Feb. 25, 1999

Death of the Family Archivist

by Brad Leithauser

Broadcast Date: THURSDAY: February 25, 1999

Poem: "Death of the Family Archivist," by Brad Leithauser, from The Odd Last Thing She Did (Alfred A. Knopf).

It was on this date in 1956 that the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev denounced the former leader Josef Stalin in a SECRET SPEECH to the 20th Soviet Party Congress, saying, "Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all!," an attempt to distance the Communist Party from Stalin's terror of the 1930s, when he killed thousands of his political rivals as well as over 10 million peasants through starvation. The speech launched a campaign to "de-Stalinize" the country.

It's the birthday of novelist ANTHONY BURGESS, born 1917 in Manchester, England, author of more than 50 books and novels, and known for his 1962 novel, A Clockwork Orange, a story about a gang of violent hooligans set in the near future which gained a cult following in the 1970s.

Today is the anniversary of the founding of HADASSAH, the women's volunteer organization, in New York City in 1912.

It's the birthday of HONUS WAGNER, the great shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, born in Carnegie, Pennsylvania in 1874—one of the first five players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

It's the birthday in 1841 of PIERRE-AUGUST RENOIR, born in Limoges, France. His parents saw his early talent and put him to work in a porcelain factory decorating plates, and then in his early 20s he started taking lessons at a studio where he met Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissaro. He painted in the impressionist style with the others until trips to Italy in the early 1880s led him to rediscover the bold lines and colors of the classical painters.

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




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