Calendar for May 31st, 2014

Born 1819: Walt Whitman (poet)

1821: First Catholic cathedral in U.S. dedicated, Baltimore, Maryland

1859: The Great Clock (aka Big Ben) in London officially began keeping time. (On July 11, the Great Bell first struck the hour.) The 315-foot-high tower, part of the Houses of Parliament building, has no elevator; there are 334 steps to the belfry. The four quarter bells, or chimes, ring out every 15 minutes. The Great Bell tolls every hour. The minute hand measures almost 14 feet long. The clock mechanism weighs 5.6 tons, and is wound three times a week. The clock's time is adjusted by changing the number of old pennies sitting on a shelf near the top of the pendulum. The tune played each hour is from the aria "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth," part of Handel's Messiah.

Born 1861: Emily Perkins Bissell (social worker)

Died 1910: Elizabeth Blackwell (first woman to earn an MD degree in the U.S.)

Born 1930: Clint Eastwood (actor & director)

Born 1943: Joe Namath (football player)

Born 1957: Jim Craig (hockey player & Olympic gold medalist)

Born 1961: Lea Thompson (actress)

Born 1965: Brooke Shields (actress)

1970: 7.8 earthquake left over 60,000 dead in Peru

Born 1976: Colin Farrell (actor)

Died 1983: Jack Dempsey (boxer)

1990: A summer replacement television show called Seinfeld first aired on NBC

Died 2004: Alberta Martin (one of the last widows from the Confederate side, died nearly 140 years after the Civil War ended)

2005: The legendary source "Deep Throat" in the Watergate scandal that brought down President Nixon was identified as W. Mark Felt

Died 2009: Millvina Dean (last survivor of the RMS Titanic)

Died 2013: Jean Stapleton (actress)