Some of our favorite historical figures were born in the month of June. We couldn't possibly name them all, but here are just a handful whose lives we'll be celebrating.
1. JUNE 1, 1926: MARILYN MONROE
Much has been made of Monroe’s size—both during her life and since her 1962 death—but according to her dressmaker's measurements, the actress would have likely been a U.S. size 6 or 8.
2. JUNE 3, 1906: JOSEPHINE BAKER
Best known as a song-and-dance actor, Josephine Baker was a spy for the French Resistance during World War II. She used invisible ink to hide notes and maps in her sheet music, and tucked sensitive photographs of German military installations in her unmentionables.
3. JUNE 8, 1867: FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
Wright is one of the best-known American architects in history, but his son John also has a claim to fame in the world of construction, just on a much smaller scale. On August 31, 1920, John received a patent for a "Toy-Cabin Construction,” also known as Lincoln Logs. The name actually came from dear old dad, who was born Frank Lincoln Wright.
4. JUNE 10, 1895: HATTIE MCDANIEL
When Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Oscar in 1940, she had to make her way to the stage from a segregated table at the back of the room.
5. JUNE 10, 1928: MAURICE SENDAK
We love any opportunity to repeat one of our favorite Sendak stories, about his correspondence with a fan:
“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters—sometimes very hastily—but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I've ever received. He didn't care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”
6. JUNE 14, 1811: HARRIET BEECHER STOWE
National Portrait Gallery // Wikimedia Commons
As a young woman, Stowe was a member of the Semi-Colon Club, a gathering of writers in Cincinnati, Ohio in the mid-19th century; a member of the literary group went on to print Stowe’s first published story. As for the name, it was apparently a riff on Christopher Columbus, whose Spanish name was Cristobal Colon. While the group wasn’t discovering new lands, they deemed their literary explorations worthy of the title “Semi-Colons.”
7. JUNE 17, 1882: IGOR STRAVINSKY
It wasn’t enough for Stravinsky to cause the most famous ballet-related riot in history: Three decades later, in 1944, he was charged with defaming the national anthem after an arrangement of the "Star Spangled Banner" sent Boston cops into an outrage. They were so angry they showed up the following night to “make sure he didn’t play it again.”
8. JUNE 22, 1947: OCTAVIA BUTLER
Butler is a well-regarded (and beloved) science fiction author, but she herself hated her third novel, Survivor. She told Amazon.com: "When I was young, a lot of people wrote about going to another world and finding either little green men or little brown men, and they were always less in some way. They were a little sly, or a little like 'the natives' in a very bad, old movie. ... People ask me why I don't like Survivor, my third novel. And it's because it feels a little bit like that. Some humans go up to another world, and immediately begin mating with the aliens and having children with them. I think of it as my Star Trek novel." The novel only had one run; Butler refused to circulate it further.
9. JUNE 23, 1894: ALFRED KINSEY
Kinsey is remembered for his work in the field of human sexuality, but his pursuits in the field of biology went way beyond that. For his doctoral thesis he collected more than 7.5 million gall wasps, which now reside at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
10. JUNE 25, 1903: GEORGE ORWELL
The Nineteen Eighty-Four author was skilled at more than just long-form writing—he was also a killer list writer. His 1946 essay "Politics and the English Language" contains six rules for better writing, and that same year he penned 11 tips for making and drinking tea. We're sure Orwell would have hated a lot about the internet, but he would have been pretty adept at writing for it.