A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – W

For Letter W, my choice is Noah Webster

Facts about Noah Webster

Noah Webster died at 84 years old
Born: October 16, 1758
Died: May 28, 1843
Birthplace: West Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Best known as: The man behind 1828’s An American Dictionary of the English Language
     

Noah Webster Biography

Lexicographer, Writer 

Noah Webster was a Connecticut writer and educator whose greatest achievement was An American Dictionary of the English Language, first published in 1828. Webster graduated from Yale in 1778, during the American Revolutionary War. He was staunchly anti-British and considered the new American nation to be morally superior to Europe. Webster taught school and practiced law, but his real talent lay in writing, and he spent his career advocating for a distinct American identity by way of language. He published several textbooks, including 1783’s A Grammatical Institute of the English Language, a spelling book popularly known as the Blue-Back Speller and used in schools throughout the United States for the next century. Webster was an outspoken Federalist, and during the 1790s published hundreds of essays, books, and articles on politics and education. His dictionary, like his spelling book, altered several spellings from the British, Americanizing words like “colour” to “color” and “defence” to “defense.” The second volume of Webster’s dictionary was published in two volumes in 1840.

Lexicon, or dictionary holds a special fascination for me. I liked, as a child to look up words and their different meaning in an actual dictionary. We used to have Webster’s dictionary at home which I needed often, as I am pretty bad at spellings. Webster simplified the spellings of many words which used to confuse me by their British spellings.

An inspiring writer and a pioneer who took the first step in making language and grammar easy for children.

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – V

For Letter V, my choice is Jules Verne

Jules Verne Biography

Writer 

Jules Verne was a French novelist whose many popular novels include the classics A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) and Around the World in Eighty Days (1873). While studying law, Verne wrote plays and librettos, but soon turned to writing novels full-time. He wrote dozens of books in his career and became the world-famous and wealthy author of adventures that are still in print today, including In Search of the Castaways (1868), The Mysterious Island (1874), and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870). Many of Verne’s works became familiar to movie audiences, thanks to movie versions produced by Walt Disney‘s studios. Much like novelist H. G. Wells, Verne is considered a founding father of science fiction, thanks to his remarkably prophetic details of scientific inventions.

Verne’s influence extends beyond literature and film into the world of science and technology, where he inspired generations of scientists, inventors, and explorers. In 1954 the United States Navy launched the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, named for Verne’s Nautilus. And for more than 130 years, adventurers such as Nellie Bly (1890), Wiley Post (1933), and Steve Fossett (2005) have followed in the footsteps of Verne’s fictional hero Phileas Fogg by attempting to circumnavigate the globe in record-breaking times. Verne and his enduringly popular Voyages extraordinaires continue to remind us that “What one man can imagine, another will someday be able to achieve.”

It was with deep fascination that I read Verne’s Twenty thousand leagues under the sea when I was around ten. It sparked a curiosity for science and science fiction in the young me. I have read almost all of his books and admire him as a true pioneer who not only imagined the unimaginable in his times but also laid the groundwork for things that became reality a century later.

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – S

For Letter S, my choice is Carl Sagan

Facts about Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan died at 62 years old
Born: November 9, 1934
Died: December 20, 1996
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Best known as  The astronomer who did the TV series Cosmos
     

Carl Sagan Biography

Astronomer TV Personality 

Astronomer and science popularizer Carl Sagan was best known for his 1980 documentary TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The highly successful program, on public television, spawned a bestselling companion book that helped make Sagan one of the most famous faces in American science. He did his studies at the University of Chicago in the 1950s, earning his doctorate there in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1960. He lectured at Harvard in the late 1960s, and after 1968 Sagan had a career-long relationship with New York’s Cornell University as a lecturer and researcher. An advisor to NASA since the early 1970s, Sagan had a role in robotic space programs such as Pioneer and Voyager — he was instrumental in designing interplanetary messages to whatever-might-be-out-there. His most visible role, however, was as a celebrity scientist who championed space exploration and studies into the origin of life. The recipient of numerous international awards, Sagan was a co-editor of Icarus, a journal of astronomy and planetary research, a co-founder of The Planetary Society, and a best-selling author of several books on science. He also wrote the 1985 science fiction novel Contact, the basis for the 1997 Jodie Foster movie. Sagan died in 1996 after a bout with pneumonia, brought on by his battle with myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disorder.

I remember watching Cosmos and being fascinated with it. Sagan had that charismatic personality that pulled people towards him. He made science, astrophysics, and the topic of exploration of space popular. Sagan has inspired countless people to venture into the field of science and astrophysics

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – R

For Letter R, my choice is Nora Roberts

Facts about Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is 70 years old
Born: October 10, 1950
Birthplace: Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
     

Nora Roberts Biography

Writer 
Name at birth: Eleanor Marie Robertson

Nora Roberts is a prolific American writer of romance and crime novels whose books have topped the bestseller lists since the mid-1990s.

