“The writer [Thomas Wolfe] spent the last years of his life at the Chelsea. In Room 829, he was known to have produced the manuscript for the novels ‘You Can’t Go Home Again’ and ‘The Web and the Rock,’ which were published after he died in 1938.
“He drew great inspiration from roaming the hallways, but in May 1938, he was looking for an excuse to leave as the summer heat grew so intense that ‘he could smell all seven million inhabitants’ of New York, Sherill Tippins wrote in ‘Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel.’
“After accepting an invitation to speak at Purdue University, she wrote, he spent his last few days at the hotel writing his speech, about his belief that, amid the Depression and the rise of Nazism in Germany, he had a responsibility to society to inspire hope. He called the speech ‘You Can’t Go Home Again.’
“Several months later during his travels, he died of tuberculosis that migrated to his brain.”
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On this day in 1960: On “The Danny Thomas Show,” Sheriff Andy Taylor, played by Andy Griffith, arrests nightclub performer Thomas for speeding through sleepy Mayberry, N.C.
The episode introduces the Taylor character and sets up television’s first series spinoff — “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Posted in On This Day | Tagged andy griffith show, danny thomas show, mayberry nc, tv spinoffs | Leave a Comment »
“Ms. Smith is but one of many Texans and former Texans named Texas. It’s not their nickname but the formal name given to them by their parents that appears on their birth certificates, IDs and, in some cases, obituaries….None of the other states I’ve lived in had such a hold on its residents that people felt compelled to name their children after it. ”
“The family of James Daniel (1790?-1870?) and Mary Ashley (1795?-1880?) Royster were residents of Raleigh, N.C. The couple had eight children, all named in a rather unusual fashion. According to his great-grandson, Henry P. Royster (the donor of a portion of these papers), James Royster had grown ‘weary of hearing names around the house such as Tom, Dick, and Harry.’ Thus started the ‘American states series’ with the eight Royster children being named after states. The boys were [Pulitzer-winning journalist] Vermont Connecticut, Iowa Michigan, Arkansas Delaware, Wisconsin Illinois, and Oregon Minnesota; the girls were Louisiana Maryland, Virginia Carolina, and Georgia Indiana.”
— From “Royster Family Papers, 1840-1979” in the Southern Historical Collection
Apparently the Roysters didn’t find “Texas” as appealing as do, well, Texans. Or maybe they just ran out of children?
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What fun could you have with a World War I recruitment poster retrieved from the old Durham post office building?
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On this day in 1790: George Washington appoints James Iredell of Edenton to the U.S. Supreme Court. Among Iredell’s attributes, says Washington, is that “he is of a State of some importance in the Union that has given no character to a federal office.”
The English-born Iredell, who proves to be one of the court’s sharpest minds, serves until his death in 1799.
North Carolina’s only other Supreme Court justice will be Alfred Moore of New Hanover County, appointed by John Adams in 1800.
Posted in On This Day | Tagged edenton nc, george washington, james iredell, supreme court justice alfred moore, willis whichard | Leave a Comment »
“Asheville was slow to take up the great game of golf. The Asheville Country Club at the foot of Sunset Mountain [had] a nine-hole golf course, but the standard course had become 18 holes. The Southern Railway, in bringing people to Asheville, found resistance on account of the lack of a good golf course….
“S.H. Hardwick of the Southern Railway came to Asheville under auspices of the Chamber of Commerce and in an open meeting put the matter up to the citizens. As a result, a complete change occurred. Instead of one being regarded as a freak if he played golf, or wore knickers or subscribed to stock in the Asheville Country Club, he became a patriot. It was a popular thing to do. If that was what Asheville needed to keep its spring business, it helped greatly until the summer crowds started toward the mountains. The Asheville club expanded to the full 18 holes.
“One afternoon I accompanied E.W. Grove, to the top of Sunset Mountain to a point on the eastern end of the ridge. Mr. Grove designated this spot for his new hotel [the Grove Park Inn, which would open July 1, 1913]…. Later I learned his St. Louis bankers vetoed the site because they feared that the hotel would not succeed unless it was at the foot of the mountain facing the new golf course and had a patronage spread uniformly over the year….”
— From “Jeffress, Former Newspaperman Here, Describes Asheville of 1908-1911” by Edwin Bedford Jeffress in the Asheville Citizen (March 26, 1950) [excerpted in “Golf takes full swing in Asheville” by Thomas Calder in the Mountain Xpress (Nov. 8)]
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“[In a letter to Collier’s Weekly] Burke Haywood Bridgers wrote that people in Wrightsville Beach had tried out surfing during the summer of 1909 without great results. The Lumina [Pavilion], then one of the area’s premiere attractions, hosted a ‘surf board riding contest’ over Labor Day, in fact.
“Bridgers went on to describe the kinds of boards that the locals were using and the nature of the Atlantic Coast surf. The surfboards he described were built with local juniper wood, a traditional favorite of boat and ship builders, as it is resistant to wood-boring worms.
“It is impossible to claim a ‘first’ in East Coast surfing, but Bridgers’ experiments certainly would have been among the earliest appearances of surfboards in the Atlantic Ocean. The surfing that occurred in the Wrightsville Beach area in the early 1900s is the earliest documented in the state of North Carolina.”
— From “Surfers Catch A Wave In Wrightsville Beach, 1909” at This Day in North Carolina History (April 7)
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” ‘I don’t know that Trump has historical awareness at all,’ Fitzhugh Brundage, the chair of the history department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told me…. ‘I’ve had any number of colleagues say they feel recommitted and energized to do what they do, because of its very importance now.’
“Brundage told me that he has fought against ‘fake history’ for decades; in the 1980s, he often heard bizarre claims related to Pearl Harbor — that Franklin Roosevelt intentionally allowed the Japanese to attack or tried suppressing information about a potential attack and whether it would bring the U.S. into the war. ‘Every now and then Reagan made weird statements, like having been there when they liberated concentration camps,’ Brundage said. ‘But that may have been the onset of Alzheimer’s. All of which is to say: I’ve dealt with fake history before, but not sustained by a President adding to it.’ ”
— From “Teaching Southern and Black History Under Trump” by Charles Bethea in the New Yorker (Feb. 2)
This just in: yet another contribution to the archives of fake history….
Posted in Just A Bite | Tagged charles bethea, donald trump, fake history, fake news, fdr, fitzhugh brundage, pearl harbor, the new yorker | 1 Comment »