This Week In History
by Dianne Hermann
“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.
They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
– Thomas Jefferson
1857 – Atlantic Monthly magazine is first published, billing itself as a “journal of literature, politics, science, and the arts.” It is still in publication.
1906 – Teddy Roosevelt is the first President to visit other countries when he travels to Puerto Rico and Panama.
1935 – The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) labor union forms. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) forms in 1886. The two unions merge in 1955 as the AFL-CIO.
1938 – Al Capp, Lil’ Abner cartoonist, creates Sadie Hawkins Day.
1953 – The Supreme Court rules that Major League baseball is exempt from anti-trust laws.
1982 – Sugar Ray Leonard retires from boxing for the first time. He retires again in 1984. He comes out of retirement in 1987 to defeat Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Sugar Ray retires again in 1991 only to return to the ring in 1997 at age 40. He retires for the last time in 1997 following a TKO and is inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame later that same year.
1984 – “The Three Servicemen” Memorial is completed. It is designed and created to complement the controversial design of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
1997 – Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions becomes the first player in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards in nine straight seasons. In the same game Sanders also passes former Dallas Cowboy Tony Dorsett for third place on the all-time rushing list.
2004 – First Lady Laura Bush officially reopened Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House to pedestrians.
2009 – Joe Cada at age 21 becomes the youngest champion of the World Series of Poker’s main event, with total winnings of over $8.5 million.
1766 – The last Colonial governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, signs the charter of Queen’s College. It is later renamed Rutgers University.
1775 – Congress forms the U.S. Marine Corps. Major Samuel Nicholas is the first Commandant (1775-1783).
1891 – The first Woman’s Christian Temperance Union meeting is held in Boston.
1891 – Granville T. Woods patents the electric railway. Known as the “Black Edison,” Woods receives close to 60 patents, 15 for inventions or improvements for electric railroads.
1911 – Andrew Carnegie forms the Carnegie Corporation for scholarly and charitable works.
1926 – Vincent Massey becomes the first Canadian minister to visit the U.S.
1951 – Direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began when Mayor M. Leslie Denning of Englewood, New Jersey, called his counterpart in Alameda, California.
1954 – The Iwo Jima Memorial is dedicated in Arlington, Virginia.
1969 – “Sesame Street” premieres on PBS TV. The show is still on the air and is the longest running children’s show. Its creators include Muppets creators Jim Henson and Frank Oz.
1982 – The Cleveland Cavaliers lose their 24th consecutive basketball game, breaking an NBA record – until they set a new record by losing 26 consecutive games in 2011.
1982 – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial opens in Washington, DC. Chinese-American Ohio-born Maya Ying Lin’s design is chosen from more than 1,400 submissions.
1983 – The federal government shuts down (again).
1993 – The House of Representatives passes the Brady Bill, which calls for a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases.
1996 – Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins becomes the first NFL quarterback in history to pass for more than 50,000 yards.
1997 – Pakistani immigrant Mir Aimal Kasi is convicted of the 1993 murders of two CIA employees. He is executed in 2002 and his body returned to Pakistan.
1997 – The 1960s pop artist Peter Max pleads guilty to tax fraud and time served. Max is now 86 years old.
2014 – Ethel Kennedy is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Watch the brief ceremony:
November 11 – Thanks to our Veterans!
1750 – The F.H.C. Society, also known as the Flat Hat Club, is formed at Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is the first college fraternity.
1865 – Mary Edwards Walker, the first female Army surgeon, becomes the first woman to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
1918 – World War I ends at 11 AM with the signing of the Treat of Versailles. President Wilson proclaims November 11 a national holiday as Armistice Day in 1919. The holiday is renamed Veteran’s Day after WWII. In 1954 President Eisenhower makes the first Veterans Day proclamation.
1926 – U.S. Route 66 is established and when completed goes from Chicago is LA, covering more than two thousand miles all the way. Get your kicks on Route 66.
1933 – The “Great Black Blizzard” is the first great dust storm in the Great Plains.
