Aug. 27, 1998

Girls Who Love Horses

by Lisa Lewis


Today's Reading: "Girls Who Love Horses" by Lisa Lewis from SILENT TREATMENT, published by Penguin Books (1998).

Several STATE FAIRS get underway today — In St. Paul, it's the MINNESOTA STATE FAIR, in Syracuse, the NEW YORK STATE FAIR, and in Salem, the OREGON STATE FAIR.

It was on this day in 1912 that TARZAN first appeared, in a story by a Chicago ad writer, Edgar Rice Burroughs — the saga of an English nobleman's son abandoned in the African jungle and brought up by apes. The adventure magazine, All Story, published it. Two years later, Burroughs wrote another, this one called Tarzan of the Apes. It was so popular he quit the ad agency and went on to write 25 Tarzan books, which were translated into more than 50 languages.

It's the birthday near Stonewall, Texas, 1908, of LBJ, LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, the 36th president. He was sworn into the office aboard Air Force One after President Kennedy's assassination in November, 1963. The next year he was elected in the biggest landslide ever — 15 million votes — which helped him push through nearly all of his "Great Society" legislation: the Civil Rights Act; the Voting Rights Act; and the Medicare Bill.

It's the birthday of C.S. FORESTER, 1899, Cairo, Egypt, the writer who created the British naval officer Horatio Hornblower, hero of the Napoleonic Wars. Hornblower was the central character in a dozen novels beginning with the 1937, Beat to Quarters, and ending in 1967 with Hornblower and the Crisis. Most of Forester's novels were made into movies, the best known of which was African Queen, in 1935.

It's the birthday in Philadelphia, 1890, of Emanuel Rabinovitch, better known as the Surrealist artist MAN RAY. He grew up in New York City, and studied architecture, engineering, and art, intending to become a painter. But he fell in with the French artist Marcel Duchamp and began producing pieces called "ready-mades," sculptures or paintings with everyday household items right in them; Ray's best known one was "The Gift," a clothes iron with a row of tacks glued to the bottom. He began experimenting with photography, mostly, he said, as a way to make money so he could paint.

It's the birthday of THEODORE DREISER, born in Terra Haute, Indiana, 1871, author of An American Tragedy (1925). He was the ninth of ten children, and grew up moving around Indiana — living in Sullivan, Vincennes, Evansville, and Warsaw — his family looking for the next place that might them get out of poverty. Nearly all his books — like Sister Carrie (1900), Jennie Gerhardt (1911), and An American Tragedy (1925) — are based on his Indiana years and deal with the effect of money, or the lack of it, on moral behavior.

It's the birthday of SOPHIA SMITH, the founder of Smith College, born in Hatfield, Massachusetts, 1796. She was one of three children left with a sizable inheritance when their father died. And when her two siblings died and left her their estates, she decided to establish a school. She started Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts in the 1870s, one of the first women's colleges in the country.

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