Return to home1931 Jan 3, Hundreds of farmers
stormed a small town in depression-plagued Arkansas demanding food.
1931 Jan 5, Alvin Ailey,
choreographer (American Dance Theater), was born.
1931 Jan 6, Edgar Laurence
Doctorow (E.L. Doctorow), novelist (World's Fair, Ragtime), was born
1931 Jan 8, US Sen. Tallant
Tubbs of SF introduced a joint resolution urging Congress to repeal
the 18th amendment.
(SFC, 1/6/06, p.F6)
1931 Jan 17, James Earl Jones,
actor (Darth Vader, Exorcist II, Soul Man), was born in Miss.
1931 Jan 19, The Wickersham
Committee issued a report asking for revisions in the dry law, but
1931 Jan 20, Gifford Pinchot
(1865-1946) began serving a 2nd term as the 28th governor of
Pennsylvania and continued to 1935. His first term was from
1923-1927. Following the of Prohibition in 1933, Pinchot kept
restrictions on the sale of alcohol.
(Econ, 3/30/13, p.34)
1931 Jan 24, The League of
Nations rebuked Poland for the mistreatment of a German minority in
1931 Jan 27, Mordecai Richler
(d.2001), Montreal author, (Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz), was
1931 Jan 29, Winston Churchill
resigned as Stanley Baldwin's aide.
1931 Jan 30, Gene Hackman,
actor (Bonnie & Clyde, Under Fire, Superman), was born in Calif.
1931 Jan 30, The United States
awarded civil government to the Virgin Islands.
1931 Jan 31, Leonarde Keeler
(1904-1949) was awarded a patent for his Keeler Polygraph, a device
for lie detection. In 2007 Ken Alder authored “The Lie Detectors:
The History of an American Obsession."
1931 Feb 1, Boris Yeltsin
(d.2007), prime minister of Russia (1991-1992) and the first
president of the Republic of Russia (1991-1999), was born in the
Ural Mts. of the USSR.
1931 Feb 4, Isabel Peron,
[Maria Martinez], dancer, president of Argentina, was born.
1931 Feb 6, Rip Torn, actor
(Coma, Summer Rental, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), was born in Tx.
1931 Feb 7, US opera, "Peter
Ibbetson," by Deems Taylor premiered at Met Opera NYC.
1931 Feb 7, Amelia Earhart
(33), aviatrix, married George Palmer Putnam (45), divorced heir to
a publishing empire in Noank, Conn.
(SFEM, 1/25/98, p.31)(HN, 2/7/99)
1931 Feb 8, James Dean, stage
and film actor who personified "cool" for young people in the 1950s,
was born in Marion, In. His films were Rebel Without a Cause, East
of Eden and Giant.
(HN, 2/8/99)(MC, 2/8/02)
1931 Feb 10, New Delhi became
the capital of India. [see Mar 26]
1931 Feb 11, Charles Algernon
Parsons (76), British inventor (steam turbine), died.
1931 Feb 12, Japan’s first
television broadcast was a baseball game.
1931 Feb 14, Vic Morrow, actor
(Combat, Roots, Twilight Zone the Movie), was born in Bronx, NY.
1931 Feb 15, [Patricia] Claire
Bloom, actress (Charly, Look Back in Anger), was born in London.
1931 Feb 15, The 1st Dracula
1931 Feb 18, Toni Morrison,
Nobel laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author (The Bluest Eye,
Beloved), was born.
1931 Feb 20, Congress allowed
California to build the Oakland Bay Bridge.
1931 Feb 21, Alka Seltzer was
introduced. [see Dec 31]
1931 Feb 23, Nellie Melba
(Helen Mitchell), Australian soprano, died.
1931 Feb 26, Otto Wallach (83),
German chemist (Nobel 1910), died.
1931 Feb 28, Oswald Mosley
founded his New Party.
1931 Mar 2, Tom Wolfe,
journalist, author (Right Stuff), was born in Richmond, VA.
1931 Mar 2, Mikhail Gorbachev,
Soviet Secretary-General (1985-91), was born. He was responsible for
restructuring the Soviet economy (perestroika) and openness and
information (glasnost). Mikhail Gorbachev rose through the ranks of
the Communist Party as an expert in agricultural affairs. Born to a
peasant family, Gorbachev worked on a farm as a combine operator
before going to Moscow State University in 1950. He joined the party
in 1952 and, upon graduation with a law degree in 1955, he became a
full-time party official. In 1967 he graduated from the Stavropol
Agricultural Institute and was named to the party’s Central
Committee in 1971. He was promoted to the party Secretariat in 1978,
earning a reputation as an innovator as party secretary of
(HN, 3/2/99)(HNQ, 6/17/99)(WSJ, 12/1/07, p.A8)
1931 Mar 3, Cab Calloway and
his Orchestra recorded "Minnie the Moocher" on Brunswick Records. It
was the first recording of the famous bandleader’s theme song. The
song was featured prominently in the motion picture, "The Blues
Brothers" (1980), starring John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd.
(HC, Internet, 3/3/98)
1931 Mar 3, Pres. Hoover signed
a bill making "The Star-Spangled Banner", written by Francis Scott
Key, the national anthem of the United States: act of Congress (46
Stat.L. 1508). The melody was originally an English drinking song,
"To Anacreon in Heaven."
(HFA, ‘96, p.26)(WSJ, 9/13/95, p.B-1)(AP,
3/3/98)(HC, Internet, 3/3/98)(HNQ, 2/16/02)
1931 Mar 5, In Bolivia
President Daniel Salamanca Urey (1869-1935) became president.
1931 Mar 5, Gandhi and British
viceroy Lord Irwin signed a pact.
1931 Mar 10, British Labour
party removed fascist Sir Oswald Mosley.
1931 Mar 11, Rupert Murdoch,
media baron, was born in Melbourne, Australia.
1931 Mar 11, The USSR banned
the sale or importation of Bibles.
1931 Mar 13, Rosalind Elias,
mezzo-soprano, was born in Lowell, Mass.
1931 Mar 17, Stalin threw
Krupskaja Lenin out of the Central Committee.
1931 Mar 18, Schick Inc.
marketed the first electric razor.
1931 Mar 19, Nevada legalized
gambling a 2nd time to raise tax revenues and stabilize the state’s
economy. Gov. Fred B. Balzar signed a measure legalizing casino
gambling. The Northern Club on 15 E. Fremont was soon issued the 1st
(HN, 3/19/98)(SFEC, 5/10/98, DB p.64)(SFEC,
7/9/00, DB p.67)(AP, 3/19/07)
1931 Mar 25, In Alabama 9 young
black men, arrested at Paint Rock after riding a freight train, were
taken to Scottsboro. Victoria Price (21) and Ruby Bates (17), who
had worked as prostitutes in Huntsville, were also found on the
train dressed as boys. The 9 men were soon charged with raping the 2
white woman, while riding on the freight train.
1931 Mar 25, Ida Wells-Barnett
(b.1862), black journalist, died. In 1893 she investigated the
Kentucky lynching of a black man accused of murdering 2 white girls.
