Nov. 23, 1998

MONDAY 11/23

Poem: "Alms," by Edna St. Vincent Millay, from EARLY POEMS (Penguin, 1998).

It's the birthday of the English mathematician, JOHN WALLIS, born in Kent, 1616, one of the founders of calculus. He was ordained a priest before exhibiting math talent, and later became the Oxford University Professor of Geometry, noted for using algebra to solve problems with numbers called "infinitesimals"—quantities that are incalculably small.

It's the birthday of JAMES THOMSON, the Scottish poet born in Glasgow, 1834, known for the strong, but gloomy poems he wrote about cities and their dehumanizing effects, pieces like "The City of Dreadful Night."

It's the birthday of the turn-of-the-century educator and author KATHERINE COMAN, born in Newark, Ohio, 1857, best known for her book, The Industrial History of the United States, published in 1905.

It's the anniversary of the BATTLE OF CHATTANOOGA, 1863, during the Civil War. Chattanooga was a key railroad center for the Confederacy, and in September, 1863, the Federal army took the city, but got bottled up there by Southern forces. General Ulysses S. Grant massed a huge number of men to break the Chattanooga siege and in three days of fighting routed the Southern army.

It's the birthday of playwright GUY BOLTON, born in Hertfordshire, England, 1884, best known for the librettos he wrote for the great Broadway musicals of the 1920s and '30s, when he collaborated with composers like Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter, in the shows Lady, Be Good!, Oh, Kay!, and Anything Goes.

It's the birthday of the Hollywood biographer, MAURICE ZOLOTOW, born in 1913, New York, and author of popular books on Marilyn Monroe, Billy Wilder, and John Wayne, as well as his own fiction, The Great Balsamo, and nonfiction, Confessions of a Race Track Fiend.

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




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