THIS DAY IN HISTORY JANUARY 17 1942: American professional boxer Muhammad Ali was born in Louisville, Kentucky.

original name  Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. American professional boxer and social activist. Ali was the first fighter to win the world heavyweight championship on three separate occasions; he successfully defended this title 19 times.

Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., grew up in the American South in a time of segregated public facilities. His father, Cassius Marcellus Clay, Sr., supported a wife and two sons by painting billboards and signs. His mother, Odessa Grady Clay, worked as a household domestic.
When Clay was 12 years old, he took up boxing under the tutelage of Louisville policeman Joe Martin. After advancing through the amateur ranks, he won a gold medal in the 175-pound division at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome and began a professional career under the guidance of the Louisville Sponsoring Group, a syndicate composed of 11 wealthy white men.
In his early bouts as a professional, Clay was more highly regarded for his charm and personality than for his ring skills. He sought to raise public interest in his fights by reading childlike poetry and spouting self-descriptive phrases such as “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” He told the world that he was “the Greatest,” but the hard realities of boxing seemed to indicate otherwise. Clay infuriated devotees of the sport as much as he impressed them. He held his hands unconventionally low, backed away from punches rather than bobbing and weaving out of danger, and appeared to lack true knockout power. The opponents he was besting were a mixture of veterans who were long past their prime and fighters who had never been more than mediocre. Thus, purists cringed when Clay predicted the round in which he intended to knock out an opponent, and they grimaced when he did so and bragged about each new conquest.
On Feb. 25, 1964, Clay challenged Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship of the world. Liston was widely regarded as the most intimidating, powerful fighter of his era. Clay was a decided underdog. But in one of the most stunning upsets in sports history, Liston retired to his corner after six rounds, and Clay became the new champion. Two days later, Clay shocked the boxing establishment again by announcing that he had accepted the teachings of the Nation of Islam. On March 6, 1964, he took the name Muhammad Ali, which was given to him by his spiritual mentor, Elijah Muhammad.

For the next three years, Ali dominated boxing as thoroughly and magnificently as any fighter ever had. In a May 25, 1965, rematch against Liston, he emerged with a first-round knockout victory. Triumphs over Floyd Patterson, George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, Brian London, and Karl Mildenberger followed. On Nov. 14, 1966, Ali fought Cleveland Williams. Over the course of three rounds, Ali landed more than 100 punches, scored four knockdowns, and was hit a total of three times. Ali’s triumph over Williams was succeeded by victories over Ernie Terrell and Zora Folley.

