This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past,
for human events ever resemble those of preceding times.”
Week of August 28-Sept. 3, 2017
1609 – Henry Hudson discovers and explores Delaware Bay.
1830 – The first steam locomotive train built in the U.S., “Tom Thumb,” runs from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mill, Maryland, carrying the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad directors. It hauls passengers until 1831 but is never put into regular service. “Tom Thumb” is salvaged for parts in 1834.
1907 – The United Parcel Service (UPS) is founded by teenagers James E. Casey and Claude Ryan in Seattle, Washington, as the American Messenger Company with a $100 investment. The company started making deliveries in a Model T Ford in 1913. UPS, now headquartered near Atlanta, Georgia, is the largest package delivery company in the world, delivering more than 15 million packages daily.
1917 – Ten suffragists are arrested as they picket in front of the White House. They had been picketing every day since January. Ninety-seven of the suffragettes who were arrested between June and November 1907 spent time in either a workhouse or jail. Many of the women went a hunger strike and were force fed through a nasogastric tube (a tube inserted through the nose into the stomach). It was another three years before the 19th Amendment was passed giving women the right to vote. The 15th Amendment, giving blacks the right to vote, was passed by Congress in 1869 and ratified in 1870.
1922 – The first radio commercial airs on WEAF in New York City. The Queensboro Realty Company buys 10 minutes of time for $100.
1938 – Northwestern University awards an honorary degree to Charlie McCarthy, ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s dummy. The degree was a “Master of Innuendo and Snappy Comeback.” Bergen attended Northwester, but never graduated. Bergen died in 1978 at age 75. McCarthy is on display at the Smithsonian.
1957 – Democrat Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina begins a 24-hour 18-minute filibuster against the Civil Rights Bill. He still holds the record for the longest filibuster in Congress. The bill was a watered-down version of the original House bill after Senate Majority Leader (and future president Lyndon Johnson) led the fight against the protection provisions in the bill. The bill passed less than 2 hours after Thurmond ends his filibuster. Every Republican voted for the bill, while nearly 40 percent of Democrats voted against it. Thurmond died in 2003 at age 100.
1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. Listen to the entire speech:
1981 – The National Centers for Disease Control announces a high incidence of Pneumocystis and Kaposi’s sarcoma in gay men. Both diseases are later linked to HIV and AIDS.
1995 – The biggest bank in the U.S. is created when Chase Manhattan and Chemical Bank announce their $10 billion deal.
2014 – Google announces Project Wing, aimed at delivering products across a city using unmanned flying vehicles (drones). Watch the Project Wing test flight video:
1758 – The New Jersey Legislature forms the first Indian reservation in the U.S. for the Lenni-Lenape Indians in Burlington County.
1862 – The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing begins operation, with Salmon P. Chase as the Treasury Secretary, by printing $1 and $2 bills. Salmon P. Chase appears on the $10,000 bill. He is one of only three men who appear on currency who were not presidents. Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill and Alexander Hamilton is on the $10 bill.
1885 – The first boxing prizefight under the Marquess of Queensberry rules is held in Cincinnati, Ohio. John L. Sullivan defeats Dominick McCaffery in six rounds.
1904 – The first Olympics ever held in the U.S. opens in St. Louis, Missouri, with 651 athletes (645 men and 6 women) representing 12 participating countries.
1909 – American aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss wins the world’s first air race in his airplane “The June Bug.” The race is held in Rheims, France, over a 20-kilometer course. Curtiss flies the course at 46.5 miles per hour in less than 16 minutes. Curtiss died in 1930 at age 52 from complications following an appendectomy.
1944 – An estimated 15,000 American troops who liberated Paris, France, marched 24-men abreast down the Champs Elysees.
1958 – The Air Force Academy opens in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
1966 – The Beatles perform their last public concert. They perform at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Their first public concert in the U.S. was February 1964 in Washington, DC.
1988 – Macy’s 10th Annual Tap-o-Mania sets a Guinness world record for the largest assemblage of tap dancers at 4,497. The tap dancers range in age from 10 to 82.
2005 – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall as a Category 3 hurricane devastating much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida Panhandle, killing more than 1,836 and causing over $115 billion in damage. Watch a brief day-by-day report:
2007 – An Air Force nuclear weapons incident takes place at Minot Air Force Base and Barksdale Air Force Base when nuclear warheads are not removed before the missiles were transported.