In 2008 Paula J. Giddings authored “Ida: A Sword among Lions."
1931 Mar 25, Fifty people were
killed in riots that broke out in India. Gandhi was one of many
1931 Mar 26, Leonard Nimoy,
actor (Spock-Star Trek, Mission Impossible), was born in Boston, MA.
1931 Mar 26, Iraq and
Trans-Jordan (Transjordan) signed a peace treaty.
1931 Mar 26, New Delhi replaced
Calcutta as capitol of British-India. [see Feb 10]
1931 Mar 27, David Janssen
(d.1980), later TV star ("Fugitive," "Harry O"), was born as
(David Harold Meyer) in Naponee, Nebraska.
1931 Mar 27, Charlie Chaplin
received France's distinguished Legion of Honor.
1931 Mar 28, Byron Bancroft
Johnson (b.1864), founder of the American League Baseball
organization, died. In 1937 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of
(ON, 6/09, p.12)
1931 Mar 30, In Scottsboro,
Ala., 9 young black men were indicted for rape. By the end of April
all were tried, convicted and sentenced to death, except for one age
13, who was sentenced to life in prison. The US Supreme Court later
overturned the convictions, but they were convicted at a 2nd trial,
even though one of the accused said no rape had occurred. Five
convictions were overturned in 1937 after one alleged victim
recanted her story. Clarence Norris received a pardon before his
death in 1976. In 2013 Alabama’s parole board approved posthumous
pardons for the “Scottsboro Boys" during a hearing for three black
men whose convictions were never overturned.
(WSJ, 6/20/07, p.A17)(SFC, 11/22/13, p.A15)
1931 Mar 31, Knute Rockne (43),
football player, coach, died in a plane crash.
1931 Mar, United
Aircraft-Transport Corp. acquired National Air Transport. 3 months
later it bought Varney Air Lines and incorporated as United Air
(WSJ, 12/6/02, p.B5)
1931 Apr 1, Rolf Hochhuth,
German playwright (Deputy), was born.
Mar 18, Jackie Mitchell became the 2nd female in professional
baseball as she signed with the Chattanooga Lookouts, a Tennessee
Class AA minor league team. In 1898, Lizzie Arlington played one
game, pitching for Reading (PA) against Allentown.
Apr 1, Jackie Mitchell became the first female in professional
baseball when she signed with the Chattanooga Baseball Club.
1931 Apr 1, In NYC the Empire
State Building opened a month ahead of schedule. A dirigible mast
established the height at 1,250 feet above street level.
(ON, 12/08, p.12)
Apr 1, An Earthquake devastated Managua,
Nicaragua, killing 2,000.
1931 Apr 2, Virne "Jackie"
Mitchell became the 2nd woman to play for an all-male pro baseball
team. In an exhibition game against the New York Yankees, she struck
out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game in
1931 Apr 4, Andre Michelin, CEO
(Michelin Tires), died.
1931 Apr 4, George Whitefield
Chadwick (76), composer, died.
1931 Apr 6, Richard Alpert,
later known as the spiritual leader Ram Dass, was born in Boston.
(SFEC, 5/23/99, Z1 p.5)
1931 Apr 6, 1st broadcast of
"Little Orphan Annie" on NBC-radio.
1931 Apr 6, 1st Scottsboro
(Ala) trial began for 9 blacks accused of rape.
1931 Apr 7, Donald Barthelme
(d.1989), US writer, was born in Philadelphia.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Barthelme)(WSJ, 2/21/09, p.W8)
1931 Apr 7, Daniel Ellsberg,
anti-war activist and the man who released the Pentagon Papers, was
1931 Apr 12, Spanish voters
rejected the monarchy.
1931 Apr 14, In Spain a
Republic was declared. King Alfonso XIII of Spain was overthrown and
went into exile, and the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed.
(SFC, 11/12/96, p.A12)(HN, 4/14/98)(AP, 4/14/08)
1931 Apr 15, Florian Zabach,
violinist (Hot Canary, Club), was born in Chicago.
1931 Apr 20, British House of
Commons agreed to sports play on Sunday.
1931 Apr 22, Egypt signed a
treaty of friendship with Iraq.
1931 Apr 26, NBC Radio
presented Lum and Abner for the first time. It came from the
fictitious town of Pine Ridge and ran for 24 years. In 1936 Waters,
Ark., changed its name to Pine Ridge.
(440 Int’l. Internet, 4/26/97, p.1)
1931 Apr 26, New York Yankee
Lou Gehrig hit a home run but was called out for passing a runner,
the mistake ultimately cost him the home run crown.
1931 Apr 27, Hawaii recorded a
record 100 degrees in Pahala.
(SFC, 4/27/09, p.D10)
1931 Apr 27, Igor Oistrach,
Russian violinist, son of David Oistrach, was born.
1931 May 1, Singer Kate Smith
began her long-running radio program on CBS.
1931 May 1, New York City's
102-story Empire State Building was dedicated. A 3,000 man
construction crew completed the building in one year and 45 days. It
was designed by the firm Shreve, Lamb and Harmon and financed by
John J. Raskob, a former GM executive.
(SFC, 2/24/96, p.A13)(AP, 5/1/97)(HT, 5/97,
1931 May 3, Frank Hoyt Losey
(59), composer, died.
1931 May 6, Willie Mays, the
'Say hey ' kid who played baseball for the New York Giants, was
born. He made a great outfield catch in the 1954 World Series.
1931 May 7, Teresa Brewer
(d.2007), singer, was born in Toledo, Ohio. She had a big hit with
“Music, Music, Music" in 1950.
(SFC, 10/19/07, p.A11)
1931 May 7, Gene [Rodman]
Wolfe, US, sci-fi author (Soldier of Arete), was born.
1931 May 8, Franz Lehar's
operetta, "Land of Smiles," premiered in London.
1931 May 12, Eugene-Auguste
Ysaye (72), composer, died.
1931 May 13, Jim Jones
(d.1978), leader of religious community in Jonestown, Guyana, was
born in Crete, Ind. In 1978 he led 900 of his followers to mass
(V.D.-H.K.p.312)(SFEC, 11/8/98, p.A18)
1931 May 13, C. Jackson
discovered asteroid #1194, Aletta.
(SS, Internet, 5/13/97)
1931 May 14, Denys
Finch-Hatton, British adventurer and lover to writer Isak Dinesen
(Karen Blixen), died when his plane crashed shortly after take-off
from Kenya’s Voi airport. In 2007 Sara Wheeler authored “Too Close
to the Sun: The Audacious Life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton."
1931 May 18, Japanese pilot
Seiji Yoshihara crashed his plane in the Pacific Ocean while trying
to be the first to cross the ocean nonstop. He was picked up seven
hours later by a passing ship.
1931 May 22, Canned rattlesnake
meat 1st went on sale in Florida.
1931 May 25, John Gabriel,
actor (Cat Gang, Fantasies), was born in Niagara Falls, NY.
1931 May 27, Auguste Piccard
and Knipfer made the first flight into the stratosphere by balloon.