Then, on April 28, 1967, citing his religious beliefs, Ali refused induction into the U.S. Army at the height of the war in Vietnam. This refusal followed a blunt statement voiced by Ali 14 months earlier: “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.” Many Americans vehemently condemned Ali’s stand. It came at a time when most people in the United States still supported the war in Southeast Asia. Moreover, although exemptions from military service on religious grounds were available to qualifying conscientious objectors who were opposed to war in any form, Ali was not eligible for such an exemption because he acknowledged that he would be willing to participate in an Islamic holy war.
Ali was stripped of his championship and precluded from fighting by every state athletic commission in the United States for three and a half years. In addition, he was criminally indicted and, on June 20, 1967, convicted of refusing induction into the U.S. armed forces and sentenced to five years in prison. Although he remained free on bail, four years passed before his conviction was unanimously overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court on a narrow procedural ground.
Meanwhile, as the 1960s grew more tumultuous, Ali’s impact upon American society was growing, and he became a lightning rod for dissent. Ali’s message of black pride and black resistance to white domination was on the cutting edge of the civil rights movement. Having refused induction into the U.S. Army, he also stood for the proposition that “unless you have a very good reason to kill, war is wrong.” As black activist Julian Bond later observed, “When a figure as heroic and beloved as Muhammad Ali stood up and said, ‘No, I won’t go,’ it reverberated through the whole society.”
In October 1970, Ali was allowed to return to boxing, but his skills had eroded. The legs that had allowed him to “dance” for 15 rounds without stopping no longer carried him as surely around the ring. His reflexes, while still superb, were no longer as fast as they had once been. Ali prevailed in his first two comeback fights, against Jerry Quarry and Oscar Bonavena. Then, on March 8, 1971, he challenged Joe Frazier, who had become heavyweight champion during Ali’s absence from the ring. It was a fight of historic proportions, billed as the “Fight of the Century.” Frazier won a unanimous 15-round decision.
Following his loss to Frazier, Ali won 10 fights in a row, 8 of them against world-class opponents. Then, on March 31, 1973, a little-known fighter named Ken Norton broke Ali’s jaw in the second round en route to a 12-round upset decision. Ali defeated Norton in a rematch. After that, he fought Joe Frazier a second time and won a unanimous 12-round decision. From a technical point of view, the second Ali-Frazier bout was probably Ali’s best performance in the ring after his exile from boxing.
On Oct. 30, 1974, Ali challenged George Foreman, who had dethroned Frazier in 1973 to become heavyweight champion of the world. The bout (which Ali referred to as the “Rumble in the Jungle”) took place in the unlikely location of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Ali was received by the people of Zaire as a conquering hero, and he did his part by knocking out Foreman in the eighth round to regain the heavyweight title. It was in this fight that Ali employed a strategy once used by former boxing great Archie Moore. Moore called the maneuver “the turtle” but Ali called it “rope-a-dope.” The strategy was that, instead of moving around the ring, Ali chose to fight for extended periods of time leaning back into the ropes in order to avoid many of Foreman’s heaviest blows.
Over the next 30 months, at the peak of his popularity as champion, Ali fought nine times in bouts that showed him to be a courageous fighter but a fighter on the decline. The most notable of these bouts occurred on Oct. 1, 1975, when Ali and Joe Frazier met in the Philippines, 6 miles (9.5 km) outside Manila, to do battle for the third time. In what is regarded by many as the greatest prizefight of all time (the “Thrilla in Manila”), Ali was declared the victor when Frazier’s corner called a halt to the bout after 14 brutal rounds.
The final performances of Ali’s ring career were sad to behold. In 1978 he lost his title to Leon Spinks, a novice boxer with an Olympic gold medal but only seven professional fights to his credit. Seven months later, Ali regained the championship with a 15-round victory over Spinks. Then he retired from boxing, but two years later he made an ill-advised comeback and suffered a horrible beating at the hands of Larry Holmes in a bout that was stopped after 11 rounds. The final ring contest of Ali’s career was a loss by decision to Trevor Berbick in 1981.
Ali’s place in boxing history as one of the greatest fighters ever is secure. His final record of 56 wins and 5 losses with 37 knockouts has been matched by others, but the quality of his opponents and the manner in which he dominated during his prime place him on a plateau with boxing’s immortals. Ali’s most tangible ring assets were speed, superb footwork, and the ability to take a punch. But perhaps more important, he had courage and all the other intangibles that go into making a great fighter.
Ali’s later years have been marked by physical decline. Damage to his brain caused by blows to the head have resulted in slurred speech, slowed movement, and other symptoms of Parkinson syndrome. However, his condition differs from chronic encephalopathy, or dementia pugilistica (which is commonly referred to as “punch drunk” in fighters), in that he does not suffer from injury-induced intellectual deficits.
Ali’s religious views have also evolved over time. In the mid-1970s, he began to study the Qurʾan seriously and turned to Orthodox Islam. His earlier adherence to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad (e.g., that white people are “devils” and there is no heaven or hell) were replaced by a spiritual embrace of all people and preparation for his own afterlife. In 1984 Ali spoke out publicly against the separatist doctrine of Louis Farrakhan, declaring, “What he teaches is not at all what we believe in. He represents the time of our struggle in the dark and a time of confusion in us, and we don’t want to be associated with that at all.”
Ali married his fourth wife, Lonnie (née Yolanda Williams) in 1986. He has nine children, most of whom have chosen to avoid the spotlight of which Ali was so fond. One of his daughters, however, Laila Ali, is pursuing a career as a professional boxer. While her skills are limited, she has benefited from the fact that the Ali name is still financially viable.
In 1996 Ali was chosen to light the Olympic flame at the start of the 24th Olympiad in Atlanta, Ga. The outpouring of goodwill that accompanied his appearance confirmed his status as one of the most beloved athletes in the world.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY JANUARY 16 1934: Marilyn Horne, an American mezzo-soprano noted for the seamless quality and the exceptional range and flexibility of her voice, was born.

