Archive for the ‘Language Arts’ Category

On July 29, 1869, Booth Tarkington was born in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Today, Tarkington is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. Though most of his works have fallen out of favor with contemporary readers, he was one of the most popular American novelists of his time.  His novels were humorous, satirical depictions of the American class system, usually set in or around his hometown, where he maintained a residence until his death in 1946.

Booth Tarkington. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

You can find more primary sources relating to Pulitzer Prize winners and other American novelists at Opening History.


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The first National Poetry Month in the United States was observed in 1996 to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in America, and has been celebrated annually since 1999.  On April 1, 1996, in observance of the first National Poetry Month, President Bill Clinton proclaimed:

National Poetry Month offers us a welcome opportunity to celebrate not only the unsurpassed body of literature produced by our poets in the past, but also the vitality and diversity of voices reflected in the works of today’s American poetry [….] Their creativity and wealth of language enrich our culture and inspire a new generation of Americans to learn the power of reading and writing at its best.

An excerpt of Walt Whitman's manuscript for "American According to Old Bards." Image courtesy of the Walt Whitman Archive.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with Opening History by exploring poetry collections such as The Walt Whitman Archive, A Celebration of Women Writers, and A Poet’s Voice: A Digital Poetry Collection.

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Walt Whitman, glass negative, between 1860 and 1865

Walt Whitman, glass negative, between 1860 and 1865

Walt Whitman was born 190 years ago, on May 31st, 1819. The portrait above courtesy of Library of Congress, Brady-Handy Photograph Collection.

The Opening History aggregation includes two digital collections about the famous poet: Walt Whitman Archive and Integrated Finding Aid to Walt Whitman Manuscripts.

There are also some interesting items about Walt Whitman in a number of other digital collections in Opening History. For example, listen to audioaudio recording of Allen Ginsberg teaching a class on Walt Whitman and negative capability at Naropa Institute in 1987 (1 hr. 20 min.), courtesy of Naropa Poetics Audio Archives collection, part of a larger Heritage West digital collection.

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