1860-1951. US Yiddish editor. Cahan arrived in New York from Vilna in 1882. For nearly fifty years he edited the famous Yiddish paper, Jewish Daily Forward, that at its height had a quarter-million circulation. It was the mouthpiece of the Jewish socialist working class. Cahan's novel, The Rise of David Levinsky (1917), depicts the experience of the New York Jewish immigrants.
b. 1912. US biochemist and Nobel laureate, 1961. Calvin worked at the University of California on the chemical details of the process of photosynthesis, whereby green plants utilize carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and react with chlorophyl and sunlight to form starch, giving off oxygen as a by-product. This is the most important single biochemical process on earth. Calvin used the Carbon 14 isotope as a research tool. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1961.
1905-94. Austrian writer. Canetti was born in Ruse, Bulgaria and grew up fluent in four languages-Ladino, Bulgarian, English and German. His literary output however is in German. He studied chemistry at the University of Vienna, but after graduation became a freelance writer. In 1939 he moved to England where, apart from periods in Switzerland, he lived for the rest of his life.
He is the author of the novel Die Blendung (1935), translated as Auto da Fé (1946) which was originally intended as the first part of an eight volume 'human comedy of madmen'. It deals with a scholarly recluse who is expelled from his library and who subsequently encounters the depths of society. In 1960 he produced what is generally considered to be his greatest work. Masse und Macht (1960), translated as Crowds and Power (1962) is a study in the roots of Fascism. In addition he wrote three plays, Hochzeit ('The Numbered', 1932), Komödie der Eitelkeit ('The Deadlined', 1950) and Die Befristeten ('Life Terms', 1956) as well as several volumes of essays. He also wrote a three volumed autobiography: Die Gerettete Zunge ('The Tongue Set Free', 1977), Die Fackel im Ohr ('The Torch in My Ear', 1980) and Das Augenspiel ('The Play of the Eyes', 1985). In 1981 Canetti was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
1892-1964. US comedian. A product of the Lower East Side, New York, Eddie Cantor was a vaudeville star in his teens. He became a major attraction in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1917, 1918, and 1919 and on the European music-hall circuit.
After the depression, he turned to Hollywood, and starred in such comedy classics as The Kid from Spain (1933) and Roman Scandals (1934). Through these films, his droll face with its protruding eyes and his banjo became familiar to millions all over the world.
He gave generously of his time to philanthropic causes, such as the March of Dimes. A committed Jew and Zionist, Cantor flung himself into work for the