Full name: Marilyn Bernice Horne  American mezzo-soprano noted for the seamless quality and exceptional range and flexibility of her voice, especially in coloratura roles by Gioacchino Rossini and George Frideric Handel. She was also instrumental in reviving interest in their lesser-known operas.

Horne studied voice at the University of Southern California with William Vennard and at the Music Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, California, with Lotte Lehmann. In 1954 she dubbed the voice of Dorothy Dandridge in the film Carmen Jones; the same year, she made her opera debut with the Los Angeles Guild Opera as Hata in Bedřich Smetana’s The Bartered Bride. She left school and in 1956 performed the role of Giulietta in Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann at the Gelsenkirchen Opera in West Germany. In three seasons at the Gelsenkirchen she performed such roles as Fulvia in Handel’s Ezio and Marie in Alban Berg’s Wozzeck.
Horne repeated her role in Wozzeck at the San Francisco Opera in 1960. The following year, as Agnese in Vincenzo Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, she joined Joan Sutherland in the first of several joint concert performances. It was also Horne’s first bel canto role. Her debut at La Scala, Milan, came in 1969 in Igor Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex. Her long-awaited debut at New York City’s Metropolitan Opera came in 1970 as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma; she subsequently became one of the Met’s principal singers. Horne had her greatest successes in such “trouser roles” as Rossini’s Tancredi and Handel’s Rinaldo. Because of her ability to sing roles that had been originally written for the castrati (who had both an upper range and great vocal power), Horne was known for resurrecting seldom-performed operas. Horne’s efforts were rewarded in 1982, when she was awarded the first Golden Plaque of the Rossini Foundation, honouring her as “the greatest Rossini singer in the world.”
In 1993 Horne sang at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. The following year she established the Marilyn Horne Foundation, which gives aspiring opera singers opportunities to perform throughout the United States. In 1995 Horne became director of the vocal program at The Music Academy of the West. Marilyn Horne: My Life (written with Jane Scovell) was published in 1983.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY JANUARY 15 1759: British Museum opened to the public.

Established by an act of Parliament in 1753, the British Museum which counts among its world-renowned antiquities and archaeological holdings the Elgin Marbles and the Rosetta Stone opened to the public this day in 1759.

Established by act of Parliament in 1753, the museum was originally based on three collections: those of Sir Hans Sloane; Robert Harley, 1st earl of Oxford; and Sir Robert Cotton. The collections (which also included a significant number of manuscripts and other library materials) were housed in Montagu House, Great Russell Street, and were opened to the public in 1759. The museum’s present building, designed in the Neoclassical style by Sir Robert Smirke, was built on the site of Montagu House in the period 1823–52 and has been the subject of several subsequent additions and alterations. Its famous round Reading Room was built in the 1850s; beneath its copper dome laboured such scholars as Karl Marx, Virginia Woolf, Peter Kropotkin, and Thomas Carlyle. In 1881 the original natural history collections were transferred to a new building in South Kensington to form the Natural History Museum, and in 1973 the British Museum’s library was joined with a number of other holdings by act of Parliament to create the British Library. About half of the national library’s holdings were kept at the museum until a new library building was opened in 1997. Plans were then announced for the refurbishment of the Reading Room, which would house a new reference collection including computer systems. Construction of the glass-enclosed Great Court, surrounding the Reading Room, began in March 1998.
Among the British Museum’s most famous holdings are the Elgin Marbles, consisting mainly of architectural details from the Parthenon at Athens; other Greek sculptures from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and from the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus; the Rosetta Stone, which provided the key to reading ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs; the Black Obelisk and other Assyrian relics from the palace and temples at Calah (modern Nimrūd) and Nineveh; exquisite gold, silver, and shell work from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur; the so-called Portland Vase, a 1st-century-AD cameo glass vessel found near Rome; treasure from the 7th-century-AD ship burial found at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk; and Chinese ceramics from the Ming and other dynasties.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY JANUARY 14 1900: Premiere of Giacomo Puccini’s opera Tosca .. .

