On Nov. 29, 1947, the United Nations approved a proposal to divide the British Mandate of Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish. The partition allowed for the creation of the nation of Israel six months later. Our article on the vote provides links to extensive primary sources about the fate of Palestine from 1916 to modern days, as well as to other articles about seminal moments in the history of Israel.
This day in 1918, Madeleine L'Engle was born. Champion of the imagination, devout Christian and feminist, she changed the lives and hearts of many with her books, including "A Wrinkle in Time." When she accepted her Newbery Medal in 1963, she said "A writer of fantasy, fairy tale, or myth must inevitably discover that he is not writing out of his own knowledge or experience, but out of something both deeper and wider."
American Memory takes us on a documentary tour of the life of Louisa May Alcott, born this day in 1832, including her relationships with the great authors and thinkers of her day, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Henry David Thoreau.
Hanukkah begins this week; our Web Guide to Hanukkah offers links to the best online resources about its traditions, songs and music, and food and recipes.
Our feature article is about the history of Christmas in America. It was not widely celebrated in the new land until the early 1800s, when the works of Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, and later, Thomas Nast and "A Visit from St. Nicholas" in the Troy, NY Sentinel redefined the holiday for Americans. The tradition of waking up before dawn on Thanksgiving Friday to buy electronics at a deep discount came much later.
Letters of Note features a heart-rending letter written over the course of weeks by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, who led an expedition to discover the South Pole, only to learn it had been visited by a Norwegian team 33 days earlier. Scott's team then encountered deadly weather on the return trip, and perished in April, 1912; his body and possessions were discovered 7 months later.