It’s the 210th birthday of Edgar Allan Poe. Born in Boston, the writer, editor, and literary critic is best known for his poetry (The Raven became an instant success), and for his short stories—particularly the ones steeped in mystery and the macabre. He is one of the earliest American writers to utilize the short story, is often called the inventor of detective fiction, and also contributed to the emerging genre of science fiction. (1809)

He died in Baltimore at age 40; the cause of his death is unknown and has been variously attributed to alcohol, “brain congestion”, cholera, drugs, heart disease, rabies, suicide, tuberculosis, and other causes.

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Indira Gandhi was elected first woman prime minister of India (1966)
  • Snow fell in Miami, Florida for the first time ever (1977)
  • Iran agreed to release 52 US hostages after 14 months (1981)
  • Apple announced its first commercial PC with a graphical user interface and the first computer mouse (1983)
  • Dublin writer Christopher Nolan, 21, who could not move or speak since birth, won the Whitbread Book of the Year for his autobiography, Under the Eye of the Clock about his cerebral palsy (1988)
  • Yasser Arafat returned to Hebron after 30 years, joining 60,000 Palestinians who celebrated the handover of the last West Bank city in Israeli control (1997)
  • Grant monies of $15 million were repaid to the USA by Albanians who had used the aid money, after the fall of the Soviet Union, to assist 32 Albanian companies, which created 3,500 jobs and added about $725 million to the GDP (2011)

And, Happy 73rd Birthday to Dolly Parton, an American singer-songwriter, actress, author and humanitarian, born in Tennessee and known primarily for her work in country music and her flamboyant looks and personality.

Dolly Parton-dec-2014-Facebook Christmas post

Born to perform, and doing so from the age of 13, she had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist, but has also topped the pop charts with titles like “Islands in the Stream” and “9 to 5.” (1946)

Parton is the most honored female country performer of all time. Achieving 25 certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards. She has 41 career top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and she has 110 career charted singles over the past 40 years. With sales topping 100 million recordings worldwide, she has poured money into a literacy program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library that mails books to children, and other charitable efforts with her Dollywood Foundation. Currently the program distributes more than 10 million free books to children annually to almost 850,000 children every month.


Parton has received 46 Grammy nominations (winning eight), tying her with Bruce Springsteen for the most Grammy nominations and placing her in tenth place overall eight Grammy Awards. She was also nominated for two Academy Awards, a Tony and Emmy. She has composed over 3,000 songs, including “I Will Always Love You,” “Jolene,” and “Coat of Many Colors.” As an actress, she starred in 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, A Smoky Mountain Christmas, Steel Magnolias, Wild Texas Wind, and Joyful Noise. (Click to enlarge the top photo from December 2014 via Dolly Parton’s Facebook page – See all her work, including her latest album, Blue Smoke, on

And, on this day in 1943, the rock-blues singer–songwriter Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, Texas.

Janis Joplin in 1970
Janis Joplin in 1970

She was one of the biggest female rock stars of the psychedelic 60s, with five of her singles reaching the Billboard Hot 100, including her #1 hit cover of the song “Me and Bobby McGee”, and an original composition “Mercedes Benz”, her final recording. After releasing three albums, she died of a heroin overdose. (Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, and Amy Winehouse also were rock performers who died at age 27.) Her fourth LP, Pearl, released three months after her death, reached number one on the U.S. album charts.