02 June, 2012

Charles T. Stoneham

Charles Thurley Stoneham was an author, naturalist and big-game hunter. 

Stoneham was born in India in 1895 and attended Brighton College in England. After the death of his father he ran away from home at the age of 17 to seek adventure in Canada and the U.S. in the years prior to the Great War. He enlisted in 1915 with the 25th Regiment of the Royal Fusiliers and was shipped to British East Africa where he experienced fierce combat and forced marches. Although invalided out to recuperate in South Africa, he later rejoined the East African Campaign, meeting up with British Forces in Tanganyika. After the war, and a further period of convalescence in South Africa, Stoneham settled in British East Africa. Stoneham resided for many years in the Laikipia region of Kenya. After working both alone and in partnership with another young Englishman, Stoneham eventually ended up managing a safari outfitting business. 

Inspired by his years in Kenya in the 1920s, Stoneham began writing stories about 
the wild animals that inhabited the land he came to know so well. He sold his first short story in 1926, but a number of years were to pass before Stoneham began selling stories regularly. In 1930, after spending many years in Kenya, Stoneham and his wife moved to South Africa and lived for a time in Cape Town. In this period he managed to sell articles and stories to various South African newspapers including the Cape Times.

Returning to England in 1931, Stoneham, who was greatly encouraged by the author and Daily Mail literary editor Heath Hosken, eventually managed to start selling short stories to various periodicals on a regular basis. Having already sold a few tales in previous years to journals such as The Tatler andHutchinson's Adventure-Story Magazine, Stoneham began to contribute regularly to newspapers including the Daily Mail and The Star, as well as the magazines Chambers's Journal, Good Housekeeping and Top-Notch. From the early 1930s through the 1960s he sold hundreds of short stories about the wild animals of Africa to the London Evening News, while other stories appeared in magazines such as Everybody's Magazine and Norman Kark'sCourier. After the publication of his first novel The Man in the Pig Mask (1929), Stoneham began to write novels and non-fiction books about Africa. Among these were Wanderings in Wild Africa (1932), The Black Leopard (1934) and Jungle Prince (1938). Major success came Stoneham's way when his superb novel The Lion’s Way (1931), about a boy brought up by lions, was made into the Hollywood film King of the Jungle (1933).

During the early years of the Second World War, Stoneham lived with his wife Kay and his son Michael in a cottage on Portland Bill, near Weymouth. The area was an important naval base and a target for numerous German bombing raids during 1940. Stoneham gained employment with the Admiralty in the Anti-Submarine Stores Department and witnessed several enemy attacks on the harbour. Later on in the war, Stoneham relocated to Bath in Somerset and found little time to write, although he still managed to publish two western novels and sell dozens of stories to the London Evening News.

Having spent the better part of two decades in England, Stoneham returned with his family to his beloved Kenya (formerly British East Africa) in 1947. During the late 1940s and 1950s Stoneham was a prolific author, producing dozens of novels, short stories, articles and non-fiction books. A number of his most fascinating books about Africa were published in the 1950s.  In addition to their dramatic quality, Stoneham's African novels are full of local colour and background and provide many insights into the modern history of Central East Africa. Stoneham also wrote a series of mystery novels and westerns under the pen-name Norgrove Thurley, as well as various juvenile stories written for such magazines as Boy's Own Paper

His autobiography From Hobo to Hunter was published in 1956.

W.C. Fields

William Claude Dukenfield, better known as W. C. Fields, was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields was known for his comic persona as a misanthropic and hard-drinking egotist who remained a sympathetic character despite his snarling contempt for dogs, children and women.

John Fairfax

John Fairfax was a British ocean rower and adventurer who, in 1969, became the first person to row solo across an ocean. He subsequently went on to become the first to row the Pacific (with Sylvia Cook) in 1971/2.

Fairfax was born 21 May 1937 in Italy to an English father and Bulgarian mother. As a child he was expelled from the Italian Boy Scouts for opening fire, with a revolver, on a hut containing other Scouts. Soon after, he and his mother moved to Argentina where, aged thirteen, he left home to live in the jungle "like Tarzan", surviving by hunting and bartering skins with local peasants. Also as a teenager, he read of Frank Samuelsen and George Harbo's famous row across the Atlantic Ocean (then the only ocean to have been rowed) and knew that someday he would row across the Atlantic.

In 1959 he flew to New York and drove across America to San Francisco. When he ran out of money, Fairfax decided to return to his mother in Argentina by bike. He got as far as Guatemala and then hitchhiked on to Panama. After a brief spell as a sailor on a Colombian boat he returned to Panama where he fell in with pirates and ended up spending three years smuggling guns, whiskey and cigarettes. After a dramatic escape from the pirates and the authorities, he returned to Argentina on horseback.