1682 – William Penn, a Quaker, leaves England to sail to the New World aboard the ship Welcome. After arriving in Pennsylvania he and a group of Quaker Friends found Philadelphia, which is Greek for “city of brotherly love.”
1884 – Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey (born John Edward Kelly) wins the middleweight boxing title in the first fight with boxing gloves. Over his 12-year professional career, Dempsey was defeated only three times in 68 bouts. He died of TB in 1895 at the age of 32.
1963 – A hotline communications link begins between the Pentagon near D.C. and the Kremlin in Moscow.
1967 – The U.S. Senate confirms Thurgood Marshall as the first black Supreme Court Justice. He serves until 1991. Marshall died in 1993 at age 84.
1983 – The First Miss Teen USA pageant is held. It is an annual event for girls aged 14-19. Watch the first crowning ceremony:
1984 – President Ronald Reagan is inducted into the Sportscasters Hall of Fame. Reagan was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2011.
1990 – The Seattle Mariners become the first baseball team to have father-son teammates when Ken Griffey, Sr. (age 40) and son Ken Griffey, Jr. (age 20) play a game together.
1993 – “The Late Show with David Letterman” TV show premieres. He hosts the show until 2015. Watch the first episode:
1997 – In the first Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Championship game the Houston Comets beat the New York Liberty. There are currently 12 teams, six in the Eastern Conference and six in the Western.
2015 – Rap artist Kanye West announces at the MTV Video Music Awards that he will run for President in 2020.
1910 – President Theodore Roosevelt makes a speech in Kansas advocating a “square deal” in which property shall be “the servant and not the master of the commonwealth.”
1920 – John Lloyd Wright is issued a patent for “Toy-Cabin Construction,” which are known as Lincoln Logs. (U.S. patent 1,351,086)
1955 – William Cobb of General Motors demonstrates the first sun-powered automobile, the 15-inch-long “Sun Mobile,” at the GM Powerama in Chicago, Illinois.
1964 – California officially becomes (and remains) the most populated state in America. California has a current population of almost 40 million people, while Wyoming has the least with less than 600,000 people.
1965 – Congress creates the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
1978 – Emily and William Harris (of the Symbionese Liberation Army) plead guilty to the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst. The Harris’ are released from prison in 1983. They are not charged with the murder of Myrna Opsahl, whom they shot during the bank robbery, until 2002. They are convicted of Opsahl’s murder in 2003. Patty Hearst serves only 22 months in jail for the bank robbery when Jimmy Carter commutes her sentence.
1985 – The Night Stalker suspect who terrorized Southern California is captured in East Los Angeles. Richard Ramirez is convicted of 13 counts of murder, 5 attempted murders, 11 sexual assaults, and 14 burglaries. He died in prison in 2013 at age 53.
2012 – Apple Computers loses its patent dispute with Samsung of Tokyo, Japan.
1752 – The Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia from France. The Pennsylvania Assembly orders the Bell in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania’s original Constitution. The cause of the bell’s famous crack is unknown.
1807 – Former Vice President Aaron Burr is found innocent of treason. He was accused of leading a cabal whose goal was to create an independent country in present day Texas. President Thomas Jefferson, then in his second term, ordered Burr arrested. In the election of 1800, Jefferson and Burr tied in the number of electoral votes. The tie was broken by a vote in the House of Representatives due to the influence of Alexander Hamilton. Burr served as Jefferson’s vice president. In 1804, Vice President Burr killed Hamilton in a duel.
1859 – The first Pullman sleeping car is put in service on the Chicago and Alton Railroad. George M. Pullman and Benjamin C. Field use rebuilt day coaches.
1862 – Federal tax is levied on tobacco for the first time. Taxes are also levied on such items as feathers, telegrams, pianos, yachts, billiard tables, drugs, and whiskey to help pay for the Civil War.
1897 – The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America.
1914 – The passenger pigeon becomes extinct when a female pigeon named Martha dies in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo. The passenger pigeon was once the most common bird in the U.S., numbering in the billions. Its demise is the result of overhunting, habitat loss, and disease. A Smithsonian taxidermist mounts Martha’s skin and she is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
1922 – The first daily news program on the radio, “The Radio Digest,” airs on WBAY radio in New York City.
