Michael Corcoran (1827-1863) was born in Ballymote, County Sligo Ireland in 1827. He eventually emigrated to the United States in 1849. He became prominent in New York City politics. He also became the Colonel of the 69th New York Regiment (The famous Fighting 69th) and led it at the First Battle of Bull Run. He was captured in the battle and threatened with execution while in captivity. Eventually he was paroled and had dinner with President Lincoln. He became a divisional commander but died in a riding accident in 1863. There is a monument to him and the regiment in Ballymote.
Recently I had the happy experience of seeing Art Garfunkel perform at the Palace Theatre in Danbury. I have long admired his singing talent and was not disappointed in this talent. But he is also a gifted poet, writer and raconteur between songs. If you go to his website he has a list of the books which he has read since 1968 and it is most impressive.
Joshua Slocum (1844-1909) was the first man to sail around the world single handedly. He recounted this feat in a book entitled Sailing Alone Around the World which was wildly popular. The critic, Arthur Ransome, wrote that “Boys who do not like this book ought to be drowned at once.” Sadly he set sail on a winter voyage in 1909 and was never heard from again.
David Mason, the preeminent rare book dealer in Canada, has just published a memoir of his life in the book trade. It is entitled The Pope’s Book Binder (reflecting on his having helped to bind a book for Pope John XXIII). He has been in the rare book trade for fifty years and has an inventory of 70,000 volumes in his Toronto store. One of his best customers is Alberto Manguel who is a writer, translator and lover of libraries. Manguel has a personal library of 30,000 volumes many of which he has purchsed from Mason.
James Rennell (1742-1830) was a man of many prodigious talents. He was a surveyor, mapmaker, explorer, soldier, writer and oceanographer. He was responsible for the first accurate mapping of India and nearly died in the attempt. His party was attacked by Sanashi Fakirs and he was critically wounded but survived. He feturned to England and published pioneering work on ocean drift. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.