, along with Georges Braque, of the avant-garde art movement Cubism which revolutionized European painting and sculpture.  Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.  His revolutionary artistic accomplishments in a variety of styles that he helped develop and worked in brought him universal renown making him one of the best-known figures in 20th century art.  By 1905 Picasso became a favorite of the American art collectors Leo and Gertrude Stein and through her he met Henri Matisse, who would become a lifelong friend and rival.  Picasso married twice; Olga Khokhlova (1918-1955 her death) and Jacqueline Roque (1961-1973 his death).  Throughout his life Picasso maintained a number of mistresses and muses in addition to his wife or primary partner, including; Fernande Olivier who appears in many of his Rose period paintings; Marcelle Humbert, whom he called Eva Gouel and to whom he included declarations of his love in many of his Cubist works; Marie-Thérèse Walter, the model for his Le Rêve (The Dream) (1932); Dora Maar, the model for Dora Maar au Chat (1941) and Weeping Woman; Françoise Gilot; Geneviève Laporte.  Picasso said; “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth.”  The Final Footprint – Picasso is interred at the Chateau of Vauvenargues near Aix-en-Provence, a property he had acquired in 1958 and occupied with Jacqueline.  His grave is decorated with his own sculpture “Woman with the Vase” (1933), which was shown during the World exhibition of 1937 in Paris.

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Day in History 7 April – Henry Ford – Suzanne Valadon

On this day in 1947, industrialist and founder of Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Fair Lane, his Dearborn estate, at the age of 83.  Born on 30 July 1863 on a farm in Greenfield Township, near Detroit, Michigan.  This boy raised on a farm, with a grammar school education, would rise to become the world’s largest auto manufacturer.  In an era when automobiles were hand-crafted luxury items, he developed the mass-produced Model T, the first car the average person could afford.  In the process he revolutionized industry and greatly changed the way of life in the United States.  Will Rogers wrote: “It will take a hundred years to tell whether he helped us or hurt us, but he certainly didn’t leave us where he found us”.  Ford married Clara Ala Bryant (1888-1947 his death).  They had one son, Edsel Bryant Ford.  The Ford estate, Fair Lane was named after an area in County Cork in Ireland where Ford’s adoptive grandfather, Patrick Ahern, was born. The 1300-acre estate along the River Rouge included a large limestone house, electrical power plant on the dammed river, a boathouse, stables, and extensive landmark gardens designed by Chicago landscape architect Jens Jensen.  The residence and part of the estate grounds are now open to the public as a historical landscape and house museum and preserved as a National Historic Landmark.  Part of the estate grounds are preserved as a university nature study area.  Ford left most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation, which he and Edsel chartered in 1936.  The foundation makes grants through its New York headquarters and through twelve international field offices for projects that focused on strengthening democratic values, community and economic development, education, media, arts and culture, and human rights.  The Final Footprint – Ford is interred in Ford Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan.  His grave is marked by a full ledger granite marker engraved with his name, birth and death dates and a large cross.  Clara was interred next to him upon her death in 1950.


Suzanne_Valadon_PhotoOn this day in 1938, French painter and artists’ model, Suzanne Valadon died of a stroke at age 72 in Paris.  Born Marie-Clémentine Valadon on 23 September 1865 at Bessines-sur-Gartempe, Haute-Vienne, France.  In 1894, Valadon became the first woman painter admitted to the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.  She was also the mother of painter Maurice Utrillo.  The subjects of her drawings and paintings included mostly female nudes, female portraits, still lifes, and landscapes.  She never attended the academy and was never confined within a tradition.  Valadon debuted as a model in 1880 in Montmartre at age 15.  She modeled for over 10 years for many different artists including the following: Pierre-Cécile Puvis de Chavannes, Théophile Steinlen, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.   The Final Footprint – Valadon is buried in the Cimetière de Saint-Ouen in Paris.  Saint-Ouen is located just north of Montmartre at Saint-Ouen, near Paris, France.  The cemetery consists of two parts.  The first, located on Rue Adrien Lesesne opened in 1860 and the second at 2 Avenue Michelet was opened on 1 September 1872.


Dance at Bougival, by Renoir; the female dancer is Valadon.

