Posts Tagged ‘birthdays’

Happy Birthday Lewis Carroll!

"Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, c. 1875." Photo credit: National Media Museum via Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions

“Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, c. 1875.” Photo credit: National Media Museum via Foter.com / No known copyright restrictions

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. The beloved creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass and other fantasy tales, has a birthday today (January 27, 1832). To celebrate Lewis Carroll, we wanted to share some of the things that made this children’s author and his work so unique:

He was also a mathematician who wove mathematical lessons into his stories.

This learning disability which hinders the ability to read didn’t seem to hinder Carroll’s writing talent.

He loved visiting the Oxford Museum of Natural History and many of the animals he saw there inspired the use of animals in his writing.

Lewis Carroll taught mathematics at Christ Church College at Oxford for years under the dean Henry Liddell. The fictional Alice was inspired by Liddell’s daughter Alice.

He contemplated a variety of book titles from Alice’s Hour in Elfland to Alice Among the Fairies.

John Tenniel, Lewis Carroll’s illustrator, made his illustrations on a wood-block before giving to an engraver to cut.

Both Carroll’s love for the Dodo Bird and his real name, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, inspired the Dodo in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The book has also been translated into at least 100 languages including Classical Latin.

How will you celebrate the work of Lewis Carroll? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

Celebrate Buzz Aldrin’s Birthday

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot of the first lunar landing mission, poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 Extravehicular Activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. The Lunar Module (LM) is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the Moon. Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, took this picture with a 70mm Hasselblad lunar surface camera. While astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin descended in the LM, the "Eagle", to explore the Sea of Tranquility region of the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, command module pilot, remained with the Command and Service Modules (CSM) "Columbia" in lunar-orbit.

Buzz Aldrin and the U.S. Flag on the Moon via Flickr [Public Domain]

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin is well-known for being one of the first people to step foot on the moon. He was part of the Apollo 11 mission, which was the first manned spacecraft to land on the moon on July 20, 1969. Although he is now a retired astronaut, he is still active in the space community. He recently wrote a book called “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration” where he explains his ideas for space travel and a future Mars mission.

Buzz Aldrin was born on Jan. 20, 1930 and he celebrates his 86th birthday today. Here are some facts about this famous astronaut:

His nickname “Buzz” was given to him by his sister.

Buzz Aldrin’s mother’s maiden name was Moon.

The name for Disney’s Toy Story character “Buzz Lightyear” was inspired by Buzz Aldrin’s name.


By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Educators, visit ProQuest SIRS Discoverer for student resources on Buzz Aldrin and space exploration. Here are some examples of searches to get you started:

Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin

Outer space, Exploration

Space flight to the moon, Apollo Project

10 Things About the King

Elvis Presley rose from humble beginnings to become the ‘King of Rock and Roll.’ He remains an international pop culture icon almost 40 years after his death. On the eve of his 81st birthday, here are 10 things you may or may not know about Elvis:

Elvis Presley's Birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi

Elvis Presley’s Birthplace, Tupelo, Mississippi [public domain]
Photographs in the Carol M. Highsmith Archive via Library of Congress

1. Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in a two-room house in Tupelo, Mississippi to Gladys Love (Smith) and Vernon Elvis Presley. He had a stillborn identical twin brother, named Jessie Garon.

2. Presley, who never received formal music training or learned to read music, studied and played by ear. He identified the Pentecostal church as his primary source of musical training.

3. When he was 13 years old, he and his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee. His music career began there in 1954, when he recorded a song with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records.

Sun Records Studio, Memphis, Tennessee

Sun Records Studio, Memphis, Tennessee [public domain]
by Carol M. Highsmith via Library of Congress

4. In December of 1957, Elvis was drafted into the U.S. Army. Three girls from Montana wrote a letter to President Eisenhower in which they begged him not to give Elvis a G.I. haircut and cut off his sideburns.

5. While he was in the Army and stationed in Germany, he met 14-year-old Priscilla Ann Beaulieu. They married eight years later, on May 1, 1967, at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

6. Elvis is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music, selling more than 1 billion recordings worldwide.

7. His only child Lisa Marie Presley was born on February 1, 1968. Ironically, the daughter of the ‘King of Rock and Roll’ was briefly married to Michael Jackson, the ‘King of Pop.’

