Dove & Brush News On This Day

Friday, June 30, 2000
Edited by Peter Y. Chou

Niagara, NY, June 30, 1859—
Blondin Is First to Walk Across
Niagara Falls on a Tightrope

Tightrope Walker Jean François Gravelet, the great Blondin, was the first of many tightrope walkers to appear at Niagara Falls. He was a professional artist and showman trained in the great tradition of the European circus. At age 31 he came to America and made the announcement that he would cross the gorge of the Niagara River on a tightrope. On June 30, 1859 the rope was in position and at five o'clock in the afternoon, Blondin started the trip that was to make history. Over 5000 incredulous watchers saw him lower a rope to the Maid of the Mist, pull up a bottle and sit down while he refreshed himself. He began his ascent toward the Canadian shore, paused, steadied the balancing pole and suddenly executed a back somersault. Never content merely to repeat his last performance, Blondin crossed his rope on a bicycle walked blindfolded, pushed a wheelbarrow, cooked an omelet in the centre and made the trip with his hands and feet manacled. Yet even these stunts failed to satisfy Blondin's urge to test himself. He announced that on August 19, 1860, he would cross the gorge carrying his manager, Harry Colcord, on his back. It was to be the supreme test of Blondin's skill and stamina. According to Colcord, the trip was a nightmare. In the unguyed centre section, the pair swayed violently. Blondin was fighting for his life. He broke into a desperate run to reach the first guy rope. When he reached it and steadied himself, the guy broke. Once more the pair swayed alarmingly as Blondin again ran for the next guy. When they reached it Blondin gasped for Colcord to get down. Six times in all Colcord had to dismount while Blondin struggled to gather his strength. In the end Blondin had to charge the crowd on the brink to prevent the press of people forcing them back in the precipice. The Great Blondin had done it again, but this time he had only just made it. Blondin died in England at the age of 73. More stories on Niagara Falls history

Mirror Lake, Yosemite
by Carleton E. Watkins
photo circa 1860
June 30, 1864— President Abraham Lincoln signed Senate Bill 203, the Yosemite Land Grant, on June 30, 1864. With the bill's passage by Congress, more than 39,000 acres of the Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove in California was preserved as the first U.S. national scenic reserve "for public use, resort, and recreation."

"Nowhere will you see the majestic operations of nature more clearly revealed beside the frailest, most gentle and peaceful things. Nearly all the park is a profound solitude. Yet it is full of charming company, full of God's thoughts, a place of peace and safety amid the most exalted grandeur and eager enthusiastic action, a new song, a place of beginnings abounding in first lessons on life, mountain-building, eternal, invincible, unbreakable order; with sermons in stones, storms, trees, flowers, and animals brimful of humanity."
— John Muir, Our National Parks (1901)

Visit the Library of Congress—
Today in History: June 30

Czeslaw Milosz

Czeslaw Milosz was born June 30, 1911 in Seteiniai, Lithuania. Since 1961, he has been Professor of Slavic Languages & Literatures at UC Berkeley. He was awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature. Read the press release, Milosz's biography, his Nobel lecture, selected poems, and other resources at the Nobel Foundation website ( Here's a meditative Milosz's poem:


We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.

And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.

That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

O my love, where are they, where are they going
The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.

— Czeslaw Milosz, Wilno, 1936
from The Collected Poems 1931-1987 (1988)
Translated by Czeslaw Milosz & Lillian Vallee

Click stamp to see final 10-1-95 version.

June 30, 1940—
Brenda Starr Comics debuts.

Inspired by screen star Rita Hayworth and living the life of intrepid news reporter torn between her career and romance, Brenda Starr was an immediate hit with both men and women. In October 1945, Brenda became a daily feature of the Chicago Tribune and was later syndicated, eventually reaching a worldwide audience of more than 60 million readers, making Dale the first female cartoonist to win a syndication deal. Dale Messick claims that many of her story ideas for the Brenda Starr comic strip come to her in her dreams. She often wakes at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. to note ideas she has just dreamed which she feels would be worthy of adding to her strip. Here's a recent article on the 92-year old cartoonist. "Brenda Starr's Dale Messick is a firecracker" by Daedalus Howell from the Feb. 19, 1998 issue of the Sonoma County Independent.

