10 March, 2023

Kenneth Edwards

Kenneth Paine Edwards (March 9, 1886 – December 21, 1952) was an American golfer who competed in the 1904 Summer Olympics.

In 1904 he was part of the American team which won the gold medal. He finished fifth in this competition.

09 March, 2023

Arthur B. Pracna

Arthur B. Pracna was an architect who specialized in lumber and shingle mills in the Pacific Northwest during the early twentieth century. 

He was born in Minnesota in 1878 and began his business in Everett, Washington in 1902. He designed and patented a swivel band-saw guide for use in these mills. He continued to work and live in the Seattle area until his death in 1948. 

Jakob Nielsen

Jakob Nielsen was a Danish mathematician known for his work on automorphisms of surfaces.

Nielsen was born on October 15, 1890 in the village Mjels on the island of Als in North Schleswig, in modern-day Denmark. His mother died when he was 3, and in 1900 he went to live with his aunt and was enrolled in the Realgymnasium. In 1907 he was expelled for membership to an illicit student club. Nevertheless, he matriculated at the University of Kiel in 1908.

Nielsen completed his doctoral dissertation in 1913. Soon thereafter, he was drafted into the German Imperial Navy. He was assigned to coastal defense. In 1915 he was sent to Constantinople as a military adviser to the Turkish Government. After the war, in the spring of 1919, Nielsen married Carola von Pieverling, a German medical doctor.

In 1920 Nielsen took a position at the Technical University of Breslau. The next year he published a paper in Mathematisk Tidsskrift in which he proved that any subgroup of a finitely generated free group is free. In 1926 Otto Schreier would generalize this result by removing the condition that the free group be finitely generated; this result is now known as the Nielsen–Schreier theorem. Also in 1921 Nielsen moved to the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University in Copenhagen, where he would stay until 1925, when he moved to the Technical University in Copenhagen. He also proved the Dehn–Nielsen theorem on mapping class groups.

Nielsen was a Plenary Speaker of the ICM in 1936 in Oslo.

During World War II some efforts were made to bring Nielsen to the United States as it was feared that he would be assaulted by the Nazis. Nielsen would, in fact, stay in Denmark during the war without being harassed by the Nazis.

In 1951 Nielsen became professor of mathematics at the University of Copenhagen, taking the position vacated by the death of Harald Bohr. He resigned this position in 1955 because of his international undertakings, in particular with UNESCO, where he served on the executive board from 1952 to 1958.

He died on August 3, 1959 in Helsingør.

08 March, 2023

Bill Adams

Bertram Martin Adams was a sailor, author, and poet

Bill Adams was born in 1879 in England to American parents. He left college to go to sea at age seventeen in a career that lasted four or five years and logged seven passages around Cape Horn. Before his sailing career was ended by ill health, he had attained the rank of mate. After retiring from the sea, he lived in the San Francisco area, where he became involved in the socialist movement and found inspiration in Jack London’s writings of the sea.

In 1921 Adams began a modest literary career of his own, culminating in 1937 with an autobiography, Ships and Women. His early sea stories were collected in Fenceless Meadows (1923), and he published a volume of sea verse, Wind in the Topsails, in 1923. In the late 1920s and early 1930s he published several good sea stories. Although they appeared in such excellent magazines as The Atlantic Monthly and Esquire, and there were enough for another volume of stories, he never collected them. At least three of his stories appeared in O. Henry collections of best short stories of the year: “Jukes” (1927), “Home Is the Sailor” (1928), and “The Lubber” (1933). “The Foreigner” appeared in Best Short Stories of America (1932). As expressions of his socialist values, his stories often celebrate the lives of working sailors, and they are notable for their frequent inclusion of sea songs. 

He died in 1953.

07 March, 2023

Harry Elmer Barnes

Harry Elmer Barnes (June 15, 1889 – August 25, 1968) was an American historian who, in his later years, was known for his historical revisionism and Holocaust denial. 

After receiving a PhD at Columbia University in 1918 Barnes became a professor of history at Clark University before moving to Smith College as a professor of historical sociology in 1923. In 1929 he left teaching to work as a journalist, freelance writer and occasional adjunct professor at smaller schools. In 1919/20 and between 1923 and 1937 he lectured regularly at the New School for Social Research. Through his prodigious scholarly output, Barnes was once highly regarded as a historian. However, by the 1950s, he had lost credibility and become a "professional pariah."

Barnes published more than 30 books, 100 essays, and 600 articles and book reviews, many for the Council on Foreign Relations journal Foreign Affairs, where he served as Bibliographical Editor.

25 February, 2023

Albert Wein

 Albert W. Wein was an American sculptor.

Wein was born in New York City on July 27, 1915. His mother, Elsa Meher Wein was a portrait painter and it was through her that Wein was first introduced to art. He began his art studies at the Maryland Institute of Fine and Applied Arts at the age of twelve, where his mother taught. In 1929 he and his family moved to New York City, where he continued his studies at the National Academy of Design he studied with painter Ivan Olinsky. In 1932 he enrolled at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design. He also studied with Hans Hofmann.