As a child, Roberts was an avid reader and frequently formulated her own stories. After graduating from high school, she married and later had two sons. Confined to her home with her young children during a blizzard in 1979, she penned her first novel, Irish Thoroughbred (1981). Following that debut, Roberts enjoyed phenomenal success with dozens of enthralling romance novels. Atypical of the genre, her works did not focus on glamour and money but instead featured characters that were relatable to readers. In 1995 she began writing romance-crime novels, which were released under the pseudonym J.D. Robb; her first book in the genre was Naked in Death.

Roberts followed a very disciplined schedule of writing up to eight hours, five days per week. She sometimes finished a dozen publications annually, and in 2012 she released her 200th book, The Witness. Roberts’s novels were translated into more than 25 languages and consistently topped the best-seller lists. By the early 21st century, more than 400 million copies of her books were in print. Many, such as Sanctuary (1997), The Reef (1998), and Midnight Bayou (2001), were adapted as made-for-television movies.

Roberts was the first inductee (1986) into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame and, for her 100th novel, Montana Sky (1996), the first recipient of its Centennial Award. Roberts also received lifetime achievement awards from the Romance Writers of America

( Sources; Who2.com & Britannica.com)

My first introduction to Roberts was almost a decade ago when I stumbled upon one of her books in a used book store. It was part of a trilogy, and of course, I had to buy the other two books of the series. From then on I was hooked on her writing. She writes romances, but with a touch of mystery, murder, and magic. People usually look down on romance in literature but I think romance novels are a great way to pass time and also be entertained. I have read countless books from Nora Roberts. Her story is also very inspiring and shows us that what can be done if one has the talent and will to make it in the world.

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – Q

For Letter Q, my choice is Quotes

Inspirational words spoken or written by people with great wisdom and experience have always been a source of inspiration for me.

Some golden quotes to live by are;

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

George Bernhard Shaw

We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.”

Mother Theresa

“I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.”

Corazon Aquino

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Albert Einstein

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Mae West

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

Helen Keller

Thank you for visiting and reading.

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – P

For Letter P, my choice is Joseph Pulitzer

Facts about Joseph Pulitzer

Joseph Pulitzer died at 64 years old
Born: April 10, 1847
Died: October 29, 1911
Birthplace: Makó, Hungary
Best known as: Newspaperman who started the Pulitzer Prize

     

Joseph Pulitzer Biography

Publisher 

Joseph Pulitzer was the 19th-century journalist and newspaper publisher whose will established the Pulitzer Prizes “for the encouragement of public service, public morals, American literature and the advancement of education.”

Pulitzer immigrated to the United States as a young man in 1864 and served in the 1st New York Cavalry during the Civil War. He made his way to St. Louis after the war and in 1868 began working for the German language newspaper the Westliche Post.

Ambitious and hardworking, Pulitzer studied English and law and served in the Missouri legislature, and by 1872 he was the owner and publisher of the Post. In 1878 he bought The Evening Dispatch and merged the two newspapers into the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Pulitzer moved to New York, where he acquired the New York World (1883), founded the New York Evening World(1887), and became one of the most powerful newspaper publishers in the United States.

Although he maintained control over his publishing empire, Pulitzer had frail health and was almost completely blind in his later years. His will provided for the financing of the Pulitzer Prizes as well as for what is now the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University.

(Source; Who2.com)

Image credit; Wikipedia

Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine, and online journalism, literature, and musical composition within the United States.

Winning a Pulitzer is such an enviable achievement. This award is the most coveted recognition for writers and journalists. The story of Joseph Pulitzer is an inspiriting story of how with hard work one can change one’s destiny.

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – O

For Letter O, my choice is Oprah Winfrey

Facts about Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is 67 years old
Born: January 29, 1954
Birthplace: Kosciusko, Mississippi, United States

Oprah Winfrey Biography

Actor Talk Show Host 
Name at birth: Orpah Gail Winfrey

Orpah Winfrey is one of the most successful talk show hosts and multimedia publishers in American TV history.

Oprah Winfrey first got into broadcasting in the early 1970s; after anchoring and reporting TV news in Nashville, Tennessee, and Baltimore, Maryland, she landed a job on the morning show of A.M. Chicago in 1984. The next year she made the leap to acting, making her movie debut in The Color Purple (based on the Alice Walker book) and earning an Oscar nomination for her work.

In 1986 she launched The Oprah Winfrey Show, a TV talk show which featured celebrity interviews and discussions of social issues, along with tearful confessions of personal failings or traumas by guests or by Oprah herself.  The show was a smash hit and within a decade Oprah was one of the richest women in the United States, and so popular that she was known by her first name alone.

