Celebrations Today – April 17
Holidays and observances
- Christian feast day:
- Earliest day on which Store Bededag or General Prayer Day can fall, while May 13 is the latest; observed on the 4th Friday after Easter. (Denmark)
- Evacuation Day (Syria), celebrates the recognition of the independence of Syria from France in 1946.
- FAO Day (Iraq)
- Flag Day (American Samoa)
- Malbec World Day
- Women’s Day (Gabon)
- World Hemophilia Day
Celebrations Today – USA: April 17
National Bat Appreciation Day
National Cheeseball Day
National Ellis Island Family History Day
National Haiku Poetry Day
National Poem in Your Pocket Day – Changes Annually
National Day of the Mushroom
National Foursquare Day
National Librarian Day
National Stress Awareness Day
National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day
National Save The Elephant Day
National Teach Your Daughter to Volunteer Day
Today in US History: April 17
This is the way we were: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying.Thornton Wilder, Our Town, Act 1
Thornton Wilder as Mr. Antrobus in The Skin of Your [Our] Teeth,
Carl Van Vechten, photographer, August 18, 1948.
Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten, 1932-1964
Thornton Niven Wilder was born April 17, 1897, in Madison, Wisconsin. Arguably one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century, Wilder is the only writer to win Pulitzer Prizes for both literature and drama.
Son of a U.S. diplomat, Wilder spent part of his childhood in China. After serving in the Coast Guard during World War I, he earned his B.A. at Yale University in 1920. Six years later, his first novel, The Cabala was published. In 1927, The Bridge of San Luis Rey brought commercial success and his first Pulitzer Prize. From 1930 to 1937 he taught at the University of Chicago.
Wilder’s dramatic works include the Pulitzer Prize winning plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth. Set in fictional Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire, Our Town (1938) employs a choric narrator called the “Stage Manager,” and a minimalist set to underscore the universality of human experience. The Skin of Our Teeth debuted in 1942 with Frederic March and Talullah Bankhead in the lead roles. The themes are familiar—war, pestilence, economic depression, and fire. Ignoring the limits of time and space, just four main characters and three acts are used to review the history of mankind.
Wilder authored seven novels, three major full-length plays, as well as a variety of shorter works including essays, one-act plays, and scholarly articles. Greatly transformed, his play The Matchmaker became the Broadway and film hit Hello, Dolly!. His last novel, Theophilus North, was published in 1973. Wilder died in his sleep on December 7, 1975.
Church at Lancaster, New Hampshire,
Arthur Rothstein, photographer, February 1936.
America from the Great Depression to World War II: Photographs from the FSA and OWI, ca. 1935-1945
- Wilder is just one of forty-one authors and playwrights photographed by Carl Van Vechten and available in Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten, 1932-1964. Also available is a biography of Van Vechten.
- Search the Today in History Archive on writer to find additional features on American authors including pages on Wilder’s contemporary F. Scott Fitzgerald and his good friend Gertrude Stein.
- See what Wilder’s contemporaries such as Orson Welles were doing in the theater. Visit the collection The New Deal Stage: Selections from the Federal Theatre Project. Read four illustrated articles on the project to learn more about innovative theater of the 1930s.
- To develop a bibliography of works by and about Thornton Wilder, use the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Choose Basic Search then enter the term Wilder, Thornton. Do an Author/Creator Browse to find a list of works by Wilder, or a Subject Browse to find a list of works about him.
- Visit the Pulitzer Prize Web site for a list of the most recent prizewinners as well as winners from years past.
Today in History – April 17-External Links
Today’s Weather in History
Today in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
Today’s Document from the National Archives
Today’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
Today in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – Today’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
Today in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia