Last week’s literary history brings us four literary birthdays and three literary deaths. Read more below about last week’s literary history.

August 16 — Novelist Margaret Mitchell Dies

Author Margaret Mitchell.
Margaret Mitchell
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our first literary death this week is that of novelist Margaret Mitchell, who died on this day in 1949. Mitchell was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1900, and was the author of only one novel in her lifetime. Her novel, Gone with the Wind, was published in 1936. It won the National Book Award for Most Distinguished Novel of 1936 and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937.

August 17 — Poet Ted Hughes is Born

Ted Hughes
Ted Hughes
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our first literary birth this week is that of poet Ted Hughes, born on this day in 1930. Hughes was born in Yorkshire, England, and was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1984 until he died in 1998. He was married to writer Sylvia Plath prior to her 1963 death. Some of his more famous poems include, “The Thought Fox,” “Snowdrop,” and “View of a Pig.”

August 18 — Author and Psychologist B. F. Skinner Dies

B. F. Skinner
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Our second literary death is that of the author and psychologist B. F. Skinner, who died on this day in 1990. Skinner was born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, in 1904 and was a professor at Harvard University from 1958 until 1974. Skinner strongly advocated for the principle of reinforcement, stating that if the consequences to an action are bad, there is a high chance that action will not be repeated, with the opposite being true for good consequences.

August 19 — Poet Ogden Nash is Born

Ogden Nash
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Our second literary birth is that of poet Ogden Nash, who was born on this day in 1902. Born in Rye, New York, Nash is best known for his light verse, which he used in more than 500 pieces of work throughout is lifetime. His use of unconventional rhyming schemes led him to be considered the best-known humorous poet in America.

August 20 — Writer H. P. Lovecraft is Born

Writer H. P. Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft
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Our third literary birth is that of writer H. P. Lovecraft, who was born on this day in 1890. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Lovecraft is best known for writing weird fiction and horror fiction. He is best known for his works that led to the creation of the Cthulhu Mythos, a shared fictional universe centering on the creature from Lovecraft’s short story, “The Call of Cthulhu.”

August 21 — Children’s Author Mary Mapes Dodge Dies

Mary Mapes Dodge
Mary Mapes Dodge
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Our third literary death is that of children’s author Mary Mapes Dodge, who died on this day in 1905. Dodge was born in 1831 in New York City and is best known for her novel, Hans Brinker. She worked with the St. Nicholas Magazine, a popular publication for children in the nineteenth century. She persuaded many famous authors to write for the magazine, including Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

August 22 — Author Ray Bradbury is Born

Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our final literary birth is that of author Ray Bradbury, who was born on this day in 1920. Born in Waukegan, Illinois, Bradbury is one of the most celebrated American writers of the 20th century. Bradbury’s most famous work is his novel, Fahrenheit 451, still widely read as part of the school curriculum today. Other notable works include The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, and I Sing the Body Electric!


Which day of Last Week in Literature did you find most interesting?