To know what happened today in history, famous events occurred, famous birthdays, death days, legend quotes, and historical news on July 17.
Events on July 17
Famous Birthdays on July 17
Quotes from Legend
If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.
- Louis Armstrong, jazz trumpeter - the first Newport Jazz Festival took place today, 1954.
Historical News on July 17
Invisible Hand Beckons Smith
1790 Adam Smith, author of the influential treatise on political economy, The Wealth of Nations, has died in Edinburgh after a painful illness.
He was 67.
Economics work best, Smith believed, by leaving them alone.
The natural forces of competition and self-interest provide all the regulations necessary to ensure a healthy system that benefits all.
The division of labor demanded by mechanization was regarded by Smith as the most efficient method of producing goods.
Trade barriers, he thought, should be applied only in exceptional circumstances.
Smith devoted a large part of the income he received as Commissioner of Customs and Salt Duties for Scotland to various secret acts of charity.
1954 The grounds of the Newport Casino on Rhode Island are the venue for a new jazz festival which was launched today.
The festival has been organized by Louis and Elaine Lorillard as a non-profit-making venture.
George Wein, pianist, and owner of Boston’s Storyville Club, is the festival director.
Lady Day Finds Peace
1959 Billie Holiday, considered by many aficionados to be one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, died at Metropolitan Hospital, New York, today.
She was 44.
Born in Baltimore of unmarried teenage parents, “Lady Day”, as she would become known, started her singing career in Harlem clubs aged 15 after several years as a prostitute.
By the mid-30s she was an established artist, performing with the cream of musicians from the big bands.
She formed a unique partnership with tenor saxophonist Lester Young, whom she nicknamed “the President”.
By the 1950s her health and vocal performance were beginning to show signs of the alcohol and narcotics to which she had become accustomed.
She was admitted to hospital shortly after performing at the Phoenix Theatre in Manhattan.
Holiday died as she had lived – the victim of a catalog of personal disasters including rape, racism, imprisonment, and unhappy love affairs.
While she lay on her deathbed, New York police served a warrant for her arrest – because narcotic addiction is an offense under US law.
New Weekly Paper for London
1841 The first issue of a weekly newspaper called Punch was published in London today.
The idea for the paper came from engraver Ebenezer Landells, who suggested to journalist Henry Mayhew that a publication along the lines of Philippon’s audacious Paris Charivari would go down well in London.
Mayhew and his fellow joint-editors Mark Lemon and Joseph Stirling Coyne hope to provide an entertaining mix of satiric humor, cartoons, and caricatures.
US Holds Pirates at Bay
1801 The United States is learning grimly that its former colonial status had at least one benefit – its shipping enjoyed immunity from attack by North African pirates.
After making a series of humiliating financial concessions to the increasingly confident and voracious rulers of Algeria, Tunis, and Tripoli, who control the pirates, two months ago the US dug in its heels and said “no” when the Pasha of Tripoli demanded that he be paid $2,25,000 (£1,22,000) now plus $25,000 (£13,500) annually.
A US squadron under Commodore Richard Dale was dispatched to the Mediterranean and is currently blockading Tripoli.
This show of force seems to have persuaded Algiers and Tunis that it would not be a good idea for them to join a war alliance with Tripoli.
Morocco, however, is still willing to throw in its lot with the beleaguered pasha.
Although Congress is taking pride in this display of US military muscle, some believe action is necessary.