Month of Literary Days

November 24, 2017
  • Birthday of Mordicai Gerstein (11/24/1935)


    Massachusetts resident Mordicai Gerstein is an artist, writer and film director, best known as a prolific and award-winning author and illustrator of children's books. "The Man who Walked Between the Towers" won the 2004 Caldecott Medal; "First Drawing" was the winner of the 2014 Massachusetts Book Award for Children's/Young Adult Literature.

November 25, 2017
  • Birthday of Bliss Perry (11/25/1860 - 2/13/1954)


    Bliss Perry was a native of and educated in Massachusetts, and also taught at Williams College and Harvard University. A prolific writer and editor of fiction, essays, poetry and an autobiography, he was the editor of The Atlantic Monthly for ten years.

  • Birthday of Robert Ellis Cahill (11/25/1934 - 6/19/2005)


    A lifelong Massachusetts resident, Robert Ellis Cahill was a prolific writer whose books focused on New England history and folklore, including the Salem Witch Trials, as well as autobiographical topics. His time as a Massachusetts politician and county sheriff provided fodder for his writing as well.

November 29, 2017
  • Birthday of Bronson Alcott


    (Amos) Bronson Alcott was a teacher, philosopher, writer and reformer, advocating for women's rights and the abolition movement. Married to an activist (Abby May Alcott) he raised their four daughters amongst fellow intellectuals in Boston, Concord, and Harvard, Massachusetts, including Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. He was a major figure in the Transcendental movement. He shares his birthday with his daughter Louisa May Alcott.

  • Birthday of Louisa May Alcott (11/29/1832 - 3/6/1888)


    Born in Pennsylvania to transcendentalist/activist parents Amos Bronson Alcott (with whom she shares her birthday) and Abigail May Alcott, Louisa May Alcott grew up and spent her life in Massachusetts amongst other intellectuals of the day: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. Best known for her beloved "Little Women" and its sequels ("Little Men" and "Jo's Boys"), Alcott wrote many other novels (some with the pen name A. M. Barnard), as well as short stories and poetry. Her writing reflected her commitment to feminism and abolition.

  • Birthday of Sue Miller (11/29/1943)


    Long-time Massachusetts resident Sue Miller is a best-selling author of novels, short stories, and a memoir, some of which have been made into movies. Her stories are often set in the Commonwealth and have a distinctly Massachusetts flavor.

December 2, 2017
  • Birthday of David Hackett Fischer (12/2/1935)


    Long-time Brandeis University professor David Hackett Fischer is an award-winning author of nonfiction and narrative histories. Best known for "Albion's Seed" and "Washington's Crossing (Pivotal Moments in American History)," the latter won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for History and was nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards. Always committed to his students, he also received the 1990 Carnegie Prize as Massachusetts Professor of the Year.

December 4, 2017
  • Birthday of Matt Tavares (12/4/1975)


    Award-winning children's book author and illustrator Matt Tavares was born and raised in the Boston area, and many of his books reflect this aspect of his childhood. His first published book ("Zachary's Ball") was a college thesis project and went on to win the Oppenheim Gold Seal, was named to Yankee Magazine's list of 40 Classic New England Children's Books, and earned him one of his Massachusetts Book Awards honors.

December 7, 2017
  • Birthday of Noam Choamsky (12/7/1928)


    Writer, professor, philosopher and political/social justice activist (Avram) Noam Chomsky has authored more than 100 books. Widely considered the "father of modern linguistics," he is a highly influential academic figure and spent his entire career teaching at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Birthday of Susan Minot (12/7/1956)


    Born and raised in the Boston area, Susan Minot is an award-winning writer of novels, short stories and poetry as well as a screenwriter. Her first novel, "Monkeys," won the O. Henry, Pushcart, and Prix Femina Etranger prizes.

December 8, 2017
  • Birthday of James Tate (12/8/1943 - 07/08/2015)


    Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winning poet James Tate spent most of his career teaching creative writing in Amherst, Massachusetts at the University of Massachusetts. He was also the recipient of the top Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry in 2009 for his collection "The Ghost Soldiers."

December 10, 2017
  • Birthday of Emily Dickinson (12/10/1830 - 5/15/1886)


    A New England poet and icon, Emily Dickinson spent her life in Amherst, Massachusetts. Although a prolific writer, she led a secluded life and most of her poetry was not published until after her death. Dickinson is considered one of the best known and most significant American poets.

December 12, 2017
  • Birthday of William Lloyd Garrison (12/12/1805 - 5/4/1879)


    Journalist and social reformer William Lloyd Garrison was born and lived most of his life in Massachusetts. He is best known for co-founding and serving as editor of "The Liberator," an abolitionist newspaper, and organizing the New England Anti-Slavery Society. He was also a strong proponent of suffrage and edited a Boston newspaper, the "National Philanthropist," the first journal to promote temperance.

December 14, 2017
  • Birthday of Julie Taymor (12/15/1952)


    Best known for her award-winning and immensely popular work directing Broadway theater, opera and film, Massachusetts-born and raised Julie Taymor is also the author of several books.

December 16, 2017
  • Birthday of George Santayana (12/16/1863 - 9/26/1952


    Born in Spain and educated in the Boston area (Boston Latin School and Harvard University), Jorge Agustin Nicolas Ruiz de Santayana y Borras -- known as George Santayana and considered an American man of letters -- was a philosopher and prolific poet, novelist, and essayist. He studied under William James at Harvard and went on to teach philosophy himself at his alma mater; T.S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Robert Frost, W.E.B. du Bois and Walter Lippmann were among his students.

December 17, 2017
  • Birthday of John Greenleaf Whittier (12/17/1807 - 9/7/1892)


    Quaker poet John Greenleaf Whittier was born and raised in Massachusetts and New England, and his upbringing greatly influenced his writing. An outspoken advocate of the abolition of slavery, he wrote for and edited several journals where his voice was heard. He is counted among the Fireside Poets, a group of prominent 19th century New England poets.

December 19, 2017
  • Birthday of Mary Livermore (12/19/1820 - 5/23/1905)


    Mary Livermore was a prominent writer, journalist and advocate of abolition, women's rights and temperance. She was born in Boston and spent most of her life in Massachusetts, devoting her writing and efforts to these causes.