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Thursday 31 August 2023 Calendar with holidays, observances and special days

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Holidays and observances


  • In 2016 the world's oldest known fossils, which may be stromatolites, are claimed to have been found on a wavy rock feature in southwestern Greenland, possibly dating back 3.7 billion years.
  • 2006 – Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream, stolen on August 22, 2004, is recovered in a raid by Norwegian police.
  • 1999 – The first of a series of bombings in Moscow kills one person and wounds 40 others.
  • 1943 – USS Harmon, the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after a black person, is commissioned.
  • 1940 – Pennsylvania Central Airlines Trip 19 crashes near Lovettsville, Virginia. The CAB investigation of the accident is the first investigation to be conducted under the Bureau of Air Commerce act of 1938.
  • 1935 – In an attempt to stay out of the growing turmoil in Europe, the United States passes the first of its Neutrality Acts.
  • 1920 – The first radio news program is broadcast by 8MK in Detroit.
  • 1897 – Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector.
  • 1895 – German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin patents his navigable balloon.
  • 1888 – Mary Ann Nichols is murdered. She is the first of Jack the Ripper's confirmed victims.
  • 1864 – During the American Civil War, Union forces led by General William T. Sherman launch an assault on Atlanta.
  • 1795 – War of the First Coalition: The British capture Trincomalee (present-day Sri Lanka) from the Dutch in order to keep it out of French hands.
  • 1776 – William Livingston, the first Governor of New Jersey, begins serving his first term.


  • 1989 – Dezmon Briscoe, American football player. He played college football at the University of Kansas.
  • 1984 – Ryan Kesler, American ice hockey player. Ryan James Kesler (born August 31, 1984) is an American professional ice hockey center and an alternate captain for the Anaheim Ducks of the National Hockey League (NHL).
  • 1984 – Ted Ligety, American skier. Theodore Sharp Ligety (born August 31, 1984) is an American alpine ski racer, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and an entrepreneur, having cofounded Shred Optics.
  • 1983 – Larry Fitzgerald, American football player. Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. (born August 31, 1983) is an American football wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL).
  • 1982 – Chris Duhon, American basketball player. He then played for the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.
  • 1982 – G. Willow Wilson, American journalist and author. Gwendolyn Willow Wilson (born August 31, 1982), known professionally as G.
  • 1982 – Ian Crocker, American swimmer. Ian Lowell Crocker (born August 31, 1982) is an American former competition swimmer, five-time Olympic medalist, and former world record-holder.
  • 1982 – Josh Kroeger, American baseball player. Kroeger (born August 31, 1982) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder.
  • 1981 – Steve Saviano, American ice hockey player. He is currently playing for the Lausitzer Füchse in DEL2.
  • 1980 – Joe Budden, American rapper. Joseph Anthony Budden II (born August 31, 1980), known professionally as Joe Budden, is an American broadcaster, cultural critic and media personality.
  • 1979 – Clay Hensley, American baseball player. Hensley has played in Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres, Florida Marlins, and San Francisco Giants.
  • 1979 – Mickie James, American wrestler. Mickie Laree James-Aldis (born August 31, 1979) is an American professional wrestler and country singer.
  • 1977 – Jeff Hardy, American wrestler and singer. Jeffrey Nero Hardy (born August 31, 1977) is an American professional wrestler, singer-songwriter, painter, musician, and author.
  • 1975 – John Grahame, American ice hockey player and coach. John Gillies Mark Grahame (born August 31, 1975 in Denver, Colorado) is an American retired professional ice hockey goaltender who played in the National Hockey League with the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes.
  • 1971 – Chris Tucker, American comedian and actor. Gary Gray's Friday and as Detective James Carter in Brett Ratner's Rush Hour film series.
  • 1970 – Debbie Gibson, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress. One of those singles, "Foolish Beat", made Gibson the youngest female artist to write, produce and perform a Billboard Hot 100 number-one single.
  • 1968 – Hideo Nomo, Japanese-American baseball player. Hideo Nomo (野茂 英雄, Nomo Hideo, born August 31, 1968 in Minato-ku, Osaka, Japan) is a retired Japanese baseball pitcher who played in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) and Major League Baseball (MLB).