(HN, 5/27/98)(SFEC, 3/21/99, p.A2)
1931 Jun 7, Lang Jeffries,
actor (Skip-Rescue 8), was born in Ontario, Canada.
1931 Jun 9, Robert H. Goddard
patented a rocket-fueled aircraft design.
1931 Jun 9, Britain’s HMS
Poseidon submarine sank during exercises of the coast of China. It
was raised by the Chinese in 1972. In 2012 Steven Schwankert
authored “The Real Poseidon Adventure: China’s Secret Salvage of
Britain’s Lost Submarine."
(SFC, 8/4/12, p.A2)
1931 Jun 12, Al Capone and 68
of his henchmen were indicted for violating Prohibition laws. Capone
was indicted on 5,000 counts of prohibition & perjury.
(HN, 6/12/98)(MC, 6/12/02)
1931 Jun 13, Santiago Rusinol
(b.1861), Spanish Catalan post-impressionist painter, author, and
1931 Jun 17, British
authorities in China arrested Indochinese Communist leader Ho Chi
1931 Jun 18, Fernando Henrique
Cardoso was born. He served 2 terms as president of Brazil
(WP, 6/29/96, p.A20)
1931 Jun 19, The first
commercial photoelectric cell was installed in West Haven Ct.
1931 Jun 20, Olympia Dukakis,
actress (Moonstruck, Cemetery Club), was born in Lowell, Mass.
1931 Jun 21, Margaret Heckler,
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Reagan
administration, was born.
1931 Jun 23, Wiley Post and
Harold Gatty flew in a single-engine plane, the Winnie Mae, from New
York on a round-the-world flight and returned to New York on July 1
after 8 days, 15 hrs, and 51 min., a new world record.
(AP, 6/23/97)(ON, 12/03, p.10)(NPub, 2002, p.12)
1931 Jun 24, The Soviet Union
and Afghanistan signed a treaty of neutrality.
1931 Jun 26, Colin Henry
Wilson, British author (The Outsider) , was born.
1931 Jul 1, Ice vending
machines were introduced in LA.
1931 Jul 2, Robert Ito, actor
(Sam-Quincy ME), was born in Vancouver, BC.
1931 Jul 4, James Joyce (22)
married Nora Barnacle (20) in London. They legalized their 26-year
common-law marriage at the Kensington Registry Office in London.
(SFEM, 1/25/98, p.69)
1931 Jul 6, Della Reese,
singer, actress (Della Reese Show, Royal Family), was born in
1931 Jul 10, Alice Munro,
Canadian writer (Open Secrets, Friend of my Youth), was born.
1931 Jul 11, Tab Hunter, actor,
was born in NYC, the son of Charles Kelm and Gertrude Gelien. In
2005 he authored “Tab Hunter Confidential," co-written with Eddie
(www.filmbug.com/db/279434)(SFC, 11/7/05, p.C3)
1931 Jul 13, A major German
financial institution, Danabank, failed, leading to the closing of
all banks in Germany until August 5. By the end of the 1931,
approximately six million Germans are out of work.
1931 Jul 20, The trial of
Constance May Flood Gavin, an alleged illegitimate daughter, began
in San Mateo, Ca., for a daughter’s share in James L. Flood estate.
Before closing arguments Judge George Buck ordered a directed
verdict in favor of the Flood family. 10 jurors refused to sign the
verdict. Buck lost elections the following year to Maxwell McNutt,
the lawyer for Constance. Gavin later received a $1.2 million
(SMMB)(SSFC, 2/8/04, p.A28)
1931 Jul 27, Grasshoppers in
Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota destroyed thousands of acres of
1931 Jul 28, Congress made "The
Star-Spangled Banner" our 2nd national anthem.
1931 Jul 28, Clyde Panghorn and
Hugh Herndon took off from Roosevelt Field, NY, in an attempt to set
a round-the world speed record. They got delayed in Siberia and
changed their plan to pursue a record non-stop flight from Japan to
the US. Herndon's mother, an heiress of Standard Oil Company money,
financed most of the trip.
(ON, 1/03, p.10)
1931 Jul 28, Hubert Wilkins,
Australian explorer, set out from England for Norway aboard the
submarine Nautilus. The ship was the former US WW I vessel O-12.
Wilkins planned to reach the North Pole but failed. [see Aug 28]
(ON, 1/02, p.8)
1931 Jul-Nov, The Huang He
River (Huang Ho, Yellow River) in China flooded more than 40,000 sq.
miles and more than a million people were killed.
1931 Aug 1, Tom Wilson
(cartoonist of Ziggy), was born.
1931 Aug 2, Spanish Catalonia
agreed by over 99% for autonomous status.
1931 Aug 3, Alex Cord, actor
(Brotherhood, Fire, Street Asylum), was born.
1931 Aug 7, Leon Bismarck "Bix"
Beiderbecke (29), jazz cornetist (In Mist), died. In 1974 Richard M.
Sudhalter authored "Bix: Man and Legend."
(WSJ, 6/13/03, p.W12)(MC, 8/7/02)
1931 Aug 9, In Germany two
Berlin police officers were shot and killed during a Communist
demonstration. In 1993 Erich Mielke (d.2000 at 92), former head of
the East German Stasi, was convicted for participating in the
(SFC, 5/26/00, p.D3)
1931 Aug 15, Roy Wilkins joined
NAACP as asst. secretary.
1931 Aug 20, Donald King,
American promoter of boxing, was born.
1931 Aug 21, Nancy Hadley,
actress (Love That Jill, Joey Bishop Show), was born in LA, Calif.
1931 Aug 21, Babe Ruth hit his
600th HR as the Yanks beat Browns 11-7.
1931 Aug 23, Hamilton O. Smith,
molecular biologist, was born in NYC. He is credited with helping
‘open the door’ on genetic engineering.
1931 Aug 25, Regis Philbin,
later TV host (Who Wants to be a Millionaire), was born in NYC.
(SSFC, 12/31/06, Par p.22)
1931 Aug 28, John
Shirley-Quirk, baritone (Death in Venice), was born in Liverpool,
1931 Aug 28, Hubert Wilkins,
Australian explorer, reached within 550 miles of the North Pole in
the submarine Nautilus. [see Nov 30]
(ON, 1/02, p.8)
1931 Aug, Dorothy Harrison
Eustis purchased property in Morristown, New Jersey, to establish a
training facility for "Seeing Eye" dogs.
(ON, 12/03, p.6)
1931 Aug, Clyde Panghorn and
Hugh Herndon landed at Japan's Tachikawa Airport and were arraigned
for landing illegally. They paid fines of $1,050 apiece to be
(ON, 1/03, p.10)
1931 Sep 12, Kristin Hunter,
author, was born. Her work included "God Bless the Child" and
1931 Sep 12, George Jones,
country singer, was born.
1931 Sep 12, Ian Holm, actor
(Henry V), was born in Ilford, Essex, England.
1931 Sep 12, In Honolulu,
Hawaii, Thalia Massie, wife of a Navy officer, accused 5 nonwhite
island men of gang rape. A trial that followed resulted in a hung
jury. On Jan 8, 1932 a vigilante group that included the Massie’s
killed, Joseph Kahahawai, one the rape suspects.
