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).