Casting of the Net, 1914, by Suzanne Valadon


Portraits of Valadon

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Day in History 6 April – Raphael – Tammy Wynette – Merle Haggard

Self portrait

On this day in 1520, painter and architect of the High Renaissance, Raphael died in Rome, perhaps on his 37th birthday.  Born Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino either on 28 March or 6 April 1483 in the small Central Italian city of Urbino in the Marche region.  Raphael is celebrated for the perfection and grace of his paintings and drawings.  Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.  Raphael never married, but in 1514 became engaged to Maria Bibbiena, Cardinal Medici Bibbiena‘s niece.  He is said to have had many affairs, but a permanent fixture in his life in Rome was “La Fornarina”, Margherita Luti, the daughter of a baker (fornaro) named Francesco Luti from Siena who lived at Via del Governo Vecchio.  The Final Footprint – Raphael is entombed in a marble sarcophagus in the Pantheon in Rome.  The inscription is an elegiac distich written by Pietro Bembo,: “Ille hic est Raffael, timuit quo sospite vinci, rerum magna parens et moriente mori.” Meaning: “Here lies Raphael, by whom the mother of all things (Nature) feared to be overcome while he was living, and while he was dying, herself to die.”  The Pantheon was commissioned by Marcus Agrippa as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome, and was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in about 126 AD.  It has been in continuous use throughout its history, and since the 7th century, the Pantheon has been used as a Roman Catholic church dedicated to “St. Mary and the Martyrs” but informally known as “Santa Maria Rotonda.”


The Ansidei Altarpiece, ca. 1505, beginning to move on from Perugino

  • The Madonna of the Meadow, ca. 1506, using Leonardo’s pyramidal composition for subjects of the Holy Family.

  • Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 1507, borrows from the pose of Leonardo’s Leda

  • Deposition of Christ, 1507, drawing from Roman sarcophagi.


Tammy_WynetteOn this day in 1998, singer and songwriter, Country music icon, Tammy Wynette died from a heart attack at her home in Nashville at the age of 55.  Born Virginia Wynette Pugh near Iuka, Mississippi on 5 May 1942.  One of country music’s best-known artists, Wynette was called the “First Lady of Country Music”.  Her best-known song was, “Stand by Your Man”.  Many of her hits dealt with classic themes of loneliness, divorce, and the difficulties of man-woman relationships.  During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wynette charted 23 No. 1 songs.  Wynette married five times; Euple Byrd (married April 1960– divorced 1966); Don Chapel, born Lloyd Franklin Amburgey (m. 1967 – annulled 1968); George Jones (m. February 16, 1969 – d. March 21, 1975); Michael Tomlin (m. July 18, 1976 – a. September 1976) 44 days; and singer/songwriter George Richey (m. July 6, 1978 – her death April 6, 1998),  Wynette’s marriage to country music singer George Jones resulted in a sequence of albums and singles that hit the charts throughout the 1970s and early eighties.  The Final Footprint – A public memorial service was held at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium on 9 April 1998.  A private grave-side service had been held earlier with a crypt entombment at Nashville’s Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery.  Other notable final footprints at Woodlawn include; Eddy Arnold, Little Jimmy Dickens, George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, Webb Pierce, Jerry Reed, Marty Robbins, Dan SealsRed Sovine, and Porter Wagoner.

Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard in 1971.jpg

Haggard in 1971

On this day in 2016, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler, the Hag, Merle Haggard died at his ranch near Palo Cedro, California from pneumonia at the age of 79. Born Merle Ronald Haggard on April 6, 1937 in Oildale, California. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band the Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the twang of Fender Telecaster and the unique mix with the traditional country steel guitar sound, new vocal harmony styles in which the words are minimal, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville sound recordings of the same era.

Between the 1960s and the 1980s, he had 38 number-one hits on the US country charts, several of which also made the Billboard all-genre singles chart. Haggard continued to release successful albums into the 2000s.

Haggard’s last recording, a song called “Kern River Blues,” described his departure from Bakersfield in the late 1970s and his displeasure with politicians. The song was recorded February 9, 2016, and features his son Ben on guitar. 

Haggard depicted on a publicity portrait for Tally Records (1961, age 24)


Haggard depicted on a publicity portrait for Capitol Records (1975, age 38)


 Haggard performing in June 2009 (age 72)


Haggard was married five times, first to Leona Hobbs from 1956-64. Shortly after divorcing Hobbs, in 1965, he married singer Bonnie Owens. Haggard and Owens divorced in 1978, but remained close friends as Owens continued as his backing vocalist until her death in 2006. In 1978, Haggard married Leona Williams. In 1983, they divorced. In 1985 Haggard married Debbie Parret; they divorced in 1991.