The opera Tosca a psychological drama of deceit and doubt composed by Giacomo Puccini, one of the greatest exponents of operatic realism made its world premiere in Rome’s Costanzi Theatre on this day in 1900.

in full  Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini Italian composer, one of the greatest exponents of operatic realism, who virtually brought the history of Italian opera to an end. His mature operas include La Bohème (1896), Tosca (1900), Madama Butterfly (1904), and Turandot, left incomplete.

Early Life:

Puccini returned from Bayreuth with the plan for Manon Lescaut, based, like the Manon of the French composer Jules Massenet, on the celebrated 18th-century novel by the Abbé Prévost. Beginning with this opera, Puccini carefully selected the subjects for his operas and spent considerable time on the preparation of the librettos. The psychology of the heroine in Manon Lescaut, as in succeeding works, dominates the dramatic nature of Puccini’s operas. Puccini, in sympathy with his public, was writing to move them so as to assure his success. The score of Manon Lescaut, dramatically alive, prefigures the operatic refinements achieved in his mature operas: La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, and La fanciulla del west (1910; The Girl of the Golden West). These four mature works also tell a moving love story, one that centres entirely on the feminine protagonist and ends in a tragic resolution. All four speak the same refined and limpid musical language of the orchestra that creates the subtle play of thematic reminiscences. The music always emerges from the words, indissolubly bound to their meaning and to the images they evoke. In Bohème, Tosca, and Butterfly, he collaborated enthusiastically with the writers Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica. The first performance (Feb. 17, 1904) of Madama Butterfly was a fiasco, probably because the audience found the work too much like Puccini’s preceding operas. For a 1908 recording of Emma Eames singing “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca, see Emma Eames.

In 1908, having spent the summer in Cairo, the Puccinis returned to Torre del Lago, and Giacomo devoted himself to Fanciulla. Elvira unexpectedly became jealous of Doria Manfredi, a young servant from the village who had been employed for several years by the Puccinis. She drove Doria from the house threatening to kill her. Subsequently, the servant girl poisoned herself, and her parents had the body examined by a physician, who declared her a virgin. The Manfredis brought charges against Elvira Puccini for persecution and calumny, creating one of the most famous scandals of the time. Elvira was found guilty, but through the negotiations of the lawyers was not sentenced, and Puccini paid damages to the Manfredis, who withdrew their accusations. Eventually the Puccinis adjusted themselves to a coexistence, but the composer from then on demanded absolute freedom of action.
The premiere of La fanciulla del west took place at the Metropolitan in New York City on Dec. 10, 1910, with Arturo Toscanini conducting. It was a great triumph, and with it Puccini reached the end of his mature period. He admitted “writing an opera is difficult.” For one who had been the typical operatic representative of the turn of the century, he felt the new century advancing ruthlessly with problems no longer his own. He did not understand contemporary events, such as World War I. In 1917 at Monte-Carlo in Monaco, Puccini’s opera La rondine was first performed and then was quickly forgotten.
Always interested in contemporary operatic compositions, Puccini studied the works of Claude Debussy, Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg, and Igor Stravinsky. From this study emerged Il trittico (The Triptych; New York City, 1918), three stylistically individual one-act operas—the melodramatic Il tabarro (The Cloak), the sentimental Suor Angelica, and the comic Gianni Schicchi. His last opera, based on the fable of Turandot as told in the play Turandot by the 18th-century Italian dramatist Carlo Gozzi, is the only Italian opera in the Impressionistic style. Puccini did not complete Turandot, unable to write a final grand duet on the triumphant love between Turandot and Calaf. Suffering from cancer of the throat, he was ordered to Brussels for surgery, and a few days afterward he died with the incomplete score of Turandot in his hands.
Turandot was performed posthumously at La Scala on April 25, 1926, and Arturo Toscanini, who conducted the performance, concluded the opera at the point Puccini had reached before dying. Two final scenes were completed by Franco Alfano from Puccini’s sketches.
Solemn funeral services were held for Puccini at La Scala in Milan, and his body was taken to Torre del Lago, which became the Puccini Pantheon. Shortly afterward, Elvira and Antonio were also buried there. The Puccini house became a museum and an archive.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY JANUARY 13 1942: On this day American industrialist Henry Ford patented plastic automobile construction. .

