1601 – Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex and favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, bribed Shakespeare’s acting company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, to present the play Richard III, a politically charged play about the deposition of a bad monarch. Like Victoria, Elizabeth was not amused. Seeing rebellious treason in everything Essex did, she signed his death warrant, and he was dead before the end of the month. oops.
1755 – Samuel Johnson wrote the Earl of Chesterfield to complain that the recommendation that the peer had written about Johnson’s Dictionary came too late for Johnson to appreciate it, since seven years earlier the Earl had failed to give the struggling lexicographer much-needed patronage.
1812 – Charles Dickens is born in Portsmouth, England. (d.1870)
1837 – Sir James Augustus Henry Murray, the father of the Oxford English Dictionary (1915)
1867- Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Pepin, Wisconsin. (d 1957)
1885 – Sinclair Lewis was born he won the Nobel Prize in 1930. When the Swedish officials called him to tell him, he made fun of them in a bad Swedish accent because he thought it was a joke.(d. 1951)
1898 – Emile Zola is brought to trial for libel for publishing J’Accuse.
1911 – Elizabeth Bishop, poet, Pulitzer Prize winner (d 1979)