On April 4, 1915 Chicago Blues pioneer Muddy Waters was born McKinley Morganfield in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Waters was an exceptionally influential singer and guitarist who played a great part in the development of the electric blues style known as Chicago Blues. Waters influenced a great many musicians in subsequent generations including Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones who actually took their name from a Muddy Water’s song titled Rollin’ Stone.
Muddy Waters died in 1983.
Here’s a link to a YouTube clip of Muddy Waters singing and playing the song Louisiana Blues
And here is a link to an All Music biography of Muddy Waters:
Classic Hollywood era actor Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916 in La Jolla, California. Peck was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar five times and won for his portrayal of the courageous civil rights lawyer Atticus Finch in the 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic Pulitzer Prize winning novel To Kill A Mockingbird.
Peck usually starred in dramas including Cape Fear, Gentlemen’s Agreement, Mirage and Twelve O’Clock High; but occasionally he starred in more light weight comedies and suspense films and among these are Roman Holiday in which he co-starred with Audrey Hepburn and Arabesque in which he co-starred with Sophia Loren.
Peck was also known for starring in Westerns and some of his most popular Westerns include: The Big Country, The Bravados, The Stalking Moon and The Gunfighter.
Gregory Peck died in 2003.
Jazz legend Billie Holiday was born in Baltimore, Maryland on April 7, 1915 as Eleanora Fagan. Holiday had no formal musical training and despite that is known as one of the most influential singers in Jazz history. Her smooth and emotion tinged singing and her eloquent phrasing lead to critical acclaim for her work and a long-lasting popularity. Among her best known songs are: God Bless The Child, Lover Man, Strange Fruit and T’aint Nobody’s Business If I Do.
Billie Holiday died in 1959.
Here’s a link to a YouTube clip of Billie Holiday singing the classic song The Very Thought of You:
And here’s a link to an All Music biography of Billie Holiday:
The U.S. Civil War formally ended on April 9, 1865 at 1:30 p.m. when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to U.S. Army General Ulysses S. Grant at the house of Wilmer McLean in the Village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia. The surrender of Confederate forces ended the very bloody four year Civil War fought over the issue of slavery.
Here’s a link to a National Parks Service webpage that offers a brief bit of info on the surrender:
And here’s a link to a short YouTube clip of the first part of Ken Burns groundbreaking series on the Civil War simply titled The Civil War:
Note: You can check out all the discs in Ken Burns 660 minute documentary at the library – and the series was groundbreaking because of its use of both primary documents read by actors and actresses and re-enactments to tell the dramatic story of the war in the words of those persons who lived through it.
Singer, actor and 1970s icon David Cassidy was born in New York City on April 12, 1950. Cassidy was born to two acting parents Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward. His parents divorced when he was still a small child and Jack Cassidy remarried the actor Shirley Jones. In 1970 Shirley Jones and David Cassidy were cast as mother and son in a new TV series about a musical family. The series was called The Partridge Family andchronicled the humorous and musical adventures of a widowed mother with five children. There were even several Partridge Familyalbums – and the handsome David Cassidy became a teenage idol and a house hold name. Cassidy recorded his own albums and performed concerts in front of hundreds of thousands of fans on the weekend while he worked on filming the Partridge Family TV show during the week. And during this time Cassidy’s picture appeared in magazines and on many consumer products that ranged from lunch boxes to T-shirts.
Cassidy left the TV show at the height of its popularity in the mid-seventies and has continued to sing, perform on stage and record and occasionally has appeared in TV shows; however, he still remains most famous for his portrayal of the handsome eldest brother, Keith Partridge, in the TV series the Partridge Family.
Here’s a link to a YouTube clip taken from an episode of The Partridge Family of the family group singing and playing their hit I Can Feel Your Heartbeat:
And here’s a link to a Biography bio of David Cassidy:
And you can check out episodes of the light, fun and family friendly TV series The Partridge Family at the library!
Thomas Jefferson was born April 13, 1743 at Shadwell, Virginia. Jefferson was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States. Jefferson’s accomplishments are too numerous to describe in a short blog posting so here’s a link to White House biography of Thomas Jefferson:
And if anyone would like to know more about the man who was Thomas Jefferson – I’d suggest you check out the biography American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by the Pulitzer Prize winning author Joseph Ellis or, if you’re more in the mood for a video biography, the DVD Thomas Jefferson – A Film by Ken Burns. You can request both via StarCat or by simply calling the library at: 607-936-3713.
April 18 & April 19:
At about 10 p.m. on April 18, 1775 Paul Revere and William Dawes road around the countryside between Boston and Concord, Massachusetts warning local residents that British troops were marching towards Concord looking for a supply of weapons and gunpowder stored by local rebel soldiers. The troops were also looking for the rebel leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock. Adams and Hancock made their escape and colonial soldiers roused by the call to arms clashed with British regulars at Concord and Lexington the next morning — April 19. These two small battles collectively became known as “The shot heard ‘round the world;” because they are seen as the starting point of the American Revolution.
Here’s a link to a short Paul Revere House description of Paul Revere’s ride on that April night in 1775:
And a link, from the same website, to a brief biography of the American patriot Paul Revere:
Also of note, the midnight ride of Paul Reverewas not famous in the 18th century but became well known in the 19th century after the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote his most famous poem about Revere’s ride – the poem is simply called The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and you can read it in its entirety by clicking on the following link which will take you to the official website of the Academy of American Poets:
On April 24, 1800 The Library of Congress was established. On that date the U.S. Congress passed an act that President John Adams signed that approved “the purchase of such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress…and for fitting up a suitable apartment to contain them;” and the Library of Congress was born. The Library of Congress has gone on to become one of the most famous, and most substantial, libraries in the world. And in the 21st century The Library of Congress has many resources and interactive collections that can be accessed for free though its website!
Here’s a link to a history of the Library of Congress found on the Library of Congress website:
And here’s a link to the Library of Congress homepage where you can access numerous resources that offer insights into American history and culture:
Have a great month!
3. Thomas Jefferson. The White House. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014, http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/thomasjefferson
Appomattox Court House: The Surrender. National Parks Service. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014.
Bush, John. Artists Biography: Billie Holiday. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/billie-holiday-mn0000079016/biography
Chase’s Calendar of Events. New York. McGraw-Hill. 2014.
David Cassidy. Biography. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014, http://www.biography.com/people/david-cassidy-307308
Deming, Mark. Muddy Waters: Artist Biography. AllMusic.Online.
Accessed April 7, 2014, http://www.allmusic.com/artist/muddy-waters-mn0000608701/biography
History of the Library. Library of Congress. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014, http://www.loc.gov/about/history-of-the-library/
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Paul Revere’s Ride. Poets.org. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014, http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15640
Paul Revere: A Brief Biography. The Paul Revere House. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014,
The Real Story of Revere’s Ride. The Paul Revere House. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014, http://www.paulreverehouse.org/ride/real.html
Thomas Jefferson, A Brief Biography. Monticello. Online. Accessed April 7, 2014. http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/thomas-jefferson-brief-biography