1763 – English radical reformer William Cobbett, who wrote under the name Peter Porcupine. He lived and wrote for a time in Philadelphia, writing pro-conservative pamphlets against the French revolution, but when he returned to England he moved to the left and was imprisoned for a while for sedition.
1809 – Lord Byron’s English Bard and Scotch Reviewers is published.
1892 – Vita Sackville-West, English writer and gardener (d. 1962)
1895 – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Austrian writer who lent his name to “masochism,” died at 59.
1896 – Robert McAlmon, Ernest Hemingway’s literary associate in Paris in Clifton, Kansas.
1913 – The manuscript of Virginia Woolf’s first novel, The Voyage Out, is delivered to Gerald Duckworth.
1918 – Mickey Spillaine, Brooklyn, NY (d. 2006)
1922 – Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape premiered in NYC.
1963 – In The New Yorker review of Oscar Wilde’s letters, W. H. Auden writes: “From the beginning Wilde performed his life and continued to do so even after fate had taken the plot out of his hands.”
1964 – the U.S. Supreme Court issued the New York Times v. Sullivan decision, which said that public officials must prove malice to claim libel and recover damages.