may 1837

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the royal meme -  royal moments [1/15]

Victoria turned 18 on 24 May 1837, and a regency was avoided. Less than a month later, on 20 June 1837, William IV died at the age of 71, and Victoria became Queen of the United Kingdom. In her diary she wrote, “I was awoke at 6 o'clock by Mamma, who told me the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Conyngham were here and wished to see me. I got out of bed and went into my sitting-room (only in my dressing gown) and alone, and saw them. Lord Conyngham then acquainted me that my poor Uncle, the King, was no more, and had expired at 12 minutes past 2 this morning, and consequently that I am Queen." 

Above: famous 19th century sketch of the meeting; The Young Victoria with Emily Blunt dramatising the scene

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William Dean Howells (March 1, 1837 – May 11, 1920) 

American realist novelist, literary critic, and playwright, nicknamed “The Dean of American Letters”. He was particularly known for his tenure as editor of The Atlantic Monthly, as well as for his own prolific writings, including the Christmas story “Christmas Every Day” and the novels The Rise of Silas Lapham and A Traveler from Altruria. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: 1. Cover from A Chance Acquaintance. By William D. Howells. Illustrated by William L. Sheppard. Boston: James R. Osgood and Company, 1877.  2. Title page, 3. “W. D. Howells, Age Eighteen”, 4. Frontispiece “W. D. Howells The week he was seventy years old from a photograph by Brown Brothers, New York” from My Literary Passions. Criticism & Fiction. W. D. Howells.  Illustrated. New York & London: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1910.

On this day in history, January 26, 1837, Michigan is admitted as the 26th U.S. state.

Street map or plan of Detroit, Michigan by Nathaniel Currier dated May, 1837. Printed on front: “City of Detroit, Michigan from late & accurate surveys, May 1837. N. Currier’s [undecipherable] cor. of Nassau & Spruce Sts. N. York. Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1837 by Morse & Brother in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Southern District of N. York.”

Original map from the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library.

  • Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library
Today is my eighteenth birthday! How old! and yet how far am I from being what I should be. I shall from this day take the firm resolution to study with renewed assiduity, to keep my attention always well fixed on whatever I am about, and to strive to become every day less trifling and more fit for what, if Heaven wills it, I’m some day to be.
—  An excerpt from Queen Victoria’s journal, May 1837 

John Lawson (June 16, 1837 – May 3, 1919) was a United States Navy sailor who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the American Civil War at the Battle of Mobile Bay.

  • Citation: On board the flagship U.S.S. Hartford during successful attacks against Fort Morgan, rebel gunboats and the ram Tennessee in Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864. Wounded in the leg and thrown violently against the side of the ship when an enemy shell killed or wounded the 6-man crew as the shell whipped on the berth deck, Lawson, upon regaining his composure, promptly returned to his station and, although urged to go below for treatment, steadfastly continued his duties throughout the remainder of the action.