Friday, December 17, 2010
"Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail."
On December 17, 1843, "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens was published in London. Dickens began writing his epic work in October & completed it by early December 1843. Six thousand copies had "sold out" by Christmas Eve at 5 shillings a copy.
This was my favorite book as a child. My parents bought me a large size "Hallmark" illustrated edition. The illustrations were superb. I think there is something about the opening paragraph (above) that stirred my imagination.
On December 17, 1903, Orville & Wilbur Wright made the first airplane flight at 10:35 a.m. at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Their plane was gas-powered & propeller-driven. The first flight on that morning lasted just 12 seconds & flew 120 feet. A later flight that day went for 59 seconds.
On December 17, 1777, France formally recognized the United States of America. The "Treaty of Alliance" had been negotiated by French Foreign Minister Charles Gravier & American diplomat Benjamin Franklin.
On December 17, 1961, President Kennedy laid a wreath on the tomb of Simon Bolivar in Caracas, Venezuela. Later in the day, he & Mrs. Kennedy visited Bogata, Colombia where they greeted Peace Corps workers.