World Book Day was established in 1995 by the United Nations (U.N.) to promote reading and publishing. It also celebrates the importance of copyright as the legal protection of an author’s written work.
It is celebrated on April 23. The date was initially proposed to recognize the death of Miguel de Cervantes, best known for having written Don Quixote, which many consider to be the first modern novel. The date was then adopted by the U.N. to officially mark the event because, conveniently, April 23 was also the day that William Shakespeare passed away as well as being either the date of birth or death of several other prominent writers.
As I explain on page 89 of my own book, Weir Farm National Historic Site (Arcadia Publishing), Dorothy Weir was an artist, writer, and an avid reader. She and her husband teamed up with her sister and brother-in-law to remodel the original entrance of the Weir House into a library. Bookcases were built into the walls complete with glass-covered doors. The project was completed in 1932, which they commemorated by having their initials hand-painted over one of the doorways.
Dorothy would also come to use the library as her study. For many years, she worked from this room as she diligently prepared a manuscript telling the life story of her famous father, Julian Alden Weir (1852-1919). From the library, she contacted art dealers around the country to create a catalogue of her father’s art work. She died before the manuscript could be completed. But her efforts were not in vain. In 1960, The Life and Letters of J. Alden Weir was published posthumously by Yale University.
This photograph was not included in my book due to space constraints. It has never been publicly seen or printed before and was created as part of a commission from the U.S. National Park Service.
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