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 February 6-12, 2017
1693 – A royal charter is granted for the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is the 2nd college in the U.S., after Harvard University.
1861 – The Provisional Congress of Confederate States of America holds its first meeting.
1891 – The Dalton Gang stage their first, albeit unsuccessful, train robbery when they attempt to rob a Southern Pacific train in California.
1911 – The first old-age home opened in Prescott, Arizona. It was a home for indigent pioneers and disabled miners.
1926 -The National Football League rules that college students are ineligible play pro football until they graduate from college. The rule is not changed until 1990 when the NFL rules that players can play football three years after graduating from high school.
1933 – The 20th Amendment goes into effect making the presidential term begin in January not March.
1958 – Ted Williams signs with the Boston Red Sox for $135,000, making him the highest paid baseball player to date.
1968 – President Dwight Eisenhower plays golf and shoots a hole-in-one.
1971 – Alan Shepard hits the first golf balls on the Moon. Both golf balls Shepard hit are still on the Moon. Shepard died in 1998 at age 74. Watch his zero gravity putt:
1987 – The no-smoking ban in federal buildings takes effect.
1996 – Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss begins her 7-year jail sentence for tax evasion of which she served 20 months. Her 1994 conviction for pandering is later overturned. Fleiss is now 51 years old.
1998 – Washington National Airport is renamed Ronald Reagan National Airport.
2000 – First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton formally declares that she is a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat from the state of New York.
2014 – Jay Leno ends his time as host on The Tonight Show after 22 years.
1795 – The 11th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified, affirming the power of individual states.
1839 – Henry Clay declares in the Senate, “I had rather be right than president.” Clay loses his bid for the presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844. Clay died in 1852 at age 75 and is the first person to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
1915 – The first wireless message sent from a moving train to a station is received.
1936 – A flag is authorized for the Vice President of the U.S.
1948 – Omar Bradley succeeds Dwight Eisenhower as Army Chief of Staff.
1962 – President Kennedy begins the blockade of Cuba by banning all Cuban imports and exports.
1964 – The Beatles land at New York’s JFK airport for their first U.S. tour. Watch the lads land and take America by storm:
1964 – Boxer Cassius Clay becomes a Muslim and adopts the name Muhammad Ali.
1973 – The Senate creates the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities to investigate the 1972 election.
1983 – Elizabeth Dole is sworn-in during the Reagan administration as the first female secretary of transportation. Dole also serves as North Carolina’s first female senator from 2003-2009. Dole is now 80 years old.
1984 – The Bubble Boy (born without an immune system) touches his mom for the first time as he lay dying in the hospital following an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant. Twelve-year-old David dies two weeks later. His last name (Vetter) is not revealed until 10 years after his death to protect his family’s privacy. His brother, born with the same hereditary disease (SCID), lived only 7 months. Watch a touching video:
1984 – U. S. astronaut Bruce McCandless makes the first un-tethered spacewalk. During the nearly 6-hour spacewalk, he and fellow astronaut Robert Stewart practice retrieval and repair procedures to be undertaken by the next shuttle mission. Candless is now 79 years old.
1993 – Cartoon characters Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm Bamm Rubble get married in a made-for-TV movie.
1999 – NASA’s Stardust space probe is launched. The mission is to return comet dust samples from comet Wild 2. The mission is completed on January 15, 2006 when the sample capsule returns to Earth.
1837 – Richard Johnson is the first vice president chosen by the Senate according to the 12th Amendment. He serves during the Van Buren administration. Johnson died in 1850 at age 70.
1887 – The Dawes Act, written by Congressman Henry Dawes, authorizes the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments called reservations.
1898 – John Ames Sherman patents the first envelope folding and gumming machine.
1910 – William D. Boyce, philanthropist, incorporates the Boy Scouts of America. Boyce died in 1929 at age 70.
1918 – “Stars & Stripes”, a weekly U.S. armed forces newspaper, is first published.
1926 – Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio becomes Walt Disney Studios.
1935 – Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago is the first player picked in the first National Football League draft. Berwanger is picked by the Eagles, but he never plays in the NFL. He died in 2002 at age 88.