  • 1968 – Jolene Watanabe, American tennis player, was an American international tennis player. She competed in the Australian Open 6 times, from 1994 to 2000.
  • 1967 – Gene Hoglan, American drummer. Eugene Victor Hoglan II (born August 31, 1967, in Dallas, Texas) is an American drummer, acclaimed for his creativity in drum arrangements, including use of abstract devices for percussion effects and his trademark lengthy double-kick drum rhythms.
  • 1964 – Raymond P. Hammond, American poet and critic. Hammond is an American poet, critic and editor of the New York Quarterly magazine since assuming control after the death of William M.
  • 1963 – Reb Beach, American guitarist. He is a member of the bands Winger and Whitesnake.
  • 1962 – Dee Bradley Baker, American voice actor. He voices Paulie Ducklings and Burpy in T.O.T.S..
  • 1960 – Chris Whitley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2005), was an American blues/rock singer-songwriter and guitarist. During his 25-year career he released more than a dozen albums, had two songs in the top 50 of the Billboard mainstream rock charts and received two Independent Music Awards.
  • 1959 – Jessica Upshaw, American lawyer and politician (d. 2013), was an American politician and lawyer.
  • 1957 – Gina Schock, American rock drummer (The Go-Go's). Regina Ann "Gina" Schock (born August 31, 1957) is an American musician.
  • 1955 – Aleksander Krupa, Polish-American actor. Aleksander Krupa (born 18 March 1947), often credited as Olek Krupa, is a Polish actor, active in film and television roles and best known for playing villains and/or criminals, such as in Eraser, Blue Streak, Home Alone 3 and The Italian Job.
  • 1955 – Edwin Moses, American hurdler. Edwin Corley Moses (born August 31, 1955) is an American former track and field athlete who won gold medals in the 400 m hurdles at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics.
  • 1955 – Gary Webb, American journalist and author (d. 2004), was an American investigative journalist.
  • 1954 – Julie Brown, American actress and screenwriter. Much of her comedy has revolved around the mocking of famous people (with a strong and frequently revisited focus on Madonna).
  • 1952 – Kim Kashkashian, American viola player and educator. Kim Kashkashian (Armenian: Քիմ Քաշքաշյան), born August 31, 1952 in Detroit, Michigan, is a Grammy-award winning Armenian-American violist.
  • 1949 – Hugh David Politzer, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate. He shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics with David Gross and Frank Wilczek for their discovery of asymptotic freedom in quantum chromodynamics.
  • 1949 – Richard Gere, American actor and producer. Goodbar (1977) and a starring role in Days of Heaven (1978).
  • 1948 – Lowell Ganz, American screenwriter and producer. He is the long-time writing partner of Babaloo Mandel.
  • 1946 – Jerome Corsi, American theorist and author. Jerome Robert Corsi (born August 31, 1946) is an American author, political commentator, and conspiracy theorist.
  • 1946 – Tom Coughlin, American football player and coach. He led the Giants to victory in Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI, both times against the New England Patriots.
  • 1945 – Itzhak Perlman, Israeli-American violinist and conductor. He has conducted the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Westchester Philharmonic.
  • 1940 – Larry Hankin, American actor, director, and producer. He had smaller roles as Doobie in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Sergeant Balzak in Home Alone, Mr.
  • 1940 – Robbie Basho, American guitarist, pianist, and composer (d. 1986). Robinson, Jr., August 31, 1940 – February 28, 1986) was an American acoustic guitarist, pianist and singer.
  • 1940 – Roger Newman, English-American actor and screenwriter (d. 2010), was a British born-American soap opera actor and writer. He was born in London, and died in New York City.
  • 1940 – Wilton Felder, American saxophonist and bass player (d. 2015), was an American saxophone and bass player, and is best known as a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders, later known as The Crusaders.
  • 1939 – Jerry Allison, American drummer and songwriter. Jerry Ivan Allison (born August 31, 1939) is an American musician, best known as the drummer for the Crickets and co-writer of their hits "That'll Be the Day" and "Peggy Sue", recorded with Buddy Holly.
  • 1937 – Warren Berlinger, American actor. Warren Berlinger (born August 31, 1937) is an American character actor, with Broadway runs, movie and television credits, and much work in commercials.
