Check out some important literary events that have anniversaries this month.
J.D. (Jerome David) Salinger is born in New York. Salinger's novel The Catcher in the Rye catapulted him to fame shortly after its 1951 publication.
Entering New York, Oscar Wilde is asked by customs officials if he has anything to declare; he answers: "Nothing but my genius."
Louis Braille, who developed a system of writing that could be felt and interpreted by the blind, is born in France. Search the Internet to learn more about this extraordinary man whose invention enabled the blind to read and write.
Carl Sandburg, winner of Pulitzer Prizes for History (1940) and Poetry (1951), is born in Galesburg, Illinois.
Elizabeth Barrett receives her first love letter from Robert Browning.
Jack London is born in San Francisco, CA. London overcame a childhood of poverty to become one of the highest paid and most popular short story writers of his day.
The inaugural issue of Vogue featured two stories by Kate Chopin.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky publishes his first novel at age 25.
Sir Francis Bacon is born in England.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, known to many as Lewis Carroll, is born. Search the Internet to learn more about the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Langston Hughes is born in Joplin, Missouri. Langston Hughes was one of many talented African American artists to emerge from the Harlem Renaissance.
On James Joyce's 40th birthday, Ulysses is published.
Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Our Town opens.
Charles Dickens was born on this day in Portsmouth, England. Though it took him less than three weeks to write, A Christmas Carol remains one of the most beloved stories of all time.
Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1930), is born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Alice Walker, winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Color Purple, is born.
After 28 years in exile, Voltaire returns to Paris to attend a production of his play, Irene.
Chaim Potok is born in New York, New York.
French poet and novelist, Victor Hugo, is born.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is born in Portland, Maine.
Invisible Man author Ralph Ellison is born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Beloved children's author and illustrator Theodor [Dr.] Seuss Geisel is born in Springfield, Massachusetts.
King Richard III, the first Shakespearean play to be performed in the United States, debuts at the Nassau Street Theatre in New York City. Today, Shakespeare's plays are famous worldwide. You've probably quoted Shakespeare without even realizing it!
Winner of the 1982 Nobel Prize for Literature, Gabriel García Marquez is born in Aracataca, Columbia.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is published. It begins as a simple ghost story to entertain house guests, who encourage her to develop the story into the classic tale of horror we know today.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is published and is an instant sensation. Visit Hawthorne's home in Concord, MA, The Wayside, which was home to three generations of American writers.
John Updike, winner of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is born in Shillington, Pennsylvania.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Phyllis McGinley is born in Ontario, Oregon.
Robert Frost, winner of four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry (1924, 1931, 1937, 1943) is born in San Francisco, California.
The first installment of Dickens's The Pickwick Papers is published.
Washington Irving, author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," is born in New York City.
Poet and autobiographical writer, Maya Angelou, is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
Gabriela Mistral is born. She became the first Latin American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Joseph Pulitzer, publisher and namesake of the Pulitzer Prize, is born in Hungary.
Mexican-American author and poet Gary Soto is born in California.
Noah Webster's dictionary, 22 years in the making, is published.
Charlotte Brontë, author of Wuthering Heights, is born in Yorkshire, England.
After several rejections, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe is published.
Harper Lee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), is born in Monroeville, Alabama.
Future pediatrician and author, Benjamin Spock, is born in New Haven, Connecticut. His book The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care completely reshapes the way Americans care for their children.
Margaret Mitchell wins the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for Gone With the Wind.
Virginia Woolf publishes To the Lighthouse.
Poet Robert Browning is born in London, England.
After the failure of her coffee plantation, Isak Dinesen leaves Africa. Five years later, Out of Africa makes her internationally famous.
Playwright Lorraine Hansberry is born in Chicago, Illinois. Her play, A Raisin in the Sun, opened in 1959 and was the first play by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway.
Poet Alexander Pope is born in London, England.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is born in Concord, Massachusetts.
Emily Brontë leaves Cowan Bridge School. Officials enter in the record book: "Subsequent career-governess."
Thomas Hardy is born in a thatched cottage in the hamlet of Higher Bockhampton, near Dorchester, the center of a region he will call Wessex in his novels.
Poet Allen Ginsberg (Howl) is born in Newark, New Jersey.
Carson McCullers, 23, publishes The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter to great critical approval.
Novelist and short story writer Elizabeth Bowen is born in Dublin. Her works will include The Hotel, The Death of the Heart, and Bowen's Court, a family history.
Pulitzer-Prize winner Gwendolyn Brooks is born in Topeka, Kansas.
Geoffrey Chaucer is appointed Comptroller of the Customs and Subsidy of Wools at 10 pounds a year.
Charles Dickens, 58, dies at his home in Gadshill, and is buried in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey.
Ben Jonson, playwright and poet, is born in Westminster.
Anne Frank is born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany. On her thirteenth birthday, she will receive a diary.
Samuel Johnson signs a contract for his projected 40,000-word "Johnson Dictionary." The author of the first dictionary charges London booksellers 1,575 pounds.
The Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Declaration states that the thirteen American colonies are henceforth to be considered independent states and no longer ruled by Britain.
Elwyn Brooks White, author of Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, is born in Mount Vernon, New York.
Jane Austen dies in Winchester, Hampshire, England.
Writer, illustrator, and conservationist Beatrix Potter is born. Her tales of Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny, and Squirrel Nutkin are staples of children's literature.
British author of the best-selling book series in history J.K. Rowling is born. Rowling first came up with the idea for her series while on a long train journey in England.
Author of over fifty works of literature for children and young adults, Walter Dean Myers is born.
George Orwell's Animal Farm is published.
American fantasy and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury is born in Waukegan, Illinois. Bradbury was the recipient of numerous honors during his lifetime including an Emmy Award in 1994 for a screenplay and the National Medal of Arts in 2004.
Rita Dove is born in Akron, Ohio. Dove is the youngest person and first African American to serve as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1993-1995.
Sarah Orne Jewett is born in South Berwick, Maine. Her stories reflect New England life during the nineteenth century.
While sailing on the Congo River, Joseph Conrad is made master of the Roi des Belges after the captain dies of tropical fever. He will later draw on this experience for Heart of Darkness and "An Outpost of Progress."
Richard Wright, novelist and short story writer, is born in Natchez, Mississippi. Wright was one of the first African American writers to protest racial injustice, as is evident in his novel Native Son (1940).
American poet and journalist Joaquin Miller is born in Liberty, Indiana. His works convey the excitement of the Old West.
Novelist and philosopher Count Leo Tolstoy is born in the Russian province of Tula.
Poets Elizabeth Barrett, 40, and Robert Browning, 34, are secretly married at London's St. Marylebone Church.
William Carlos Williams, winner of the 1963 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, is born in Rutherford, New Jersey.
Samuel Johnson, author of one of the first English language dictionaries, is born in Lichfield, Staffordshire (England). Search the Internet to find out more about his dictionary, Dictionary of the English Language (1755).
Writer Aldous Huxley, 23, is hired as a schoolmaster at Eton, where he counts among his unruly pupils Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell).
H. G. (Herbert George) Wells, author of The War of the Worlds, is born in Bromley, Kent (England).
Poet Ben Jonson is indicted for manslaughter after killing another actor in a duel.
Count Leo Tolstoy, 34, marries Sophie Andreyevna Behrs, 18. In the next 17 years, they will have 13 children.
William Faulkner, winner of the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature and of the 1955 and 1963 Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction, is born in New Albany, Mississippi.
T. S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot, winner of the 1948 Nobel Prize for Literature, is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
Poet and anthologist Louis Untermeyer is born in New York. He boasts on his 90th birthday, "I'm writing my third autobiography … the other two were premature."
Wallace Stevens, poet, is born in Reading, Pennsylvania.
Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage is published in book form.
Veterinarian and author James Herriot (All Things Bright and Beautiful) is born in Sunderland, Scotland.
Jack London buys nine plot outlines from Sinclair Lewis, aged 25, for $52.50.
Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, written under the pseudonym Currer Bell, is published in London. The novel is an immediate success.
Thor Heyerdahl, author of Kon-Tiki, is born in Larvik, Norway.
A pirated installment of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe appears in The Original London Post, making this book the first novel to be serialized.
African American novelist, journalist, and biographer Ann Petry is born in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Author of Harriet Tubman, Conductor of the Underground Railroad (1955), she becomes the first African American writer to sell over a million copies.
Sir Philip Sidney, the author of Arcadia and The Defence of Poesie, dies at 32 of an infected thigh wound suffered after giving his leg armor to a soldier who had forgotten his own.
British novelist Doris Lessing is born in Persia.
At 17, Hans Christian Andersen belatedly enrolls in grammar school. He towers over his 11-year-old classmates.
Mass hysteria seizes thousands of radio listeners during a radio dramatization of H. G. Wells's fantasy The War of the Worlds. Thousands believe that Martians have landed in New Jersey.
Stephen Crane is born in Newark, New Jersey.
T. S. Eliot receives the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Sinclair Lewis receives the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Harper's Weekly publishes the first political cartoon.
Kurt Vonnegut is born in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Herman Melville's Moby-Dick is published. Did you know that Moby-Dick started out as a light-hearted whaling adventure? Did you know that Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne were friends?
Marianne Moore, winner of the 1952 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
By the Skin of Our Teeth, Thornton Wilder's Pulitzer Prize winning comedy, opens on Broadway.
Julia Ward Howe writes five stanzas of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."
Abraham Lincoln delivers "The Gettysburg Address." "The Gettysburg Address" is one of the most famous speeches in history.
Old Farmer's Almanac (later The Farmer's Almanac) is first published.
Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He does not travel to Stockholm to receive his prize, as he fears that the Soviet government will refuse to readmit him when he returns home.
Jonathan Swift is born in Dublin, Ireland.
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) is born in Hannibal, Missouri. In addition to his many novels and stories, Mark Twain is also famous for his wit and witticisms.
Tennessee Williams's play A Streetcar Named Desire opens on Broadway. Theaters around the country still perform Williams's play.
James Thurber is born in Columbus, Ohio.
Emily Dickinson is born in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Joseph Pulitzer begins publishing the St. Louis Dispatch.
The New York Times publishes the largest newspaper ever—a 946-page Sunday edition.
Saki (Hector Hugh Munro) is born in Akyab, Burma.
Benjamin Franklin publishes Poor Richard's Almanac, a best-seller in Colonial America. The son of a candlemaker, Franklin is considered one of the greatest American inventors and thinkers of all time.
The Newport, Rhode Island, Mercury publishes a poem by 13-year-old poet Phillis Wheatley, the first African American woman to be published.
Edwin Arlington Robinson is born in Head Tide, Maine.
Poet Juan Ramón Jiménez, the winner of the 1956 Nobel Prize for Literature, is born in Andalusia, Spain.
Charles Dickens's classic A Christmas Carol is read by Lionel Barrymore on CBS Radio. The reading becomes an annual event for years to come.
Percy Bysshe Shelley marries Mary Wollstonecraft. Did you know that Mary Shelley got the idea to write Frankenstein after she was challenged by George Gordon, Lord Byron to write a ghost story?