Dale Messick; Obituary;
Brenda Starr Comic Strip;
Dale Messick: A Comic Strip Life; Brenda Starr Page;
Brenda Turns 60 Archive

June 30, 1936— Margaret Mitchell's book, Gone with the Wind was published in New York City, with a hefty $3 price tag for its 1,037 pages. Within six months 1,000,000 copies had been sold; 50,000 copies were sold in one day. It went on to become the largest-selling novel in U.S. publishing history, with sales passing 12,000,000 by 1965, and 21,000,000 by 1981. It was eventually translated into 25 languages and sold in 40 countries, and continues to sell 25,000 hardcover and 250,000 paperback copies a year. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. Margaret Mitchell never published another novel, yet she remains one of the best-selling authors in history. The motion picture rights were sold for $50,000. The film, starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, premiered in Atlanta in December 1939. It won 9 major Oscars and two special Oscars at the Academy Awards and for two decades reigned as the top moneymaking film of all time.

Some interesting web links:
Margaret Mitchell House & Museum
Margaret Mitchell Biography
David O. Selzick Archive
"Gone with the Wind" Movie
Memorable Moments from Film.

June 30: Born on this day—
1470 Charles VIII, King of France (1483-98), invaded Italy
1685 Dominikus Zimmermann, Bavarian Baroque architect
1768 Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, First Lady of 5th U.S. President
1817 Sir Joseph Hooker, English botanist
1868 Mabel Cratty, social worker and head of the YWCA
1893 Harold Laski, English political scientist and writer
1898 George Chandler Waukegan Ill, actor (Lassie)
1911 Czeslaw Milosz, Polish-American writer (Nobel 1980)
1917 Buddy Rich, Brooklyn NY, drummer-orchestral leader
1917 Lena Horne, Brooklyn NY, singer (Stormy Weather)
1918 Susan Hayward, Flatbush Brooklyn, actress (I Want to Live)
1920 Zeno Colo, Italy, downhill skier (Olympic Gold,1952)
1925 Micheline Lannoy, Belgium, figure skating pairs (Olympic Gold, 1948)
1927 Shirley Fry, tennis champ (French 1951, Wimbledon & US 1956, Australian 1957)
1930 June Valli, Bronx NY, singer (Your Hit Parade)
1934 Harry Blackstone Jr, magician (Blackstone Book of Magic & Illusion)
1938 Billy Mills, US, 10K runner (Olympic Gold,1964)
1943 Florence Ballard, singer (Supremes: Baby Love, Stop! In the Name of Love)
1966 Mike Tyson, heavyweight boxing champ (1986-90)
1985 Michael Phelps, 8 gold medals in swimming at 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing

