November 25th

Andrew Carnegie was born on this date in 1835. He died in 1919.

Until he was a septuagenarian, Andrew Carnegie believed that he was born in 1837. Then on a return visit to his native town in Scotland he learned that the date 1837 in the church records merely meant that the records were commenced in that year, and he was listed as a living child in the first census. He announced his correction of the date of his birth by clicking the news to his brother telegraphers on a miniature telegraph instrument at his plate at the dinner they were giving in his honor, supposing it to be his seventy-first when it was really his seventy-third birthday.

The New York Times

“The day is not far distant when the man who dies leaving behind him millions of available wealth, which were free for him to administer during life, will pass away ‘unwept, unhonored, and unsung,’ no matter to what use he leaves the dross which he cannot take with him. Of such as these the public verdict will be, ‘The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.'”

— Andrew Carnegie (1898)

Karl Benz, the inventor of the gasoline-powered automobile (1885), was born on this date in 1844.

Between 1885 and 1887, three versions of the three-wheeler were designed: the Model 1 which Benz donated to the Deutsches Museum in 1906, the Model 2 which was probably altered and rebuilt several times, and lastly the Model 3 with wood-spoked wheels which Bertha Benz took on the first long-distance journey in 1888.

By 1886 the existing production facilities could no longer cope with the insatiable demand for stationary engines and “Benz & Co. Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik” moved to a larger factory building in Waldhofstrasse in which motor vehicle engines were manufactured until 1908. The appearance in 1890 of new partners, Friedrich von Fischer and Julius Ganß, marked the growth of “Rheinische Gasmotoren-Fabrik” into Germany’s second-largest engine factory. In 1893 Karl Benz introduced the axle-pivot steering system into automobile construction and in 1896 he developed the “contra” engine which was to become the precursor to today’s horizontally opposed piston engine.

Between 1894 and 1901 the Benz “Velo” was built at Benz & Co. It was a reasonably priced, light automobile for two people which signaled the breakthrough to higher sales and, with total production of some 1200 units, can be legitimately described as the first series production car. As the turn of the century approached, Benz & Co. had grown into the world’s leading automotive manufacturer. In 1899 the firm was converted into a joint-stock company.

— Mercedes-Benz USA

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born on this date in 1881. He became Pope John XXIII in 1958 (and died in 1963).

Joseph Wood Krutch was born on this date in 1893. He graduated from the University of Tennessee and received an M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia. He became an author and lecturer and was drama critic for The Nation during the years 1924-1952. He wrote two criticially acclaimed biographies, Samuel Johnson (1944) and Henry David Thoreau (1948).

Krutch moved to Tucson in 1952 and turned his focus primarily to nature writing. Among his notable works were The Desert Year, The Voice of the Desert and The Great Chain of Life.

From The Voice of the Desert:

Here in the West, as in the country at large, a war more or less concealed under the guise of a “conflict of interests” rages between the “practical” conservationist and the defenders of the national parks and other public lands; between cattlemen and lumberers on the one hand, and the “sentimentalists” on the other. The pressure to allow the hunter, the rancher, or the woodcutter to invade the public domain is constant and the plea is always that we should “use” what is assumed to be useless unless it is adding to material welfare. But unless somebody teaches love, there can be no ultimate protection to what is lusted after. Without some “love of nature” for itself there is no possibility of solving “the problem of conservation.”

Joe DiMaggio was born on this date in 1914. He died in 1999.

DiMaggio Plaque

Joe DiMaggio was a cultural icon; he married Hollywood starlets Marilyn Monroe and Dorothy Arnold, he was immortalized in Paul Simon’s hit song Mrs. Robinson, to a generation he was the face of Mister Coffee, and he was regarded as one of the greatest players who ever played the game. He was an American hero. Hall of Fame teammate Phil Rizzuto recalled “There was an aura about him. He walked like no one else walked. He did things so easily. He was immaculate in everything he did. Kings of State wanted to meet him and be with him. He carried himself so well. He could fit in any place in the world”.

Baseball Hall of Fame

JFK JrJohn F. Kennedy Jr. was born on this date in 1960. He died in 1999. The photo was taken on his third birthday.

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