Charles Dickens in Cleveland
Attention, Charles Dickens fans: did you know there's something called the Cleveland Dickens Fellowship? There is (it's part of an international society), and they meet regularly at the Mayfield Heights Library. Do consider sticking your head in for a look-see sometime. Of course, if you're a real Dickens buff, you can always attend the 2006 international conference, scheduled for July 27-31 in Amsterdam. But you have to be a serious Cleveland history buff to know that the great one actually visited Cleveland once, in 1842. It was little more than a village then, but there was one hilariously contemporary facet to his visit, despite the fact it occurred more than a century and a half ago: history records that he threw a fit about something he read in the Plain Dealer!
According to an authoritative account of his visit (in the excellent Encyclopedia of Cleveland History), "While in Sandusky, Dickens had read a newspaper article appearing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, to which he took exception because of its chauvinistic bombast toward England. Evidently failing to realize that the Plain Dealer piece was merely a reprint from another newspaper, Dickens's ire had not abated upon his arrival in Cleveland." Interestingly enough, the year he visited also happened to be the very year of the newspaper's founding. It's been agitating writers ever since.