Question of the Week

I've been toying with this idea for quite some time, but finally, I decided that the Archive should have a bit of interactivity. Not that I mind working on this site singlehandedly; ask anyone who knows me, and they will probably tell you that I love to research: especially if the topic is continually fascinating.

So What's This Feature About?

Well, quite frankly, when looking for, finding, and reading countless articles about Shel Silverstein, questions are bound to come up. So each week I will address a question that I can't seem to find a definitive answer for. Here's this week's question:

What is Shel Silverstein's actual name, date, and year of birth?

OK, so that's really three questions. But those are the ones I want answered first. I've heard various versions, which I will detail along with the source of the information:

A. Is it Shelby or Sheldon?
Everyone knows the "Uncle Shelby" character. In most encyclopedic listings, the name given is, in fact, Shelby. However, in both Take Ten and Now Here's My Plan: A Book of Futilities, the name listed in the copyright is Sheldon. Take Ten goes even farther and lists him as Sheldon A. Silverstein. Even Ruth K. MacDonald's book of literary criticism opens its first chapter with "Shel Silverstein, or more formally, Sheldon...". See why I might be a bit confused here?

B. What's the year of birth?
Most books and articles go with 1932, so it almost seems unanimous. However, Take Ten lists the year of birth as 1930. As well, Richard Lingeman's article "The Third Mr. Silverstein", which was printed in 1978, states that Silverstein is "47 years old". Do the math, and Lingeman's article seems to support the 1930 theory.

C. What's the date of birth?
Again, the most consistent date is November 23, listed in almost all the encyclopedic entries I have managed to find. The only dissent is by MacDonald, who goes with September 25. I believe she uses that birthdate because it is the one listed in Lafcadio. While I suppose Shel might have printed his real birthdate...somehow I doubt it.

So, if anyone, anyone can answer these absolutely, please email me. It's highly esoteric, but on the other hand, I might as well be accurate here.

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