June 30: Events on this day
1294 Jews are expelled from Berne Switzerland
1834 Congress creates Indian Territory (now Oklahoma)
1857 Charles Dickens gives the first public reading from "A Christmas Carol" in London
1859 Charles Blondin is first to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope
1870 Ada Kepley becomes first female law college graduate
1893 Excelsior diamond (blue-white 995 carats) discovered
1894 Korea declares independence from China, asks for Japanese aid
1908 Boston's Cy Young's second no-hitter, beats New York Highlanders, 8-0
1908 Giant fireball impacts in Central Siberia (Tunguska Event)
1913 Second Balkan War begins
1914 Mahatma Gandhi's first arrest, campaigning for Indian rights in South Africa
1921 President Harding appointed former President Taft as U.S. Chief Justice
1923 New Zealand claims Ross Dependency in Antarctica
1929 Bobby Jones wins golf's US Open
1930 First round-the-world radio broadcast Schenectady NY
1934 "Night of the Long Knives," Hitler stages bloody purge of Nazi party
1936 Margaret Mitchell's "Gone With the Wind" published in New York City
1936 U.S. Federal Government approves 40 hour work week
1940 "Brenda Starr" cartoon strip, by Dale Messick, first appears
1940 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service established
1948 Cleveland Indians Bob Lemon no-hits Detroit Tigers, 2-0
1948 Transistor as a substitute for Radio tubes announced (Bell Labs)
1950 President Truman orders U.S. troops into Korea
1952 "The Guiding Light" soap opera moves from radio to CBS TV
1956 United DC-7 & TWA collide over Grand Canyon killing 128
1960 Zaire (then Belgian Congo) gains independence from Belgium
1961 Dr Lee De Forest radio pioneer, dies at 87
1962 LA Dodger Sandy Koufax no-hits NY Mets, 5-0
1962 Rwanda & Burundi become independent
1962 Ray Charles's "I Can't Stop Loving You" tops music pop chart
1963 Cardinal Montini elected Pope Paul VI, 262nd head of Roman Catholic Church
1966 Beatles land in Tokyo for a concert tour
1969 Derek Clayton of Australia sets Marathon record at 2:08:34
1969 Spain cedes Ifni to Morocco
1970 First baseball game at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium
1970 Brazil beats Italy 4-1 in soccer's 9th World Cup at Mexico City
1970 Andy Gibb's "Shadow Dancing" tops music pop chart
1971 3 cosmonauts die as Soyuz XI depressurizes during reentry
1972 First leap second day; also 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985
1973 Observers aboard Concorde jet observe 72-minutes solar eclipse
1976 John Walker of New Zealand sets record for 2000 meter, 4:51.4
1977 Marvel Comics publish the "Kiss book" tributing the rock group Kiss
1978 Willie McCovey becomes the 12th to hit 500 HRs
1981 China's Communist Party condemns the late Mao Tse-tung's policy
1984 Lillian Hellman playwright, dies of cardiac arrest at 79
1986 Willy Nelson's "Living in the Promise Land" tops music chart
1997 Britain hands Hong Kong back to China after ruling it for 156 years
2004 International Cassini spacecraft entered Saturn's orbit after 7-year journey.

June 30: Quotes on this day—

The great feast of St. Peter and St. Paul has come at last. Yesterday we saw the illuminated dome and the fireworks of Castel Sant' Angelo. The illuminations are spectacular, like a scene from fairyland; one can hardly believe one's eyes. Now that I have learned to see objects just as they are and not, as formerly, to suply with imagination what is not there, a spectacle has to be really grand before I can enjoy it. On my journey I have seen, I count, about half a dozen, and this last one is certainly among the greatest. To see the colonnade, the church and, above all, the dome, first outlined in fire and, after an hour, become one glowing mass, is a unique and glorious experience. when one thinks that, at this moment, the whole enormous building is a mere scaffolding for the lights, one realizes that nothing like it could be seen anywhere else in the world. The sky was cloudless and the light of the risen moon softened the brightness of the lamps; but when the second lot of illuminations were set ablaze, the moonlight was eclipsed. Then the blaze was over, and again the full moon softened the lights and made everything a fairyland again. The fireworks were beautiful because of their setting, but they did not compare with the illuminations of the church. We are going to see them both a second time.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Italian Journey, June 30, 1787

The school in which I am enrolled as a pupil is far too great to let me leave it soon. I must cultivate my knowledge of the arts and my modest talents and reach some sort of maturity; otherwise, I shall bring you back but half a friend, and all my striving, toiling, crawling and creeping would have to begin all over again. If I were to tell all the pieces of good luck I have had, my letter would never come to an end. Why, everything I wished for has been handed to me on a platter. I have nice rooms, kept by nice people. As soon as Tischbein leaves for Naples, I shall move into his studio, which is spacious and cool. So, when you think of me, think of a lucky man. I shall keep on writing you letters and this way we shall always be together.

I am full of new thoughts. When I am left to myself and have time to reflect, I can recover the smallest details of my earliest youth and then, when I turn to the external world again, the splendour of the objects by which I am surrounded makes me forget myself and carries me as far and as high as my innermost being permits. My eye is becoming better trained than I would have believed possible and my hand should not altogether lag behind. There is only one Rome in the world. Here I feel like a fish in the water, or, rather, like the globule which floats on the surface of mercury, but would sink in any other fluid. Nothing clouds my thoughts except the fact that I cannot share my happiness with my dear friends. The sky is now wonderfully serene. Rome is slightly foggy in the morning and the evening, but on the hills of Albano, Castello and Frascati, where I spent three days last week, the air is always limpid and pure. There is a nature for you which is worth studying!

