Jul. 19, 2000

Bonnie Doon

by Robert Burns

Broadcast date: WEDNESDAY, 19 July 2000

"Bonnie Doon," by Robert Burns.

It's the birthday of American journalist Edgar Snow, born in Kansas City, Missouri (1905). He covered China during the days of the civil war in the 1930s, and got a scoop when he found Chou En-lai and Mao Tse-tung in their cave headquarters in Yenan and interviewed them. After that, he traveled extensively in China and was often granted exclusive interviews with political leaders. It was during one of those interviews in 1970, that Chou En-lai suggested China might be willing to talk with the United States. "The door is open," he said, a remark Snow passed on to the Nixon White House. National security adviser Henry Kissinger was dispatched to Beijing to arrange for a Presidential visit. Snow died the week that visit took place.

It's the birthday of physician Charles (Horace) Mayo, born in Rochester, Minnesota (1865), the son of Mayo Clinic founder William Mayo and a highly skilled surgeon in his own right. He originated modern techniques in goiter and neuro-surgery, performed cataract operations and developed a standard for several orthopedic procedures. He said,

"Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system. I have never known a man who died from overwork, but many who died from doubt."

On this day in 1848, a convention on women's rights was held at Seneca Falls, New York, organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The issues discussed included property rights, divorce, and the right for women to vote.

It's the birthday of French Impressionist Edgar Degas, born in Paris (1834). He made paintings and pastels of ballet dancers until he became completely blind in one eye, and nearly so in the other, and began to work in sculpture, which he called "a blind man's art." Degas remained a bachelor his entire life, saying, "There is love and there is work, and we only have one heart."

It's the birthday of firearms manufacturer Samuel Colt, born in Hartford, Connecticut (1814). When he was 21, he perfected a working version of a revolver with a multi-shot barrel, which he patented. He also designed a rifle and formed a company to manufacture both of the firearms. Colt produced the most of the pistols used during the Civil War, and the company's six-shot, single-action "Peacemaker" model, introduced in 1873, became the most famous sidearm of the West.

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