(SFC, 5/28/05, p.E1)
1931 Sep 15, The British naval
fleet mutinied at Invergordon over pay cuts.
1931 Sep 16, Omar Mukhtar
(b.1862), Libyan hero, was hanged by Italian authorities in the
concentration camp of Solluqon. From 1912 he had led an insurrection
against Italian invaders.
1931 Sep 17, The 1st LP record
was demonstrated by RCA Victor in NYC. The venture failed.
1931 Sep 17, Anne Bancroft
(d.2005), film actress, was born as Anna Maria Italiano in NYC.
1931 Sep 18-1931 Sep 19, The
Mukden Incident was initiated by the Japanese Kwangtung Army in
Mukden. It involved an explosion along the Japanese-controlled South
Manchurian Railway. It was soon followed by the Japanese invasion of
Manchuria and the eventual establishment of the Japanese-dominated
state of Manchukuo. The neutrality of the area, and the ability of
Japan to defend its colony in Korea, was threatened in the 1920s by
efforts at unification of China. Within three months Japanese troops
had spread out throughout Manchuria. The occupation ended at the
conclusion of the Second World War in 1945.
1931 Sep 19, David Starr Jordan
(b.1851), former president of Stanford Univ. (1891-1913), died at
Stanford. He had promoted the concept of improving human genetics,
through removal from the breeding pool of those deemed unworthy to
reproduce in his series of publications titled “The Blood of the
1931 Sep 19, Japan invaded
Manchuria and established a puppet state called Manchukuo, which
lasted until the end of WWII. Nobosuke Kishi, later PM of Japan,
oversaw the development of Japanese-occupied Manchuria in the 1930s.
(SSFC, 9/23/12, p.A4)(Econ, 5/18/13,
1931 Sep 21, Larry Hagman, Fort
Worth Tx, actor (I Dream of Jeannie, JR-Dallas), was born.
1931 Sep 21, Britain went off
the gold standard. The pound devalued 20%.
(AP, 9/21/97)(WSJ, 1/10/09, p.W8)
1931 Sep 24, Anthony Newley,
actor (Dr Doolittle, Garbage Pail Kids, Stop the World) and
composer, was born in England.
1931 Sep 24, The DJIA dropped
1931 Sep 25, Barbara Walters,
television news personality best known for her one-on-one interviews
with famous personalities, was born.
1931 Sep 28, In Peking
some 200,000 demonstrators demanded a declaration of war on
1931 Oct 1, Spain established
general female suffrage.
1931 Oct 3, Carl August
Nielsen, composer, died at 66.
1931 Oct 4, The comic strip
"Dick Tracy," created by Chester Gould (1900-1985), made its debut.
1931 Oct 4, Aerial circus star
Clyde Pangborn and playboy Hugh Herndon, Jr. set off in Miss Veedol
to complete the first nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean from
Sabishiro Beach in Misawa City, Japan. A young boy gave Panghorn 5
apples from Misawa City.
1931 Oct 5, Clyde Pangborn and
Hugh Herndon, Jr. belly landed Miss Veedol, a Bellanca CH-200
monoplane, in Wenatchee, Wa., to complete the first nonstop flight
across the Pacific Ocean from Japan. They won a $25,000 prize from
the Japanese Ashi Shimbun newspaper. Panghorn sent apple cuttings
from Wenatchee's Richard Delicious apples to Japan which were soon
distributed across Japan.
1931 Oct 7, Desmond Tutu, South
African Black archbishop who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, was
1931 Oct 10, William Walton's
"Belshazzar's Feast," premiered in Leeds.
1931 Oct 11, Some 100,000
extreme right Germans formed the "Harzburger Front."
1931 Oct 12, The Rio de Janeiro
98-foot statue of Christ the Redeemer was unveiled atop Corcovado
Mountain as a belated monument to 100 years of independence from
Portugal (1822). It was designed by Brazilian artist Carlos Oswald
and French sculptor Paul Landowski.
(SSFC, 9/30/01, p.T2)(SFC, 10/14/03, p.D7)
1931 Oct 13, Noel Coward's
"Cavalcade," premiered in London.
1931 Oct 16, Anne LeRoi (32)
and Hedvig (Sammy) Samuelson (24) were murdered, cut up and shipped
in trunks to Los Angeles where they were found 3 days later. Winnie
Ruth Judd (d.1998 at 93), known as the "Trunk Murderess," was
sentenced to death for the murders in 1932 but pleaded insanity to
avoid execution. She was paroled in 1971. It was later alleged that
she took the blame to cover up for a man she was dating.
(SFC, 10/25/98, p.A15)
1931 Oct 17, Mobster Al Capone
was convicted of income tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in
prison. He was released in 1939.
1931 Oct 18, Legendary inventor
Thomas Alva Edison died at the age of 84. Edison was the first
to create a machine that projected motion pictures. With his
motion picture projector and George Eastman's photographic
film, the first picture, called "The Sneeze," was recorded in
Edison's mobile studio. The very short silent film paved the way for
the motion picture industry. Edison's many inventions also
included the incandescent light bulb and the phonograph; he
was credited with holding 1,093 patents. His ideas were granted
patents every year for 65 years, from 1868 to
1933--unparalleled in American history. In 1998 Paul Israel authored
“Edison: A Life of Invention."
(AP, 10/18/97)(HNPD, 10/18/99)(Sm, 3/06, p.105)
1931 Oct 19, John Le Carré,
British novelist who wrote The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
1931 Oct 19, Al Capone was
convicted. [see Oct 17]
1931 Oct 20, Mickey Mantle,
baseball great who played for the New York Yankees, was born.
1931 Oct 24, Al (Alphonse)
Capone, prohibition era Chicago gangster, was sentenced to 11 years
in prison for tax evasion.
(HN, 10/24/98)(MC, 10/24/01)
1931 Oct 24, The George
Washington Bridge, connecting New York and New Jersey, was
officially dedicated. It opened to traffic the next day. A
second lower deck was added in 1962.
1931 Oct 25, The George
Washington Bridge, linking New York City and New Jersey, opened to
traffic. It was completed at a cost of $59 million and 12 lives. The
US Post Office featured a commemorative stamp. It was described as
the most beautiful bridge in the world.
1931 Oct 26, Eugene O'Neill's
"Mourning Becomes Electra," premiered in NYC. He adopted the
Aeschylus "Oresteia" trilogy to a New England family, the Mannons,
in the days just after the American Civil War. The three parts were
called "Homecoming," "The Hunted" and "The Haunted."
(WSJ, 5/16/97, p.A16)(SFEC, 5/30/99, DB p.37)(MC,
1931 Oct 31, Dan Rather, news
anchor (CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes), was born in Wharton Texas.
1931 Nov 1, Dupont introduced
synthetic rubber. [see Nov 3]
1931 Nov 3, The 1st
commercially produced synthetic rubber was manufactured. [see Nov 1]
1931 Nov 6, Mike Nichols, film
and stage director, was born. His work included "The Graduate."
