Feb. 17, 2000
Poem: "Solitude" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (18501919).
It’s the birthday of novelist Chaim Potok [HIGH-em POE-tok], born in the Bronx, New York City (1929). When he told his mother he wanted to spend his life writing stories, she responded, "You want to write stories? That’s very nice. You be a brain surgeon, and on the side you write stories." His novel The Chosen (1967) won the Pulitzer Prize
It’s the birthday of Andrew Barton Paterson, the Australian journalist and poet. He was a World War I correspondent and the author of several books of light verse including The Animals Noah Forgot (1933). He’s best known for "Walt zing Matilda," adapted from a traditional verse, which became Australia’s national song.
It’s the birthday of Irish-American editor and publisher Samuel Sidney McClure, born in County Antrim [AN-trim], Ireland (1857). He organized the first syndicated newspaper in the United States, the ‘McClure Syndicate’ (1884), and later founded McClure’s magazine (1893), the most controversial muckraking journal of its time.
It’s the birthday of entrepreneur Montgomery (Aaron) Ward, born in Chatham [CHAT-um], New Jersey (1844), who came up with the mail-order system of merchandising. While a young man, he was a salesman in rural Michigan, selling to financially strapped farmers who grumbled about the mark-up costs on the goods he sold them. This experience prompted his idea of ordering goods direct, by mail: customers could buy lower-cost items direct from the warehouse through catalogue orders they sent in from home. He issued his first catalogue in 1872a single sheet of paper offering 150 items.
It’s the birthday of Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec, born in Quimper, near Brittany (1781), the "father of thoracic medicine" who invented the stethoscope.
It’s the birthday of Thomas Robert Malthus, born in The Rookery, near Dorking, England, author of the Essay on Principle of Population. Malthus was pessimistic about the future because of the natural tendency for the population to increase faster than the means of subsistence.
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