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Italian Journey, End of June, 1787

Nature must be viewed humanly to be viewed at all; that is, her scenes must be associated with humane affections, such as are associated with one's native place. She is most significant to a lover. A lover of Nature is preeminently a lover of man. If I have no friend, what is Nature to me? She ceases to be morally significant... The moon appears full. At first a mere white cloud. As soon as the sun sets, begins to grow brassy or obscure golden in the gross atmosphere. It is starlight about half an hour after sunset tonight when the first stars appear. The moon is now brighter, but not so yellowish. Ten or fifteen minutes after, the fireflies are observed. Sparrows quite generally, and occasionally a robin sings... The creak of the crickets is more universal and loud, and becomes a distinct sound. The oily surface of the river in which the moon is reflected looks most attractive at this hour. I see the bright curves made by the water-bugs in the moonlight, and a muskrat crossing the river, now at 9 o'clock. Finally the last traces of the day disappear, about 9:30 o'clock, and the night fairly sets in. The color of the moon is more silvery than golden, or silvery with a slight admixture of golden, a sort of burnished cloud.

Henry David Thoreau, Journal, June 30, 1852

Succory on the bank under my window, probably from flowers I have thrown out within a year or two. A rainbow in the west this morning. Hot weather.

— Henry David Thoreau, Journal, June 30, 1853

Walden & Hubbard's Close, P.M.— Jersey tea. Young oak shoots have grown from one and a half to three or four feet, but now in some cases appear to be checked and a large bud to have formed... The berries are very scarce, light wine red, semitransparent, showing the seed— a few (six to ten) large shining grains and rather acid.

— Henry David Thoreau, Journal, June 30, 1854

Went to Saint-Sulphice, which is getting along well. My heart beats faster when I find myself in the presence of great walls to paint. Dined with Mme. de Forget, to whom I went at five o'clock to look at the decorations over her doors; they are out of proportion, and she is replacing them with hangings; I finished the evening there.

Eugene Delacroix, Journal, June 30, 1854

Try to find a moment, my dear friend, to go to Bernheim to examine three sketches of flowers by Delacroix, so that we can discuss them to-morrow at your place. There are also two ancient Corots to verify. Greetings.

Edgar Degas (1834-1917), Letter to Henri Rouart,
     Thursday, June 30, 1898

Gladly above,
The lover listens
In deepest love.

James Joyce, Fragments from Shine and Dark, VII (June 29, 1900)
     Poems and Exiles, Penguin Books, 1992, p. 60

On the night of June 30, 1925 I dreamed with remarkable distinctness. In the corner formed by two walls of the house, beneath the overhang of the roof, I saw a large bird's nest. It was occupied, however, by a cat family. The kittens were already grown, about four weeks old, and one of them in particular, a dark tiger kitten, had scrambled up boldly and his hindquarters hung far out over the edge of the nest. Below the nest ran a very narrow ledge, and this was the route by which the mother cat used to spring from the nest into an open window. The idea that the kittens' first exploration would take place along so dangerous a path worried me, and I tried to think of some way to meet the danger. Then I saw myself digging in a garden. I was laboring very hard to do something that would yield pleasant results. Suddenly a dog came running up to this spot and rolled around on it, destroying what I had done, and digging with his snout to add to the destruction. People were surprised that I did not interfere with him. But I made an excuse for myself by calling him "an expert."

Paul Klee, Letter to Lily, May 2, 1930
     from Felix Klee, Paul Klee, (1962), p. 113

Emptiness alone, only and all, with an edge of extremely faint yet luminous bliss. That is how the subtle feels when it emerges from the causal. So it was early this morning. As the gross body then emerges from this subtle luminous bliss, it's hard to tell, at first, exactly where its boundaries are. You have a body, you know that, but the body seems like the entire material universe. Then the bedroom solidifies, and slowly, very slowly, your awareness accepts the conventions of the gross realm, which dictate that this body is inside this room. And so it is. And so you get up. And so goes involution, yet again. But the Emptiness remains, always.

Ken Wilber, One Taste: The Journals of Ken Wilber,
     Monday, June 30, 1998, Shambhala, Boston, 1999, p. 141

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