Category Archives: Birthdays

Tennessee Williams was Born


English: Tennessee Williams, American playwrig...

English: Tennessee Williams, American playwright; cropped from photo of Williams with cake for 20th anniversary of “The Glass Menagerie” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams III was born on March 26, 1911 to Edwina (née Dakin) and Cornelius Coffin (C.C.) Williams in Columbus, Mississippi. His father was a salesman and a drinker, his mother a music teacher and a southern belle, and his grandfather, local Episcopal priest. His was the middle child, the second of three children.


When Tennessee was eight they moved to Missouri because his father was promoted to a position at the home office. He showed a gift for writing even at a young age with essays which he wrote in high school which was published entitled “Can a Good Wife Be a Good Sport?” Soon he entered in contests for writing and sport, looking to make extra money. In August of 1928 he had a short story published in Weird Tales.
He attended University of Missouri, in Columbia, where he majored in journalism. He was still more interested in writing short stories, poetry, and essays and entering in contests. He tried joining a fraternity, but still was not that interested in college as much as he was interested in entering in writing contests. He even tried joining the military; soon his father pulled him out of school. Tennessee ended working for his father’s company, selling shoes at the International Shoe Company. Life at the shoe company wasn’t much better. It was the monotony and the drudgery. So Tennessee did the only thing he could think of doing, he sat down at his typewriter and wrote A Street Car Named Desire.

By 1936, he was ready to go back to college and enrolled at Washington University in St. Louis and then he went to the University of Iowa and graduated with a degree in English. In 1939, Tennessee Williams officially took on the name Tennessee Williams. Dramatics became his next interest.
Tennessee did many odd jobs between then and when he graduated where obviously he was also writing. In 1940 he was able to get a grant to put on his first play Battle of Angels in 1940 in Boston. The Glass Menagerie was produced on stage between 1944 and 1945. In 1947 A Street Car Named Desire was produced on stage.
Many of the stories he wrote were created around characters of his life growing up and of his family.
Tennessee William passed away in 1983.

But for many of u he is remembered through his works of art, when produced in the theater, on television, or in the movies. Many high school students in the 1980s were reading his works as part of class study. He found his way by constantly writing and entering in contests, and following his hearts’ desire.





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Jean Frédéric Joliot-Curie was Born Today

Stamp Frédéric Joliot-Curie 2 retouched

Jean Frédéric Joliot-Curie was born March 19, 1900 in Paris, France. His parents were, Henri Joliot, a merchant, and his mother was Emilie Roederer. He earned a doctorate degree in Science in 1930. He was a graduate of École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris and an assistant to Marie Curie at th

e Radium Institute. He fell passionately in love with her daughter Irène Curie and convinced him when they married they should take on the name Joliot-Curie as he did on October 4, 1926.
He gave lectures at the Paris Faculty of Science on the atom. That is what he and is what were both working on. They discovered artificial radioactivity and in 1935 they were awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Albert Einstein mentioned Jean Frédéric Joliot-Curie in a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as one of the leading scientists of the nuclear fission in 1937.
After the war in 1945, Joliot-Curie became France’s first High Commissioner for Atomic Energy. He had [passed information onto to the Soviets about nuclear energy. In 1948 the first French atomic reactor was built. He was a devote communist. In 1950 he was absolved of almost all his duties except for professorship at the Collège de France. His wife passed away in 1956.
They had two children, Hélène, born in 1927, who became a physicist, and Pierre, a biologist, born in 1932.
Frédéric Joliot died on August 14, 1958.



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Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was Born

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder used her experienc...

Author Laura Ingalls Wilder used her experiences growing up near De Smet as the basis for four of her novels. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Laura Elizabeth Ingalls Wilder was born February 7, 1867 to Charles Phillip Ingalls and Caroline Lake (Quiner) Ingalls. She was the second of five children, the eldest Mary Amelia, who became blind as a teenager, Caroline Celestia; Charles Frederick, who died when he was an infant; and Grace Pearl.

Laura documented her life in Missouri, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota. Living the life on the prairie they ran into Indians and other settlers. Her father took odd jobs when possible. As a young girl I read the books she was to have published, Little House on the Prairie, On the Banks of Plum Creek, By the Shores of Silvery Lake, The Long Winter, and These Happy Golden Years.