The Final Footprint

Haggard was buried in a private funeral at his ranch on April 9, 2016; longtime friend Marty Stuart officiated. Haggard hoped the world would remember him as “the greatest jazz guitar player in the world that loved to play country.”

Haggard at the White House for the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors

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Day in History 5 April – Howard Hughes – Kurt Cobain

On this day in 1976, aviator, engineer, industrialist, film producer, director, philanthropist, and once one of the wealthiest people in the world, Howard Hughes died from kidney failure aboard an airplane bound for Houston, at the age of 70.  Born Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. probably on 24 September 1905 in Humble, Texas.  His father patented the two-cone roller bit, which allowed rotary drilling for petroleum in previously inaccessible places and founded the Hughes Tool Company.  Hughes took full control of the business when he was 19 following his father’s death.  His most notable films inlcude the flying film Hell’s Angels (1930), Scarface (1932), and The Outlaw (1943), which featured Jane Russell.  Hughes dated many famous women, including Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Olivia de Havilland, Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Jean Peters, Terry Moore and Gene Tierney.  He reportedly proposed to Joan Fontaine several times.  In 1932 Hughes founded Hughes Aircraft Company, which became a major American aerospace and defense contractor, as a division of Hughes Tool Company.  Hughes was one of the most influential aviators in history; he set multiple world air-speed records, built the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 “Hercules” (better known to history as the “Spruce Goose”) aircraft, and acquired and expanded Trans World Airlines which would later on merge with American Airlines.  In 1953, Hughes founded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) in Chevy Chase, Maryland, formed with the express goal of basic biomedical research, including trying to understand, in Hughes’ words, the “genesis of life itself.”  Hughes gave all his stock in the Hughes Aircraft Company to the institute, which would sell the company to General Motors in 1985 for $5 billion.  HHMI is one of the wealthiest medical research foundations in the world.  In 1966, Hughes moved into the Desert Inn in Las Vegas.  He wound up purchasing other hotels/casinos such as the Castaways, New Frontier, The Landmark Hotel and Casino, the Sands and the Silver Slipper.  Hughes was married two or three times; Ella Rice (1925-1929 divorce), Terry Moore (1949-1976 his death) (alleged), and Jean Peters (1957-1971 divorce).  The Final Footprint – Hughes is interred in the Hughes private estate with his parents in Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.  One of my offices in Houston overlooked Glenwood.  Hughes has been portayed in film by Tommy Lee Jones in The Amazing Howard Hughes (1977) and by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator (2004).  The latter was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning five.  Other notable Final Footprints at Glenwood include; Maria Franklin Prentiss Langham Gable, Oveta Culp Hobby, William P. Hobby, Anson Jones, Glenn McCarthy and Gene Tierney.


kurtcobainSpin_Magazine_CoverOn this day in 1994, musician, singer, and songwriter Kurt Cobain died from a self inflicted gunshot wound at his home in Seattle at the age of 27.  Born Kurt Donald Cobain on 20 February 1967, at Grays Harbor Hospital in Aberdeen, Washington.  Cobain was the lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter of the grunge band Nirvana.  Cobain formed Nirvana with Krist Novoselic in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1985 and established it as part of the Seattle music scene, having its debut album Bleach released on the independent record label Sub Pop in 1989.  After signing with major label DGC Records, the band found breakthrough success with “Smells Like Teen Spirit” from its second album Nevermind (1991).  Following the success of Nevermind, Nirvana was labeled “the flagship band” of Generation X, and Cobain hailed as “the spokesman of a generation”.  Cobain, however, was often uncomfortable and frustrated, believing his message and artistic vision to have been misinterpreted by the public, with his personal issues often subject to media attention.  During the last years of his life, Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression.  Cobain married fellow musician Courtney Love.  With Cobain’s death at 27 he became a member of the 27 Club; a group of famous musicians who died when they were 27 years old.  The group includes; bluesman Robert Johnson, Rolling Stone Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse.  The Final Footprint – A public vigil was held for Cobain on 10 April 1994, at a park at Seattle Center.  A prerecorded message by Love was played at the memorial.  Love read portions of Cobain’s suicide note to the crowd, crying and chastising Cobain.  Near the end of the vigil, Love arrived at the park and distributed some of Cobain’s clothing to those who still remained.  A final ceremony was arranged for Cobain, by his mother, on 31 May 1999.  As a Buddhist monk chanted, daughter Frances Bean scattered Cobain’s ashes into McLane Creek in Olympia, the city where he “had found his true artistic muse.”  Together with Nirvana band mates Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl, Cobain was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014, which was the first year in which the band was eligible.

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