May 16, 1999

Home on the Range

by Anonymous

Broadcast Date: SUNDAY: May 16, 1999

Poem: "Home on the Range," folksong.

It's the birthday in 1804, Billerica, Massachusetts of the teacher and publisher, ELIZABETH PALMER PEABODY, who opened her own school and began teaching when she was just 16. Two years later she opened another in Boston, and made her name by bringing the whole notion of early childhood education to America. In 1860 she began opening kindergartens, and wrote and edited a magazine called the Kindergarten Messenger.

It was on this day in 1868 that PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON escaped impeachment by a single vote. Johnson took office when Lincoln was killed in April, 1865. After the Civil War, he battled with Republicans over reconstruction policy, and the whole thing came to a head when Johnson fired his Secretary of War, the Republican Edwin Stanton, allegedly breaking a law which required the president to get Congressional approval for such a dismissal. The House voted eleven articles of impeachment against him, the first time in the nation's history. The Senate tried Johnson in the spring of 1868 and on May 16 acquitted him by a single vote.

It's the birthday in the Bronx, 1912, of writer and broadcaster STUDS TERKEL, known for his many books of oral history—interviews with everyday people about their experiences, such as Hard Times; The Good War (which won a Pulitzer); and probably his best-known book, the 1974 Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. He got his start doing radio interviews in the 1930s on WGN in Chicago, and moved to WFMT in the 1940s. Right now he's a scholar-in-residence at the Chicago Historical Society.

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




  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook

The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Jeffrey Harrison at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »