The Writer's Almanac
Summary: The Writer's Almanac is a daily podcast of poetry and historical interest pieces, usually of literary significance, hosted by Garrison Keillor.
Today is Labor Day, a national holiday created by President Grover Cleveland in 1894 to appease an angry workforce after he'd sent 12,000 federal troops to break up the Pullman Strike.
It was on this day in 1901 that Theodore Roosevelt uttered his famous words "Speak softly and carry a big stick"––at where else but the Minnesota State Fair.
On this day in 1773, Phillis Wheatley published Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral, the first book ever published by a former American slave.
It was on this day in 1422 that Henry VI became King of England at the age of nine months. In 1423, the year after he ascended to the throne, English nobles from around the land swore loyalty to their toddler king. They also set up a regency council to make government decisions until he was old enough to do so.
It's the birthday of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, born Mary Godwin in London, England (1797). Her work Frankenstein (1818) is considered the first science fiction novel ever written.
"Love is the master-key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear. How terrible is the one fact of beauty!" –Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., born this day in Cambridge, MA (1809)
It was on this day in 1971 that Alice Waters opened her Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse. It had a set menu: pâtés en croûte, salad, duck with olives — and for dessert, an almond tart. It all cost $3.95.
It's the birthday of philosopher Georg Hegel (1770), who wrote, "Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights."
Today is the birthday of French-Italian-Polish poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880), who is credited with coining the word “Surrealism.” He had a strong interest in modern painting, and was a friend of many artists, especially Picasso.
It's the birthday of conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, born in Lawrence, Massachusetts (1918). When he was 10, his Aunt Clara was going through a divorce, and she sent her piano to the Bernstein home, and Leonard became a pianist.
It was on this day in the year 410 that Rome was sacked by the Visigoths. It was the first time in 800 years that Rome was successfully invaded.
On this date in 1966, Lunar Orbiter 1 took the first photograph of the Earth from space. It's since been restored and digitized, and the level of detail has allowed scientists to study the weather patterns of that day.
It's the birthday of Annie Proulx, author of Brokeback Mountain, who said, "I believe if you get the landscape right, the characters will step out of it, and they'll be in the right place. The story will come from the landscape."
It's the birthday of jazz pianist and bandleader William "Count" Basie, born in Red Bank, New Jersey, in 1904. He got his nickname from a disk jockey, who was of the opinion that Basie was every bit as good as Duke Ellington and deserved a similarly aristocratic title.
It was on this day in 1940 that an assassin mortally wounded Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky using an ice pick while Trotsky was staying in Mexico City.