1749 – American Printer Isaiah Thomas is born Boston, MA (d 1931)
1775 – Walter Savage Landor was born (d.1864). His life was one filled with ill-tempered quarrels with those around him. He left England after losing a libel suit and lived in Florence, where the Brownings cared for him.
1815 – The burned Library of Congress was reestablished with 6,500 volumes from Thomas Jefferson’s library. By 1814 Jefferson had acquired the largest personal collection of books in the United States. Jefferson offered to sell his library to Congress as a replacement for the collection destroyed by the British during the War of 1812. Congress purchased Jefferson’s library for $23,950. A second fire on Christmas Eve of 1851, destroyed nearly two thirds of the 6,487 volumes Congress had purchased from Jefferson. [LOC recreated Jefferson’s library for an exhibition.]
1818 – John Keats composes his sonnet “When I Have Fears.”
1912 – Barbara Tuchman, historian (d. 1989)
1928 – Eugene O’Neill’s play Strange Interlude premiered in New York.
1935 – Ezra Pound met the Italian dictator Mussolini and read from a draft of his Cantos which he gives to him as a present. Mussolini had literary pretenses, having written a bad novel himself. When Hemingway interviewed him, however, he saw Il Duce pretending to be reading a book he was holding upside down.
1956 – a Newsweek reporter asked Robert Frost why he did not write free verse. Frost said that would be like “playing tennis with the net down. “