Thursday, May 16, 2013
May 16 - Biographer's Day
Biographer's Day occurs on May 16th every year, on the anniversary of the first meeting between Samuel Johnson, author of the 'Dictionary of the English Language', and his biographer James Boswell. They met in Davies's London bookshop in 1763, and established a relationship which allowed Boswell to produce what is still recognized as the greatest biography ever written: 'The Life of Samuel Johnson', published in 1791.
As we all know, a biography is an account of a person's life, compiled by another. So, what made Samuel Johnson so famous? His 'Dictionary of the English Language', published on April 15, 1755, was the first most important collection to that date. All other dictionaries since have been based on it, not to be superseded until the publication of the Oxford English Dictionary in 1928.
Biographer's have a keen way of getting to the heart of their subjects, and allowing others to know them as they might otherwise be unable to. So, today we celebrate them!
Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:
- Denmark abolished slave trade in 1792.
- James Douglas was appointed Governor and Vice-Admiral of the colony of Vancouver Island in 1851.
- Charles Hays, President of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway who went down in the Titanic, was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1856.
- Charles Elmer Hires invented root beer in 1866.
- Sherlock Holmes began his "Adventure of Priory School" in 1901.
- Joan of Arc (Jean D'arc) was canonized a saint in 1920.
- Claude Morin, professor, politician, considered one of the prime thinkers behind the Quiet Revolution, was born in Montmorency, Québec in 1929.
- Also in 1929, in Hollywood, California, the first Academy Awards were handed out.
- Prospector Gilbert LaBine discovered pitchblende, the chief source of uranium and radium, at Great Bear Lake, NWT in 1930.
- Michael Jordan was named NBA Rookie of Year in 1985.
- Surgeon General C. Everett Koop reported in 1988 that nicotine was as addictive as heroin.
- Kuwait permitted women's suffrage in a 35-23 National Assembly vote in 2005.
- The space shuttle Endeavour launched for its final commission in space in 2011.
Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!