Great moments in history and popular culture happen every day, and ON THIS DAY will share a few of them with you. We’ll also point you to related resources in our collection, helping you to discover classic films, musical favorites, and historical tidbits. The primary focus will be on our e-material – e-books, e-audio, and downloadable and streamable music and film – but physical books and DVDs will also be part of the fun.
|On this day in 1842, Ambrose Bierce was born. Bierce was a journalist, short story writer, and poet. In late 1913; he was in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution, and was reported to be traveling with rebel troops when he disappeared and was never heard from again. Bierce's writing was shaped by his experience with the Union Army during the Civil War; he wrote dozens of war stories, and some of his contemporaries particularly prized his ghost stories. Today, Bierce's best known works are The Devil's Dictionary, a collection of satirical definitions, and the short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," which Kurt Vonnegut called "the greatest American short story." The story is available as an e-book or e-audio at OverDrive.|
|On this day in 1901, Harry Partch was born. Partch was an experimental composer and music theorist; his music usually worked with microtonal scales -- that is, it used pitches that fall in between those of standard Western music. Partch designed his own instruments -- some of them are pictured at left -- to play his music, which ranges from intimate song cycles to elaborate theater pieces. A sampling of Partch's work is included in the Masterworks of the 20th Century collection (the Partch pieces begin with "Daphne in the Dunes" and end with "Hand Instruments, Partch in Epilogue"), which is available for streaming or download at Freegal.|
|And on this day in 1947, Clarissa Dickson Wright was born. Dickson Wright and Jenifer Paterson were the stars of Two Fat Ladies, a popular BBC cooking program of the late 1990s. They drove around the United Kingdom on a motorcycle (with Dickson Wright in the sidecar) and prepared meals for large gatherings -- a male choir, a girls' school, a company of soldiers -- with little regard for calorie counting or health; many of their dishes were traditional English food. Only 24 episodes were made; production ended after Paterson's death. The complete run of Two Fat Ladies is available on DVD.|