NATIONAL AUTHOR’S DAY
On November 1, millions of people celebrate authors and the books they write on National Author’s Day.
Books have a mind of their own. They take time to develop, research, draft, edit, revise and rewrite. We devour stories. We indulge in them as we drift off to sleep or travel. And sometimes, we allow them to collect dust on several flat surfaces in our homes. Those stories may take years to reach a publisher and just as long to reach a bookshelf. We may have only one favorite author or many collected works with which we cannot part. Whether we prefer fiction, non-fiction, or a mix of both, authors have been telling stories to fill our heads for thousands of years.
Authors also keep a record of history through their stories. They mark time through their observations. Their tales create remarkable memories of a place, sealing it between the pages of the binding. Their books allow us to keep coming back to visit again and again.
After her grandmother’s death in 1968, Sue Cole promoted the observance of National Authors Day. She urged people to write a note to their favorite author on November 1, to “brighten up the sometimes lonely business of being a writer.” She also suggested flying the American flag as another way of showing appreciation for the writers who have created American literature.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalAuthorsDay
Purchase some books by your favorite author to support them. Share your favorite novels online while encouraging an aspiring author. Use #NationalAuthorsDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL AUTHOR’S DAY HISTORY
In 1928, Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Bement, Illinois Women’s Club, had an idea of setting aside a day to celebrate American authors. McPherson was a teacher, and throughout her life, an avid reader. While she was recuperating in the hospital during World War I, she wrote a fan letter to fiction writer, Irving Bacheller. She told him how much she enjoyed reading his story Eben Holden’s Last Day A’ Fishin.
Upon receiving her letter, Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of another story. It was then that McPherson realized she would never be able to thank him adequately for his gift. McPherson decided to show her appreciation by submitting an idea for a National Author’s Day to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. In May of 1929, the club endorsed a resolution for National Author’s Day to be observed honoring American writers. The United States Department of Commerce recognized this day in 1949.
Q. Do I have to be published to be considered an author?
A. No. If you created an original article, poem, story, or other written work, you are an author.
Q. How do I show appreciation to my favorite author?
A. First, read the author’s books. But you’re already doing that. You should also share the books with others. Other ways to support an author is by:
- Writing a review on their author page where the book is sold.
- Reading the author’s older works.
- Following them on their social media.
Q. How are books organized in a library?
A. Most libraries use either the Library of Congress Classification System or the Dewey Decimal System. Books are first classified by topic and subtopic or genre. Librarians then shelve the books in alphabetical order by title or author’s last name.
Q. What’s the difference between an inscribed copy of a book and a signed copy?
A. An inscribed copy includes a short message to someone along with the author’s signature. A book with an author’s signature is simply signed. However, there are different ways a book may be signed and different types of inscriptions, too.
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November 1st Celebrated (And Not So Celebrated) History
The Sistine Chapel in Rome exhibits the ceiling to the public for the first time. The Italian Renaissance artist, Michelangelo Buonarroti, took four years to complete the masterpiece.
The first known performance of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Othello, is at Whitehall Palace in London.
President John Adams moves into the now completed Executive Mansion. He is the first president to reside in the Nation’s house that would later be named the White House.
Boston Female Medical College opens. It is the first medical school for women. In 1873, the school would merge with Boston University.
The first building of the Library of Congress opens to the public. As imagined by Librarian of Congress Ainsworth Spofford, an elaborate dome tops the grand, circular reading room. Today, the library catalogs more than 170 million items.
The Mackinac Bridge opens to traffic. Connecting Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsulas, the five-mile bridge is the longest suspension bridge at the time.
November 1st Celebrated (And Not So Celebrated) Birthdays
Khedrup Gyatso – 1838
The 11th Dalai Lama of Tibet was recognized in 1840. In 1855, at the age of 17, he assumed his role as the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He died unexpectedly 10 months later.
Stephen Crane – 1871
While the author’s best-known work is the Civil War classic The Red Badge of Courage, he was also a poet.
Sippie Wallace – 1898
The blues and jazz singer-songwriter became known as “The Texas Nightingale.” Throughout her career, she performed with Louis Armstrong, Perry Bradford, and even a young Bonnie Raitt. She recorded over 40 songs including “I Feel Good,” “Second Hand Blues,” and “You Got to Know How.”
Margaret Taylor-Burroughs – 1915
The artist left several legacies in her wake, beyond her art itself. Active in her community, she co-founded the DuSable Museum of African American History, helped establish the South Side Community Art Center in Chicago, and developed the Chicago’s Lake Meadows Art Fair.
Lyle Lovett – 1957
In the 1980s, the American singer-songwriter rose to prominence on the country music charts. He is also an actor and record producer.