Back in Argentina he first read of Chay Blyth and John Ridgway’s successful row across the Atlantic and realised that if he wanted to be the first person to row solo across the Atlantic he would have to do it soon.

After returning to England it took Fairfax two years to prepare for the row. On 19 July 1969 he became the first person to row solo across an ocean when he arrived in Florida having set off from the Canary Islands. The self-righting and self-bailing boat was designed by Uffa Fox. The row took 180 days. Upon completion of his row he received a message of congratulations from the crew of Apollo 11 who had walked on the moon the day after he had completed his voyage. In their letter the crew stated:
"Yours, however, was the accomplishment of one resourceful individual, while ours depended upon the help of thousands of dedicated workers in the United States and all over the world. As fellow explorers, we salute you on this great occasion."

Two years later in 1971 he set off with Sylvia Cook from San Francisco in an attempt to row across the Pacific Ocean. Cook had replied to a personal ad that Fairfax had put in The Times when looking for support for his first row. The pair arrived at Hayman Island in Australia 361 days later, in the process becoming the first people to row across the Pacific, and Cook becoming the first woman to row across an ocean.

He was featured on the UK This Is Your Life in January 1970. He and his wife moved to Las Vegas in 1992 after a hurricane hit Florida.

Fairfax died on 8 February 2012, at the age of 74 in Henderson, Nevada.

Lovis Corinth

Lovis Corinth was a German painter and printmaker whose mature work realized a synthesis of impressionism and expressionism.

Corinth studied in Paris and Munich, joined the Berlin Secession group, later succeeding Max Liebermann as the group's president. His early work was naturalistic in approach. Corinth was initially antagonistic towards the expressionist movement, but after a stroke in 1911 his style loosened and took on many expressionistic qualities. His use of color became more vibrant, and he created portraits and landscapes of extraordinary vitality and power. Corinth's subject matter also included nudes and biblical scenes.

Early life
Corinth was born in Tapiau (Gvardeysk), Province of Prussia, Kingdom of Prussia. Showing an early talent for drawing, he attended the Academy of Fine Arts Munich in 1880, which rivaled Paris as the avant-garde art center in Europe at the time. There he was influenced by Courbet and the Barbizon school, through their interpretation by the Munich artists Wilhelm Leibl and Wilhelm Trübner. Corinth then traveled to Paris where he studied under William-Adolphe Bouguereau at the Académie Julian.

In 1891, Corinth returned to Munich, but in 1892 he abandoned the Munich Academy and joined the first Sezession. In 1894 he joined the Free Association, and in 1899 he participated in an exhibition organized by the Berlin Secession. These nine years in Munich were not his most productive, and he was perhaps better known for his ability to drink large amounts of red wine and champagne.

Corinth moved to Berlin in 1900, and had a one-man exhibition at a gallery owned by Paul Cassirer. In 1902 at the age of 43, he opened a school of painting for women and married his first student, Charlotte Berend, some 20 years his junior. Charlotte was his youthful muse, his spiritual partner, and the mother of his two children. She had a profound influence on him, and family life became a major theme in his art.
In December 1911, he suffered a stroke, and was partially paralyzed on his left side. With the help of his wife, within a year he was painting again with his right hand. It was at this time that landscapes became a significant part of his oeuvre. These landscapes were set at the Walchensee, a lake in the Bavarian Alps where Corinth owned a house. Their lively picturing, in bright colors, tempt many to consider the Walchensee series as his best work. From 1915–25, he served as President of the Berlin Secession.

Corinth explored every print technique except aquatint; he favored dry point and lithography. He created his first etching in 1891 and his first lithograph in 1894. He experimented with the woodcut medium but made only 12 woodcuts, all of them between 1919 –1924. He was quite prolific, and in the last 15 years of his life he produced more than 900 graphic works, including 60 self-portraits. The landscapes he created between 1919 and 1925 are perhaps the most desirable images of his entire graphic oeuvre. He painted numerous self-portraits, and made a habit of painting one every year on his birthday as a means of self-examination.  In many of his self-portraits he assumed guises such as an armored knight (The Victor, 1910), or Samson (The Blinded Samson, 1912). A self-portrait of 1924 is in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

Honors and death
On 15 March 1921 Corinth received an honorary doctorate from the University of Königsberg.
In 1925, he traveled to the Netherlands to view the works of his favorite Dutch masters. He caught pneumonia and died in Zandvoort.

Bonet de San Pedro

Pedro Mir Bonet, known professionally as San Pedro Bonet was a singer ,composer , author and arranger of music. He was one of the founders of the SGAE(General Society of Spanish Authors)

Joseph Wright

Joseph Wright was an English philologist who rose from humble origins to become Professor of Comparative Philology at Oxford University.

