Today in History: Josef Albers born in 1888

Today in History: Josef Albers born in 1888

Josef Albers (1888-1976) was one of the leading artists, and art and design educators of the 20th century. Born in Germany, Albers studied in Berlin, Essen and Munich before he became a student at the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1920. Albers stayed on a teacher (and later director) when the Bauhaus first moved to Dessau and then to Berlin. In the fall of 1933, Albers emigrated to the United States where he held academic posts at Black Mountain College in North Carolina (1933-1949) and Yale University (1950-1960). Among his most famous works is a series of paintings titled “Homage to the Square” (created during the 1950s). In 1963, he published the influential book “Interaction of Color” which explored his ideas on color relationships. Albers’ theories about art and color became important influences on generations of artists and design students. Albers died in New Haven in 1976.

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Today in History: Mark Spitz born in 1950

Today in History: Mark Spitz born in 1950

Happy Birthday, Mark Spitz! The American former competitive swimmer and nine-time Olympic champion is turning 70 today. Spitz won seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, all in world record time. This was an achievement that lasted for 36 years until it was surpassed by fellow American Michael Phelps, who won eight golds at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

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Today in History: First Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France in 1924

Today in History: First Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France in 1924

The concept of Winter Olympic Games was first introduced in 1924. Following the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Congress decided that France, host of the 1924 summer games, should conduct a separate event for winter sports that same year. The French spa town of Chamonix was chosen to host what was named the “International Winter Sports Week” – the event actually lasted 11 days. The original sports were alpine and cross country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping and speed skating. In 1925, the IOC officially created separate Olympic Winter Games and the 1924 Games in Chamonix were retroactively designated as the first Winter Olympics.

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Today in History: Salvador Dali died in 1989

Today in History: Salvador Dali died in 1989

31 years ago today, the prominent Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali passed away in Figueres, Spain.

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Today in History: 1st Official Basketball Game in 1892

Today in History: 1st Official Basketball Game in 1892

On January 20, 1892, the first official game of basketball was played at a YMCA gymnasium in Albany, New York. The game was created a month earlier by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith wrote the sport’s original 13 rules to create a game that could be played in YMCA gyms during the cold winter months. Initially, teams were made up of nine players attempting to toss a soccer ball into peach baskets secured to the balconies at the ends of a gymnasium. When a basket was made, the game was paused while a man with a ladder had to retrieve the ball. Following the first public matches in 1892, popularity of the new game spread quickly. The first intercollegiate match was played in 1895 and the first professional league was founded in 1898. Nets did not replace the sport’s original peach baskets until 1905.

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Today in History: Basketball was invented in 1891

Today in History: Basketball was invented in 1891

128 years ago today, the game of basketball was created by Dr. James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith wrote the sport’s original 13 rules to create a game that could be played in YMCA gyms during the cold winter months. Initially, teams were made up of nine players attempting to toss a soccer ball into peach baskets secured to the balconies at the ends of a gymnasium. When a basket was made, the game was paused while a man with a ladder had to retrieve the ball. Following the first public matches in 1892, popularity of the new game spread quickly. The first intercollegiate match was played in 1895 and the first professional league was founded in 1898.  Nets did not replace the sport’s original peach baskets until 1905.

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Today in History: Olympic Games in Mexico open in 1968

Today in History: Olympic Games in Mexico open in 1968

51 years ago today, the first Olympic Games in Latin America were opened In Mexico City. The Games were overshadowed by political events such as the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and civil unrest in the host country. More than 5,000 athletes from over 100 nations participated. It marked the first time that West- and East Germany would send separate teams to the Olympics (the team from the GDR was forced to depart early as the IOC forbade it from competing under the name DDR). During the medal ceremony for the 200-meter dash, American medal winners Tommie Smith and John Carlos demonstrated their sympathy for the “Black Panther” movement by raising a black-gloved fist during the American national anthem. American Bob Beamon created a sensation with his world record long jump of 8.90 meters (29 ft. 2 1/2 in.), beating the existing record by 55 cm (21 3/4 in.).

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