Laura studied and became a teacher. She later met her love, Almanzo Wilder or Manly as she called him. They married on August 25, 1885 in De Smet, South Dakota.

On December 5, 1886, she gave birth to Rose. After a severe drought and debt along with illness that left Manly walking with a cane. Laura took a paid position as a columnist for the Missouri Ruralist in 1911. She wrote a column called, “As a Farm Woman Thinks,” capturing many farmers in the area and gaining regular readership. In the 1920s she started working for the Farm Loan Association on the side. In 1929 they were wiped out with the stock market crash, but thankful Laura was writing. In 1932 her first book was published.

Cover of

Cover of These Happy Golden Years (Little House)

More books were published about her life, an autobiography. Her life was later televised by Michael Landon in the series, Little House on the Prairie. Melissa Gilbert played Laura Ingalls. There was a more detailed movie of her life named, Beyond the Prairie: The True Story of Laura Ingalls Wilder (but parts were still fictional).

Her life touched ours for many years. For me this show was a constant. I grew up reading the books. She lead a hard life, but times were definitely different. It was a time of discovery. Laura became a teacher because she knew she may be needed to help bring money into the home. She had to be able to survive if she were by herself or be able to take care of her family. She took odd jobs just as her father did. But when she was able to take a chance to do what she loved, she took it, and if she hadn’t when the stock market crashed, maybe they not have survived. I can’t really say, it was a different time. She managed.




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Mary Rudge was Born

English: The first Ladies’ International Chess...

English: The first Ladies’ International Chess Congress, organized by the Ladies’ Chess Club of London, was held in London from 23 June to 3 July, 1897. The tournament was part of the 60th anniversary of the reign of queen Victoria, who was a chess player herself. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mary Rudge was born on February 6, 1842. She was born in Leominster, a small town in Herefordshire, England and she grew up to be a master cheese player. She won the first international women’s chess tournament in London, 1897 with 18.5/19 ahead of Louisa Matilda Fagan.*

Growing up she would play chess with her father. She began playing chess in 1872 by correspondence and she joined the Bristol Chess Club. She was the first female member. After the death of her father she began playing seriously and moved to Bristol. She had an older sister Caroline, and older brother Henry. She and her sister went to live with her brother after the passing of their father. Caroline and Mary helped her brother teach school until the school closed. When the school closed her brother moved to North Meols, but Mary stayed behind. By this time she had established herself at the game of chess.

In 1889, she became the first woman in the world to give simultaneous chess exhibitions and she was being hailed as the leading lady chess player in the world. In 1898, she played against world champion Emanuel Lasker in a simultaneous display in London. Lasker was unable to finish the game and conceded defeat because he would be lost with Rudge best play.

To be a master at chess she had to understand the game, and understand strategy. She knew when to strike, but also when to fall back, so to speak. She was one of many women to take up the game of chess, and Rudge definitely showed she had the courage and the wit to play against her male counterpart. If she could best him at chess, at this time, didn’t it show that women were meant for more? Her heart and spirit definitely proved that she was in the game.




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Henry Morton Stanley was born

Portrait of Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), ...

Portrait of Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), Explorer (Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution)

Sir Henry Morton Stanley GCB, born John Rowlands was born on January 28, 1841 to Elizabeth Parry as a bastard in Denbigh, Denbighshire. He didn’t know his father. His father passed away weeks after his birth and his mother shunned him, he was sent to live with relatives. At age 5 he was sent to St Asaph Union Workhouse for the Poor. The workhouse was a horrible place for him to live, but he lived there until the age of 15. He was able to get an elementary education and go work as a pupil teacher in a National School.

When he was 18 he decided to go to the United States, and when he did that he changed his name to Henry Hope Stanley after a friendly gentleman he met. He was able to get a job working for him at his shop, and after the man passed away he took over the shop and the accent and denied being a foreigner.

He then became a journalist during the Civil War. He made his first expedition to the Ottoman Empire. The expedition did not go at all as planned, as they were jailed and imprisoned but thanks to restitution they were soon let go.

It was 1869 when James Gordon Bennett, Jr. asked Stanley to go on an expedition in search for David Livingstone, the explorer and missionary in Africa. He travelled near and far across Africa and to Zanzibar over 700 miles. Stanley found Livingstone on November 10, 1871 and uttered those timely words, “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?”

