Today in History: James Brown born in 1933

86 years ago today, James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006), was born in Barnwell, South Carolina. The singer and songwriter was a major musical figure of 20th-century music and dance. Brown is often referred to as the “Godfather of Soul,” “Soul Brother #1, “Mr. Dynamite,” or “Sex Machine.” His career lasted over 50 years.

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Today in History: Herbert Matter born in 1907

Today in History: Herbert Matter born in 1907

Happy Birthday, Herbert Matter ! The Swiss-born American photographer and graphic designer would have turned 111 today. Matter studied art in Geneva and Paris and worked in France as a designer and photographer for Deberny and Peignot. In 1932 he returned to Switzerland where he created a remarkable series of photomontage posters for the national tourism office in Zurich, among them his famous poster compositions for Pontresina and “automobile travel” in Switzerland (published in 4 languages, the English version having perhaps the most fitting title). In 1936, Matter settled in New York where he took photographs for Vogue and Harper’s and later worked for the Museum of Modern Art.

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Today in History: 1st mobile phone call in 1973

Today in History: 1st mobile phone call in 1973

46 years ago today, the first public mobile telephone call was placed on a Manhattan sidewalk. Motorola’s Martin Cooper called Joel Engel of Bell Labs. He later told the BBC that his first words were “Joel, I’m calling you from a ‘real’ cellular telephone. A portable handheld telephone.”

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History Today: Steve Jobs debuts iPhone in 2007

History Today: Steve Jobs debuts iPhone in 2007

12 years ago today, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone – a touchscreen mobile phone with an iPod, camera and Web-browsing capabilities,  – at the Macworld convention in San Francisco.

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Today in History: Marlene Dietrich is born in 1901

Today in History: Marlene Dietrich is born in 1901

117 years ago today, Marlene Dietrich, German-born American actress and singer, was born. She became internationally famous after performance as Lola-Lola in The Blue Angel (1930), directed by Josef von Sterngerg. After signing the contract with Paramount Pictures Dietrich performed in a number of successful films, including Shanghai Express and Desire. She was one of the highest-paid actresses of the era. She died in 1992 in Paris .

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Today in History: Alois Senefelder born in 1771

Today in History: Alois Senefelder born in 1771

Alois Senefelder (born Nov. 6, 1771, Prague – died Feb. 26, 1834, Munich) is often referred to as the inventor of lithography. Son of an actor at the Theatre Royal in Prague, Senefelder was unable to continue his studies at the University of Ingolstadt after his father’s death and thus tried to support himself as a performer and author, but without success. He learned printing in a printing office, purchased a small press, and sought to do his own printing. Desiring to publish plays that he had written but unable to afford the expensive engraving of printing plates, Senefelder tried to engrave them himself. His work on copper plates was not proving very successful when an accident led to his discovery of the possibilities of stone (1796). Senefelder records that one day he jotted down a laundry list with grease pencil on a piece of Bavarian limestone. It occurred to him that if he etched away the rest of the surface, the markings would be left in relief. Two years of experimentation eventually led to the discovery of flat-surface printing (modern lithography). In 1818 he documented his discovery in Vollständiges Lehrbuch der Steindruckerey (1818; A Complete Course of Lithography). Source: britannica.com.

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Today in History: Man Ray born in 1890

Today in History: Man Ray born in 1890

128 years ago today, the American artist, designer and photographer Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky) was born in Philadelphia. Man Ray was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealism movements. After moving to Paris in 1921, he created some of his most important photographic images which he called “rayographs” (photograms). By the mid-1930s, he had established himself as a successful fashion and portrait photographer. He returned to the United States in 1940 where he created advertisements and designs for the Container Corporation of America under Herbert Bayer. In 1951, Man Ray moved back to France. He published his autobiography “Self Portrait” in 1963. Man Ray passed away in Paris in 1976.

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