Today in History: November 1

“I pray Heaven to bestow the best of Blessings on this House and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise Men ever rule under this roof.”—President John Adams

On this date in 1800, President John Adams moved into the newly built, but still unfinished, White House. The rooms were damp and drafty. He arrived unannounced with two aides to see the building.

The historian David McCullough describes The White House in 1800: “The immense house was still unfinished. It reeked of wet plaster and wet paint. Fires had to be kept blazing in every fireplace on the main floor to speed up the drying process. Only a twisting back stair had been built between floors. Doors were missing. … Later, supper finished, Adams climbed the backstairs candle in hand and retired for the night.”

During his second day in his new reidence, he wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, which included the above words, which were cut into the mantlepiece of the State Dining Room during the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, and remain there.

* * * *
Dale Carnegie died on this date in 1955. Ezra Pound died in 1972 on this date. Phil Silvers died in 1985 on this date. Joseph Papp died 25 years ago today. Walter Payton died in 1999 on this date. William Styron died 10 years ago today.

* * * *
Stephen Crane was born on this date in 1871. Edward Said was born on this date in 1935.

* * * *
George S. Irving is 94 today. One of theater’s best character actors, he is perhaps best-remembered for playing teh “Heat Miser”:

 
A. R. Gurney is 86 today. Gary Player is 81. Barbara Bosson is 77. Robert Foxworth is 75 today. Larry Flynt is 74. Jim Steinman is 69. Lyle Lovett is 59. “This Old Porch”:

 
Tim Cook is 56. Fernando Valenzuela is 56. Anthony Kiedis is 54. Aishwarya Rai is 43.

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