Today in Orlando
This is a small sample drawn from within and beyond the lives and careers of writers. Look again tomorrow! Read more about The Orlando Project chronology.
26 March 1658
Jane Brooks was executed for witchcraft: a small boy had fallen ill after she had given him an apple.
26 March 1674
The King’s Company opened at its new Drury Lane Theatre, in Drury Lane, still under the management of Thomas Killigrew.
The other company, the Duke’s, continued at Dorset Garden.
26 March 1688
John Norris wrote a dedication to Damaris Masham of The Theory and Regulation of Love, which he published the same year.
26 March 1716
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s satirical mock-eclogues Monday, Thursday, and Friday were illicitly printed by Edmund Curll as Court Poems.
26 March 1720
The pseudonymous The Epistles of Clio and Strephon (i.e. Martha Fowke and William Bond) appeared in print, containing letters punctuated by poems.
26 March 1754
Sarah Scott published, through Millar and as a Person of Quality, a volume of tales A Journey Through Every Stage of Life.
26 March 1771
The Gazetteer reported that Catharine Macaulay was so manly and muscular as a historian that bets were being taken on her actual gender (with implied allusion to the Chevalier d’Eon).
26 March 1774
Mary Latter wrote to David Garrick, just before Easter, in a renewed attempt to get her tragedy, The Siege of Jerusalem, produced in London.
26 March 1809
Gabriel Piozzi died after years of excruciating pain from gout, through which Hester Lynch Piozzi nursed him devotedly.
26 March 1820
Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin completed Ruslan and Lyudmilla, a narrative, mock-epic, fairy-tale poem in six cantos.
26 March 1838
Historian William Edward Hartpole Lecky was born in Dublin, Ireland.
26 March 1845
The first two Anglican sisters arrived at 17 Park Village West (near Regent’s Park in London) to take up residence with the Sisterhood of the Holy Cross, a newly-founded nursing order which was the first religious Order for women in England since the Reformation.
The foundation of a sisterhood was much discussed by Dr Pusey and John Henry Newman. It was seen as a way to help the sick and poor, but also as a means of keeping women faithful to their religion and “the only means of saving some of our best members from turning Roman Catholics.”
Historian Peter Anson describes the Sisterhood as “a dangerous experiment” considering that none of the sisters had received religious training before entering this strict and secret institution. A mandatory five hours per day were devoted to works of charity in the community, and over a hundred Days of Fasting were observed.
26 March 1859
A. E. Housman, poet and classical scholar, was born in Fockbury, near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, the eldest of seven children.
26 March 1870
Helen Taylor addressed the National Society for Women’s Suffrage at the Hanover Square Rooms, London.
26 March 1878
Hannah Mary Rathbone died at nearly eighty years old, having outlived her husband by eighteen years.
26 March 1881
Isabella Bird (now Isabella Bishop) and her husband settled into their new home at 12 Walker Street in Edinburgh.
26 March-2 July 1885
The North West Rebellion led by Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont (of the Métis), and Poundmaker and Big Bear (of the Cree tribe), was fought in Saskatchewan, Canada.
The Métis (mixed-race descendants of native and French ancestors) had formed a provisional government on 17 March 1885. The rebellion was quickly suppressed by Canadian troops brought in on the new Canadian Pacific Railway. Poundmaker surrendered on 26 May and Big Bear on 2 July: between these two dates Pauline Johnson published her A Cry from an Indian Wife. Riel was hanged at Regina on 16 November 1885. He is now commemorated with a heroic statue in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
26 March 1885
The first crematorium in Britain, at Woking in Surrey, was inaugurated with the cremation of Jeannette Caroline Pickersgill.
This was nine years after the first modern crematorium opened in the USA, and seven years after the vicar of Woking had protested against the plan in a letter to The Times, arguing that a built-up area was no place for such a facility.
26 March 1892
Walt Whitman, American poet, died at 328 Mickle Street, Camden, New Jersey.
26 March 1898
Scribner’s published Joseph Conrad’s Tales of Unrest, a volume of short stories including An Outpost of Progress and The Idiots.
26 March 1902
Cecil Rhodes died, leaving a trust producing nearly £52,000 per annum to fund fifty-two (at first) graduate scholarships each year to Oxford. They were not, under the terms of his will, open to women, but they became so in November 1976.
Rhodes also left £100,000 to Oriel College, Oxford. His scholarships were designed for young men from countries he regarded as representing advanced civilization: those of the British Empire, the USA, and Germany.
26 March 1911
Mary Frere died of heart failure, after some years of failing health, at the Edinburgh Hotel, St Leonards-on-Sea in Sussex.
26 March 1915
Virginia Woolf’s first novel, The Voyage Out, dedicated “To L. W.”, was published by Duckworth and Company.
26 March 1917
The first battle of Gaza began the British invasion of Palestine.
26 March 1918
Marie Stopes published the first of her ground-breaking treatments of female sexuality, Married Love.
26 March 1923
Elizabeth Jane Howard was born in London, the eldest and the only girl in a family of three surviving children.
26 March 1924
Saint Joan, a history play by George Bernard Shaw responding to Joan’s recent canonization, had its London opening at the New Theatre, starring Sybil Thorndike. The role was crucial for Thorndike, who was named a DBE in 1931.
26 March 1960
Eunice Guthrie Murray died in her eighties of stroke brought on by cardiovascular degeneration.
26 March 1998
Ruth Rendell, as Barbara Vine, published The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy, a novel exploring connections between family relationships, homosexuality, and the writing of fiction.
26 March 2009
Maureen Duffy published with Arcadia Books her novel The Orpheus Trail.