Jim Kershner’s This day in history
From our archives, 100 years ago
A Spokane lawyer, W.B. Mitchell, was in possession of a book of inestimable value: A handwritten papyrus Quran, dating from 622 A.D.
If that date was correct, it was copied “during the life of Mahomet himself,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle in a feature story.
“Every page of the volume is penned with minutest care, in the fine hieroglyphics of the Arabian tongue,” said the paper. “Its origin is buried in the mists of antiquity, but it is probable that it was written by an Egyptian.”
The paper ran a photo of the beautiful book, written on papyrus sheets between wooden covers. The story did not explain how Mitchell came to possess the book, but it did say that it was “taken from a Sulu temple on the island of Mindanao in the Philippine archipelago.”
And even though Mitchell would “not attempt to set an estimate of its worth,” the story mentioned that he had been offered “$500 upwards,” with emphasis, we can only assume, on the “upwards.”
Also on this date
(From the Associated Press)
1520: Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Pacific Ocean after passing through the South American strait that now bears his name. … 1905: Sinn Fein was founded in Dublin. … 2001: Enron Corp., once the world’s largest energy trader, collapsed after would-be rescuer Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4 billion deal to take it over.