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On This Day: April 13

1854 - Economist Richard Ely Born Today

On this date economist and author Richard Ely was born. Ely came to the University of Wisconsin in 1892, where he served as the head of the Economics Department until 1925. Ely, influenced by John Stuart Mill, studied labor unrest, agricultural economics, and the problems of rural poverty. An early leader of Christian socialism in America, he advocated public control of resources, prohibition of child labor, and the development of labor unions. Ely believed in government action to improve people's lives, and created the American Economic Association and the American Association for Labor Legislation. Ely was the mentor of Wisconsin's economist John Commons. [Source: Wisconsin Electronic Reader]

1864 - (Civil War) Battle of Blair's Landing, Louisiana

This was the second and final day of the Battle of Blair's Landing, in Red River Parish, Louisiana. During the fight, the 14th, 29th, 33rd Wisconsin Infantry regiments helped repulse Confederate troops who attacked Union transport ships headed upstream on the Red River Expedition.

1874 - Fire Destroys School for the Visually Handicapped

On this date fire destroyed much of the School for the Visually Handicapped in Janesville. School administration adamantly opposed closing the school and found suitable accommodations for its students in Janesville. Instruction took place in a nearby workshop, spared by the fire. Students and faculty endured these temporary arrangements for two years until a new facility was completed.