[Daily article] January 30: Romney Literary Society

The Romney Literary Society, established on January 30, 1819, as the
Polemic Society of Romney, was the first literary society in what is now
West Virginia, and one of the first in the United States. It was founded
by nine prominent Romney men with the objectives of advancing literature
and science, purchasing and maintaining a library, and improving
educational opportunities. The society debated a range of scientific and
social topics, and often violated its own rules banning religious and
political subjects. The society’s library began in 1819 and grew to
contain around 3,000 volumes in 1861. The organization also sought to
establish an institution for “the higher education of the youth of the
community”. During the Civil War the contents of the library were
plundered by Union Army forces. The society was reorganized in 1869 and
took a leading role in Romney’s civil development. In 1870 the group
built the Literary Hall (pictured) and offered its former campus to the
West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind. The Literary Hall housed
the library and group meetings until their last recorded meeting in
1886.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1018:

The German–Polish War ended with the signing of the Peace of
Bautzen between Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Piast ruler of
Poland, Bolesław I.

1835:

Richard Lawrence became the first person to make an
assassination attempt on a sitting US president when he failed to kill
Andrew Jackson and was subdued by the crowd.

1930:

Soviet meteorologist Pavel Molchanov launched one of the
world’s first radiosondes, a device attached to weather balloons to
measure various atmospheric parameters.

1959:

On the return leg of her maiden voyage, the “unsinkable” Danish
ocean liner Hans Hedtoft struck an iceberg and sank with all 95
passengers and crew lost.

2000:

Kenya Airways Flight 431 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean near
Côte d’Ivoire shortly after takeoff, killing 169 on board.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

wash-ball:
(archaic) A ball or cake of substance used for bathing or personal
cleansing, or to produce a lather for shaving; a ball of soap.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of
all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any
oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our
civilization.  
–Franklin D. Roosevelt

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