In 1859 the American Dental Association was founded in Niagara Falls NY. One can wonder what kind of techniques they employed back then and how much the sound of falling water distracted patients from the pain. Germany declared war on France in 1914 and WWI was full on for real. In 1958 the USS Nautilus became the first submarine to complete a submerged circumnavigation of the geographical North Pole. In 1972 the world got a little bit safer as the US Senate ratified the Anti-Ballistic Missle Treaty. And in 2004 the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty was reopened to the public after the attacks of 9-11.

The man who helped us go up and down in buildings – Elisha Otis – who founded the Otis Elevator Company, was born in 1813. One of the authors who took our minds far far away in space, Clifford D Simak, was born in 1904. Leon Uris, who wrote about Ireland in Trinity and Israel in Exodus, joined the Earth’s population in 1924. This was also the birthdate of the recently passed singer Tony Bennett (1926), Angolan general Joseph Savimba (1934), and actor, director, producer, and screenwriter John Landis (1950).

Two notable writers ceased penning their works on this date – Polish-born British author Joseph Conrad (1924) whose Heart of Darkness inspired the Vietnam War era film Apocalypse Now, and Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (2008) who opened our eyes to the Soviet prison system in the Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.