His travels took him to the Congo River for further research. Then he went on further expedition such as the Emin Pasha Relief Expedition.

He wrote about his travels in his book Through the Dark Continent.

He as much proved he could become mould himself to fit where need be. His lived a great expedition growing up, and wanted a better life, although very unconventional, he was sort of able to find an adoptive family since the original Stanley had no children. It was just amazing that he behaved like he belonged. He was always the traveler.




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Lewis Carroll was Born

Description: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis C...

Description: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson better known as Lewis Carroll was born January 27, 1832 to Charles Dodgson and Frances Jane Lutwidge. His father was a country parson and mathematician at Croft-on-Tees in North Yorkshire. Carroll was born in Daresbury in Cheshire near the towns of Warrington and Runcorn. He was the eldest of three brothers. Carroll was influenced by

his father, and very intelligent, following the religious views of the time which were dividing Anglo-Catholicism.

Carroll loved to read and often had reading lists. He read such books as The Pilgrim’s Progress. He and his siblings suffered from a vocal stutter. He was also deaf in one year. At age 17 he had developed a whooping cough that made his chest very weak. Later on it is said he also suffered from migraines and epilepsy. He attended Oxford College in 1850 He was able to obtain first-class honors in Mathematics Moderations and nominated to a Studentship as well as various other awards because he was exceptionally gifted.

While he was at Oxford in 1854 he had started submitted some of his writing to be published. He worked to prefect his writing. He submitted his writing under the name of Charles Lutwidge which his name translated in Latin. In 1856 his first poem was published under the name of Lewis Carroll.

He also met Alice Liddell, Henry Liddell’s daughter and dean of the Christ Church who was the influence for his published in 1865 after numerous rejections, with the help of George MacDonald, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published under the name of Lewis Carroll.

There is much talk of the relationships that Carroll had with little girls, since he wrote about them in books. In some ways I think he had a hard time connecting with adults as opposed to children or he liked the wonderment of children. He was so intelligent, and so sickly, dealing with his stutter, that he probably met more time with himself that with other adults. Children were then easier to reach out and talk to.

Français : Illustration d'origine (1865), par ...

Français : Illustration d’origine (1865), par John Tenniel (28 février 1820 – 25 février 1914), du roman de Lewis Carroll, Alice au pays des merveilles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1876 The Hunting of the Snark, a poem was published.

When Carroll was writing he was doing work in the field of math. He worked in geometry, matrix algebra, mathematical logic and recreational mathematics.

When he wasn’t writing books of fiction he was writing books on math.

In 1889 he published his last novel, Sylvia and Bruno. This book did not do as well as Alice in Wonderland.

Carroll is one of my favorite writers and Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There are one of my favorite books. I love the poems he wrote. I recently found the poem Rhyme? And Reason? And a Tangled Tale and they have such imagination. He is indeed one of my all time favorites.



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Edith Wharton was Born

English: Photograph of writer Edith Wharton, t...

English: Photograph of writer Edith Wharton, taken by E. F. Cooper, at Newport, Rhode Island. Cabinet photograph. Courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Edith Wharton was born nee Edith Newbold Jones on January 24, 1862 in New York City to George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander. She was related to the Rensselaer family who were thought of to be of high class and prestige. Have you ever heard the saying “Keeping up with the Joneses“? That was based on her family. She met many public figures like Theodore Roosevelt.

She married Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton in 1885 and they lived in Philadelphia, at his estate, The Mount. She married into the same social class; Edith loved to be creative and designed the gardens around the estate and well as the interior design of the house. Teddy Wharton was twelve years older then she, and a regular sportsman. In 1897 she co-authored and wrote her first book with Ogden Codman called The Decoration of Houses. In 1905 she wrote The House of Mirth. She had been writing many short stories during this time including ghost stories. Unfortunately in 1908 her husband suffered from depression which was discovered to be incurable. She divorced him in 1913.

In her spare time when she wasn’t working on the house or gardens she was writing. Sometimes she would write short stories, other times, books on design. She wrote about the world and society she knew about. She moved to Paris, France after the divorce.

She assisted in the war effort with the relief effort. She was a supporter of French imperialism. In 1920 she wrote The Age of Innocence which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1921.

In 1923 she received an honorary doctorate degree from Yale University. That was the only time she returned to the states.She returned to France. In 1937 she died of a stroke. She died leaving over 85 stories and many books for us to read. She found the irony in life. 




