1302 – The real-life Italian couple whom Shakespeare based his real life Romeo and Juliet on died on this day.
1544 – Italian renaissance poet Torquatto Tasso (d 1595), his fame rests on the epic poem Jersualem Delivered.
1702 – The first regular English language newspaper, The Daily Courant is published for the first time.
1703 – The Mourning Bride, a play by William Congreve, was advertised in The London Gazette.
1726 – Mme d’Épinay, (d 1783) Valenciennes; friend of Diderot and Rousseau, guest of Voltaire, she will become famous for her Conversations of Emily and three volumes of Memoirs and Correspondence.
1818 – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is published.
1851 – Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto premiered in Venice.
1860 – Thomas Hastings, New York NY, architect & builder of the New York Public Library. (d 1929)
1914 – Ralph Ellison in Oklahoma City. (d. 1994)
1920 – D.J. Enright, (d. 2002) poet, novelist, and editor of The Oxford Book of Contemporary Verse, in Leamington, Warwickshire, England.
1952 – Douglas Adams, Cambridge, England. (d 2001)
1959 – Loraine Hansbury’s Raisin in the Sun, the first Broadway play by a black woman, opened.
1970 – Erle Stanley Gardner died on this day at 80. The cabin in which he wrote has been set up completely in the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin.