Some of our favorite historical figures were born in the month of April. We couldn't possibly name them all, but here are just a handful whose lives we'll be celebrating.
1. APRIL 2, 1805: HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
Thora Hallager via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
The man behind The Little Mermaid was a master of fairy tales, and thus was in touch with his dark side. He was reportedly so fearful of being buried alive that he left a note next to his bed that read, "I only appear to be dead."
2. APRIL 3, 1783: WASHINGTON IRVING
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Author and New York City native, Irving was the first person to call it “Gotham” in text. He started using the term in 1807, and was believed to have been inspired by a folk tale called “The Wise Men of Gotham.” In it, a town called Gotham (or Gottam, meaning “Goat’s Town” in old Anglo-Saxon) was full of faux fools who acted out to try to get King John to bypass the town in favor of one with more sense.3.
APRIL 4, 1928: MAYA ANGELOU
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The author has a big claim to fame outside of her prolific career: She was the first black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco.
4. APRIL 5, 1908: BETTE DAVIS
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The Oscar-winning actress is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. Her epitaph reads, “She did it the hard way.”
5. APRIL 13, 1743: THOMAS JEFFERSON
Rembrandt Pealevia via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
At 6 feet 2.5 inches, Jefferson was a quite a bit taller than most men in his day, which ultimately earned him the nickname “Long Tom.”
6. APRIL 21, 1816: CHARLOTTE BRONTË
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This year marks a big birthday for the author, her 200th! While considered a heavyweight today, back in the 19th century, Brontë used a male pseudonym, Currer Bell, to be taken more seriously. Her publishers didn’t even know she was a woman until circumstances forced Bronte and sister Anne to meet them in person.
7. APRIL 21, 1838: JOHN MUIR
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During the National Parks' centennial year, it’s only appropriate to celebrate the so-called "Father of the National Parks" with his own nature-loving words. In his journals, Muir wrote, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
8. APRIL 23, 1928: SHIRLEY TEMPLE
Harris & Ewing via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
How did the child star became associated with the world’s most famous non-alcoholic cocktail? The Royal Hawaiian Resort in Waikiki, which Temple frequented in the 1930s, says they invented it, though their claim is contested by Hollywood's legendary Brown Derby restaurant, who says they invented the drink during the same period.
9. APRIL 25, 1917: ELLA FITZGERALD
William P. Gottliebvia via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
No surprise here: The First Lady of Song had perfect pitch. It was so good that her band could warm up to her voice.
10. APRIL 27, 1791: SAMUEL MORSE
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On May 24, 1844, the inventor transmitted the first Morse code message on an experimental telegraph line. The message—"What hath God wrought?"—was taken from the Bible (Numbers 23:23) and transmitted from Washington to Baltimore.