1931 Nov 7, Mao Tse Tung
proclaimed the Chinese People's Republic.
1931 Nov 8, Morley Safer, TV
newscaster (60 Minutes), was born.
1931 Nov 12, Maple Leaf Gardens
opened in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as the new home of the Maple
Leafs of the National Hockey League.
1931 Nov 12, The
Sibelius-Ashton ballet "Lady of Shalott," premiered in London.
1931 Nov 17, Lindbergh
inaugurated Pan Am service from Cuba to South America in a Sikorsky
flying boat American Clipper.
1931 Nov 19, Xu Zhimo (34),
Chinese poet, was killed in a plane crash while flying from Nanjing
to Beijing. He left behind four collections of verse and several
volumes of translations from various languages. His poem “On Leaving
Cambridge" made famous a willow tree on the ground’s of King’s
1931 Nov 20, AT&T began
commercial teletype service.
1931 Nov 20, Japan and China
rejected the League of Council terms for Manchuria at Geneva.
1931 Nov 22, Ferde Grofe's
"Grand Canyon Suite," premiered.
1931 Nov 29, The Spanish
government seized large estates for land redistribution.
1931 Nov 30, Bill Walsh, NFL
coach (SF 49ers) and sportscaster, was born.
1931 Nov 30, His Master's Voice
and Columbia Records merge into EMI.
1931 Nov 30, The submarine
Nautilus was sunk near Bergen, Norway. Hubert Wilkins, Australian
explorer, had used the ship in a failed attempt to sail beneath the
(ON, 1/02, p.8)
1931 Nov, "The Joy of Cooking"
by Irma Louise Rombauer was first published.
(SFEC, 10/20/96, BR, p.3)
1931 Dec 2,
Paul-Marie-Theodore-Vincent D'indy (80), French count and composer,
1931 Dec 3, Miles Laboratories
introduced Alka Seltzer. [see Feb 21]
(SFEC, 8/28/98, Z1 p.8)(MC, 12/3/01)
1931 Dec 4, "Frankenstein"
opened at Mayfair.
1931 Dec 5, Reverend James
Cleveland, considered the "King of Gospel," was born.
1931 Dec 7, A report indicated
that Nazis would ensure "Nordic dominance" by sterilizing certain
1931 Dec 8, Coaxial cable was
1931 Dec 9, Japanese army
attacked the Chinese province of Jehol.
1931 Dec 9, Spain became a
1931 Dec 10, Jane Addams became
a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, for her efforts as the
president of the Women’s International league for Peace and Freedom.
She was the first American woman so honored. She was also known for
her work as a social reformer and pacifist, and founded the Hull
House in Chicago. The co-recipient was Nicholas Murray Butler.
(HN, 9/6/98)(WSJ, 1/2/02, p.A16)(AP, 12/10/06)
1931 Dec 10, Nicholas Murray
Butler (1862-1947), presidential advisor and president of Columbia
Univ. (1902-1945), was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on
behalf of the Briand Kellogg Pact (1929), a treaty that denounced
war as an instrument of national policy. In 2006 Michael Rosenthal
authored “Nicholas Miraculous," a biography Butler.
(SSFC, 8/15/04, p.D11)(WSJ, 1/25/06, p.D10)
1931 Dec 12, Under pressure
from the Communists in Canton, Chiang Kai-shek resigned as President
of the Nanking Government but remained the head of the Nationalist
government that held nominal rule over most of China.
1931 Dec 23, Wilson Bentley
(1865-1931), photographer of snow flakes, died at his farm in
Jericho, Vermont. He had just published a book of 2,453 of his
finest snow crystal photos.
(ON, 11/04, p.6)
1931 Dec 25, New York’s
Metropolitan Opera broadcast an entire opera over radio for the
first time: "Hansel und Gretel" by Engelbert Humperdinck.
1931 Dec 26, The Pulitzer
Prize-winning musical play "Of Thee I Sing" opened on Broadway.
1931 Dec 29, The identification
of heavy water was publicly announced by H.C. Urey.
1931 Dec 30, Richard Christ,
writer, was born.
1931 Lady Caroline Blackwood
was born in Northern Ireland. She later married British painter
Lucian Freud, American composer Israel Citkowitz, and American poet
Robert Lowell. In 2001 Nancy Schoenberger authored "Dangerous Muse:
The Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood."
(SSFC, 7/15/01, DB p.61)
1931 Osama bin Laden was born
in Jidda to a Syrian mother. He was the 17th of 51 children of
Muhammad bin Laden, a baggage carrier, who left Yemen in 1931.
Muhammad and his brothers were the founders of a prosperous
construction company. In 2004 Jonathan Randal authored “Osama: The
Making of a Terrorist."
(SFC, 12/31/00, p.B9)(WSJ, 9/2/04, p.D16)
1931 Pierre Bonnard painted his
Self-Portrait, "The Boxer" and "Still Life in front of a Window."
(WSJ, 2/8/96, p.A-12)(WSJ, 6/24/98, p.A16)
1931 Salvador Dali painted "La
Solitude." This became the first Dali painting to enter an American
public collection, the Wadsworth Athenium in Hartford, Conn. under
director A. Everett "Chick" Austin in 1932. The Wadsworth Athenium
museum was the first American museum to show Surrealist art in the
1931 show "Newer Super-Realism."
(WSJ, 2/2/99, p.A20)(WSJ, 1/26/00, p.A20)(WSJ,
1931 Arthur G. Dove painted
his: "Ferry Boat Wreck."
(WSJ, 4/9/98, p.A21)
1931 Frida Kahlo painted "Frida
and Diego Rivera." It is on exhibit at the SF Museum of Modern Art.
(SF E&C, 1/15/1995, SFE Mag. p.21)
1931 Man Ray created his
painting “"Observatory Time – The Lovers." It featured the lips of
Lee Miller hovering over a landscape almost like a UFO.
(SFC, 7/14/12, p.E2)
1931 Matisse made his bronze
"Head of Marie-Theresa."
(WSJ, 1/9/97, p.A8)
1931 Georgia O’Keeffe painted
"Horse’s Skull With White Rose."
(SFC, 7/16/97, p.E3)
1931 Picasso (1881-1973)
transformed the features of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter into a
series of monumental plaster heads, later cast in bronze), which
simultaneously evoke male and female genitalia. He also painted
"Woman with Yellow Hair" this year.
(Econ, 11/17/07, p.100)(WSJ, 2/16/99, p.A20)
1931 Historian James Truslow
Adams published "The Epic of America." here he coined the term ‘the
(SFC, 10/24/98, p.E5)
1931 Jean de Brunhoff (d.1937),
French painter, published “Histoire de Babar, le petit elephant"
(The Story of Babar, the Little elephant). He illustrated the Babar
stories which were invented by his wife Cecille (d.2003).
(SFC, 4/15/03, p.A16)(WSJ, 10/11/08, p.W12)
1931 Henry Steele Commager (d.
1998 at 95), American historian, wrote "The Growth of the American
Republic" with Samuel Eliot Morison.
