1811 - William Makepeace Thackeray
English novelist known for satirical works such as Vanity Fair.
1900 - Nathalie Sarraute
French author and dramatist who won the Prix International de littérature in 1961 for her novel Les Fruits d'or (The Golden Fruits.)
1902 - Jessamyn West
American Quaker novelist (and second cousin to Richard Nixon) whose debut book The Friendly Persuasion is still her most well-known.
1926 - Margaret Laurance
Influential Canadian author of the novel The Stone Angel, which was selected in 2002 for the Canada Reads program.
1937 - Hunter S. Thompson
American journalist and author, creator of Gonzo Journalism. His topics ranged from sports to politics to cultural commentary.
1943 - Joseph J. Ellis
American historian and professor who has won both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize for his bestselling works.
1951 - Steven Hahn
American historian who won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for History for A Nation Under Our Feet.
1969 - Elizabeth Gilbert
American writer best known for her 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love.
1698 - Johann Heinrich Heidegger
1817 - Jane Austen
1899 - Horatio Alger Jr.
1932 - Jean Jules Jusserand
1950 - Carl Clinton Van Doren
2001 - Georgess McHargue