Oct. 24, 1998

The Model

by W. H. Auden


Today's Reading: "The Model" by W. H. Auden from COLLECTED SHORTER POEMS 1927-1957, published by Random House.

The 40-HOUR WORK WEEK went into effect on this day in 1940, with the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

It's the anniversary in 1931 of the GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE, linking Manhattan, with Fort Lee, New Jersey across the Hudson River. Its clear span of 3,500 feet made it the longest suspension bridge in the world at the time. Gilbert Cass was the main architect, and his next big project was the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington.

It's poet DENISE LEVERTOV's birthday in Essex, England, 1923. As a girl she was educated at home by her mother, and during the war she became a nurse in London and survived several of the German V-1 bombings. In the late '40s she settled in the U.S. and became a citizen. Her poetry collections include Out of the War Shadow, Candles in Babylon, and Breathing the Water.

It's the birthday in 1904, New York City, of playwright MOSS HART, who said of his old hometown, "The only credential New York asked was the boldness to dream. For those who did, it unlocked its gates and its treasures, not caring who they were or where they came from." He grew up in the Bronx and got his first job when he was 17 years old as an office boy for a Broadway producer. His first play came out a year later. He directed summer stock for years, then hit it big with a string of collaborations with George S. Kaufman: Once in a Lifetime, Merrily We Roll Along, and You Can't Take It with You, which won the 1938 Pulitzer Prize.

It's the anniversary in 1861 of the TRANSCONTINENTAL TELEGRAPH, sent from Stephen J. Field, the chief justice of California, to President Abraham Lincoln in Washington.

It's the birthday of the equal rights advocate BELVA ANN LOCKWOOD, born in Royalton, New York, 1830. She went to school to become a teacher, then when she was 43 years old, got her law degree and championed several reforms of the 1870s and '80s, including the Equal Pay Act for female civil servants. And by adding amendments to statehood bills, she helped provide voting rights for women in Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

It's SARAH JOSEPHA HALE's birthday, Newport, New Hampshire, 1788, writer of several volumes of poetry, much of it forgotten now, with the exception of her 1830 poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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