Historical Events in 1854

  • Jan 1 Presbyterian minister John Miller Dickey and his wife, Sarah Emlen Cresson, found Ashmun Institute, a Black college (later Lincoln University),in Hinsonville, Pennsylvania
  • Jan 4 The McDonald Islands are discovered by Captain William McDonald aboard the Samarang
  • Jan 5 Steamship San Francisco wrecked off US eastern seaboard, 300 die
  • Jan 9 Astor Library opens in New York City
  • Jan 18 Filibuster William Walker proclaims Republic of Sonora in NW Mexico
  • Jan 25 Aleksandr Ostrovsky's play "Bednost ne Porok" premieres in Moscow
  • Jan 30 1st election in Washington Territory; 1,682 votes cast
  • Jan 31 Dutch KNMI established (Royal Meteorological Institute)
  • Feb 2 Pope Pius IX encyclical "On persecution of Armenians"
  • Feb 4 Alvan Bovay proposes name "Republican Party" in Ripon, Wisconsin
  • Feb 11 For the 1st time coal gas is used to light major streets in San Francisco

Music Premiere

Feb 16 Franz Liszt's symphony "Orpheus" premieres

  • Feb 17 Britain recognises independence of Orange Free State (South Africa)
  • Feb 22 1st meeting of Republican Party (Michigan)
  • Feb 23 Great Britain & Orange Free state sign Convention of Bloemfontein

Music History

Feb 27 German composer Robert Schumann saved from suicide attempt in Rhine River

  • Feb 28 Republican Party formally organized in Ripon, Wisconsin
  • Mar 1 16th Grand National: John Tasker wins aboard race favourite Bourton at 4/1
  • Mar 1 German psychologist Friedrich Eduard Beneke disappears; two years later his remains are found in a canal near Charlottenburg.
  • Mar 1 SS City of Glasgow leaves Liverpool harbour with approximately 480 passengers and crew; she was never seen again
  • Mar 7 Charles Miller patents 1st US sewing machine to stitch buttonholes

Historic Event

Mar 8 US Commodore Matthew C. Perry's second trip to Japan

  • Mar 17 1st park land purchased by a US city, Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Mar 20 Boston Public Library opens in Boston, Massachusetts as the first large free municipal library in the US [1]
  • Mar 28 Great Britain and France declare war on Russia, expanding the Crimean War
  • Mar 31 Treaty of Kanagawa: Commodore Perry forces Japan to opens ports to US

Historic Publication

Apr 1 "Hard Times" begins serialisation in Charles Dickens magazine, "Household Words"

  • Apr 16 Franz Liszt's symphonic poem "Mazeppa" premieres at the Court Theatre in Weimar
  • Apr 16 San Salvador destroyed by earthquake
  • Apr 16 Steamer "Long Beach" sinks off Long Beach, NY, 311 die
  • Apr 29 Ashmun Institute (later Lincoln University), in Hinsonville, Pennsylvania, receives its charter from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, making it the 1st degree-granting Black college in US
  • May 1 Amsterdam begins transferring drinking water out of the dunes
  • May 5 British Commodore James Plumridge attacks Finnish settlements in Gulf of Bothnia, killing civilans and destroying British-owned goods.

Historic Event

May 21 Frederic Mistral, Joseph Roumanille, and five other Provencal poets found Félibrige, a literary and cultural association

  • May 24 Escaped slave Anthony Burns is arrested by US Deputy marshals in Boston under the Fugitive Slave Act
  • May 27 Marine Telegraph from Fort Point to San Francisco completed

Historic Event

May 29 Paddington Station, London's terminus for the Great Western Railway opens, with a design by Isambard Kingdom Brunel [1]

  • May 30 Kansas-Nebraska Act repeals Missouri Compromise creating the territories of Kansas and Nebraska
  • Jun 10 German mathematician Bernhard Reiman proposes that space is curved
  • Jun 10 The first class of the United States Naval Academy students graduate
  • Jun 13 Anthony Faas, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, patents the 1st US accordion, having made improvements to both the keyboard, and to enhance the sound (Patent No. 11,062)
  • Jun 21 First Victoria Cross won during bombardment of Bomarsund in the Aland Islands (Crimean War)
  • Jun 23 Antwerp-Roosendaal railway goes into use
  • Jun 29 Netherlands allows corporal punishment
  • Jul 6 1st Republican state convention held in Jackson, Michigan
  • Jul 13 In the Battle of Guaymas, Mexico, General Jose Maria Yanez stops the French invasion led by Count Gaston de Raousset Boulbon
  • Jul 13 US forces shell and burn San Juan del Norte, Nicaragua

