May 16 in History Events, Birthdays, & News

To know what happened today in history, famous events occurred,  famous birthdays, death day, legend quotes, and historical news on May 16.

May-16

Events on May 16

1703 Death of the French writer of fairy tales Charles Perrault, whose collection Contes de ma mere L’Oye was translated into English as Tales of Mother Goose.

1888 Emile Berliner gave the first demonstration of a flat recording disc to members of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

1975 Sikkim, a former Princely State of India, is declared the 22nd state of the Indian Union.

1980 Dr. George Nichopoulos is indicted in Memphis on 14 counts of over-prescribing drugs to 11 patients, including Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis.

1983 Diana Ross reunites with Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong to appear as The Supremes during a spectacular to celebrate Motown Records 25th birthday.

1984 Death of Popular American author Irwin Shaw.

1989 The first successful hole in the heart operation to be performed on an adult is carried out on 66-year-old Eileen Molyneaux at the Brook Hospital at Greenwich in London.

1990 American entertainer Sammy Davis Jr dies of throat cancer.

1997 The Mobutu regime in Zaire collapses.

Famous Birthdays on May 16

Henry Fonda 1905, American actor whose most notable films include The Grapes of Wrath, Twelve Angry Men and On Golden Pond, for which he was awarded a posthumous Oscar.

Studs Terkel 1912, American writer and broadcaster.

Woody Herman 1913, American Jazz clarinetist who was leading his own band by the time he was only 23 years old.

Liberace 1919, American pianist and kitsch entertainer.

Olga Korbut 1955, Soviet gymnast who stole the show at the Munich Olympics in 1972, winning two gold medals and one silver.

Quotes from Legend

Men are not in any sense irreplaceable, except in one’s private life.

- Edith Cresson, who became France’s first woman prime minister today, 1991.

Historical News on May 16

Edith for PM

Lady Edith Cresson Primer minister of France on May 16
Lady Edith Cresson Primer minister of France

1991 France has its first woman prime minister.

Socialist President Francois Mitterand announced today that Edith Cresson will replace the unpopular Michel Rocard, who has been dismissed.

Mrs. Cresson’s appointment gives Mitterand’s government a new elan and, yes glamour which was distinctly lacking, “Life is hellish for a woman in politics unless she is elderly and ugly,” she told an interviewer today.

Cresson is neither of those, she’s an elegant redhead of 57 and doesn’t look at all like a grandmother, though she is one.

She is also a tough customer.

Mitterand dubbed her his “little soldier” because of her record for taking on the worst tasks and winning.

Cresson was Minister for European Affairs and previously for Trade.

She has pushed an aggressive trade policy to put France’s exports on the map.

Now she faces a recession and rising unemployment and the task of rallying a sagging socialist vote before the next elections.

But Cresson appears to relish the prospect.

1929 Paramount’s Wings won the award for best film of the year today in a glittering ceremony as Hollywood presented its new Academy Awards for achievement in the movie industry.

Janet Gaynor was the Best Actress for her role in Seventh Heaven, and German Emil Jannings won Best Actor for The Way of All Flesh.

Douglas Fairbanks presented the 12-inch (30 cm) gold-plated statuettes of a naked man plunging a sword into a film reel.

The Academy was founded two years ago by Louis B. Mayer and other producers to enhance the prestige of the American film industry.

Derby Crosses Atlantic

1875 A large crowd watched jockey Oliver Lewis ride, Aristides, to victory today in the maiden event of a prestigious new annual race, the Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

The organizers intend the Derby, held at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

The organizers intend the Derby to be one of the premier Thoroughbred races of the American season, along with the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in Maryland, now in its third year, and the Belmont Stakes at Jerome Park, New York, running since 1867.

House racing, the ancient sport of kings, is now the most popular spectator sport in America, with big prizes in the Thoroughbred Stakes.

Bouncing Bombs Skip Like Stones

1943 The Ruhr Valley, the industrial heart of Nazi Germany’s war machine, was crippled tonight by two RAF bombs.

The raid breached two huge dams, the Mohne and the Eder, sending walls of water down the valley, sweeping away everything in their path.

Dortmund and Mulheim ground to a halt, their steel plants swamped and the coal mines flooded.

The Eder dam, the biggest in Europe, is still emptying.

The low-flying Lancaster bombers dropped special bombs that bounced like skipping stones over the surface of the dams and sank behind the walls before exploding.

Bombing the walls the conventional way was useless, they were simply too strong.

The British aircraft designer Dr. Barnes Wallis had the idea of bombing the inside of the walls since explosions underwater have much force.

With this in mind, he designed his special bouncing bombs.

The cost of tonight’s raid to the RAF’s 617 Squadron was heavy, sadly less than half the bombers returned.

But the pilots’ lives were not lost in vain the cost of the raid to Germany is incalculable.

Van Gogh Knocked Down for Highest Ever Price

Van Gogh knocked down for highest ever price on May 16
Van Gogh knocked down for highest ever price

1990 A Japanese businessman paid $82.5 million for a Van Gogh in New York today, the highest price ever paid for a painting at auction.

Paper manufacturer Ryoei Saito was the successful bidder for Portrait of Dr. Cachet at Christie’s (Whose commission was included in the price).

It was one of Van Gogh’s last paintings before he shot himself.

Mr. Saito has not yet finished his buying spree, he is planning to attend Sotheby’s New York sale tomorrow, and is said to have his eye on the superb Au Moulin de la Galette, Renoir’s famous painting of models and artists at a Montmartre dance hall, which critics say could fetch almost as much as the Van Gogh did today.

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