1942 – A Federal judge upholds the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
1975 – The TV show “Gunsmoke” goes off the air. It premieres in 1955. “Gunsmoke” is the longest running live-action TV show in history. The animated show “The Simpsons” is longest running TV show. Watch the first (1955) and final (1975) opening credits:
1979 – A Los Angeles Court orders that actor Clayton Moore stop wearing the Lone Ranger mask in public appearances after Jack Wrather, who owned the rights to the character, files a restraining order. Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) changes his mask slightly and in 1985 wins the right to wear his mask. Moore, who started his career as a child circus star, died in 1999 at age 85.
1985 – A U.S.-French expedition led by Robert Ballard locates the wreckage of the Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland. On this date in 1998, the movie “Titanic” goes on sale in the U.S.
1995 – The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame building, designed by I. M. Pei, opens in Cleveland, Ohio. The foundation was established in 1983. Cleveland is the home of Alan Freed, the disc jockey credited with coining the term “rock and roll.”
2005 – Seven members and former members of the AFL-CIO form a new trade union organization called the Change to Win Federation as an alternative to the AFL-CIO.
1789 – Congress establishes the U.S. Treasury Department.
1897 – The first issue of “McCall’s” magazine is published. The magazine had been known previously as “Queens Magazine” and “Queen of Fashion.”
1901 – Vice President Theodore Roosevelt advises, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
1902 – “A Trip To The Moon,” the first science fiction film, is released. Watch part of the silent film:
1919 – The Communist Party of America organizes in Chicago, Illinois, as a result of a split in the Socialist Party of America. In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation outlawing the Communist Party in the U.S. Its current membership is about 5,000 members.
1941 – The Academy of Motion Pictures copyrights the Oscar statuette. From the year it was first awarded in 1929 until 1941 the Academy claims common law copyright protection.
1945 – V-J Day (Victory in Japan) is when World War II ends after the formal surrender of Japan aboard the battleship USS Missouri.
1952 – Dr. Floyd J. Lewis is first surgeon to use the deep freeze technique (hypothermia) during open-heart surgery. His 5-year-old patient Jacqueline Johnson survives.
1963 – Gov. George C. Wallace (D-AL) prevents the integration of Tuskegee High School by shutting down the school. In June 1963, Governor Wallace blocked the entrance to the University of Alabama as a symbolic attempt to keep his campaign promise, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
1969 – The first automatic teller machine (ATM) in the U.S. is installed in Rockville Center, New York.
1986 – Cathy Evelyn Smith is sentenced to 3 years in prison for the death 1982 of comedian/ actor John Belushi. She is convicted of injecting Belushi with a lethal dose of heroin and cocaine and serves 15 months. Smith is now 70 years old. Watch a news report:
1987 – Donald Trump takes out a full page New York Times ad lambasting Japan.
1992 – The U.S. and Russia agree to a joint venture to build a space station. The first module was launched in 1998. The first crew arrived in 2000. By 2011, 159 components had been added. The ISS has an estimated cost of $150 billion.
1752 – The United Kingdom and its American colonies (now the U.S.) adopt the Gregorian calendar and September 3rd becomes September 14th. Pope Gregory XIII replaces the Julian calendar with the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and the change takes effect in most Catholic states.
1783 – The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the U.S. Revolutionary War of Independence.
1895 – The first professional football game is played. Quarterback John Brallier is paid $10 per game plus expenses. His team Latrobe wins that first game 12-0 over Jeannette in Indiana.
1925 – The dirigible “Shenandoah” crashes near Caldwell Ohio, and 13 passengers die. Watch the crash (no sound):
1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell becomes the first person to drive an automobile over 300 miles an hour. He reaches 304.331 MPH on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
1954 – The final episode of “The Lone Ranger” is heard on radio after 2,956 episodes over a period of 21 years. The Lone Ranger also airs on TV from 1949 to 1957. Watch the first episode of The Lone Ranger:
1964 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Wilderness Act into law, which creates the National Wilderness Preservation System.
1990 – Helen Hudson sings the national anthem in all 26 baseball stadiums in one season. The previous record was singing “The Star Spangled Banner” at 13 parks in one season.
1995 – eBay is founded by Pierre Omidyar, the French-born, American-educated son of Iranian immigrants. eBay wass originally called “Auction Web.”
2013 – Hunters in Mississippi capture a 13-foot, 727-pound alligator during alligator hunting season.