American industrialist who revolutionized factory production with his assembly-line methods.
Ford spent most of his life making headlines, good, bad, but never indifferent. Celebrated as both a technological genius and a folk hero, Ford was the creative force behind an industry of unprecedented size and wealth that in only a few decades permanently changed the economic and social character of the United States. When young Ford left his father’s farm in 1879 for Detroit, only two out of eight Americans lived in cities; when he died at age 83, the proportion was five out of eight. Once Ford realized the tremendous part he and his Model T automobile had played in bringing about this change, he wanted nothing more than to reverse it, or at least to recapture the rural values of his boyhood. Henry Ford, then, is an apt symbol of the transition from an agricultural to an industrial America

Early Life
Henry Ford was one of eight children of William and Mary Ford. He was born on the family farm near Dearborn, Michigan, then a town eight miles west of Detroit. Abraham Lincoln was president of the 24 states of the Union, and Jefferson Davis was president of the 11 states of the Confederacy. Ford attended a one-room school for eight years when he was not helping his father with the harvest. At age 16 he walked to Detroit to find work in its machine shops. After three years, during which he came in contact with the internal-combustion engine for the first time, he returned to the farm, where he worked part-time for the Westinghouse Engine Company and in spare moments tinkered in a little machine shop he set up. Eventually he built a small “farm locomotive,” a tractor that used an old mowing machine for its chassis and a homemade steam engine for power.
Ford moved back to Detroit nine years later as a married man. His wife, Clara Bryant, had grown up on a farm not far from Ford’s. They were married in 1888, and on November 6, 1893, she gave birth to their only child, Edsel Bryant. A month later Ford was made chief engineer at the main Detroit Edison Company plant with responsibility for maintaining electric service in the city 24 hours a day. Because he was on call at all times, he had no regular hours and could experiment to his heart’s content. He had determined several years before to build a gasoline-powered vehicle, and his first working gasoline engine was completed at the end of 1893. By 1896 he had completed his first horseless carriage, the “Quadricycle,” so called because the chassis of the four-horsepower vehicle was a buggy frame mounted on four bicycle wheels. Unlike many other automotive inventors, including Charles Edgar and J. Frank Duryea, Elwood Haynes, Hiram Percy Maxim, and his Detroit acquaintance Charles Brady King, all of whom had built self-powered vehicles before Ford but who held onto their creations, Ford sold his to finance work on a second vehicle, and a third, and so on.
During the next seven years he had various backers, some of whom, in 1899, formed the Detroit Automobile Company (later the Henry Ford Company), but all eventually abandoned him in exasperation because they wanted a passenger car to put on the market while Ford insisted always on improving whatever model he was working on, saying that it was not ready yet for customers. He built several racing cars during these years, including the “999” racer driven by Barney Oldfield, and set several new speed records. In 1902 he left the Henry Ford Company, which subsequently reorganized as the Cadillac Motor Car Company. Finally, in 1903, Ford was ready to market an automobile. The Ford Motor Company was incorporated, this time with a mere $28,000 in cash put up by ordinary citizens, for Ford had, in his previous dealings with backers, antagonized the wealthiest men in Detroit.
