Gotham Book Mart Day

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1600 –
Thomas Dekker’s realistic Elizabethan comedy The Shoemaker’s Holiday was first presented.

1603 –
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was presented at the royal palace of Hampton Court.

1660 –
Samuel Pepys wrote the first page of what will become the most famous diary in the world. He kept it in code so his wife could not read it.

1785 –
London’s oldest daily paper The Daily Universal Register (later renamed The Times in 1788) was first published.

1811 –
James Fenimore Cooper, 21, marries Susan DeLancey in Mamaroneck, New York, where Cooper is attempting to farm.

1818 – Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus is published.

1831 –
William Lloyd Garrison published the first issue of The Liberator The Abolitionist newspaper.

1833 –
The first issue of Knickerbocker Magazine is published, in New York City

1834 –
Frederick Douglass “On the first of January, 1834, I left Mr. Covey, & went to live with Mr. William Freeland, who lived about three miles from St. Michael’s. I soon found Mr. Freeland a very different man from Mr. Covey. Though not rich, he was what would be called an educated southern gentleman. Mr. Covey, as I have shown, was a well-trained negro-breaker & slave-driver.” from The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave.

1849 –
The New York Public Library is incorporated, with Washington Irving, William B. Astor, Jr., Doctor J. G. Cogswell and others as trustees. It contains over 20,000 volumes.

1854 –
Sir James Frazer is born in Britain, early anthropologist and author of The Golden Bough

1879 –
E.M. Forster is born in London. (d. 1970)

1889 –
Nietzsche has a nervous breakdown seeing a horse whipped by cab driver.

1895 –
Benjamin Otalora, the main character in Jorge Luis Borges’ story El Muerto (The Dead Man), is killed.

1900 –
1st date in John dos Passos’ USA trilogy (The 42nd Parallel)

1909 –
Marcel Proust ate a piece of tea-soaked toast that brought back a rush of childhood memories. In his novel A la Recherche du temps perdu, his character Swann will have a similar experience when he tastes a madelaine.

1919 –
J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, was born in New York City.

1920 – Frances Steloff opens the Gotham Book Mart.“Among those who came to chat to browse & to see if their books & plays were on the shelves were Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos, H. L. Menken & Euegene O’Neill. Customers included George & Ira Gershwin, Ina Claire & Charlie Chaplin, Alexander Calder, Stephen Spender, Woody Allen, Saul Bellow, John Guare & Garson Kanin.” She championed the experimental & challenged the censors. She was also one of the founding members of the James Joyce Society, whose meetings continue at the Gotham.

1921 – Novelist is born

1928 – George Orwell leaves the Indian Imperial Police.

1928 – Ernest Tidyman, American writer (d. 1984) is born

1933 – Joe Orton, English writer is born (d. 1967).

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