I have always loved “Today in History” features, so I was extremely excited when I accidentally discovered that there are a lot of historical figures and famous people with November 30th birthdays! Let’s celebrate their legacies by checking out (pun intended) their biographies and accomplishments!
Begin by journeying back to the year 538 of the Common Era for the birth of St. Gregory of Tours. Author of the Historia Francorum, this writer and bishop has had many works published about his life. To start, try the Encyclopedia of Saints by Rosemary Ellen Guiley; for something more in-depth check out the World of Gregory of Tours by Kathleen Mitchell and Ian Wood. Need more? Visit the library’s History Resource Guide.
Fast forward to the year 1340 and the birth of John, Duc de Berry, the art patron who commissioned the Limbourg Brothers to create what is known as the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, now held at Musée Condé in Chantilly, France. Speaking of art, let’s skip right to 1508 to witness the birth of Andrea Palladio, the famous architect. Read all about his Italian villas in Palladio: the Villas by Luca Trevisan. Want a larger dose of art historical significance? Why not take a peek at the library’s Art History Resource Guide?
Moving right along to 1667 and it’s the year of Jonathan Swift‘s birth, the famed author of Gulliver’s Travels. Travel to the nineteenth century and in 1817 you’ve got the birth of Theodor Mommsen, the classical historian and author of the multi-volume History of Rome. On to 1835 and the beginning of Mark Twain‘s life, the author of such well-known classics as the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Be sure to check out Mark Twain: the Complete Interviews, edited by Gary Scharnhorst. Interested in literature? Why not consult the library’s English and American Literature Resource Guide? What about Classics? Try the Classics Resource Guide!
Let’s not skip over 1874 and the birth of Winston Churchill, the acclaimed British Prime Minister. You can learn more from British Periodicals or Churchill’s Memoirs of the Second World War. And there’s always the Political Science Resource Guide.
The final leg of our journey takes us to the mid-twentieth century! Our first stop is 1947 for the birth of David Mamet the playwright. Want to hit the books? Check out David Mamet: A Life in the Theatre. What about 1955 and the birth of the rocker Billy Idol? If you search for Billy Idol on JSTOR, you’ll uncover this wonderful and dated gem. One last stop and that’s with the birth of Ben Stiller in 1965. Need a break from all this studying? Go down to the Audiovisual Center on A-level, and check out Zero Effect or the Royal Tenenbaums.
Guess what! The list of names I’ve given? Only a small subset! Imagine how many great scholars or heroes might have shared your birthday?