Month of Literary Days

September 26, 2017
  • Birthday of T. S. Eliot (9/26/1888 - 1/4/1965)


    T.S. Eliot is widely considered one of the twentieth century's major poets, but he was also an essayist, playwright, publisher and critic. His masterpiece poems include "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," "The Waste Land," "The Hollow Men," "Ash Wednesday," and "Four Quartets" and he received the 1948 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." A British-American, his ties to New England stem from the Eliot family's strong roots in Boston and his education and professorship at Harvard University.

September 30, 2017
  • Birthday of Elie Wiesel (9/30/1928 - 7/2/2016)


    Professor Elie Wiesel was a writer, activist, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor. His writing and teaching about human rights and social justice, framed by his own experience in Nazi concentration camps, earned him the moniker of "messenger to mankind" by the Nobel Committee when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. His book "Night," based on his experiences at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, is a must-read book at many schools. Along with the numerous awards he received for his writing and the international recognition accorded to him for his body of work and activism, Wiesel was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal in the United States. He was the Andrew Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Boston University for 40 years, and the institution founded the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies in his honor.

October 14, 2017
  • Birthday of e e cummings (10/14/1894 - 9/3/1962)


    Edward Estlin Cummings, better known as e e cummings in the style of his poetry, is considered one of the strong voices of twentieth century literature. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and educated at Harvard University, he was a poet, author, playwright, essayist, educator and painter, best-known for the 2,900 poems he published. His many awards and honors included a Guggenheim Fellowship, special citation from the National Book Award Committee, and Bollingen Prize in Poetry.

October 15, 2017
  • Birthday of Fanny Howe (10/15/1940)


    A Boston resident, poet, novelist, essayist and short story writer Fanny Howe was raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts; among her writing and literature teaching posts, she has taught at Tufts, Emerson, and MIT. Her work has won many awards, including the 2009 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime accomplishment, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and a Massachusetts Book Awards 2015 Must-Read for "Second Childhood."

  • Birthday of John Kenneth Galbraith ( 10/15/1908 - 4/29/2006)


    Canadian-American economist, writer, professor, and diplomat John Kenneth Galbraith taught Economics at Harvard University for more than 50 years, wrote almost 50 books (including several novels), and published more than 1,000 articles and essays. He is most famous for "American Capitalism," "The Affluent Society," and "The New Industrial State." Additionally, he served in the administrations of four U.S. Presidents (Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson), including as U.S. Ambassador to India under JFK. He was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1946 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2000. He was considered to be the best-known economist in the world during his lifetime.

  • Birthday of Helen Hunt Jackson (10/15/1830 - 8/12/1885)


    Helen Hunt Jackson was born and raised in Amherst, Massachusetts, and was a classmate of Emily Dickinson, with whom she corresponded for the rest of her life. Most famous for her poetry, greatly admired and quoted by Ralph Waldo Emerson, she also wrote novels and was an activist for Native American causes. Her book "Ramona," about the U. S. government's mistreatment of Native Americans in Southern California, was a commercial success and brought awareness to the issues. Her friend Harriet Beecher Stowe was her inspiration to use her pen for political purposes.

October 16, 2017
  • Birthday of Horace Scudder (10/16/1838 - 1/11/1902)


    Writer and editor Horace Scudder was Boston-born, attended Boston Latin School and Williams College, and after a brief time teaching in New York, he spent the rest of his life in Boston, writing children's books, biographies, and essays, as well as serving as Editor of The Atlantic Monthly and The Riverside Magazine.

  • Birthday of Elinor Lipman (10/16/1950)


    Massachusetts native and resident Elinor Lipman writes novels, short stories, essays and columns that reflect her humor, observations of society, and Jewish heritage. She is best known for her novels "Then She Found Me" (adapted into a feature film), "The Inn at Lake Devine," "The Ladies' Man. She is the recipient of the 2001 New England Book Award in Fiction and has taught creative writing at Smith College.

October 20, 2017
  • Birthday of Robert Pinsky (10/20/1940)


    Robert Pinsky is a prolific poet, essayist, literary critic, translator and educator. He was Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997 - 2000, creating the Favorite Poem Project, and currently serves as a Professor at Boston University, where he leads graduate poetry workshops. His numerous awards include the Lenore Marshall Award, the Ambassador Book Award, and the William Carlos Williams Prize.

October 21, 2017
  • Birthday of Ellen Wittlinger (10/21/1948)


    Massachusetts author Ellen Wittlinger writes award-winning young adult fiction and plays, including "Hard Love," which was a Michael L. Printz Award Honor book, "What's In a Name," winner of the 2001 Massachusetts Book Award for Young Adult Literature, and "Gracie's Girl."

October 22, 2017
  • Birthday of Timothy Leary (10/22/1920 - 5/31/1996)


    Timothy Leary was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts and went on to receive degrees in psychology. The controversial side of his work, including research on the use of psychedelic substances, the Concord Prison Experiment, and his own legal troubles, got the most attention; however, he was a widely published writer on various topics related to psychotherapy and the therapeutic use of LSD in psychiatry. He taught at Harvard from 1959 to 1963 and his 1957 book "The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality" was named the most important book of the year about psychotherapy by the Annual Review of Psychology.

October 23, 2017
  • Birthday of Augusten Burroughs (10/23/1965)


    Raised in Massachusetts, Augusten Burroughs is a writer of novels, memoirs, essays and columns. He is best known for his memoir "Running with Scissors," which was adapted into a feature film and initiated a well-publicized legal battle with a family profiled in the book. Other works include "Magical Thinking" and "A Wolf at the Table."

October 24, 2017
  • Birthday of Sarah Josepha Hale (10/24/1788 - 4/30/1879)


    Sarah Josepha Hale's first book, published in 1827, "Northwood: Life North and South" ("A New England Tale" in London) made her one of the first novelists to write about slavery. She wrote novels, poems, and was an influential editor of her time. She wrote the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and was Editor at Godey's Lady's Book for 40 years, working from Boston. She is credited with Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday, and is also associated with several historic preservation projects and monuments, including the Bunker Hill Monument.