June 12: In 1827, Johanna Spyri, creator of Heidi is born in Hirzel, Canton Zurich. For those who only knew the Hollywood version of Heidi in the form of Shirley Temple, may imagine it was all buttercups and meadows. The books are much darker as was Spyri’s life.

June 13: John of Gaunt on this day in 1374 awards Geoffrey Chaucer an annual pension of ten pounds or the equivalent of $2,400 back then.

June 14: The little lady who started the war, according to Abraham Lincoln is born on this day in 1811. Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of the Rev. Lyman Beecher, was born in Litchfield, Conn.

June 15: Dante Alighieri becomes one of the six appointed priors of Florence on this day in 1300, the position is similar to a chief magistrate. But two months later, he is removed and later exiled.

June 16: On this day in 1904, James Joyce meets Nora Barnacle, a chambermaid at Finn’s Hotel in Dublin. They go for a walk and this becomes the day of Leopold Bloom’s odyssey through Dublin.

June 17: Maxwell Perkins, the influential editor who worked with Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe and F. Scott Fitzgerald, dies on this day in 1947 in Stamford, Connecticut at age 62. The last author Perkins discovered before he died was James Jones whose From Here to Eternity was published in 1951. Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea, published in 1952, was dedicated to Perkins.

June 18: Polish deckhand Joseph Conrad, age 20, steps onto English soil for the first time on this day in 1878 when the freighter Mavis lands at Lowestoft.

June 19: Percy Bysshe Shelley becomes hysterical and runs shrieking from the room on this day in 1816 after staying up all night with Lord Byron and his wife Mary Shelley telling ghost stories.


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