1939 – Kate Smith makes her first public performance of “God Bless America,” written by Russian-born immigrant Irving Berlin in 1918. Watch the quinensential performance of the patriotic song:
1959 – The first episode of “Rocky & His Friends” premiers on TV and airs until 1964. The “friends” include the moose Bullwinkle and Russian-like spies Boris and Natasha.
1965 – Heavyweight boxer Mohamed Ali (Cassius Clay) KOs Floyd Patterson in Las Vegas, Nevada.
1981 – Fernando Valenzuela is the first rookie pitcher ever to win baseball’s Cy Young Award.
1983 – President Reagan becomes the first U.S. President to address Japan’s legislature.
1987 – Judge Anthony M. Kennedy is nominated to the Supreme Court. Kennedy is 79 years old and still serves on the Court.
1992 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin tells U.S. senators in a letter that Americans had been held in prison camps after World War II. Some were “summarily executed,” but others were still living in his country voluntarily.
1993 – The Vietnam Women’s Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC, to honor the more than 11,000 women who served in the Vietnam War.
1998 – Jay Cochrane sets a record for the longest blindfolded skywalk. He walks on a tightrope between the towers of the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas, which are 600 feet apart. Watch the death-defying walk:
2002 – Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates pledges $100 million to fight AIDS in India.
1910 – A man jumps into Hudson River from a burning balloon for the first movie stunt.
1920 – Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis is elected as the first baseball commissioner.
1933 – The first Sunday football game is played in Philadelphia. It was previously illegal to play on Sunday.
1946 – A branch of the Exchange National Bank in Chicago, Illinois, opens the first multiple drive-up teller windows.
1954 – Ellis Island, the immigration station in New York Harbor, closes. It opens in 1892. Over 12 millions immigrants pass through Ellis Island.
1968 – The Supreme Court declares the Arkansas law banning teaching of evolution in public schools unconstitutional.
1969 – The U.S. army announces it is investigating Lt. William Calley for an alleged March 19th massacre of civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai. He is convicted on 22 counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison. President Nixon orders Calley transferred to house arrest in Fort Benning, Georgia, where he remains for 3 ½ years.
1975 – Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas retires after a record 36 years on the bench.
1981 – Double Eagle V completes the first balloon crossing of Pacific Ocean from Japan to California in 84 ½ hours. It sets a new distance record of 5,768 miles.
1984 – Space shuttle astronauts snare a satellite in the first space salvage operation.
1987 – The American Medical Association issues a policy statement that says it is unethical for a doctor to refuse to treat someone solely because that person has AIDS or was HIV-positive.
1997 – Ramzi Yousef is found guilty of masterminding the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
1998 – Daimler-Benz completes a merger with Chrysler to form Daimler-Chrysler AG.
2002 – Stan Lee files a $10 million lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment Inc. claiming the company cheated him out of millions of dollars in movie profits related to the 2002 movie “Spider-Man.” Lee is the creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, and Daredevil.
1789 – Ben Franklin writes, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.”
1875 – The National Bowling Association organized in New York City.
1909 – 259 miners die in a fire at St. Paul Mine at Cherry, Illinois.
1927 – The New York-New Jersey Holland Tunnel, the first twin-tube underwater auto tunnel, opens to traffic.
1942 – The minimum military draft age is lowered from 21 to 18.
1946 – The first artificial snow is produced from a natural cloud in Mount Greylock, Massachusetts. An airplane flies over Mount Greylock and seeds the clouds with super-cooled ice crystals.
1964 – Bob Pettit (St. Louis Hawks) becomes the first NBA player to score 20,000 points. Thirty-seven other players have since scored over 20,000 points.
1977 – The final Al Capp comic strip of “Li’l Abner” is printed. It premiered in 1934. Al Capp died in November 1979 at age 70.
1980 – The U.S. spacecraft Voyager I sends back the first close-up pictures of Saturn.
2002 – Eminem releases his single ‘Lose Yourself’ from soundtrack of “8 Mile” and becomes the first rap song to win an Academy Award Best Original Song.
