Welcome to ON THIS DAY! Each day, we'll look at a few moments from history and popular culture. We'll show you where you can rediscover classic movies and music, or read more about great moments in history. We'll point you to e-books, downloadable and streamable music and film, and e-audio; and of course, we haven't forgotten about physical books or DVDs.
|On this day in 1856, Robert Peary was born. Peary claimed to have been the first man to reach the North Pole, in 1909. A rival explorer, Frederick Cook, claimed to have reached the Pole a year earlier than Peary. The two claims were widely debated for several years, but for most of the 20th century, Peary was generally credited with getting there first. In recent years, new evidence has revived the debate over whether Peary's expedition actually did reach the North Pole. Peary's own account of his journey, The North Pole, is available as an e-audio at OverDrive|
|On this day in 1902, Max Ophüls was born. Ophüls directed several films in Germany before the rise of the Nazis, when he fled to France, and then to the United States. He directed only a few films in Hollywood, of which Letter from an Unknown Woman is the most highly regarded. He returned to France in 1950, where he made the films for which he is best known, including La Ronde and Lola Montes. Ophüls' films are noted for their strong female protagonists, and for the director's fondness for complex camera movements and tracking shots. In The Earrings of Madame de..., Ophüls follows the complicated relationship among a man, his wife, and his mistress by following a pair of earrings through a series of owners; the movie is available for streaming at Kanopy.|
|And on this day in 1931, Willie Mays was born. Considered by many experts to be the best all-around baseball player who ever lived, Mays spent most of his 22-year career with the New York/San Francisco Giants; during that time, he played in 24 All-Star Games (there were two such games each year from 1959 to 1962), a record he shares with Hank Aaron and Stan Musial. James Hirsch's biography Willie Mays is based on dozens of interviews with Mays and others; it's available as an e-audio at Hoopla, or in print.|