Quote of the Day

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."
– Thomas Jefferson

About Thomas Jefferson

President Thomas Jefferson was a true Renaissance figure: politician, inventor, archaeologist, architect, and more. He was born in Virginia in 1743 and later designed his adult home at Monticello. Many consider him the brightest man ever to inhabit the White House. Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence; the Library of Congress was founded from his personal collection. He died in 1826.
"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome."
– Samuel Johnson

About Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson, the sharp-witted British essayist, wrote the first English language dictionary; his definitions still form the backbone of current dictionaries. He was born in Staffordshire in 1709. Johnson married a widow 20 years his senior and lived in poverty before achieving success with his essays when he was in his forties. Later in life, he befriended the young James Boswell, whose Life of Johnson became the quintessential English biography. Johnson died in 1784.
"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."

– Carl Jung

About Carl Jung

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist who originated such well-known psychological concepts as the archetype and the collective unconscious, has provided inspiration to people ranging from Joseph Campbell to Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. He was born in 1875 in a small town; he studied with Sigmund Freud before parting ways due to the radical difference in their views of human nature. Jung is considered second only to Freud in his influence on modern psychology, particularly in the area of dream analysis. He died in 1961.
"Victory is won not in miles but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more."
– Louis L'Amour

About Louis L'Amour
Louis L'Amour, the author known for his pulp westerns, wrote more than 100 novels in his lifetime. Born in North Dakota in 1908 as Louis LaMoore, he worked across the southwestern U.S. on a string of backbreaking jobs including longshoreman, elephant handler, and cattle skinner. He saw his writing as akin to telling tales by a campfire and wanted to be remembered simply as a good storyteller. He won the Medal of Freedom in 1984 and died in 1988.
"We have to fight them daily, like fleas, those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies."
– Etty Hillesum

About Etty Hillesum
Etty Hillesum, less famous than her contemporary, Anne Frank, lived a short life of great courage. She was born in 1914 in the Netherlands to a Dutch father and a Russian mother. She studied law, Slavic languages, and psychology. Hungry for knowledge, she cut down on food in order to buy books. She went voluntarily to the Westerbork camp to help fellow Jews interned by the Nazis. Her letters detail her experiences; her more meditative diary focuses on issues of faith. She died at Auschwitz in 1943.
"Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."
– Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

About Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., one of the greatest American jurists of the twentieth century, was called the Great Dissenter because of the brilliance of his dissenting opinions. He was born in Boston in 1841 and was named for his father, the author and doctor. He was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1902 and became known for his pithy, quotable opinions. He stood strong on free-speech rights and was an advocate of judicial restraint and objectivity. He died in 1935.
"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up."
– Anne Lamott

About Anne Lamott
American author Anne Lamott is best known for Bird by Bird, her book on writing, and Operating Instructions, about her first year as a single mother, but she has also written several strongly autobiographical novels. She was born in San Francisco in 1954 and has written about her dysfunctional family life, her recovery from alcoholism, and her Christian faith. She lives in Northern California with her son and writes a column for Salon.
"People usually fail when they are on the verge of success. So give as much care to the end as to the beginning."
– Lao-Tzu

About Lao-Tzu
The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu is believed to have lived in the 4th century B.C. Little is known about him, but it is likely that he wrote the Tao te Ching, the foundation of Taoist philosophy, and engaged Confucius in debate, honing both men's belief systems. His name means either "old master" or the "old child," and one legend says he was born with white hair after spending 80 years in his mother's womb.
"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure."
– Jack Lemmon

About Jack Lemmon
Jack Lemmon is best known for the poignant sweetness he brought to comedic roles in movies like Some Like It Hot and The Apartment, but is also remembered for his dramatic roles, including the struggling alcoholic in Days of Wine and Roses. He was born in 1925 into a wealthy Boston family and knew by the age of four that he wanted to become an actor. He won two Academy Awards and was known for his collaborations with director Billy Wilder and costar Walter Matthau. He died in 2001.
"I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it."
– Abraham Lincoln

About Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, the American president remembered as Honest Abe, is renowned for his strong leadership during the Civil War and for ending slavery in the United States. He was born in a Kentucky cabin in 1809. He taught himself law and passed the Illinois bar in 1837, the same year he first spoke out against slavery. The Southern states seceded in response to his election to the presidency in 1860. Lincoln was assassinated in 1865, mere days after General Robert E. Lee surrendered to end the war.
"Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody."
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

About Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a beloved American poet of the 19th century, is best known for "The Song of Hiawatha" and "Evangeline." He was born in Maine in 1807. He knew Latin by the age of six, and when he taught at Bowdoin College, he wrote the textbooks himself. He courted his second wife while teaching at Harvard and frequently walked the several miles from Cambridge to Boston across the West Boston Bridge. The bridge that replaced it was named the Longfellow Bridge in his honor. He died in 1882.
"Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip."
– Will Rogers

About Will Rogers
American humorist Will Rogers was considered the Mark Twain of his generation. He was born in 1879 in Oklahoma, of Cherokee descent, and left school early to become a cowboy. In South Africa his showy roping skills won him a job in a traveling Wild West show, and he quickly switched over to vaudeville and film acting roles. He wrote six books and 4,000 syndicated columns. An avid flier, he died in a plane crash in 1935.
"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan."
– Eleanor Roosevelt

About Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was a powerful political figure in her own right, crusading tirelessly for humanist causes. She was born in New York in 1884 and was orphaned young. After Franklin was struck by polio, she acted as his eyes and ears. She was central to the creation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which she considered her crowning achievement, and wrote numerous essays, including a long-running column called "My Day." She died in 1962.
"When the heart speaks, the mind finds it indecent to object."
– Milan Kundera

About Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera, the modernist Czech novelist best known for The Unbearable Lightness of Being, laces politics and philosophical digressions into his complex narrative structure. He was born in 1929 on April Fool's Day, and his first novel was, appropriately enough, The Joke. An ardent reformist, he was ejected from the Communist party twice for speaking out against repression. In 1975, he fled to France, where he still teaches.
"When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time."
– St. Francis de Sales

About St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis de Sales (1567–1622), known as the Gentle Saint, was bishop of Geneva. His motto was, "He who preaches with love preaches effectively," and his religious texts, including Introduction to the Devout Life, have resonated with many non-Catholics. Pope Pius IX proclaimed him a patron saint of writers. Some consider him a patron saint of the deaf; he invented a form of sign language to teach a young deaf man how to communicate.
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