2006 – A deal is finalized for Google Inc. to acquire YouTube for $1.65 million in Google stock.
2009 – NASA announces that water has been discoved on the moon. The discovery came from the planned impact on the moon of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).
1732 – Louis Timothee is hired in Philadelphia as the first professional librarian in the U.S.
1832 – The first horse-drawn streetcar (designed by John Stephenson) debuts in New York City. The fare is 12 cents to ride on 4th Avenue between Prince and 14th Streets.
1851 – “Moby Dick,” written by Herman Melville, is published. Melville died in 1891 at age 72.
1881 – Charles J. Guiteau goes on trial for the July 2nd assassination of President Garfield. Guiteau is convicted and then hanged on June 30, 1882.
1889 – New York World reporter Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) begins her attempt to surpass the fictitious journey of Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg by traveling around world in less than 80 days. She succeeds by finishing the trip in January in 72 days and 6 hours, setting a real world record.
1910 – The first airplane flight launches from the deck of a ship in Norfolk, Virginia.
1965 – The U.S. government sends 90,000 soldiers to Vietnam.
1968 – Yale University announces it is going co-educational.
1972 – Dow Jones closes above 1,000 for first time (1003.16).
1979 – President Carter freezes all Iranian assets in the U.S. and U.S. banks abroad in response to the taking of 63 American hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran.
1993 – Don Shula becomes the winningest coach in NFL history with his 325th victory with the Miami Dolphins in his 31-year career. He passes coach George Halas’ record of 324 wins during his 40-year career with the Chicago Bears. Shula is now 86 years old.
2001 – The House of Representatives votes not to create an independent commission to investigate the September 11 attacks.
2013 – Boston gangster Whitey Bulger is sentenced to two consecutive life terms plus five years for his crimes.
1763 – Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon begin surveying the Mason-Dixon Line between Pennsylvania and Maryland.
1864 – Union Gen. William T. Sherman and his troops began their “March to the Sea” during the Civil War.
1881 – The American Federation of Labor (AFL) is founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (See Nov. 9, 1935)
1904 – King C. Gillette patents the Gillette razor blade.
1932 – The Walt Disney Art School is created to train his animators in preparation for full-length feature cartoons.
1939 – The Social Security Administration approves the first unemployment check.
1939 – FDR lays the cornerstone of Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. It is completed in 1943.
1957 – The U.S. sentences Soviet spy Rudolf Ivanovich Abel to 30 years in prison and fines him $3,000. He smuggled coded messages in hollow nickels.
1960 – Elgin Baylor of NBA’s LA Lakers scores a record 71 points against the New York Knicks. Wilt Chamberlain now holds the record for most points scored in a single game. The Philadelphia Warriors’ player scores 100 points in a March 1962 game, also against the Knicks.
1976 – The first megamouth shark is captured.
1985 – A research assistant is injured when a package from the Unabomber addressed to a University of Michigan professor explodes. Ted Kaczynski mails bombs for 18 years, killing 3 and injuring 23 people. He is convicted in 1998 after pleading guilty. Kaczynski is sentenced to four life terms in prison.
1986 – Ivan F. Boesky, reputed to be the highest-paid person on Wall Street, faces penalties of $100 million for insider stock trading. It is the highest penalty ever imposed by the SEC.
1990 – Music producers confirm that singing duo Milli Vanilli didn’t sing on their album. Their Grammy Award is withdrawn when it is revealed the duo lip-synched their album. Watch them perform (sort of) at the Grammys:
1992 – Richard Petty drivse in the final race of his 35-year career. Petty is now 78 years old.
1993 – Joe Buttafuoco is sentenced to 6 months for the statutory rape of Amy Fisher. Fisher shoots Joe’s wife in the face and severely injures her. Fisher is convicted and spends seven years in prison. The Buttafuoco’s get a divorce in 2003.
2005 – Boeing formally launches the stretched Boeing 747-8.
2012 – BP settles for $4.5 billion in the Deep Horizon Oil Spill.