1852 – Playwright Lady Augusta Gregory is born in County Galway, Ireland. In 1894, she met the poet W. B. Yeats for the first time; he was interested in Irish folklore, but he could not speak Irish, and her translations impressed him. Together they set about to start a theatre where contemporary Irish drama could be staged. The trouble was that there weren’t many contemporary Irish plays. Lady Gregory, who was now fifty, co-wrote plays with Yeats and wrote many more of her own. The Irish Literary Theatre was renamed the Abbey Theatre in 1904, and she remained one of its directors until she died.
1887 – Sylvia (Woodbridge) Beach is born in Baltimore, Maryland. The daughter of a Presbyterian minister, at 14 she caught a lifelong love of France when her father was sent to Paris to preach to American students. In her thirties she founded the Left Bank bookshop Shakespeare & Company (1919), at number 12, rue de l’Odeon — a store that sold English – language books. As well as selling books, Beach promoted literature, publishing the first edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922). The store was a mecca to the lost generation writers and other American expatriates until it was shut down by the Nazis in 1941.
1939 – John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath is published