04-26-1564 (baptized) – 04-23-1616 William Shakespeare – Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, United Kingdom. English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. The sexuality of Shakespeare has been the subject of recurring debate. It is known from public records that he married Anne Hathaway and they had three children. Scholars have also speculated that he was bisexual, based on an analysis of the sonnets, many of which, including Sonnet 18 “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”, are love poems addressed to a man, the “Fair Lord,” and which contain play on words relating to sexual desire between men.
04-26-1886 – 12-22-1939 “Ma” Rainey (born Gertrude Pridgett) – Born in Columbus, Georgia. She was one of the earliest known American professional blues singers and one of the first blues singers to record. She was billed as The Mother of the Blues. Rainey was in trouble with the police several times for her lesbian behavior. In 1925, she was arrested for taking part in an orgy at her home involving women in the chorus. Bessie Smith bailed her out of jail. Her album Prove it on Me Blues, a monologue about women who love women, showed Rainey in a hat, tie, and jacket talking to some flappers with a policeman behind her. The copy reads “What’s all this? Scandal? “ Take a look at the words, the song goes: “Went out last night a crowd of my friends. They must’ve been women, cause I don’t like no men… They say I do it, ain’t nobody caught me, They sure got to prove it to me…”
04-26-1892 – 06-19-1955 Adrienne Monnier – Born in Paris, France. She was a French bookseller, writer, and publisher, and an influential figure in the modernist writing scene in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1915 when she opened her bookshop called “La Maison des Amis des Livres”, Monnier was one of the first women in France to found her own bookstore. Monnier offered advice and encouragement to Sylvia Beach when Beach founded an English language bookstore called Shakespeare and Company in 1919. She was lovers with Sylvia Beach for 36 years.