Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pocahontas, Churchill, Ginsburg

Pocahontas married John Rolfe on this day in 1614. It was not a fairy tale marriage by all accounts, but by 17th century standards it was fairly typical. She was kidnapped by the settlers of Jamestown. Then, when negotiations broke down, she married one of her captors. She moved to England with him but found it foggy and depressing. She died there in 1617, at age 22. She was the granddaughter of Chief Powhatan and thus the first in a long line of American heiresses married off to English aristocrats. Pocahontas appears on pages 25, 44 and 64 in A Book of Ages.

Winston Churchill's mother, Jennie Jerome, was another one of those American heiresses exported to reinvigorate the English aristocracy. On this date in 1955, Winston Churchill left 10 Downing Street and the Prime Ministership of England for the last time. He won his last election to the House of Commons in 1959, when he was 84. Churchill appears ten times in A Book of Ages.

Beat poet Allen Ginsburg died on this day in 1995. He appears in A Book of Ages at ages 6, 18, 19, 26, and at age 29 when he and Jack Kerouac bum a ride in Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Astin Martin to a gallery at Fillmore and Union in San Francisco, where he opens with the famous line: "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness..."

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