Results tagged “Birthdays”

Birthday of Clarence Darrow

Clarence Darrow.jpgClarence Darrow, the most renowned American lawyer of the early 1900's, was born on April 18, 1857. He became famous as a defender of labor after representing Eugene V. Debs and other union officials who were arrested for supporting the Pullman Strike of 1894. Darrow later began to specialize in criminal defense and was nearly 70 years old when he tried his two most spectacular cases. In 1924, he defended teen thrill killers Nathan F. Leopold, Jr. and Richard A. Loeb, who admitted to kidnapping and murdering 14-year-old Bobby Franks in their attempt to commit a perfect crime. In 1925, he defended the right of John T. Scopes to teach the theory of evolution in public school. Darrow died on March 13, 1938.

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The Birthday of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St Vincent Millay.jpgPoet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay was born on February 22, 1892 to a mother who raised her three daughters on her own after asking her husband to leave the family home in 1899. Following her attendance at Vassar College, Millay moved to New York city, where she lived in a tiny Greenwich Village apartment and led a Bohemian lifestyle, very poor, very merry, and openly bisexual. While her works garned her a Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and much approbation, a fair share of controversy followed her as well, from her frank descriptions of female sexuality and feminism to her protesting the execution of Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti . Millay died in 1950.

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The Birthday of Jules Verne

Jules Verne caricature.jpgJules Verne, the author sometimes referred to as the father of science fiction, was born on February 8, 1828 in Nantes, France. Although his works were written before the invention of the airplane, they predicted not only planes, but television, guided missiles and space satellites.

Verne's novels brimmed with adventure and memorable characters. There was mad Captain Nemo of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, tooling around the ocean in his submarine, the Nautilus. And how about the dashing Phileas Fogg, travelling Around the World in Eighty Days? Several of Verne's works have been turned into movies, and, in fact the new film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, owes a debt to not one, but two, of his novels; Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Mysterious Island.

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Octavia Butler's Birthday

Octavia Butler.jpgAuthor Octavia Butler, the first science fiction writer to be awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship, was born on June 22, 1947. Her works include Parable of the Sower, Wild Seed, and Kindred, a powerful and moving novel which uses the device of time travel to explore slavery in the United States. Butler died February 24, 2006.

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Happy Birthday Maurice Sendak!


Maurice Sendak, famous author and illustrator best known for Where the Wild Things Are, was born on June 10, 1928. From an early age Sendak wanted to be an illustrator, and his love of books was intiated by several health problems that confined him to bedrest. He became an internationally acclaimed writer and illustrator with the publication of Where the Wild Things Are, which won the Caldecott Medal in 1964. Sendak has won numerous other awards for his work, including the National Book Award and the National Medal for the Arts.
Tributary books have been written about him, and Where the Wild Things Are was made into a feature film in 2009

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Funny - She Doesn't Look 52!

Barbie.jpgWhen the Barbie doll first went on display on March 9, 1959 at the American Toy Fair in New York City, she was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States to sport an adult figure and features. Over the years, Barbie has been wildly popular, but she has garnered her share of controversy. Although fans appreciate that the doll is portrayed as having various careers from doctor to astronaut, her detractors have said that her rather unrealistic physique can contribute to negative body image in young girls. Whatever one's opinion, there's no denying Barbie's popularity, since more than 800 million of the dolls have been sold around the world.

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Quoth the Raven, "Happy Birthday to You"

Edgar Allan Poe.jpgEdgar Allen Poe, one of America's most famous men of letters, was born on January 19th, 1809 to a pair of travelling actors. His father abandoned the family while Poe was an infant, and his mother died before his third birthday, a combination of events which may have helped set the stage for his dark and haunting literary works. Poe's young wife Virginia, whom he had married when she was thirteen, died of tuberculosis at 24, adding more grief to his life. He himself died somewhat mysteriously at the age of 40 after being found dirty and incoherent in a Baltimore tavern after a few days during which his whereabouts were unknown. His short story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is considered to be the first modern detective story, several of his works have inspired movies and his most celebrated poem "The Raven" provided the name for Baltimore's National Football League team. To learn more about this enigmatic figure, check out Nevermore: A Photobiography of Edgar Allan Poe or The Everything Guide to Edgar Allan Poe, just two of the many books about or by Poe available at the Milwaukee Public Library.

