January 23 in History

January 23 in Pop Culture History

January 23rd is…
Handwriting Day
Measure Your Feet Day
Pie Day
Rhubarb Pie Day

National Handwriting Day was established by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (WIMA) on January 23rd, 1977. Most people who were around then were taught penmanship as children, but that may no longer be the case for younger generations.

In modern schools, greater emphasis is placed on typing and computer technologies. Cursive is disappearing from the curriculum; many young people today learn only enough to sign their name – if they learn any cursive at all.

While WIMA may have a vested interest in keeping pens in hands, many people lament the loss of penmanship as a skill and as an art. Typewritten words lack the individuality and intimacy of handwriting, they say. And as many writers will tell you, typing and writing by hand access different kinds of creativity; sometimes, the words flow better in ink than over keys.

According to graphologists (those who study handwriting), handwritten documents can convey more than just words; they can hint at the physicality of the writer (Right-handed or left-handed? Standing up or sitting down? Did they hold the pen at the top or the bottom – inquiring minds want to know!) Handwriting analysis can even reveal aspects of the writer’s personality and state of mind.

John Hancock (whose name is sometimes synonymous with “signature”, and whose birthday is commemorated by the holiday) was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. His famously bold and beautiful script left an indelible mark on American history.

Whether it’s a poem, love letter, diary entry, grocery list, or political missive, why not take out a pen today and write something the old-fashioned way? Happy birthday John Hancock, and to the rest of us, happy Handwriting Day!

1556 (Earthquake) Shaanxi, China. Over 800,000 people may have been killed.

1571 – The Royal Exchange opened in London.

1793 – Humane Society of Philadelphia (America’s 1st aid organization) was founded.

1870 – US cavalrymen killed 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in what is known as the Marias Massacre in Montana.

January 23, 1945. How cool would it be to say your birthday is 12345?

1964 – The 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the use of poll taxes in national elections, was ratified.

1965 – #1 Hit January 23, 1965 – February 5, 1965: Petula Clark – Downtown

1971 – #1 Hit January 23, 1971 – February 12, 1971: Tony Orlando and Dawn – Knock Three Times

1977 – Roots premiered on ABC

1978 – Chicago Guitarist Terry Kath’s last words were “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded” while playing Russian Roulette.

1983 – The A Team premiered on NBC

1984 – Hulk Hogan defeated the Iron Sheik for the WWF (now WWE) championship

1985 – Thundercats debuted in syndication

1986 – The 1st induction of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame included Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Domino, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley.

1988 – #1 Hit January 23, 1988 – January 29, 1988: Michael Jackson – The Way You Make Me Feel

1998 – Spice World, The Gingerbread Man, Slappy and the Stinkers, and Swept From The Sea were released in theaters.

2003 – Mythbusters premiered on The Discovery Channel

2008 – U2 3D debuted in theaters.

#1 Hit – January 23, 2016 – February 12, 2016: Justin BieberSorry

#1 Hit – January 23, 2021 – March 19, 2021: Drivers LicenseOlivia Rodrigo



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