This Week in History


This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”
– Ronald Reagan

Week of November 14-20, 2016

November 14

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. Watch an interview with Shula on his coaching career:

1997 – Disney’s “Lion King” sets a Broadway record of $2,700,000 one day sales.

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.

November 15

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.

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.

1959 – Richard “Dick” Hickock and Perry Smith murder four members of the Clutter Family at their farm outside Holcomb, Kansas. The murders become the subject of Truman Capote’s book “In Cold Blood.”

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 drives in the final race of his 35-year career. Petty is now 79 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 Buttafuocos get a divorce in 2003.

1995 – Space Shuttle Atlantis docks with the orbiting Russian space station “Mir.” Watch space cameras capture the docking:

2005 – Boeing formally launches the stretched Boeing 747-8.

2012 – BP settles for $4.5 billion in the Deep Horizon Oil Spill.

2013 – Sony launches Playstation Four, selling one million units on the first day.

November 16

1676 – The first colonial prison is organized in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

1841 – Napoleon Guerin of New York patents life preservers made of cork.

1914 – The Federal Reserve System formally opens. The “Fed” is created by Congress during the Wilson administration as the central bank of the U.S. to influence monetary policy and regulate banks. The “Fed” has never been audited.

1933 – President Roosevelt establishes diplomatic relations with the USSR.

1945 – Two new elements, americium (atomic number 95) and curium (atomic number 96), are discovered by Glenn Seaborg, Ralph James, Leon Morgan, and Albert Ghiorso in Chicago.

1952 – In the Peanuts comic strip, Lucy first holds a football for Charlie Brown.

1963 – The touch-tone telephone is introduced.

1965 – Walt Disney launches Epcot Center (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). Walt Disney dies the following year and Epcot opens in 1982. Watch an animated ride on the EPCOT People Mover with electronic voiceover:

1969 – President Nixon becomes the first president to attend a regular season NFL game while in office. The Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins 41-28.

1973 – President Nixon authorizes construction of the Alaskan pipeline.

1981 – Luke and Laura finally get married on the soap opera “General Hospital.” Watch the long-awaited wedding ceremony:

2000 – Bill Clinton becomes the first U.S. President to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.

2012 – “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” grosses $500 million in 24 hours to become the biggest entertainment launch of all time.

November 17

1800 – Congress holds its first session in the incomplete Capitol building Washington, DC. The building is completed in 1826.

1894 – The “Daily Racing Form” for Thoroughbred horse racing is founded. It is launched in Chicago and is the only U.S. newspaper dedicated to a single sport. It is published daily except for Christmas Day.

1927 – A tornado hits the Washington, DC area and is the most destructive tornado to hit DC. One person is killed and 49 are injured. About 150 homes are destroyed or damaged. The Navy Yard and Anacostia Naval Air Station are hardest hit, causing an estimated $1 million in damage.

1936 – Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy become an overnight success on radio. The Edgar Bergen/ Charlie McCarthy Show airs until 1956. Edgar Bergen died in 1978 at age 75. Charlie is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

1940 – The Green Bay Packers become the first NFL team to travel to a game by plane.

1967 – Surveyor 6 becomes the first man-made object to lift off the Moon.

1968 – NBC cuts to the movie “Heidi,” missing the Oakland Raider’s rally in the final two minutes of the football game. The Raiders score two touchdowns in 42 seconds to beat the New York Jets, 43-32 in the “Heidi Bowl.” Watch the news broadcast and the last minute of the game never seen at on TV:

1982 – The Empire State Building in New York City is added to the National Register of Historical Places.

1992 – Dateline NBC airs a demonstration showing a General Motors truck blowing up on impact. It is later revealed NBC rigged the test. Watch the test and Dateline NBC’s mea culpa:

1993 – The U.S. House of Representatives approves the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

2003 – Britney Spears, age 21, becomes the youngest singer to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

2004 – Kmart Corp. announces it is buying Sears, Roebuck and Co. for $11 billion and naming the newly merged company Sears Holdings Corporation.

November 18

1820 – U.S. Navy Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer of Connecticut, age 22, discovers Antarctica.

1852 – Sister Rose Philippine Duchesne dies in St. Charles, Missouri, at age 83. Born in France in 1769, Rose is sent to Missouri in 1818 and opens the first free school west of the Mississippi. She is canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

1865 – Samuel L. Clemens publishes “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” under the pen name “Mark Twain” in the New York “Saturday Press.”

1871 – American suffragette Susan B. Anthony is arrested after voting on November 5th in Rochester, New York.

1883 – Standard time zones are formed by the railroads in U.S. and Canada.

1902 – Brooklyn toymaker Morris Michton names the stuffed bear after President Theodore Roosevelt. The “teddy” bear is nicknamed for the president following a hunting trip in 1902 with Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino. Teddy Roosevelt refused to kill an old bear tied to a tree.

1928 – The first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon, Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie,” starring Mickey Mouse premieres in New York.

