Jul. 11, 2000
To Women, As Far as I'm Concerned
On this day in 1937, Dylan Thomas, 22, married his Irish sweetheart Caitlin Macnamara, 23, at the Registry Office in Penzance, Cornwall-in his words, "with no money, no prospect of money, no attendant friends or relatives, and in complete happiness."
It's the birthday of literary critic Harold Bloom, born in New York City (1930). He earned his Ph.D. at Yale, where he began teaching when he was 25. In his first book, The Visionary Company (1961), Bloom championed six major romantic poets (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, and Keats).
It's the birthday of Danish poet and musician Benny Andersen, born in Copenhagen (1929). The English translation of his Selected Poems came out in 1975.
On this day in 1914, Babe Ruth made his first appearance as a major league baseball player, pitching for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. He pitched 7 innings against the Cleveland Indians, was relieved for the last 2 innings, but won his first victory. The score was 4 to 3.
It's the birthday of essayist and stylist E(lwyn) B(rooks) White, born in Mount Vernon, New York (1899). At Cornell he edited the campus newspaper, the Cornell Daily Sun. He joined The New Yorker staff in 1927, and married the fiction editor, Katharine Angell, in 1929. He's the author of many collections of essays, a well as stories for children: Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte's Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970).
White wrote that he "was neither deprived nor unloved" in his childhood, but was troubled "about practically everything-the uncertainty of the future, the dark of the attic, the panoply and discipline of school, the transitoriness of life, the mystery of the church and of God, the frailty of the body, the sadness of afternoon, the shadow of sex, the distant challenge of love and marriage, the far-off problem of a livelihood. Being the youngest in a large family, I was usually in a crowd but often felt lonely and removed. I took to writing early, to assuage my uneasiness and collect my thoughts, and I was a busy writer before I went into long pants."
It's the birthday of politician and activist Jeannette Rankin, born near Missoula, Montana (1880)-the first woman elected to Congress (1917). She was also the first and only person to vote against American entry into both world wars. She said, "You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake."
In 1804 on this day, at dawn, the long-standing bitterness between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton culminated in a duel in Weehawken Heights, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Hamilton, firing first, deliberately missed; Burr aimed with deadly purpose. Hamilton died 10 hours later, leaving his wife and 7 children deep in debt.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®