  • 1935 – Eldridge Cleaver, American activist and author (d. 1998), was an American writer, and political activist who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party.
  • 1935 – Frank Robinson, American baseball player and manager, was an American professional baseball outfielder and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played for five teams, from 1956 to 1976. The only player to be named Most Valuable Player (MVP) of both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), he was named the NL MVP after leading the Cincinnati Reds to the pennant in 1961 and was named the AL MVP in 1966 with the Baltimore Orioles after winning the Triple Crown; Robinson‘s 49 home runs (HR) that year tied for the most by any AL player between 1962 and 1989, and stood as a franchise record for 30 years.
  • 1931 – Noble Willingham, American actor (d. 2004), was an American television and film actor who appeared in more than thirty films and in many television shows, including a stint opposite Chuck Norris in Walker, Texas Ranger.
  • 1930 – Big Tiny Little, American pianist (d. 2010), was an American musician who appeared on The Lawrence Welk Show from 1955 to 1959. His primary instrument was the piano.
  • 1928 – James Coburn, American actor (d. 2002). He featured in more than 70 films, largely action roles, and made 100 television appearances during a 45-year career, ultimately winning an Academy Award in 1999 for his supporting role as Glen Whitehouse in Affliction.
  • 1925 – Moran Campbell, English-Canadian physician and academic, invented the venturi mask (d. 2004). He was the founding Chair of the Department of Medicine at McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences from 1968 to 1975.
  • 1924 – Buddy Hackett, American actor and singer (d. 2003), was an American actor and comedian. His best remembered roles include Marcellus Washburn in The Music Man (1962); Benjy Benjamin in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963); Tennessee Steinmetz in The Love Bug (1968); and the voice of Scuttle in The Little Mermaid (1989).
  • 1921 – Otis G. Pike, American judge and politician (d. 2014), was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from New York.
  • 1918 – Alan Jay Lerner, American songwriter and composer (d. 1986), was an American lyricist and librettist. In collaboration with Frederick Loewe, and later Burton Lane, he created some of the world's most popular and enduring works of musical theatre both for the stage and on film.
  • 1916 – Daniel Schorr, American journalist and author (d. 2010), was an American journalist who covered world news for more than 60 years. He was most recently a Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio (NPR).
  • 1916 – Danny Litwhiler, American baseball player and coach (d. 2011), was an American Major League baseball player who played outfield from 1940 to 1951. He played for the Boston Braves, St.
  • 1916 – John S. Wold, American geologist and politician (d. 2017), was an American business executive and Republican politician from Wyoming who served a single term in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1971. He was the first professional geologist to have served in Congress.
  • 1915 – Pete Newell, American basketball player and coach (d. 2008), was an American college men's basketball coach and basketball instructional coach. He coached for 15 years at the University of San Francisco, Michigan State University and the University of California, Berkeley, compiling an overall record of 234 wins and 123 losses.
  • 1914 – Richard Basehart, American actor (d. 1984). He starred as Admiral Harriman Nelson in the television science fiction drama Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964–68).
  • 1913 – Helen Levitt, American photographer and cinematographer (d. 2009). She was particularly noted for street photography around New York City, and has been called "the most celebrated and least known photographer of her time."
  • 1911 – Arsenio Rodríguez, Cuban-American tres player, composer, and bandleader (d. 1970), was a Cuban musician, composer and bandleader. He played the tres, as well as the tumbadora, and he specialized in son, rumba and other Afro-Cuban music styles.
  • 1908 – William Saroyan, American novelist, playwright, and short story writer (d. 1981). He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1940, and in 1943 won the Academy Award for Best Story for the film adaptation of his novel The Human Comedy.
  • 1907 – Augustus F. Hawkins, American lawyer and politician (d. 2007), was a prominent American Democratic Party politician and a figure in the history of Civil Rights and organized labor. He served as the first African American from California in the United States Congress.
  • 1907 – William Shawn, American journalist (d. 1992), was an American magazine editor who edited The New Yorker from 1952 until 1987.
  • 1905 – Robert Bacher, American physicist and academic (d. 2004), was an American nuclear physicist and one of the leaders of the Manhattan Project. Born in Loudonville, Ohio, Bacher obtained his undergraduate degree and doctorate from the University of Michigan, writing his 1930 doctoral thesis under the supervision of Samuel Goudsmit on the Zeeman effect of the hyperfine structure of atomic levels.
  • 1905 – Sanford Meisner, American actor and educator (d. 1997), was an American actor and acting teacher who developed an approach to acting instruction that is now known as the Meisner technique. While Meisner was exposed to method acting at the Group Theatre, his approach differed markedly in that he completely abandoned the use of affective memory, a distinct characteristic of method acting.
  • 1903 – Arthur Godfrey, American radio and television host (d. 1983), was an American radio and television broadcaster and entertainer who was sometimes introduced by his nickname, The Old Redhead. An infamous on-air incident undermined his folksy image and resulted in a marked decline in his popularity.
  • 1897 – Fredric March, American lieutenant, actor, and singer (d. 1975), was an American actor, regarded as "one of Hollywood's most celebrated, versatile stars of the 1930s and 1940s". He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Dr.
  • 1885 – DuBose Heyward, American author and playwright (d. 1940), was an American author best known for his 1925 novel Porgy. He and his wife Dorothy, a playwright, adapted it as a 1927 play of the same name.
  • 1884 – George Sarton, Belgian-American historian of science (d. 1956), was a Belgian-born American chemist and historian. He is considered the founder of the discipline of the history of science.
  • 1879 – Alma Mahler, Austrian-American composer and author (d. 1964), was a Viennese-born composer, author, editor and socialite. At fifteen, she was mentored by Max Burckhard.
  • 1878 – Frank Jarvis, American sprinter and lawyer (d. 1933), was an American athlete, and the Olympic 100 m champion of 1900.
  • 1871 – James E. Ferguson, American banker and politician, 26th Governor of Texas (d. 1944), was an American Democratic politician and the 26th Governor of Texas, in office from 1915 to 1917. He was indicted and impeached during his second term and forced to resign.
  • 1842 – Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, American journalist, publisher, and activist (d. 1924). Pierre Ruffin (August 31, 1842 – March 13, 1924) was an African-American publisher, journalist, civil rights leader, suffragist, and editor of the Woman's Era, the first national newspaper published by and for African-American women.
  • 1822 – Galusha A. Grow, American lawyer and politician, 28th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (d. 1907), was a prominent American politician, lawyer, writer and businessman, who served as 24th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1861 to 1863.
  • 1767 – Henry Joy McCracken, Irish businessman and activist, founded the Society of United Irishmen (d. 1798), was an Irish Republican and industrialist from Belfast, Ireland. He was a founding member of the Society of the United Irishmen.


  • 2015 – Tom Scott, American football player (b. 1930)
  • 2014 – Stan Goldberg, American illustrator (b. 1932)
  • 2012 – Joe Lewis, American martial artist and actor (b. 1944)
  • 2012 – John C. Shabaz, American judge and politician (b. 1931)
  • 2008 – Ike Pappas, American journalist (b. 1933)
  • 2007 – Gay Brewer, American golfer (b. 1932)
  • 2002 – Lionel Hampton, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (b. 1908)
  • 2000 – Dolores Moore, American baseball player and educator (b. 1932)
  • 2000 – Lucille Fletcher, American screenwriter (b. 1912)
  • 1990 – Nathaniel Clifton, American basketball player and coach (b. 1922)
  • 1986 – Elizabeth Coatsworth, American author and poet (b. 1893)
  • 1984 – Audrey Wagner, American baseball player, obstetrician, and gynecologist (b. 1927)
  • 1979 – Sally Rand, American actress and dancer (b. 1904)
  • 1974 – William Pershing Benedict, American soldier and pilot (b. 1928)
  • 1973 – John Ford, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1894)
  • 1969 – Rocky Marciano, American boxer (b. 1923)
  • 1965 – E. E. Smith, American engineer and author (b. 1890)
  • 1954 – Elsa Barker, American author and poet (b. 1869)
  • 1799 – Nicolas-Henri Jardin, French architect and academic, designed the Bernstorff Palace and Marienlyst Castle (b. 1720)
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