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Rosa Ponselle was Born

Rosa Ponselle em foto de estúdio de 1918.

Rosa Ponselle em foto de estúdio de 1918. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The Queen of Queens in all of singing.”
Luciano Pavarotti, tenor.

Rosa Ponselle was born on January 22, 1897, in Meriden, Connecticut, to Italian immigrants from Caiazzo, near Caserta. She was the youngest of three children. They lived at the corner of Lewis Avenue and Bartlett Street, then on Foster Street, and when she was three they moved to Springdale Avenue. She had a naturally gifted mature voice, and took piano lesion with the local music teacher, Anna Ryan, who was also the organist of a nearby Catholic church. She decided very soon on she wanted to become a cabaret singer. She billed herself well and was soon performing ballads all around the area and performing as a silent-movie accompanist.

In 1912 she did vaudeville, performing in The Girl from Brighton, a 1912 Broadway musical. She became so well known she was soon performing a long-term engagement at the San Carlino theater in New Haven near Yale University. She and her sister Carmela also performed on the vaudeville circuit as the Ponselle Sisters until 1918 when the split the act and the great tenor Enrico Caruso persuaded Rosa to audition for the Metropolitan Opera.

On November 15, 1918, Rosa Ponselle debuted at the Met as Leonora in Verdi’s La forza del destino, opposite Caruso. She received rave reviews from New York Times critic James Huneker. She went on to perform numerous operas.
This was the part she was born to play; the voice of an opera singer. All she knew was that she wanted to sing on stage. All she needed to do was to find where she fit.
Here is Rosa Ponselle performing “Suicidio!” which shows her range, timbre, pianissimo




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Albert Schweitzer was Born

List of Nobel Peace Prize laureates

List of Nobel Peace Prize laureates (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Albert Schweitzer was born January 14, 1875, in the province of Alsace-Lorraine. In 1952, he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy for his “Reverence for Life“. Growing up he had an interest in music and he became an acclaimed organist, then his interest grew to theology and he became a church pastor, and a university professor with a doctorate in philosophy. Albert Schweitzer once said, “Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life.” Schweitzer believed that all life mattered, whether it was an animal or it was plant life, it had its place. He worked in hospitals in Africa and he saw how at times one person was scarified for another life. He was friends with Albert Einstein. When the Hydrogen bomb went off in Japan and there was H-bomb, testing Schweitzer didn’t like what was happening so he spoke up to the CIA. They were not happy at first with the alert and they tried to stop him. Schweitzer studied his information, President Eisenhower finally listened, and the testing was stopped. I think at times he saw an attitude that man had toward each other that was cold, that showed a lack of humanity. What was so sad was that we are all that we have on this earth besides the plant and animal life. Sometimes man is bent on destruction.When we set at work to destroy one person, we are often destroying ourselves.

Here is one of Schweitzer’s writings entitled Teaching Reverence for Life.





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Alice Paul writer of the Equal Rights Amendment born January 11

English: Alice Paul, full-length portrait, sta...

English: Alice Paul, full-length portrait, standing, facing left, raising glass with right hand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alice Stokes Paul was born January 11, 1885 and she an American suffragist, women’s rights activist, and the original author of the equal rights (nineteenth) amendment that is part of the United States Constitution. She was very educated with an undergraduate from Swarthmore College, a M.A. and a P.H. d. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Law degree from the Washington College of Law at American University.

Paul became interested in the suffragists while in Britain after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania from Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU)..She was arrested several times. When she came back to the states she joined the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA) in Washington DC. They were fighting for a woman’s right to vote! Paul had learned about all kinds of campaigns. She planned parades, and hunger strikes and everything that would make people aware of their cause. Flags were made and put up. This was what Paul had dedicated her life to.

In 1923 she penned what was to become the nineteenth amendment. It did not become a amendment until 1972. That is an awfully long time to wait for amendment to pass.

This video explains more

Everyone has rights, men and women, black or white, or Asian, or what ever race you are, fat or thin. Everyone has equal rights. Sometimes I think as a people we get confused as to what rights each one of us has. In some ways its just like all of us having an equal vote, which was what Alice Paul was fighting for. Her battle at the time may have been for women, really her voice was speaking louder, and bigger perhaps for something or why would the equal rights amendment have ended up in the Constitution.





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