Historic Invention

Jul 25 Walter Hunt is awarded the first U.S. patent for a paper shirt collar

  • Aug 4 The Hinomaru is established as the official flag to be flown from Japanese ships
  • Aug 8 Smith & Wesson patents metal bullet cartridges

Historic Publication

Aug 9 American transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau publishes "Walden"

  • Aug 24 National emigration convention meets in Cleveland
  • Aug 29 Self-governing windmill patented (Daniel Halladay)
  • Sep 4 English and French lay siege to the eastern Russian city of Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky during the Crimean war
  • Sep 14 British and French forces land at Calamita Bay on the Crimean Peninsula, during the Crimean War
  • Sep 19 Henry Meyer patents sleeping rail car

Battle of the Alma

Sep 20 Battle of the Alma: British, French and Ottoman alliance defeat the Russian Empire in the 1st major battle of the Crimean War

  • Sep 27 French fishing vessel SS Vesta collides with American passenger paddle-wheel ship SS Arctic off Newfoundland in heavy fog, sinking the larger passenger ship; 322 killed, most of the survivors were crew members
  • Oct 1 The watch company founded in 1850 in Roxbury by Aaron Lufkin Dennison relocates to Waltham, Massachusetts, to become the Waltham Watch Company, a pioneer in the American System of Watch Manufacturing.

Historic Event

Oct 4 Abraham Lincoln resumes his political career with a speech denouncing recent federal legislation extending slavery, at Illinois State Fair in Springfield; event is a precursor to his famous Peoria Speech [1]

  • Oct 6 The Great Fire of Newcastle and Gateshead started shortly after midnight, leading to 53 deaths and hundreds injured.
  • Oct 9 The siege of Sevastopol begins during the Crimean War
  • Oct 10 US Assay Office in NYC, New York opens
  • Oct 12 Ashmun Institute (later Lincoln University) opens near Oxford, Pennsylvania
  • Oct 16 Abraham Lincoln presents his Peoria Speech, denouncing recent federal legislation extending slavery, on the lawn of the Peoria County Courthouse in Peoria, Illinois [1]
  • Oct 17 French and British forces bombard Sevastopol for the first time during the Crimean War

Historic Event

Oct 21 Florence Nightingale with a staff of 38 nurses is sent to the Crimean War

  • Oct 23 English newspaper "The Times" gives precise British positions in Crimea during Crimean War
  • Oct 25 Prince Menshikov of Crimea occupies British base at Balaclava

The Charge of the Light Brigade, a Brave and Foolish Tale

Oct 25 The infamous "Charge of the Light Brigade" during the Battle of Balaclava in the Crimean War results in over 100 killed

  • Nov 2 Cobblestone paving of Washington St between Dupont and Kearny starts
  • Nov 4 Lighthouse built on Alcatraz Island, San Francisco Bay
  • Nov 5 Crimean War: British & French defeat Russian force of 50,000 at Inkerman
  • Nov 13 "New Era" sinks off New Jersey coast with loss of 300
  • Nov 15 In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is given the necessary royal concession.
  • Nov 28 Dutch army stops Chinese uprising in Borneo

Eureka Stockade

Dec 3 Eureka Stockade: In what is claimed by many to be the birth of Australian democracy, more than 20 goldminers at Ballarat, Victoria, are killed by state troopers in an uprising over mining licences

  • Dec 5 Aaron Allen of Boston patents folding theater chair
  • Dec 8 Pope Pius IX proclaims Immaculate Conception, makes Mary, free of Original Sin

Historic Publication

Dec 9 Alfred Tennyson's poem "Charge of the Light Brigade" is published in "The Examiner"

Music Premiere

Dec 10 Hector Berlioz premieres his oratorio "L'enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ)", conducting musicians and soloists from the Opéra-Comique, at the Salle Herz, Paris

  • Dec 15 1st street-cleaning machine in the US used in Philadelphia
  • Dec 19 Allen Wilson of Conn patents sewing machine to sew curving seams
  • Dec 26 Treaty of Medicine Creek signed by Nisqually, Puyallup and Coast Salish peoples with Isaac Ingalls Stevens, Governor of Washington Territory, giving up 2.5 million acres to preserve fishing and gathering rights [1]
  • Dec 26 Wood-pulp paper 1st exhibited, Buffalo
  • Dec 30 Pennsylvania Rock Oil Co, 1st in US, incorporated in NYC