SQUIRREL APPRECIATION DAY – NATIONAL HUGGING DAY – NATIONAL GRANOLA BAR DAY
How to celebrate: Give a squirrel a granola bar to hug~
On this day:
1789 – The first American novel, The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, is printed in Boston.
The Power of Sympathy: or, The Triumph of Nature (1789) is an 18th-century American sentimental novel written in epistolary form by William Hill Brown, widely considered to be the first American novel. The novel was published by Isaiah Thomas in Boston on January 21, 1789, and sold at the price of nine shillings. The Power of Sympathy was Brown’s first novel. The characters’ struggles illustrate the dangers of seduction and the pitfalls of giving in to one’s passions, while advocating the moral education of women and the use of rational thinking as ways to prevent the consequences of such actions.
The novel mirrors a local New England scandal involving Brown’s neighbor Perez Morton’s seduction of Fanny Apthorp; Apthorp was Morton’s sister-in-law. Apthorp became pregnant and committed suicide, but Morton was not legally punished. The scandal was widely known, so most readers were able to quickly identify the “real” story behind the fiction: “in every essential, Brown’s story is an indictment of Morton and an exoneration of Fanny Apthorp”, with “Martin” and “Ophelia” representing Morton and Apthorp, respectively.
A century after William Hill Brown’s death in 1793, Arthur Bayley, editor of The Bostonian, published a serial publication of The Power of Sympathy, attributing the work to Sarah Wentworth Apthorp Morton of Boston, a poet, the wife of Perez Morton and sister of Frances Apthorp. Through much of the 19th century, the author was believed to be female.
1908 – New York City passes the Sullivan Ordinance, making it illegal for women to smoke in public, only to have the measure vetoed by the mayor.
The Sullivan Ordinance was a municipal law passed on January 21, 1908, in New York City by the board of aldermen, barring the management of a public place from allowing women to smoke within their venue. The ordinance did not bar women from smoking in general nor did the ordinance bar women from smoking in public, only public places. Right after the ordinance was enacted, on January 22, Katie Mulcahey, the only person cited for breaking this ordinance, was fined $5 for smoking in public and arrested for refusing to pay the fine; however, the ordinance itself did not mention fines nor does it ban women from smoking in public. She was released the next day. The mayor at the time, George Brinton McClellan, Jr., vetoed the ordinance two weeks later.
Born on this day:
1804 – Eliza R. Snow, American poet and hymn-writer (d. 1887)
Eliza Roxcy Snow (January 21, 1804 – December 5, 1887) was one of the most celebrated Mormon women of the nineteenth century. A renowned poet, she chronicled history, celebrated nature and relationships, and expounded scripture and doctrine. Snow was married to Joseph Smith as a plural wife and was openly a plural wife of Brigham Young after Smith’s death. Snow was the second general president of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which she reestablished in Utah Territory in 1866. She was also the sister of Lorenzo Snow, the church’s fifth president.
1884 – Roger Nash Baldwin, American author and activist, co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union (d. 1981)
Roger Nash Baldwin (January 21, 1884 – August 26, 1981) was one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He served as executive director of the ACLU until 1950.
Many of the ACLU’s original landmark cases took place under his direction, including the Scopes Trial, the Sacco and Vanzetti murder trial, and its challenge to the ban on James Joyce’s Ulysses. Baldwin was a well-known pacifist and author.
Baldwin was a member of the American Union Against Militarism (AUAM), which opposed American involvement in World War I, and spent a year in jail as a conscientious objector rather than submit to the draft. After the passage of the Selective Service Act of 1917, Baldwin called for the AUAM to create a legal division to protect the rights of conscientious objectors.
On July 1, 1917, the AUAM responded by creating the Civil Liberties Bureau (CLB), headed by Baldwin. The CLB separated from the AUAM on October 1, 1917, renaming itself the National Civil Liberties Bureau, with Baldwin as director. In 1920, NCLB was renamed the American Civil Liberties Union with Baldwin continuing as the ACLU’s first executive director.
As director, Baldwin was integral to the shape of the association’s early character; it was under Baldwin’s leadership that the ACLU undertook some of its most famous cases, including the Scopes Trial, the Sacco and Vanzetti murder trial, and its challenge to the ban on James Joyce’s Ulysses. Baldwin retired from the ACLU leadership in 1950. He remained active in politics for the rest of his life; for example, he co-founded the International League for the Rights of Man, which is now known as the International League for Human Rights.
In St. Louis, Baldwin had been greatly influenced by the radical social movement of the anarchist Emma Goldman. He joined the Industrial Workers of the World.
In 1927, he had visited the Soviet Union and wrote a book, Liberty Under the Soviets. Originally, at the beginning of the ACLU, he had said, “Communism, of course, is the goal.” Later, however, as more and more information came out about Joseph Stalin’s regime in the Soviet Union, Baldwin became more and more disillusioned with Soviet-style communism and called it “A NEW SLAVERY” (capitalized in the original). He condemned “the inhuman communist police state tyranny.”
In the 1940s, Baldwin led the campaign to purge the ACLU of Communist Party members.
In 1947, General Douglas MacArthur invited him to Japan to foster the growth of civil liberties in that country. In Japan, he founded the Japan Civil Liberties Union, and the Japanese government awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun. In 1948, Germany and Austria invited him for similar purposes. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1951.