National Author's Day
annually on November 1st (since 1929)
Nellie Verne Burt McPherson in 1928
Literature & Writing
Work & Career
National Author's Day celebrates authors, and was thought up in 1928 by Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Bement Illinois Women's Club, as a way to thank her favorite author, Irving Bacheller. Years earlier, during World War I, McPherson had been in the hospital, and wrote to Bacheller about how much she had enjoyed his short book, Eben Holden's Last Day a-Fishing. Bacheller wrote her back, and included an autographed copy of another of his stories in his response. McPherson thought she could never repay Bacheller, and came up with the idea of the day as a way to thank him, and to honor authors. She submitted her idea to the General Federation of Women's Clubs, and they passed a resolution creating the day. In 1949 the U.S. Department of Commerce recognized the day. Following McPherson's death in 1968, her granddaughter Sue Cole continued the work of promoting the day. Cole thought that people could celebrate the day by writing a note to their favorite author—much like her grandmother had done. She also thought that the American flag could be flown on the day. There is some indication that the day has a narrower focus than celebrating all authors, and focuses on celebrating American authors. This would help explain why it would be fitting for the American flag to be flown.
How to Observe National Author's Day
As Sue Cole suggested, celebrate the day by writing to your favorite author—if they are still living—and by flying the American flag. Share with others who your favorite authors are, and what your favorite books they have written are. Ask others who their favorite authors are, and what books those authors have written. This is a good day to go to the library and pick up, or go to a store buy, a book written by your favorite author. If you want to find some new authors or books to read, you could read one of the best books of all time, or something by one of the best authors of all time. Even authors have their favorite books. Why not celebrate the day by reading a book that contemporary authors see as one of the best? As the day may have an American focus, why not read something by one of the best American authors, or read one of the best American books?