Wright was born in Thackley, near Bradford in Yorkshire, the seventh son of Dufton Wright, a woollen cloth weaver and quarry man, and his wife Sarah Ann (née Atkinson). He started work as a "donkey-boy" in a quarry at the age of six, leading a donkey-drawn cart full of tools to the smithy to be sharpened. He later became a "doffer" – responsible for removing and replacing full bobbins – in a Yorkshire mill in Sir Titus Salt's model village. Although he learnt his letters and numbers at the Salt's Factory School, he was unable to read a newspaper until he was 15. He later said of this time, "Reading and writing, for me, were as remote as any of the sciences".

By now a wool-sorter earning £1 a week, Wright became increasingly fascinated with languages and began attending night-school to learn French, German and Latin, as well as maths and shorthand. At the age of 18 he even started his own night-school, charging his colleagues twopence a week.

By 1876 he had saved £40 and could afford a term's study at the University of Heidelberg, although he walked from Antwerp to save money.

Returning to Yorkshire, Wright continued his studies at the Yorkshire College of Science (later the University of Leeds) while working as a schoolmaster. A former pupil of Wright's recalls that, "with a piece of chalk [he would] draw illustrative diagrams at the same time with each hand, and talk while he was doing it".

He later returned to Heidelberg and in 1885 completed a Ph.D. on Qualitative and Quantitative Changes of the Indo-Germanic Vowel System in Greek.

In 1888, after his return from Germany, Wright was offered a post at Oxford University by Professor Max Müller, and became a lecturer to the Association for the Higher Education of Women and deputy lecturer in German at the Taylor Institution.

From 1891 to 1901 he was Deputy Professor and from 1901 to 1925 Professor of Comparative Philology at Oxford.

He specialized in the Germanic languages and wrote a range of introductory grammars for Old English, Middle English, Old High German, Middle High German and Gothic which were still being revised and reprinted 50 years after his death. He also published a historical grammar of German.

He had a strong interest in English dialects and claimed that his 1893 Windhill Dialect Grammar was "the first grammar of its kind in England." Undoubtedly, his greatest achievement was the editing of the six-volume English Dialect Dictionary, which he published between 1898 and 1905, initially at his own expense. This remains a definitive work, a snapshot of English dialect speech at the end of the 19th century. In the course of his work on the Dictionary, he formed a committee to gather Yorkshire material, which gave rise in 1897 to the Yorkshire Dialect Society, which claims to be the world's oldest surviving dialect society. He was the author of the Dialect Test. Wright had been offered a position at a Canadian university, who would have paid him an annual salary of £500 – a very generous salary at the time. However, Wright opted to stay in Oxford and finish the Dialect Dictionary without any financial backing from a sponsor.
Wright's papers are in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Although his energies were for the most part directed towards his work, Wright also enjoyed gardening and followed Yorkshire cricket and football teams.

He died of pneumonia on 27 February 1930.

Albert Pike

Albert Pike was an attorney, Confederate officer, writer, and Freemason.

Pike was born in Boston, Massachusetts, son of Ben and Sarah (Andrews) Pike, and spent his childhood in Byfield and Newburyport, Massachusetts. His colonial ancestors included John Pike (1613-1688/1689), the founder of Woodbridge, New Jersey. He attended school in Newburyport andFramingham until he was 15. In August 1825, he passed entrance exams at Harvard University, though when the college requested payment of tuition fees for the first two years which he had successfully challenged by examination, he chose not to attend. He began a program of self-education, later becoming a schoolteacher in Gloucester, North Bedford, Fairhaven and Newburyport.

In 1831, Pike left Massachusetts to travel west, first stopping in St. Louis and later moving on to Independence, Missouri. In Independence, he joined an expedition to Taos, New Mexico, hunting and trading. During the excursion his horse broke and ran, forcing Pike to walk the remaining 500 miles to Taos. After this he joined a trapping expedition to the Llano Estacado in New Mexico and Texas. Trapping was minimal and, after traveling about 1300 miles (650 on foot), he finally arrived at Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Settling in Arkansas in 1833, he taught school and wrote a series of articles for the Little Rock Arkansas Advocate under the pen name of "Casca." By 1835, he was the Advocate's sole owner. Under Pike's administration the Advocate promoted the viewpoint of the Whig party in a politically volatile and divided Arkansas.

He then began to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1837. Additionally, Pike wrote on several legal subjects and continued producing poetry, a hobby he had begun in his youth in Massachusetts. His poems were highly regarded in his day, but are now mostly forgotten. Several volumes of his works were self-published posthumously by his daughter. In 1859, he received an honorary Master of Arts degree from Harvard,

Pike died in Washington, D.C., aged 81, and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. In 1944, his remains were moved to the House of the Temple, headquarters of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite.