The year-end wrap-up shows are compiling their lists of the famous and not-so-famous who passed away in the last 12 months. It’s perhaps more rewarding and certainly more cheerful to consider what a banner year ’09 has been in the past for births of future luminaries. Here are just some of the historical notables whose centenaries fell in 2009:
One hundred years ago, in 1909, were born Barry Goldwater, Peter Drucker, and Isaiah Berlin (among a host of well-known overachievers like Elia Kazan, David Riesman, Dean Rusk, Simone Weil, C. Northcote Parkinson, and Errol Flynn).
A stellar group of 1809 bicentennial births includes Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Edgar Allen Poe, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Nikolai Gogol, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
The year 1709 boasts quality over quantity by being the date of the birth of The Great Cham of Literature, Samuel Johnson.
And a half millennium has passed since the arrival of religious reformer John Calvin, born in 1509.
Amid all the gloom of the past year, perhaps there was born, if not a savior, another child destined to change the world for the better.