(SFC, 3/3/98, p.D8)
1931 Noel Coward stayed at the
Sassoon House in Shanghai for four days and wrote his "Private
Lives." It premiered this same year in London.
(Hem. 1/95, p. 84)(SFC, 12/28/99, p.C5)
1931 Dashiell Hammett authored
his mystery thriller “The Glass Key." It was made into a film in
(SFEC, 5/31/98, DB p.51)(WSJ, 4/15/06, p.P16)
1931 Irmgard Keun (22), German
writer, authored "The Artificial Silk Girl." It was banned by the
Nazis in 1933. A new English translation was made in 2002.
(SSFC, 7/28/02, p.M4)
1931 Irma S. Rombauer published
the first volume of "Joy of Cooking."
(SFC,11/12/97, Z1 p.1)
1931 Writer Lincoln Steffens
published his "Autobiography." It was an enormous success.
1931 Edna St. Vincent Millay
(1892-1950) published her poetry collection "Fatal Interview."
(SSFC, 9/2/01, DB p.59)
1931 Nathanael West (1902-1940)
wrote his first novel "The Dream Life of Balso Snell."
(WSJ, 8/11/97, p.A12)
1931 Herbert Yardley
(1889-1958), American cryptologist, authored “The American Black
Chamber." The book outlined the history of the first US Signals
Intelligence (SIGINT) organization, described the activities of MI-8
during World War I and the American Black Chamber in the 1920s, and
illustrated the basic principles of signals security.
1931 Tap dancer Chuck Green
(d.1997) moved to New York and became a protege of John Bubbles of
"Buck and Bubbles" fame. He later danced with the Lionel Hampton
band and in his own act "Chuck and Chuckles."
(SFC, 3/8/96, p.A21)
1931 The Broadway show
"Everybody’s Welcome" featured the song "As Time Goes By" by Herman
(SFC, 9/30/97, p.A21)
1931 The George Gershwin
musical "Of Thee I Sing" was premiered. It won a Pulitzer Prize.
(SFEC, 6/29/97, p.D5)
1931 Odon von Horvath wrote his
musical play "Tales From the Vienna Woods."
(WSJ, 10/30/03, p.D10)
1931 Gerald Marks (1901-1997),
Tin Pan Alley composer, wrote his song "All of Me."
(SFC, 1/28/97, p.A14)
1931 Cole Porter's "New
Yorkers" featured Elisabeth Welch and the song "Love for Sale."
(SFC, 7/18/03, p.A29)
1931 Roy Rogers (formerly known
as Leonard Slye) arrived in California from Ohio. The singing group
Sons of the Pioneers, which included Bob Nolan, Roy Rogers and Dick
Spencer, later recorded "Tumblin' Tumbleweed," "Cool Water," and
(BAAC, 8/27, p.1)(WSJ, 1/18/00, p.A24)
1931 Igor Stravinsky composed
his "Violin Concerto" and musical drama "Persephone."
(WSJ, 4/17/01, p.A18)
1931 William Grant Still was
the first African-American to write a symphony and have it performed
by a major orchestra.
(WSJ, 2/09/99, p.A20)
1931 The first electric guitar,
the Rickenbacker "frying pan," was made.
(NH, 6/97, p.64)(SSFC, 11/9/03, p.C5)
1931 In NYC the 26-story
Palatial River House was built om East 52nd Street with two 15-story
(SSFC, 1/13/19, p.A8)
1931 The 2 Piazzoni murals,
"The Land" and "The Sea" were painted in the SF Main Library.
(SFC, 12/11/98, p.A25)
1931 Diego Rivera, Mexican
muralist, arrived in SF. He painted "Allegory of California" for the
Pacific Stock Exchange.
(SFEC, 5/18/97, SF p.2)(SFC, 8/30/03, p.D10)
1931 In San Francisco the El
Rey Theatre, designed by architect Timothy Pfleuger, was built at
1970 Ocean Ave. It closed in 1977 and the structure was taken over
by a Pentecostal church.
(SSFC, 1/13/13, p.C5)
1931 In San Francisco the Main
Post Chapel at the Presidio was built in a Spanish Colonial Revival
(SFEM, 6/27/99, p.13)
1931 Construction began on San
Francisco’s Municipal Pier at Aquatic Park. 634 pilings attached to
pre-cast concrete created calm waters for swimming.
(SFC, 10/3/08, p.B7)(SFC, 11/14/15, p.C2)
1931 Rosalie Meyer Stern
donated 12 acres of land at 19th Ave. and Sloat Blvd. to San
Francisco for open-air concerts and as a tribute to her late
husband. Architect Bernard Maybeck was consulted in developing the
grove. The Trocodero Clubhouse demonstrates Stick-Eastlake
(SFC, 5/19/96,City Guide, p.6)(SFC, 10/2/13,
1931 In San Francisco
Seals Stadium opened at 16th and Bryant streets. The $1.5 million
single-deck cement structure, was designed by H.J. Brunnier. The
18,500-seat baseball stadium had a public address system and lights
for night games. It was also home to the Mission Reds until 1938.
Seals Stadium was demolished in 1959.
(SFEC,12/797, Z1 p.4)(SSFC, 10/4/09, p.50)(SFC,
1931 The Commonwealth Club of
San Francisco created the California Book Award to foster and
recognize literature in the Golden State. The 1st recipients this
year were: California Sen. William McAdoo for his journal, Lincoln
Steffens for his autobiography, and Herbert E. Bolton for his
history of SF: “Outposts of Empire."
(SFEC,11/2/97, BR p.13)(SFC, 6/6/06, p.D1)
1931 Lizzie Glide, a Methodist
philanthropist, opened Glide Church and founded the Glide Foundation
as a memorial to her husband, cattle baron H.L. Glide.
(SFC, 9/15/98, p.A9)
1931 In San Francisco Douglas
Shaw opened Shaws candy store in the West Portal neighborhood. The
operation grew to a 50-store chain and then shrank back down to the
original store, which closed in 2020.
(SFC, 2/17/20, p.D1)
1931 Joe DiMaggio (17) joined
the San Francisco Seals, a Pacific Coast League baseball team.
1931 SF purchased a brand new
Lincoln Phaeton convertible touring car for $4,400. It was the 1st
car to cross the GG Bridge on opening day in 1937.
(SFC, 12/27/00, p.A23)
1931 The Capital Research &
Management mutual fund was founded in Los Angeles. By 2008 it was
the largest US manager of stock and bond mutual funds with over $1.1
trillion under management.
(WSJ, 1/16/08, p.A10)
1931 A.P. Giannini regained
control Transamerica Corp. after ousting CEO Elisha Walker who
planned to liquidate the organization to stave off bankruptcy.
(SFC, 4/14/98, p.B1)
1931 The 1st successful case
for desegregation in schools was Roberto Alvarez vs. the Board of
Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District in San Diego.
(SFC, 4/12/04, p.E8)
1931 Francis Marion "Borax"
Smith, founder and developer of the Pacific Coast Borax Company,
died. He consolidated the SF Bay Area trolley lines into the Key
System, built the East Bay water system and helped build the
Claremont Hotel. His Arbor Villa in Oakland was demolished in 1932.
