Roelof Brandsma (1888 - 1981)



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Sunnyside, Yakima County, Washington

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1888 - In the year that Roelof Brandsma was born, on July 25th, a court stenographer from Salt Lake City - Frank Edward McGurrin - decisively beat the competition in a typing contest in Ohio. He was supposedly the only person who used touch typing and is believed to have invented the method. Touch typing is ubiquitous now - but Frank's win is what convinced everyone that the method was good!

1892 - Roelof was just 4 years old when on August 4th, the father and stepmother of Lizzie Borden were found murdered. Lizzie was accused of the crime and on June 20th of the next year, she was acquitted of murder by a jury. But she was never acquitted in the public mind.

1905 - When this person was 17 years old, the Niagara Falls conference was held in Fort Erie, Ontario. Led by W.E.B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter, a group of African-American men met in opposition to racial segregation and disenfranchisement. Booker T. Washington had been calling for policies of accommodation and conciliation and these two men, along with the others who attended the conference, felt that this was accomplishing nothing. The group was the precursor to the NAACP.

1927 - This person was 39 years old when the first "talkie" (a movie with music, songs, and talking), The Jazz Singer, was released. Al Jolson starred as a cantor's son who instead of following in his father's footsteps as expected, becomes a singer of popular songs. Banished by his father, they reconcile on his father's deathbed. It was a tear-jerker and audiences went wild - especially when they heard the songs. Thus begun the demise of silent films and the rise of "talkies".

1981 - In the year of Roelof Brandsma's passing, on January 20th, Ronald Reagan became the 40th President of the United States. He ran against the incumbent, Jimmy Carter, and won 50.7% of the popular vote to Carter's 41.0%.

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Roelof Brandsma died in November 1981 at 93 years old. No cause of death has been listed for Roelof. Roelof was born on May 19, 1888. There is no information about Roelof's family. We know that Roelof Brandsma had been residing in Sunnyside, Yakima County, Washington.


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