In 1932, he joined the WPA and created numerous works in this stylization. A 1942 wood relief titled "Growth" was installed at the U.S. Post Office (Frankfort, New York) under the auspices of the Treasury Department's, Section of Fine Arts.

In 1938, he married Toby Gold and they had a son named Jack Wein who was born on March 31, 1939. The marriage was short lived and ended in divorce.

In 1947 he won the Rome Prize scholarship to the American Academy in Rome, where he would stay for two years. During that period he traveled through Europe, exposing himself to Greek and Roman sculptural precedents.

Wein was one of 250 sculptors who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the summer of 1949.

He returned to the United States and in 1950 joined the National Sculpture Society. As many of the other sculptors of his era Wein was adept at creating monumental, architectural, garden, memorial sculpture. He was also accomplished at bas-relief and produced work for the Steuben Glass Company as well as being a member of the Society of Medallists.

In 1955 Wein moved to California where, besides creating sculpture for numerous synagogues and for private collections, he drew upon his experience in New York Theatre and designed sets for television studios including working as art director for the Ernie Kovacs Show. Wein experimented with a vast range of media, materials and explored figurative abstraction in both his sculpture and painting, from cubist to free-form while on the west coast. He had a number of one-man exhibitions in California and had numerous radio and television interviews. During this period he also produced a number of fine erotic sculptures. Some of these were used by a psychiatrist to help his patients.

He was also artist-in-residence at both Brandeis University and the University of Wyoming.

In the late sixties he moved back to New York and settled in Westchester County. He became a fellow of the National Sculpture Society and was elected to Academician of the National Academy of Design. His attention returned to a more representation of the figure and as he said "modernizing the classical tradition" which continued until his death.

Wein's ten-foot limestone statue of "Phryne Before the Judges" was commissioned by Anna Hyatt Huntington and is located in Brookgreen Gardens.

In 1975, he was commissioned to create North America's largest granite relief; A 27 ft x 27 ft. granite relief on Libby Dam which is located in Montana. His design was picked unanimously by the judges for its wonderfully designed and clear image which could still be seen from afar. Albert and his wife Deyna lived in Vermont during the carving of the 75 ton monument which was dedicated by President Gerald Ford. The work took several years to complete.

In the 1980s he was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation grant for study in Bellagio, Italy.

During his career he won every award that a sculptor could win. Few artists have experimented and been able to marry both the Classicism and Modernism so wonderfully.

In 1987, he was commissioned by The Gardens Mall, located in the City of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, to create a bronze life-size sculptural composition of the Greek Myth huntress Diana. The sculpture's complex composition yet fluid movement is an excellent example of how Wein could manipulate shape and form into three-dimensional magic.

Wein said that "every good work of art is a good abstract composition" or could at least be represented by one. That the subject, devoid of details and pared down to only what is necessary to convey the "essence" of the composition is what really mattered in an artistic work.

Wein created over 500 sculptures and 300 painting and drawings. Many of these works have been sold, but many have never been seen by the public and are still available directly from the Albert Wein Estate.

He died in March 1991.

24 February, 2023

Philip E. High

Philip Empson High was an English science fiction author.

Philip Empson High was born on April 28, 1914 in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. He saw service in the Royal Navy during World War II.

His writing career spanned more than 50 years before his death in Canterbury, Kent on 9 August 2006. He published 14 novels and numerous short stories.

High first became well known during the 1950s with a series of short stories for various magazines including Authentic Science Fiction, New Worlds Science Fiction and Nebula Science Fiction, and was voted "top discovery" by the Nebula readers' poll for 1956 (the "Guinea Prize").

His first novel, The Prodigal Sun, was published in 1964 and was followed by 13 more, ending in 1979 with Blindfold from the Stars. A collection of his earlier short stories, The Best of Philip E. High, was published in 2002 along with a collection of new stories Step to the Stars (2004).

High died on August 9, 2006. 

23 February, 2023

Habib Tanvir

Habib Tanvir was one of the most popular Indian Urdu, Hindi playwrights, a theatre director, poet and actor.

He was born on September 1, 1923 in Raipur, Chhattisgarh to Hafiz Ahmed Khan, who was from Peshawar. He passed his matriculation from Laurie Municipal High School, Raipur, and later completed his B.A. from Morris College, Nagpur in 1944. Thereafter he studied M.A. for a year at Aligarh Muslim University. Early in life, he started writing poetry using his pen name Takhallus. Soon after, he assumed his name, Habib Tanvir.

In 1945, he moved to Bombay, and joined All India Radio (AIR) Bombay as a producer. While in Bombay, he wrote songs for Urdu and Hindi films and even acted in a few of them. He also joined the Progressive Writers' Association (PWA) and became an integral part of Indian People's Theatre Association (IPTA) as an actor. Later, when most of the prominent IPTA members were imprisoned for opposing the British rule, he was asked to take over the organisation.

