LIBRARY: More December Goodness!

  Good luck during finals week, BMCC students!


  Continuing with our Special Days in December, here are some events and birthdays remembered this week:

Poinsettia Day: December 12
The poinsettia  has a special day all its own.  By an act of Congress, December 12 was set aside as National Poinsettia Day.  The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States.  The purpose of the day is to enjoy the beauty of this popular holiday plant. (From Paul Ecke Ranch)

Discovery of the South Pole: December 14, 1911
The Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) had already made his way by sea across the northern border of North America in 1903 (achieving the Northwest Passage at last). Now he prepared for a race to the South Pole. In October 1911 he set off, with dogs (who could eat meat--and each other, in case of need), reaching the South Pole on December 14 and returning safely. (From Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery. Learn more about Antarctica here!)


Ludwig van Beethoven Born: December 16, 1770
He is universally recognized as one of the greatest composers of the Western European music tradition. Beethoven's work crowned the classical period and also effectively initiated the romantic era in music. He is one of the few artists who genuinely may be considered revolutionary.  (From The Columbia Encyclopedia)



Margaret Mead Born: December 16, 1901
The American anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978) developed the field of culture and personality research and was a dominant influence in introducing the concept of culture into education, medicine, and public policy.   Ever since Margaret Mead taught a class of young working women in 1926, she became deeply involved in education, both in the universities and in interpreting the lessons of anthropology to the general public. She joined the anthropology department at Columbia University in 1947 and also taught at Fordham University and the universities of Cincinnati and Topeka. She also lectured to people all over America and Europe. Mead died in 1978 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (From the Encyclopedia of World Biography.)

Wright Brother’s Day: December 17, 1903
Pictured is the take-off of the 1903 Wright Flyer on the world's first powered, sustained and controlled heavier-than-air flight on Dec. 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills, N.C. Piloted by Orville Wright, the airplane remained aloft for 12 seconds and flew a distance of 120 feet in a straight line.

After Orville's first flight, Wilbur flew the aircraft 175 feet. Orville then took another turn, traveling 200 feet on his second flight. On the fourth flight of the day, Wilbur covered a distance of 852 feet, remaining aloft for 57 seconds. Although the landing from this last flight slightly damaged the aircraft, the Wrights intended to quickly fix the Flyer and attempt yet another flight. Unfortunately, a sudden gust of wind picked up the aircraft and tossed it along the beach, causing extensive damage -- the world's first successful airplane would never fly again. (From the Encyclopedia of World Biography.)

The Nutcracker Ballet First Performed: December 18, 1892

The Nutcracker Ballet is based on the book called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King written by E.T.A. Hoffman.  In 1891, the legendary choreographer Marius Petipa commissioned Tchaikovsky to write the music for the Nutcracker Ballet.  In 1892, the first showing of the Nutcracker took place at the Mariinsky Theatre of Russia, home of the Kirov Ballet.  The Nutcracker made its way to Western Europe in the 1930's and to America by 1940, performed by Ballet Russe. The first American full length Nutcracker was performed by the San Francisco Ballet, choreographed by W. Christensen. The Nutcracker has since become an annual Holiday tradition. (From

Happy holidays!



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