10 November 1871: ‘Dr Livingstone, I presume?’
Welsh-born journalist Henry Morton Stanley found his quarry, the Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, in present-day Tanzania, but did not say “Dr Livingstone, I presume?” The statement was invented the following year by the editor of the newspaper who had sent Stanley to Africa.
12 November 1035: Death of a joking king
King Canute of England, Denmark and Norway died. He did indeed take his throne to the edge of the sea to show sycophantic courtiers that all power has its limitations, and not even he could command the waves to be still.
13 November 1914: A big day for ladies’ underwear
The fast-living Caresse Crosby, co-founder of the Black Sun Press, which numbered Laurence Sterne and Ernest Hemingway among its writers, was granted a patent for the first backless bra. Distracted by hedonistic adventures, she sold the patent for $1,500 to a company that went on to make a fortune.