Richard M. Nixon Shaking Hands with Entertainer Elvis Presley in the Oval Office

Richard M. Nixon Shaking Hands with Entertainer Elvis Presley in the Oval Office
[public domain] via White House Photo Office/National Archives and Records Service

8. On December 21, 1970, Presley visited President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office. The photo of Nixon and Elvis shaking hands in the White House is the most-requested image in the holdings of the National Archives.

Visitors Pass by the Presleys' Graves--Graceland (Elvis Presley Mansion)

Visitors Pass by the Presleys’ Graves–Graceland (Elvis Presley Mansion)
by Adam Jones on Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0

9. Elvis died at age 42 at his Memphis home on August 16, 1977. Elvis bought the mansion named Graceland in 1957 for $100,000. It was opened for tours in 1982, and since then an average of 500,000 visitors pay tribute annually.

10. Elvis was buried twice. Elvis was originally placed in a crypt next to his mother, Gladys, at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis. Shortly after, several young men attempted to steal his remains. His father Vernon then decided to move both bodies to the grounds of Graceland. He received special permission from city officials to do so, and they both rest there today.

To learn more about Elvis Presley’s life, music, legacy, and his lasting influence on American culture, visit ProQuest’s eLibrary Research Topic page, or one of these editorially selected websites, available on SIRS WebSelect:

Elvis Presley

One Life: Echoes of Elvis

When Nixon Met Elvis

They Say It’s Your Birthday

It’s my birthday too. So Lennon and McCartney wrote in “Birthday” and the Beatles recorded in 1968 which also happens to be the year of my birth. Hearing this song (earworm!) got me to wondering who else was born on July 21. My search led me to three men renowned in their respective fields. Two share a sad connection. The other is perhaps not as well-known, but without whose forethought you may not be reading this blog.

Ernest Hemingway Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Ernest Hemingway Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

One of the 20th century’s most influential writers was born July 21, 1899. Ernest Hemingway was known for understated, but direct writing about things he knew personally, especially war, nature and love. animal. He became the writer for the post-World War I generation.  While his second novel, The Sun Also Rises, published in 1925, is widely considered his greatest, he followed it with novels also expressed among his best works, A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls.  His last story, The Old Man and the Sea, about an aging fisherman and his pursuit of a giant fish would garner him the Pulitzer Prize (1953) and be cited in his awarding of the Nobel Prize for literature (1954).  Sadly, after years of declining mental and physical health, Ernest Hemingway committed suicide in 1961.

Marshall McLuhan Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Marshall McLuhan Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Someone you may not be familiar with is Marshall McLuhan. A Canadian media theorist and philosopher, he was born July 21, 1911. He studied mass media effects on perception and behavior, and his work is considered cornerstone in the field. He coined the famous phrase “The medium is the message”—the medium influences how the message is perceived. However, his greatest work may have been his “’prediction” of the internet as early as 1964.

Robin Williams Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Robin Williams Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Robin Williams was one-of-a-kind.  A stand-up comedian and actor who could take on just about any role, he was born July 21, 1951.  He rose to fame playing an alien on the television show Mork & Mindy.  On the big screen he became known for both comedic (Good Morning, Vietnam, Mrs. Doubtfire) and dramatic roles (Dead Poets Society, Awakenings) as well as his improvisational skills.  It would be for a dramatic turn in Good Will Hunting that he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1998.  Like Ernest Hemingway, Robin Williams suffered from depression and deteriorating physical health which led to him taking his life in 2014.

Who was born on your birthday?  Find out and then go to eLibrary to learn more about that person–famous or not.  You might be surprised what you’ll learn.


SIRS Discoverer Events Calendar

events calendar

Events Calendar in ProQuest SIRS Discoverer

Calendars are a treasure trove of curriculum ideas.  Famous birthdays tie into biography units, holidays speak to multicultural themes, anniversaries and memorials are a door to history and special months are an opportunity to celebrate cultural heritage.

Within the Spotlight of the Month, SIRS Discoverer provides an interactive 12-month Events Calendar featuring birthdays, holidays and events that link directly to editor-selected content. Explore Born on This Day entries ranging  from Paul Revere and Ida B. Wells to LeBron James and Michael Phelps. Research a kaleidoscope of events and holidays including National Safety MonthWorld AIDS Day, Battle of Gettysburg, and Canada Day.

At SIRS Discoverer, every day is a day to learn!