Oprah’s Book Club,” a feature of her show highlighting new books, became famous for its ability to create bestsellers. In 2000 she launched her own lifestyle magazine, O. She announced in November of 2009 that she would end her TV show when her existing contract ended, and her final shows were broadcast in May of 2011.

In the meantime she had started her own cable channel, called OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network. She debuted a new interview show on that network, Oprah’s Next Chapter, in January of 2012. In the years since she has continued to run her multimedia empire and devoted herself to philanthropy; in 2013, for instance, she donated $13 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

For many years Forbes magazine has listed Oprah Winfrey as a billionaire in its annual wealth rankings. She continues to act occasionally, appearing in movies like The Butler(2013) and Selma (2014) and the 2017 TV movie The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (on which she was also executive producer).

Oprah Winfrey was given Kennedy Center Honors in 2010 and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2013. Her books include the health manual Make the Connection: Ten Steps to a Better Body–And a Better Life (1996, with Bob Greene) and the essay collection What I Know For Sure (2014).

(Source; Who2.com)

Oprah inspired millions of people around the world. Her remarkable courage and determination made her overcome the adverse circumstances of her childhood. Born in a life of poverty, she rose to become the richest African American of the 20th century. There would be very few people who don’t know Oprah!

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – N

For Letter N, my choice is Sir Issac Newton

Facts about Sir Newton

Sir Isaac Newton died at 84 years old
Born: January 4, 1643
Died: March 20, 1727 
Birthplace: Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England

Sir Isaac Newton Biography

Sir Isaac Newton’s discoveries were so numerous and varied that many consider him to be the father of modern science.

A 1665 graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, Isaac Newton developed an intense interest in mathematics and the laws of nature which ultimately led to his two most famous works: Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687) and Opticks (1704).

Newton helped define the laws of gravity and planetary motion, co-founded the field of calculus, and explained laws of light and color, among many other discoveries.

A famous story says that Isaac Newton uncovered the laws of gravity after being hit on the head by a falling apple. There is no proof that this story is true. However, his assistant John Conduitt later wrote that Newton had said he was inspired to think about gravity after seeing an apple fall in his garden around 1666.

Isaac Newton was knighted in 1705. Upon his death in 1727, he became the first scientist given the honor of burial in Westminster Abbey.

(Source; Who2.com)

I think I was 7 or 8 when I heard the story about the apple and Newton. Gravity always fascinated me and I was a student of science all through my education. These great scientists are the founders of modern science and their contributions are priceless. My inspiration for studying science was Newton.

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A to Z Challenge- People, Qualities or Things that inspired me – K

For Letter K, my choice is Hellen Keller

Helen Keller

A Brief Biographical Timeline

1880: On June 27, Helen Keller is born in Tuscumbia, Alabama.

1882:  Following a bout of illness, Helen loses her sight and hearing.

1887: Helen’s parents hire Anne Sullivan, a graduate of the Perkins School for the Blind, to be Helen’s tutor.  Anne begins by teaching Helen that objects have names and that she can use her fingers to spell them. Over time, Helen learns to communicate via sign language, to read and write in Braille, to touch-lip read, and to speak.

1900: After attending schools in Boston and New York, Helen matriculates at Radcliffe College.

1903: Helen’s first book, an autobiography called The Story of My Life, is published.

1904: Helen graduates cum laude from Radcliffe, becoming the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

1915: Helen, already a vocal advocate for people with disabilities, co-founds the American Foundation for Overseas Blind to support World War I veterans blinded in combat. This organization later becomes Helen Keller International and expands its mission to address the causes and consequences of blindness, malnutrition, and poor health.

1920: Helen helps found the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

1924: Helen joins the American Foundation for the Blind. She serves as a spokesperson and ambassador for the foundation until her death.

1946: Helen begins touring internationally on behalf of the American Foundation for Overseas Blind (see 1915 above), expanding her advocacy for people with vision impairment.  In 11 years, she will visit 35 countries on five continents.

1956: Helen wins an Academy Award for a documentary film about her life.

1961: Helen suffers a stroke and retires from public life.

1964: Helen is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon Johnson.

1968: On June 1, Helen dies peacefully at her home in Connecticut.  Her ashes are interred at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

(Source; hki.org)

Hellen Keller was an inspiring woman who has set a new standard in courage. She developed her own skills and showed by example that it can be done to millions of people around the world. She encouraged people with disabilities to live fuller lives. Her compassion and intelligence combined with her ambition set her apart from the rest.

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WritePhoto- Steps

I am using this photo from Sue Vincent for writing my WritePhoto post for this Thursday.

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Take your courage in both of your hands and go forward

A new horizon, a new challenge is beckoning you

These steps are already crafted and laid for you

Take your courage in both your hands and step forward

Be afraid not of what tomorrow may hold for you

One can never know the gifts awaiting in the future day

So do step forward with courage and find the gifts

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