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Birthday of Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley.jpg
Romantic poet Percy Bysse Shelley was born on August 4, 1792. An advocate of justice for the lower classes, nonviolence and vegetarianism, he was married twice, the second time to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the author of Frankenstein. In honor of Shelley, who drowned at the age of 29, here is "Ozymandias," one of his best known poems.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

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Beatrix Potter's Birthday

Beatrix Potter.jpgEnglish author and illustrator Beatrix Potter was born on July 28, 1866. As a child, she and her brother collected bugs, toadstools, dead birds and snakeskins, which they spent many hours observing and drawing. Although best known for her charming and intentionally small volumes of animal stories ("little books for little hands") like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she was also a successful farmer, sheep breeder and conservationist. She married at the age of 47, and as Mrs. William Heelis found herself happy and contented, spending her remaining 30 years, not resenting older age, but finding it "rather pleasing to be so much wiser than quantities of young idiots". To learn more about this interesting lady, take a look at The Tale of Beatrix Potter or one of the other biographies available at the Milwaukee Public Library. Prefer popcorn with your Potter? Check out the slightly fictionalized film Miss Potter.

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Happy Birthday, Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway.jpgAuthor and journalist Ernest Hemingway was born on July 21, 1899 in Oak Park, Illinois. After high school, Hemingway left for the Italian front to become an ambulance driver during World War I; his experiences there became the basis for his novel A Farewell to Arms. During his lifetime, he published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works; further works were brought out after his death. Hemingway's understated writing style had a huge influence on 20th century fiction, which, coupled with his adventurous lifestyle and rugged appearance, made him a true American icon. Much has been written about him; many consider Ernest Hemingway; A Life Story to be one of the best of the biographies.

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Wilma Rudolph's Inspirational Accomplishments

Wilma Rudolph.jpgWilma Rudolph was born on June 23, 1940, two months early and weighing just over four pounds. As a child, she contracted polio, and it was feared that she might never walk again. She kept moving any way she could, hopping around her home, to the outhouse in the backyard, and on Sundays, to church. Twice a month, her mother, who had 21 other children, took Wilma by bus to the nearest hospital that would treat black patients, fifty miles away in Nashville. Wilma began to walk again, and after years of hard work and dedication, made it to the 1960 Summer Olympics where she made history by becoming the first woman to win three gold medals at the same Olympic games. For a moving tribute to this great athlete, who died in 1994, check out Kathleen Krull's Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman, an ALA Notable Children's Book of 1997.

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Charlotte Bronte.pngQueen Elizabeth II 2.jpgCharlotte Bronte, famed 19th century English novelist, and Elizabeth II, reigning Queen of the United Kingdom, were both born on April 21, the former in 1816; the latter in 1926. Bronte, best known for her novel Jane Eyre, was the eldest of three literary sisters. To read more about this iconic writer, check out Unquiet Soul by Wisconsin author Margot Peters. Although we may wish both Bronte and the Queen a happy birthday on April 21, the official celebration for Elizabeth II is held each year in the UK on a weekend in June for the practical reason that the weather then is more likely to cooperate for a public party. This year, the festivities are scheduled for Saturday, June 12.

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Alice in Wonderland.jpgThus begins Jabberwocky, one of the greatest nonsense poems in the English language. Its author was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson on January 27, 1832, but the world has come to know him better as Lewis Carroll, creator of such memorable characters as the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and Alice of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

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Horatio Alger, Jr. - Honesty, Frugality and Hard Work

Horation Alger Jr.jpgHoratio Alger, Jr. was born on January 13, 1832. He wrote over 100 novels for boys, using his experiences helping orphans and runaways as fodder for his stories. Although his works are now considered by many to be formulaic and poorly written, his name has become almost synonymous with the idea of the classic rags to riches story. In fact, if you'd like to learn more about this iconic American author, you might like to check out From Rags to Riches; Horatio Alger, Jr. and the American Dream from the Milwaukee Public Library.

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Happy Birthday, Carl Sandburg

Carl Sandburg.jpgOn January 6, 1878, Carl Sandburg, American author, editor and son of the Midwest, was born. Much of Sandburg's poetry focused on Chicago, a city he famously described as "Hog Butcher for the World...City of the Big Shoulders." He received Pulitzer Prizes for The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg and Abraham Lincoln: The War Years and was the author of the beloved Rootabaga Stories for children. (Does anyone else remember Pony Pony Huckabuck?) On the local front, Sandburg served as secretary to Milwaukee's Mayor Emil Seidel, the first Socialist mayor of a major city in the U.S. For more information about Seidel, check out MPL's Milwaukee Mayors Digital Collection.

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