August is American Artist Appreciation month. Late summer is a great time to visit some of our area’s wonderful art museums and galleries and to support local artists and crafts people.
See our page of links to learn what’s happening at local museums and galleries and to find some interesting books about American art and artists.
Herman Melville was born on August 1, 1819 in New York City to a well-to-do family. His father ran an import business and both grandfathers were Revolutionary War heroes.
As a young man, Melville went to sea as a cabin boy on a voyage to Liverpool, England. He later sailed on two different whaling vessels. His experiences at sea informed his first five novels, each of which achieved a degree of success.
In 1847, Melville married Elizabeth Shaw. They had four children and, in 1851, moved to Arrowhead, their farm in Pittsfield, Mass. It was here that Melville was befriended by the author Nathaniel Hawthorne and wrote his greatest work, Moby Dick, or the Whale, which he dedicated to Hawthorne. Neither Moby Dick or Melville’s later works garnered much success. It was only after his death that he achieved lasting acclaim.
Learn more about Herman Melville on our page of links.
Popular children’s author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter, was born in London on July 28, 1866. Potter’s first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, was published in 1902. Peter’s adventures were followed by a series of popular animal tales, including the Tale of Benjamin Bunny, the Tale of Pigling Bland, and the Tale of Tom Kitten. Potter illustrated all of her own works, though she had no formal artistic training. In addition to her literary career, Beatrix Potter was also a farmer and land conservationist. Potter died on December 22, 1943.
Learn more about Beatrix Potter on our page of links.
Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel and Pulitzer-prize winning novelist, was born on July 21, 1897 in Oak Park, Illinois. Hemingway worked as a journalist before serving as a Red Cross ambulance driver during World War I. After the war, Hemingway returned to journalism working in both the United States and Canada. During the 1920s he lived in Paris and wrote some of his major works, including The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms. Hemingway worked as a correspondent in Spain during the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and supported the French Resistance Movement during World War II. He later moved to Cuba where he lived until 1957 when Fidel Castro came to power. Hemingway then moved to Idaho where he lived until his death in 1962.
See our page of links for more information on this celebrated author or check out one of Hemingway’s books from your local library.
On July 14, 1789, the people of Paris rose up and marched on the Bastille, a state prison that symbolized the absolutism of the French monarchy. The storming of the Bastille symbolizes liberty, democracy and the struggle against oppression. Learn more about this historic event on our page of links.
The Fourth of July is celebrated as Independence Day, in honor of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It is considered to be the birthday of the United States of America, and is celebrated with parades, fireworks, speeches, patriotic music and the American flag. Find ideas for celebrating Independence Day on our page of links.