1384 – Even though she’s a woman, Jadwiga is crowned King of Poland.
Jadwiga was crowned “king” in Poland’s capital, Kraków, on 16 October 1384. Her coronation either reflected the Polish nobility’s opposition to her intended husband, William, becoming king without further negotiation, or simply emphasized her status as queen regnant. With her mother’s consent, Jadwiga’s advisors opened negotiations with Jogaila, Grand Duke of Lithuania, who was still a pagan, concerning his potential marriage to Jadwiga. Jogaila signed the Union of Krewo, pledging to convert to Roman Catholicism and to promote his pagan subjects’ conversion. Meanwhile William hastened to Kraków, hoping to marry his childhood fiancée Jadwiga, but in late August 1385 the Polish nobles expelled him. Jogaila, who took the baptismal name Władysław, married Jadwiga on 15 February 1386. Legend says that she had agreed to marrying him only after lengthy prayer, seeking divine inspiration.
1846 – William Morton first demonstrated ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Ether Dome.
On 16 October 1846, Boston dentist William Thomas Green Morton gave a successful demonstration using diethyl ether to medical students. Morton, who was unaware of Long’s previous work, was invited to the Massachusetts General Hospital to demonstrate his new technique for painless surgery. After Morton had induced anesthesia, surgeon John Collins Warren removed a tumor from the neck of Edward Gilbert Abbott. This occurred in the surgical amphitheater now called the Ether Dome. The previously skeptical Warren was impressed and stated, “Gentlemen, this is no humbug.” In a letter to Morton shortly thereafter, physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. proposed naming the state produced “anesthesia”, and the procedure an “anesthetic”.
1847 – Jane Eyre by English writer Charlotte Brontë is first published.
Primarily a bildungsroman, Jane Eyre follows the experiences of its eponymous heroine, including her growth to adulthood and her love for Mr. Rochester, the brooding master of Thornfield Hall. The novel revolutionized prose fiction in that the focus on Jane’s moral and spiritual development is told through an intimate, first-person narrative, where actions and events are coloured by a psychological intensity. Charlotte Brontë has been called the ‘first historian of the private consciousness’ and the literary ancestor of writers like Proust and Joyce. The book contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of Christian morality at its core, and is considered by many to be ahead of its time because of Jane’s individualistic character and how the novel approaches the topics of class, sexuality, religion, and feminism.
1916 – Margaret Sanger opens the first US family planning clinic in Brooklyn, NY.
In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, which led to her arrest for distributing information on contraception, after an undercover policewoman bought a copy of her pamphlet on family planning. Her subsequent trial and appeal generated controversy. Sanger felt that in order for women to have a more equal footing in society and to lead healthier lives, they needed to be able to determine when to bear children. She also wanted to prevent so-called back-alley abortions, which were common at the time because abortions were illegal in the United States. She believed that while abortion was sometimes justified it should generally be avoided, and she considered contraception the only practical way to avoid them.
1950 – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, a novel by C.S. Lewis, is first published.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by Geoffrey Bles in 1950. It is the first published and best known of seven novels in The Chronicles of Narnia (1950–1956). Among all the author’s books it is also the most widely held in libraries. Although it was written as well as published first in the series, it is volume two in recent editions, which are sequenced by the stories’ chronology (the first being The Magician’s Nephew). Like the others, it was illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and her work has been retained in many later editions.