1932 – “Flowers & Trees” by Walt Disney Studios receives the first Academy Award for a cartoon. Watch the cartoon at:

1949 – Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers is named the National League’s MVP.

1951 – Chuck Connors (Los Angeles Angels) becomes the first player to oppose the major league baseball draft. Connors later becomes the star of the television show “The Rifleman.”

1961 – President JFK sends 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam.

1966 – U.S. Roman Catholic bishops do away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays except during Lent.

1978 – In Jonestown, Guyana (South America), 909 members of the Peoples Temple are murdered or commit suicide under the leadership of American cult leader Jim Jones.

1985 – Quarterback Joe Theismann (Washington Redskins) breaks his leg after being hit by Lawrence Taylor (New York Giants), ending Theismann’s 12-year NFL career. Watch the play with interviews:

1991 – Muslim Shiites release Iranian hostages Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland.

2001 – Phillips Petroleum and Conoco merge into a new company as ‘ConocoPhillips’, the third-largest oil and natural gas company in the U.S.

November 19

1620 – The “Mayflower” reaches Cape Cod and explores the coast.

1794 – The Jay Treaty is signed with Great Britain. Named for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, the treaty grants America “Most Favored Nation” status but leaves many issues from the Revolutionary War unresolved.

1805 – Lewis and Clark reach Pacific Ocean, becoming the first European Americans to cross the continent.

1861 – Julia Ward Howe pens “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as a poem. It is first published in “The Atlantic Monthly” in February 1862. The music is from the song “John Brown’s Body.”

1863 – Abraham Lincoln delivers his famous “Four score and seven years ago…” address in Pennsylvania dedicating the Gettysburg battlefield. Lincoln is asked to deliver the “concluding remarks” at the dedication ceremony, following the lengthy principal address by Massachusetts Senator Edward Everett. Listen to a recitation of the address with Civil War photographs:

1873 – William Magear Tweed (“Boss Tweed” of Tammany Hall, New York City) is convicted of defrauding city of $6 million and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

1919 – The U.S. Senate rejects the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations by a vote of 55-39.

1928 – “Time” magazine presents its cover in color for the first time. The subject is Japanese Emperor Hirohito.

1950 – U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the supreme commander of NATO in Europe. He is the U.S. president from 1952-1960.

1959 – Ford cancels production of the Edsel automobile.

1965 – Kellogg’s Pop Tarts pastries are created.

1979 – Future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chuck Berry is released from prison after serving a four-month sentence for income tax evasion.

1980 – CBS TV bans Calvin Klein’s jeans ad featuring 15-year-old Brooke Shields. Watch the provocative ad at:

1984 – Dwight Gooden, 20-year-old, of the New York Mets, becomes the youngest major-league pitcher to be named Rookie of the Year in the National League.

1985 – U.S. President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time.

1997 – Bobbi McCaughey of Des Moines, Iowa, gives birth to septuplets (4 boys and 3 girls) in the first known case where all seven babies were born alive and survive infancy. They are now 19 years old.

1998 – The U. S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against President Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The House of Representatives impeaches Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice but he remains in office. President Andrew Johnson is the only other president to endure impeachments proceedings. The impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors” is not upheld and Johnson also remains in office.

2002 – The U.S. government completes its takeover of security at 424 airports nationwide.

2007 – The Amazon Kindle is first released.

November 20

1789 – New Jersey becomes the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

1866 – The first national convention of the veterans’ organization the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) is held.

1914 – The U.S. State Department starts requiring photographs on passports.

1947 – “Meet the Press” makes its network TV debut on NBC. The news program is the longest running TV show and still airs weekly.

1959 – WABC fires Alan Freed over the “payola” scandal. Freed accepts gratuities and consultation fees from record companies and promoters. When ABC demands that Freed sign a prepared oath swearing he never received payments for promoting musical recordings on the air, Freed refuses and is fired.

1967 – The Census Clock at the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC, goes past 200 million people. See the U.S. and world census clocks: Census clock

1969 – The Nixon administration announces a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phase out of the substance.

1979 – The first artificial blood transfusion in the U.S. takes place at University of Minnesota Hospital.

1982 – Drew Barrymore hosts Saturday Night Live at age 7, making her the youngest host in SNL history. She has hosted SNL six times. Watch the opening skit with little Drew: Drew Barrymore SNL

1984 – McDonald’s made its 50 billionth hamburger. They stopped updating their signs after 99 billion are sold in 1994. It is estimated that McDonald’s will sell their 300 billionth hamburger this year. They sell 75 hamburgers every second. McDonald’s estimates that 1 in 8 Americans have worked for the hamburger chain.

1998 – Forty-six states agree to a $206 billion settlement of health claims against the tobacco industry. The industry also agrees to give up billboard advertising of cigarettes.

2001 – President George W. Bush dedicates the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building in DC as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honoring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday.

2008 – After critical failures in the U.S. financial system, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level since 1997.

2014 – Nearly 5 million illegal migrants in the U.S. will have the threat of deportation deferred after President Obama announces sweeping immigration changes.