Daily Almanac for Sunday, October 15, 2023

By Zola Elder

On this date in 1917, Mata Hari, one of history’s most famous spies, was executed. Here is Mata Hari circa 1910. By Unknown photographer, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org


Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod (née Zelle; 7 August 1876 – 15 October 1917), better known by the stage name Mata Hari (/ˈmɑːtə ˈhɑːri/), was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who was convicted of being a spy for Germany during World War I. She was executed by firing squad in France. The idea of a beautiful exotic dancer using her powers of seduction as a spy made her name synonymous with the femme fatale. Her story has served as an inspiration for many books, films, and other works.

It has been said that she was convicted and condemned because the French Army needed a scapegoat, and that the files used to secure her conviction contained several falsifications. Some have even stated that Mata Hari could not have been a spy and was innocent. She was only 41 years old when she was executed.

Mata Hari performing in 1905. By Unknown author – L’Histoire par l’image, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org


Question of the Day

What’s the difference between a cantaloupe and a muskmelon?

These melons come from two different groups of melons, out of a total of seven kinds that are cultivated. A muskmelon is a member of the reticulatus group, characterized by a netlike ribbed rind and sweet orange flesh. A cantaloupe is a member of the cantalupensis group, named for Cantalupo, a former papal villa near Rome. This group is characterized by a rough, warty rind and sweet orange flesh.

Advice of the Day

Take time when time comes, lest time steal away.

Home Hint of the Day

When spreading drop cloths to protect floors from paint spatters, avoid using plastic. It is too slippery and can cause accidents.

Word of the Day

Celestial equator

The circle around the celestial sphere that is halfway between the celestial poles. It can be thought of as the plane of Earth’s equator projected out onto the sphere.

Puzzle of the Day

What small animal is turned into a large one by taking away part of its name?

Fox (ox)


  • Friedrich Nietzsche (philosopher) – 
  • P. G. Wodehouse (author, humorist) – 
  • C.P. Snow (novelist) – 
  • Lee Iacocca (businessman) – 
  • Linda Lavin (actress) – 
  • Penny Marshall (actress & director) – 
  • Jim Palmer (baseball player) – 
  • Richard Carpenter (musician) – 
  • Emeril Lagasse (chef) – 
  • Sarah Ferguson (Duchess of York) – 


  • Clara Kimball Young (actress) – 
  • Cole Porter (composer) – 
  • Edie Adams (actress & singer) – 
  • Dorcus Reilly (home economist) – 


  • First day of conversion to Gregorian calendar from Julian for several countries (Poland, Spain, Italy, Portugal), due to Pope Gregory XIII’s decree. Great Britain and colonies did not convert until 1752– 
  • First U.S. Agriculture Bureau scientific publication issued– 
  • Edison Electric Light Company established– 
  • American Angler, the first fishing magazine in the U.S., was published in Philadelphia, PA– 
  • Symphony Hall in Boston was inaugurated as the home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra– 
  • Mata Hari, one of history’s most famous spies, was executed– 
  • Statue of Liberty designated as a National Monument– 
  • President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill creating the Department of Transportation– 
  • An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale shook southern California– 
  • Veterans Memorial Bridge opened, Port Arthur-Bridge City, Texas– 
  • Andy Green became the first person to break the sound barrier in a land-based vehicle, at 763.035 mph– 
  • In New York, the Staten Island ferry plowed into a pier killing 10 people and injuring 42 more– 
  • China launched its first manned space mission becoming the third country in history to send a person into orbit — four decades after the Soviet Union and the United States– 
  • A magnitude 6.6 earthquake occurred near Kailua-Kona on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaii– 


  • Hurricane Hazel hit the Carolinas– 
  • Hazel II storm flooded Toronto– 
  • 15.88 inches of rain fell in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida– 

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