Oct. 19, 1998
Today's Reading: "If" by Rudyard Kipling.
It's the birthday of spy novelist JOHN LE CARRE, born in Poole, England, 1931 as David Cornwell, author of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and other books. He took his pseudonym in the early 1960s from a sign in a London shop window; he was working for the British Foreign Service at the time, and agents weren't allowed to print books under their own name, so he chose Le Carre. He wrote his first one in 1960, Call for the Dead, while riding the commuter train back and forth to his home outside London. His first three books and a trilogy he wrote in the 1970s all deal with the British intelligence agent George Smiley.
It's the birthday in 1895, Flushing, New York, of the historian and urban planner LEWIS MUMFORD. He wrote architecture criticism and commentary about urban America for the New Yorker from 1931-63; and several books, including The City in History (1961), which won the National Book Award, and a series of books beginning in the 1930s called the Renewal of Life.
It's the birthday of FANNIE HURST, the novelist and short story writer, born in Hamilton, Ohio, 1889. She was raised in St. Louis and moved to New York after high school where she wrote back home to her parents in St. Louis that she was "in training for fiction." She worked in sweat shops and department stores, acted in small theaters, then sailed steerage for Europe. Of the dozens of short stories and novels Hurst wrote, her own favorite was the 1923 novel, Lummox, the story of a servant girl trying to make ends meet in New York City.
It's the birthday in 1810 of the abolitionist politician and co-founder of the Republican party, CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY, born in rural Madison county, central Kentucky. He grew up the son of slave holders, but while attending college heard abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison speak. Clay started an antislavery newspaper called True American in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1845, and declared war on slavery. He was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and was disappointed when Lincoln failed to name him to a cabinet post during his presidency.
It's the anniversary of YORKTOWN, the day in 1781 when British General Cornwallis surrendered his men to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, effectively ending the Revolutionary War.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®