In 1954, he moved to New Delhi, and worked with Qudsia Zaidi's Hindustani Theatre, and also worked with Children's theatre, where he authored many plays. Later in the same year, he produced his first significant play Agra Bazar based on the works and times of the plebeian 18th-century Urdu poet, Nazir Akbarabadi, an older poet in the generation of Mirza Ghalib. For this play he brought together local residents and folk artistes from Okhla village in Delhi and students of Jamia Millia Islamia creating a palette never seen before in Indian theatre. Additionally, the play was not staged in a confined space, rather a bazaar, a marketplace. After this, he continued to work with non-trained actors and folk artistes like the folk artists of Chhattisgarh.

In 1955, when he was in his 30s, Habib moved to England. There, he trained in Acting at Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) (1955) and in Direction at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (1956). For the next two years, he travelled through Europe, watching various theatre activities. One of the highlights of this period, was his eight-month stay in Berlin in 1956, during which he got to see several plays of Bertolt Brecht, produced by Berliner Ensemble, just a few months after Brecht's death. This proved to have a lasting influence on him, as in the coming years, he started using local idioms in his plays, to express trans-cultural tales and ideologies. This, over the years, gave rise to a "theatre of roots", which was marked by an utter simplicity in style, presentation and technique, yet remaining eloquent and powerfully experiential.

A deeply inspired Habib returned to India in 1958 and took to directing full-time. He produced Mitti ki Gaadi a post-London play, based on Shudraka's Sanskrit work, Mrichakatika. It became his first important production in Chhattisgarhi. This was the result of the work he had been doing since his return – working with six folk actors from Chhattisgarh. He went on to found "Naya Theatre", a theatre company in 1959.

In his exploratory phase, i.e. 1970–73, he broke free from one more theatre restriction – he no longer made the folk artistes, who had been performing in all his plays, speak Hindi. Instead, the artistes switched to Chhattisgarhi, a local language they were more accustomed to. Later, he even started experimenting with "Pandavani", a folk singing style from the region and temple rituals. This made his plays stand out amidst the gamut of plays which still employed traditional theatre techniques like blocking movements or fixing lights on paper. Spontaneity and improvisation became the hallmark of his new theatre style, where the folk artistes were allowed greater freedom of expression.

His next venture with Chhattisgarhi Nach style, saw another breakthrough in 1972, with a staging of the play titled Gaon Ka Naam Sasural, Mor Naam Damaad. This was based on a comic folk tale, where an old man falls in love with a young woman, who eventually elopes with another young man.

By the time he produced his seminal play, Charandas Chor in 1975, the technique became popular. This play immediately established a whole new idiom in modern India theatre; whose highlight was Nach – a chorus that provided commentary through song. He also brought in Govind Ram Nirmalkar, a noted Nacha artist who would later go on to win Padma Shri and Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards, to play the lead role. Later, he collaborated with Shyam Benegal, when he adapted the play to a feature-length film, by the same name, starring Smita Patil and Lalu Ram. He was awarded the prestigious Jawarharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1979 for research on Relevance of Tribal Performing Arts and their Adaptability to A changing Environment. In 1980, he directed the play Moti Ram ka Satyagraha for Janam (Jan Natya Manch) on the request of Safdar Hashmi.

During his career, Habib has acted in over nine feature films, including Richard Attenborough's film, Gandhi (1982), Black and White and in a yet-to-be-released film on the Bhopal gas tragedy.

His first brush with controversy came about in the 1990s, with his production of a traditional Chhattisgarhi play about religious hypocrisy, Ponga Pandit. The play was based on a folk tale and had been created by Chhattisgarhi theatre artists in the 1930s. Though he had been producing it since the sixties, in the changed social climate after the Babri Masjid demolition, the play caused quite an uproar amongst Hindu fundamentalists, especially the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), whose supporters disrupted many of its shows, and even emptied the auditoriums, yet he continued to show it all over.

His Chhattisgarhi folk troupe, surprised again, with his rendition of Asghar Wajahat's Jisne Lahore Nahin Dekhya in 1992. Then in 1993 came Kamdeo Ka Apna Basant Ritu Ka Sapna, Tanvir's Hindi adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 1995, he was invited to the United States by the Chicago Actors Ensemble, where he wrote his only English language play, The Broken Bridge. In 2002, he directed Zahareeli Hawa, a translation of Bhopal by the Canadian-Indian playwright Rahul Varma, based on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. During his illustrious career he brought works from all genres to stage, from ancient Sanskrit works by Shudraka, Bhasa, Vishakhadatta and Bhavabhuti; to European classics by Shakespeare, Molière and Goldoni; modern masters Brecht, Garcia, Lorca, Gorky, and Oscar Wilde; Tagore, Asghar Wajahat, Shankar Shesh, Safdar Hashmi, Rahul Varma, stories by Premchand, Stefan Zweig and Vijaydan Detha, apart from an array of Chhattisgarhi folk tales.]

Tanvir died on June 8, 2009.