(SFC, 11/6/98, p.D5)(SSFC, 10/20/02, p.A19)
1931 In San Francisco the cable
car lines on Casto and Fillmore streets ended operations.
(SFC, 2/8/14, p.C1)
1931 Sarah Joslyn inherited $10
million and used a third of it to build a grand pink-marble,
art-deco 150,000 sq. ft. cultural center in Omaha, Nebraska.
(WSJ, 1/9/95, A-10)
1931 Gertrude Vanderbilt
Whitney (d.1942) founded the Whitney Museum in her New York
Greenwich Village townhouse. In 2000 Flora Miller Biddle authored
"The Whitney Women and the Museum They Made."
(WSJ, 4/10/00, p.A44)
1931 The USS Constitution (aka
Old Ironsides) was restored and visited ports on both coasts until
(SFEC, 7/13/97, Par p.14)
1931 In Detroit, Mich., Wallace
D. Fard started a movement that later became the Nation of Islam. He
was succeeded by Elijah Muhammad, who stressed the evil of white
people and the need for black self-sufficiency.
(WSJ, 10/24/03, p.A8)
1931 Jehovah’s Witnesses
adopted their name.
(SFEC, 8/28/98, Z1 p.8)
1931 Ellery J. Chun (d.2000 at
91) designed the 1st Hawaiian aloha shirt for mass-production and
sale at his family’s store in Honolulu. He put a trademark to the
aloha shirt name in 1936.
(SFC, 6/8/00, p.C7)(SFEC, 6/25/00, p.B13)(SSFC,
1931 Willis & Geiger
Outfitters were awarded a US Army & Air Force contract for A-2
(NH, 9/96, p.17)
1931 Karl Bosch (b.1874),
German chemist (BASF), received the Nobel Prize.
1931 Friedrich C.R. Bergius
(d.1949 at 64), chemist, won the Nobel Prize.
1931 Ten years of comparative
peace ended when Japan attacked and seized Manchuria to ensure a
supply of natural resources.
(TMC, 1994, p.1931)(SFC, 7/18/96, p.E6)(Jap.
Enc., BLDM, p. 216)(SFC, 12/2/97, p.A22)
1931 Harvey H. Bundy, father of
McGeorge Bundy, became the assistant secretary of state under Pres.
(SFC, 9/17/96, p.A22)
1931 The Davis-Bacon Act passed
in the US. It was later described as a pro-union measure that
inflated the cost of federal construction contracts by setting
"prevailing wage" requirements.
(WSJ, 11/20/95, p.A-10)
1931 The US Dept. of Commerce
issued a pamphlet titled “Employment for Americans in Soviet
Russia." In the early 1930s hundreds of American immigrated to the
Soviet Union in search of jobs and a new life. Many ended up in mass
graves. In 2008 Tim Tzouliadis authored “The Forsaken: An American
Tragedy in Stalin’s Russia."
(Econ, 8/9/08, p.80)(SFC, 9/1/08, p.E3)
1931 Anton Cermak became mayor
of Chicago. He was assassinated March 8, 1933.
(Econ, 3/18/06, Survey
1931 In NYC the new Waldorf
Astoria at 301 Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan was completed. The
47-story, 190.5 m (625 ft) Art Deco landmark was designed by
architects Schultze and Weaver. In October 2014 it was announced
that the Anbang Insurance Group of China had purchased the Waldorf
Astoria for US$1.95 billion, making it the most expensive hotel ever
1931 A NYC gangland war ended
with the assassinations of warring gang leaders Salvatore Maranzano
and Joseph Masseria. Lucky Luciano took over the Masseria
organization and Joseph Bonanno (d.2002), age 26, took over the
Maranzano operations. Luciano organized a "Commision" to resolve
internal mob disputes.
(SSFC, 5/12/02, p.A23)
1931 NYC mobster Frank Costello
by this time was raking in $25 million from his 25,000 slot
(Econ, 7/10/10, SR p.10)
1931 Over 3,000 banks failed in
the US this year.
(SFEC, 11/5/00, pen 2)
1931 The Canandaigua (N.Y.)
National Bank and Trust Co. inspired confidence in panicky
depositors by stacking $1 million in bills behind its tellers.
(WSJ, 5/8/95, p.A-14)
1931 Ernest Van Tassel
establishes a macadamia nut processing factory on Puhukaina Street
in Kakaako; nuts sold as Van's macadamia nuts.
1931 Castro Convertible Corp.
began operating in New York as a maker of convertible sofa beds. It
was sold to Krause’s Furniture in 1993. Krause closed in 2002.
(SFC, 11/19/08, p.G6)
1931 Lawrence Gelb brought over
Nestle’s Clairol hair dye.
(SFEC, 8/28/98, Z1 p.8)
1931 US automakers produced
their 50 millionth US car.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
1931 Ford stopped making Model
(SFEC, 8/28/98, Z1 p.8)
1931 Robert May, copywriter for
Montgomery Ward, introduced Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as a poem
for children in the stores.
(SFC, 12/29/00, p.A12)
1931 Orchard Supply Hardware
(OSH) started as a cooperative by 30 farmers who contributed $30
each and rented a warehouse in San Jose, Ca. It became a retailer in
the 1950s and was acquired by Sears in 1996. In 2012 Orchard
began trading as a public company.
1931 Frederick August Otto
Schwartz (FAO Schwartz) moved to uptown NYC to its flagship Fifth
Avenue store. In 1986 it moved across the street.
(WSJ, 11/21/03, p.B1)
1931 The Graf Zeppelin began
regular passenger service between Germany and Brazil.
(Hem., 1/96, p.108)
1931 Matson Navigation Co.
built an ocean liner that was renamed the Lurline in 1963. The ship
was earlier known as the Monterey and the Matsonia. Plans to turn it
into a $45 million four-star hotel in SF dimmed in 2000 as its scrap
value reached $3.5 million.
(SFC, 6/28/00, p.A1)
1931 Sears started Allstate
Insurance Co. Employees received group life insurance.
(WSJ, 11/18/04, p.B1)
1931 A rubber called Lastex
came on the market and changed the bra industry.
(SSFC, 10/28/07, p.E3)
1931 The Bosch Semaphore was
introduced. It was an orange arm that drivers could pop out the
window to signal turns.
(WSJ, 6/19/96, Adv. Supl)
1931 Ernst Ruska, a student at
Berlin’s Technical Univ., found that a magnetic coil could focus a
beam of electrons in much the same way that a glass lens focuses
light. This later led to his use of a pair of magnetic lenses and a
detector to produce the first electron microscope. Rheinhold
Ruedenberg (1883-1961) patented the principle of electron-microscope
imaging for Siemens and Halske.
(I&I, Penzias, p.204)
1931 Ernest Lawrence tested the
first cyclotron at UC Berkeley, Ca. The device measured 30cm in
(Econ, 9/13/08, p.87)
1931 Edwin Hubble made his
first measurements for calculating the age of the universe and came
up with the figure of 1 billion years.
1931 In the US 20,000 people
(TMC, 1994, p.1931)
1931 There were a record 21
hurricanes this year.
(SFC, 9/13/96, p.D24)
1931 A baked clay statuette
from about 900BC was found in a northern Nigerian village called
Nok. From the name of this village the Nok culture is identified.
(Enc. of Africa, 1976, p.168)
1931 A ring was found by Percy
Newberry in a Cairo antiquities shop the bore an inscription
indicating that [c1350BC] Aye and Ankhesenaten were married.
(SFC, 1/25/97, p.A7)
1931 Ralph Barton (b.1891),
American caricature artist, died.
(WSJ, 8/21/01, p.A17)
1931 Melvil Dewey (80) creator
of the Dewey Decimal classification system, died.
(ON, 3/04, p.12)
1931 Thomas Edison, inventor,
(WSJ, 1/17/97, p.A1)
1931 Mary Harris (b.1837), aka
Mother Jones, died. In 2001 Elliot J. Gorn authored "Mother Jones:
The Most Dangerous Woman in America."
(SSFC, 2/25/01, BR p.5)
1931 F.W. Murnau (42), German
film director, was killed in a car crash in California.
(SFEC, 5/17/98, BR p.6)
1931 The Trans-African Railroad
(WSJ, 1/11/99, p.R49)
1931 In Albania Zog refused to
renew the First Treaty of Tirana. Italians continued with political
and economic pressure.
(www, Albania, 1998)
1931 Albania’s King Zog escaped
an assassination attempt in Vienna.
(SFC, 10/28/02, p.A17)
1931 Arnhem Land in northern
Australia was made an Aboriginal reserve.
(SFEC, 2/28/99, p.T1)
1931 In Austria a run on Credit
Anstalt bank set off a chain of events that took Britain off the
gold standard and raised fears that America might follow. Its
failure rippled around the world and intensified the Depression.
(Econ, 10/04/08, p.83)(Econ, 9/12/09, p.86)
1931 Austria and Germany
dropped out of the gold standard. By 1936 the gold standard was
(Econ, 7/5/14, p.57)
1931 The Gold Standard was
abandoned by Britain, Denmark, Finland and Japan.
(TMC, 1994, p.1931)(Jap. Enc., BLDM, p. 216)
1931 In London, England, the
Abbey Road recording studio was established at the former residence
of an English nobleman.
(Sky, 9/97, p.53)
1931 British chancellor Philip
Snowden (864-1937) put forth an emergency austerity budget with tax
rises and spending cuts.
(Econ, 12/10/11, p.77)
1931 Montagu Norman
(1871-1950), governor of the Bank of England (1920-1944), proposed
the creation of an international lender empowered to lend to
governments and banks in need of capital. The idea was rejected by
France and America.
(Econ, 12/10/11, p.78)
1931 There was a mass trespass
in England’s northern Peak District.
(SFC, 6/21/99, p.A7)
1931 Francis Ingall (d.1998 at
89) led his Lancers in a charge on horseback at the Battle of
Karawal near the Khyber Pass against Afridi tribesmen. It was the
final such attack by a regiment of the British Army. He later
authored "The Last of the Bengal Lancers."
(SFC, 9/25/98, p.D4)
1931 Saskatchewan was the 3rd
most populous province in Canada, but then the depression and
drought ushered in 8 decades of decline.
(Econ, 6/7/08, p.51)
1931 Einar Weigener, a Danish
painter, had his sex altered in the first surgical procedure of its
(SFEC, 2/27/00, BR p.5)
1931 Slavery was officially
abolished in Ethiopia (1930 by the Ethiopian calendar).
1931 The French publication Le
Cancer Americaine railed against the inhumanity of American life.
(Econ, 12/24/05, p.75)
1931 The French Exposition
Coloniale was held.
(Hem., 7/95, p.27)
1931 Albert Speer at 26 joined
the Nazi Party. He later became the architect of German war
production. He is best known as the author of "Inside the Third
Reich." In 1995 Gitta Sereny completed a biography on Speer titled
"Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth."
(WSJ, 9/25/95, p.A-12)
1931 India held a census that
measured castes, as colonial Britain still ruled. India’s 2010
census also included a question on caste.
1931 Hindu nationalist B.S.
Moonje (1872-1948), traveled to Rome and was much influenced by the
ideology of fascism. Upon his return to India he set out organize
the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) paramilitary along similar
1931 The Iraqi Air Force was
founded. It was later considered the best in the Arab world battling
the British in 1941 and Israel in 1948 and 1967.
1931 A US all-star baseball
team came to Japan and played before capacity crowds. It was
organized by sportswriter Fred Lieb and National League umpire
1931 Cementos Mexicanos, later
called Cemex, was formed when two companies in Monterey joined
forces, including one founded by Lorenzo Zambrano Gutierrez.
(WSJ, 12/11/08, p.A14)
1931 Randoplh Hearst, American
newspaper magnate, purchased a collapsing former Trapist monestary
in Spain, the Santa Maria de Ovila, for $97,000. Plans to rebuilt
the 16th century chapter house at his mother’s Wyntoon estate went
on hold with the Great Depression. Hearst later gifted the crated
stones to San Francisco. In 1994 SF agreed to loan the stones to
Cistercian monks at Vina, near Chico, Ca. In the spring of 2012 the
scaffolding of rebuilt structure in Vina came
(SFC, 12/26/12, p.A1)
1931 On the Pacific island of
Tench missionaries put a stop to the local tradition of preventing
old age by sending out to sea for drowning those who turned 40.
(SFC, 9/27/97, p.E3)
1931 USSR leader Joseph Stalin
turned Abkhazia into an autonomous region of Georgia. Beria, his
secret police chief, later resettled Georgians from the western part
of the country in Abkhazia.
(Econ, 7/5/08, p.64)
1931-1932 Rockwell Kent (1882-1971), American
artist, illustrator and printmaker, spent his first Arctic winter
painting and exploring in the settlement of Igdlorssuit, Greenland.
In 1935 he authored “Salamina," a memoir of his first Arctic winter
1931-1933 In 2007 it was reported that British
scientists began conducting experiments in the early 1930s to
determine whether mustard gas damaged Indians' skin more than
British soldiers'. They went on for more than 10 years at a military
site in Rawalpindi (later a part of Pakistan).
1931-1935 Jackson Pollock worked on his painting
(WSJ, 11/10/98, p.A20)
1931-1941 The Group Theater was a left-wing,
socially conscious experimental product of the Great Depression.
Director Robert Lewis was a founding member.
1931-1944 Jorge Ubico took over Guatemala as
dictator. He liked to ride around the country in his motorcycle and
had all the potholes fixed. He ended debt peonage for Indians and
clamped down on corruption.
(SFEC, 11/24/96, Z1 p.2)(WSJ, 3/3/99, p.A18)
1931-1989 Thomas Bernhard, Austrian writer. He was
"one of Austria’s most uncompromisingly pessimistic postwar
writers." His last novel is titled "The Extinction," translated and
published in English in 1995.
(WSJ, 10/5/95, p.A-12)