The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdoms, Winston Churchill, is known for successfully leading his country during the Second World War against the Nazi Germany. An officer in the British army, he also served as a war correspondent before venturing into politics. One of the most influential peoples in British history, Churchill was also an accomplished painter.
Legendary magician Harry Houdini initially worked as a trapeze artist named “Ehrich, the Prince of the Air” and was later known for his iconic stunt of escaping from handcuffs, at times even under water and while buried alive. He died after a blow to the gut damaged his appendix.
Robert Frost was an American poet. An influential poet, Frost was honored with four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry, the only poet to receive four such awards. One of America's public literary figures, Robert Frost received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960. His works influenced other poets like Robert Francis, James Wright, Edward Thomas, Richard Wilbur, and Seamus Heaney.
The 31st president of the United States, Herbert Hoover, was sworn into the office in 1929, the year the Great Depression struck the American economy. Earlier, Hoover was a successful mining engineer and had earned a reputation of a humanitarian who fed numerous Europeans during and after WWI. His policies during the depression, though, could not provide relief to people.
Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is remembered for leading three British expeditions to the Antarctic. He was a key figure of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. An expert in navigation, he had also been a part of Captain Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery expedition. He was knighted by King Edward VII for his achievements.
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian electrical engineer and inventor best remembered for his work on long-distance radio transmission. Marconi, who is credited with inventing the radio, was honored with the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in the field of wireless telegraphy. Also a businessman, Marconi founded the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897.
Gilbert K. Chesterton was an English writer, philosopher, and art critic. A prolific writer, he composed around 80 books, hundreds of poems, around 200 short stories, and 4,000 essays. Often referred to as the "prince of paradox", he had as many detractors as he had admirers. He is considered a successor to Victorian authors like Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin.
Gertrude Stein was an American playwright, novelist, poet, and art collector. She is remembered for publishing works about lesbian sexuality, which was considered a taboo at that time. Over the years, Gertrude Stein has been the subject of several works of art. In the 2011 movie Midnight in Paris, Stein was portrayed by Kathy Bates.
Financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. Was the only son of Standard Oil co-founder, John D. Rockefeller. An alumnus of Brown University, he was very principled and careful with money from an early age. He joined his father’s business and went on to become one of the largest real estate holders in Manhattan.
Robert W. Service was a British-Canadian poet and writer. Popularly called "the Bard of the Yukon," he wrote some of the most commercially successful poetry of his era. A bank clerk by profession, he often wrote while traveling for work. Besides poetry, he also wrote fiction and non-fiction. He was often compared to English writer and novelist Rudyard Kipling.
Russian painter, writer, philosopher, theosophist and archaeologist, Nicholas Roerich, counted among the greatest Russian painters, is noted for initiating the modern movement for the defense of cultural objects. One of the greatest feats that he achieved during his lifetime was the Roerich Pact that was signed into law by the US and most nations of the Pan-American Union.
Canadian statesman and politician Mackenzie King OM CMG PC, was the 10th prime minister of Canada. He held the position for three non-consecutive terms with a total of over 21 years in office and emerged as the longest-serving prime minister in the history of Canada. He remained instrumental in laying the foundations of the Canadian welfare state.
Carl Bosch was a German engineer and chemist. He is credited with founding IG Farben, which went on to become one of the largest chemical companies in the world. He is also credited with developing the Haber–Bosch process, which is used even today for the production of ammonia. Carl Bosch was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1931.
Bert Williams was an American entertainer and comedian. One of the greatest entertainers of the Vaudeville era, Bert Williams was also regarded as one of the most famous comedians of his time. In 1914, he was cast to play the leading role in Darktown Jubilee, making him the first Black man to play the main role in a film.
The first president of Lithuania, Antanas Smetona was drawn into the revolutionary movements of his country soon after finishing law school. A major political figure of his country during the two World Wars, he came to power for a second time after launching a coup in 1926.
Part of the German avant-garde movement and a prominent Dadaist, poet and artist Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven is best remembered for her sound poetry and her posthumously published book Body Sweats. It is believed the famous urinal Fountain sculpture thought to be a work of Marcel Duchamp was actually created by Elsa.
Johannes Stark was a German physicist who discovered the phenomenon that came to be known as the Stark effect. For this work, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1919. A supporter of Adolf Hitler, he was a main figure in the anti-Semitic Deutsche Physik movement. He was found guilty by a denazification court in 1947.
Czech composer and violinist Josef Suk was considered one of the most promising students of the reputed Czech composer Antonín Dvořák. Suk along with two other students of Dvořák, Karel Hoffmann and Oskar Nedba, and a student of Hanuš Wihan founded the internationally reputed Czech string quartet called Bohemian Quartet. Major works of Suk are Asrael Symphony and Serenade for Strings.
Initially part of the Moscow Art Theatre, Russian director-actor Vsevolod Meyerhold is remembered for pioneering avant-garde theories of symbolism in theater. He also paved the path for biomechanics in Russian theater and created masterpieces such as The Magnificent Cuckold. He was executed, and his wife was murdered, during the Great Purge.
Charles A. Beard was an American historian who served as a professor at Columbia University. Beard is credited with writing several influential books, such as An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States which played a crucial role in helping him attain an iconic status within the progressive school of historical interpretation.
German Jewish philosopher Ernst Cassirer was a major figure of the Weimar intellectual circle. While he initially followed in the path of his mentor Hermann Cohen, he later developed and promoted philosophical idealism and also penned books such as Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. His The Myth of the State dealt with Nazi Germany.
Auguste Perret was a French architect who developed the architectural use of reinforced concrete. Perret is credited with designing many important edifices like the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and Church of Notre-Dame du Raincy. In 1948, Perret was honored with the Royal Gold Medal and he won the AIA Gold Medal in 1952. He also influenced younger architects like Le Corbusier.
Initially aspiring to be a lawyer, Austrian writer Karl Kraus later deviated to philosophy and German literature before quitting studies altogether. He had also been a stage performer but later made his mark as one of the finest aphorists and playwrights in German history, with works such as Nights.
The daughter of a pipe manufacturer, Emilie Louise Flöge initially worked as a seamstress but later found her calling in fashion designing. Also remembered as the companion of Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, she featured in many of his paintings and was a major figure of the Fin de siècle movement.