The company was a success from the beginning, but just five weeks after its incorporation the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers threatened to put it out of business because Ford was not a licensed manufacturer. He had been denied a license by this group, which aimed at reserving for its members the profits of what was fast becoming a major industry. The basis of their power was control of a patent granted in 1895 to George Baldwin Selden, a patent lawyer of Rochester, New York. The association claimed that the patent applied to all gasoline-powered automobiles. Along with many rural Midwesterners of his generation, Ford hated industrial combinations and Eastern financial power. Moreover, Ford thought the Selden patent preposterous. All invention was a matter of evolution, he said, yet Selden claimed genesis. He was glad to fight, even though the fight pitted the puny Ford Motor Company against an industry worth millions of dollars. The gathering of evidence and actual court hearings took six years. Ford lost the original case in 1909; he appealed and won in 1911. His victory had wide implications for the industry, and the fight made Ford a popular hero.
“I will build a motor car for the great multitude,” Ford proclaimed in announcing the birth of the Model T in October 1908. In the 19 years of the Model T’s existence, he sold 15,500,000 of the cars in the United States, almost 1,000,000 more in Canada, and 250,000 in Great Britain, a production total amounting to half the auto output of the world. The motor age arrived owing mostly to Ford’s vision of the car as the ordinary man’s utility rather than as the rich man’s luxury. Once only the rich had travelled freely around the country; now millions could go wherever they pleased. The Model T was the chief instrument of one of the greatest and most rapid changes in the lives of the common people in history, and it effected this change in less than two decades. Farmers were no longer isolated on remote farms. The horse disappeared so rapidly that the transfer of acreage from hay to other crops caused an agricultural revolution. The automobile became the main prop of the American economy and a stimulant to urbanization—cities spread outward, creating suburbs and housing developments—and to the building of the finest highway system in the world.
The remarkable birth rate of Model T’s was made possible by the most advanced production technology yet conceived. After much experimentation by Ford and his engineers, the system that had evolved by 1913–14 in Ford’s new plant in Highland Park, Michigan, was able to deliver parts, subassemblies, and assemblies (themselves built on subsidiary assembly lines) with precise timing to a constantly moving main assembly line, where a complete chassis was turned out every 93 minutes, an enormous improvement over the 728 minutes formerly required. The minute subdivision of labour and the coordination of a multitude of operations produced huge gains in productivity.
In 1914 the Ford Motor Company announced that it would henceforth pay eligible workers a minimum wage of $5 a day (compared to an average of $2.34 for the industry) and would reduce the work day from nine hours to eight, thereby converting the factory to a three-shift day. Overnight Ford became a worldwide celebrity. People either praised him as a great humanitarian or excoriated him as a mad socialist. Ford said humanitarianism had nothing to do with it. Previously profit had been based on paying wages as low as workers would take and pricing cars as high as the traffic would bear. Ford, on the other hand, stressed low pricing (the Model T cost $950 in 1908 and $290 in 1927) in order to capture the widest possible market and then met the price by volume and efficiency. Ford’s success in making the automobile a basic necessity turned out to be but a prelude to a more widespread revolution. The development of mass-production techniques, which enabled the company eventually to turn out a Model T every 24 seconds; the frequent reductions in the price of the car made possible by economies of scale; and the payment of a living wage that raised workers above subsistence and made them potential customers for, among other things, automobiles—these innovations changed the very structure of society.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY JANUARY 12 1876 : American novelist Jack London, author of Call of the Wild (1903) and White Fang (1906), was born in San Francisco.

 

Deserted by his father, a roving astrologer, London was raised in Oakland, Calif., by his spiritualist mother and his stepfather, whose surname, London, he took. At 14 he quit school to escape poverty and gain adventure. He explored San Francisco Bay in his sloop, alternately stealing oysters or working for the government fish patrol. He went to Japan as a sailor and saw much of the United States as a hobo riding freight trains and as a member of Kelly’s industrial army (one of the many protest armies of unemployed born of the panic of 1893). He saw depression conditions, was jailed for vagrancy, and in 1894 became a militant socialist. London educated himself at public libraries with the writings of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Friedrich Nietzsche, usually in popularized forms, and created his own amalgam of socialism and white superiority. At 19 he crammed a four-year high school course into one year and entered the University of California at Berkeley, but after a year he quit school to seek a fortune in the Klondike gold rush of 1897. Returning the next year, still poor and unable to find work, he decided to earn a living as a writer.
London studied magazines and then set himself a daily schedule of producing sonnets, ballads, jokes, anecdotes, adventure stories, or horror stories, steadily increasing his output. The optimism and energy with which he attacked his task are best conveyed in his autobiographical novel Martin Eden (1909), perhaps his most enduring work. Within two years stories of his Alaskan adventures, though often crude, began to win acceptance for their fresh subject matter and virile force. His first book, The Son of the Wolf (1900), gained a wide audience. During the remainder of his life he produced steadily, completing 50 books of fiction and nonfiction in 17 years. Although he became the highest-paid writer in the United States, his earnings never matched his expenditures, and he was never freed of the urgency of writing for money. He sailed a ketch to the South Pacific, telling of his adventures in The Cruise of the Snark (1911). In 1910 he settled on a ranch near Glen Ellen, Calif., where he built his grandiose Wolf House. He maintained his socialist beliefs almost to the end of his life.
Jack London’s hastily written output is of uneven quality. His Alaskan stories Call of the Wild (1903), White Fang (1906), and Burning Daylight (1910), in which he dramatized in turn atavism, adaptability, and the appeal of the wilderness, are outstanding. In addition to Martin Eden, he wrote two other autobiographical novels of considerable interest: The Road (1907) and John Barleycorn (1913). Other important works are The Sea Wolf (1904), which features a Nietzschean superman hero, and The Iron Heel (1907), a fantasy of the future that is a terrifying anticipation of fascism. London’s reputation declined in the United States in the 1920s when a brilliant new generation of postwar writers made the prewar writers seem lacking in sophistication, but his popularity has remained high throughout the world, especially in Russia, where a commemorative edition of his works published in 1956 was reported to have been sold out in five hours. A three-volume set of his letters, edited by Earle Labor et al., was published in 1988.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY JANUARY 11 1935: Amelia Earhart’s Hawaii-to-California flight.

On this day in 1935, Amelia Earhart, one of the world’s most celebrated aviators, made the first successful solo flight from Hawaii to California, a distance longer than that from the United States to Europe..

in full  Amelia Mary Earhart American aviator, one of the world’s most celebrated, who was the first woman to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean.

Earhart moved often with her family and completed high school in Chicago in 1916. She worked as a military nurse in Canada during World War I and as a social worker at Denison House in Boston after the war. She learned to fly (against her family’s wishes) in 1920–21 and in 1922 bought her first plane, a Kinner Canary. On June 17–18, 1928, she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, although she was only a passenger in a plane flown by Wilmer Stutz and Louis Gordon. The same year, her reflections on that flight were published as 20 Hrs., 40 Min. She married the publisher George Palmer Putnam in 1931 but continued her career under her maiden name.
Determined to justify the renown that her 1928 crossing had brought her, Earhart crossed the Atlantic alone on May 20–21, 1932. Her flight in her Lockheed Vega from Newfoundland to Ireland was completed in the record time of 14 hours 56 minutes. After that flight, she wrote The Fun of It (1932). This soon led to a series of flights across the United States and drew her into the movement that encouraged the development of commercial aviation. She also took an active part in efforts to open aviation to women and end male domination in the new field.
In January 1935 she made a solo flight from Hawaii to California, a longer distance than that from the United States to Europe. Earhart was the first person to fly that hazardous route successfully; all previous attempts had ended in disaster. She set out in 1937 to fly around the world, with Fred Noonan as her navigator, in a twin-engine Lockheed Electra. After completing more than two-thirds of the distance, her plane vanished in the central Pacific near the International Date Line. Although her mysterious disappearance has since raised many questions and much speculation about the events surrounding it, the facts remain largely unknown.