1944 – Harry McAlpin is the first black reporter accredited to the White House.
1969 – The last edition of the “Saturday Evening Post” is published. It is first published in 1897.
1974 – Three U.S. astronauts return to Earth after 85 days in the space station, Skylab.
1977 – “Hustler” magazine publisher Larry Flynt is sentenced to 7-25 years for “pandering obscenity” for selling Hustler magazine in Cincinnati, but serves only 6 days. His conviction is overturned in 1979. Flynt is shot and paralyzed in 1978 by serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who is executed in November 2013. Flynt is now 75 years old.
1990 – “60 Minutes” commentator Andy Rooney is suspended by CBS for 3 months for racial remarks attributed to him by a gay magazine.
1991 – Roger Clemens signs a (then) record $5,380,250 per year contract with the Boston Red Sox. The highest paid baseball player is currently Yankees Alex Rodriguez at $29 million per year.
1993 – GM sues NBC, alleging that “Dateline NBC” program that aired on November 17, 1992 rigged two truck crashes to show that 1973 to 1987 GM pickups were prone to fires. NBC later admits to editing the videos. Watch the rigged test:
2002 – The 19th Winter Olympic Games open at Salt Lake City, Utah.
1870 – The U.S. Army establishes the U.S. National Weather Service.
1895 – Volleyball is invented by W. G. Morgan of Massachusetts.
1900 – Dwight Davis establishes a new tennis trophy, the Davis Cup.
1909 – The first federal legislation prohibiting narcotics outlaws opium.
1926 – Teaching the theory of evolution is forbidden in Atlanta, Georgia schools. The “Scopes Monkey Trial” was in July 1925.
1942 – Daylight Savings War Time goes into effect in the U.S. The war ended over 70 years ago.
1950 – Senator Joseph McCarthy charges that the State Department is infested with 205 communists.
1953 – “The Adventures of Superman” show premieres on TV and airs until 1958. Superman actor George Reeves committed suicide in 1959 at age 45. Watch excerpts from the show:
1960 – The first star is placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star is for Joanne Woodward.
1964 – The Beatles make their first appearance of on the “Ed Sullivan Show” to 3.7 million viewers. Watch the four lads:
1964 – The GI Joe character created and produced by the toy company Hasbro. GI stands for Government Issued.
1971 – Satchel Paige becomes the first Negro League player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1947, at age 42, Paige becomes the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball history. In 1965, at age 59, he becomes the oldest baseball player to play in a game and pitches three scoreless innings for the Kansas City Athletics. Paige died in 1982 at age 75.
1990 – “The Brady’s” return for 6 episodes on TV with the original cast from “The Brady Bunch.”
2002 – The XIX Winter Olympics opens in Salt Lake City, Utah.
2016 – In the New Hampshire Presidential Primary, Republican Donald Trump wins (35%) over John Kasich (16%). Bernie Sanders (60%) defeats Hillary Clinton (38%) in Democrat race.
1846 – The Mormons, led by Brigham Young, begin their westward march to present-day Salt Lake City, Utah.
1855 – U.S. citizenship laws are amended so all children of U.S. parents born abroad are granted U.S. citizenship.
1863 – The first U.S. fire extinguisher patent is granted to Alanson Crane of Virginia.
1897 – The New York Times begins using the slogan “All the news that’s fit to print.”
1920 – Major league baseball outlaws all pitches involving tampering with the ball.
1924 – Bucky Harris, age 27, becomes the youngest manager ever in major league baseball (Washington Senators).
1930 – Congress authorizes the Grain Stabilization Corporation to bolster sagging prices by buying surplus crops.
1940 – Cartoon movie shorts of “Tom & Jerry,” created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, make their debut with MGM Studios. A total of 114 cartoon shorts are made between 1940 and 1957. Hanna and Barbera win 7 Academy Awards. Watch the first movie short:
1942 – Glenn Miller is awarded the very first gold record for selling 1 million copies of his song “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Miller died in 1944 at age 40 when his plane went down over the English Channel. The plane is never found.
1956 – “My Friend Flicka” premieres on CBS (later NBC) TV and airs until 1960. Johnny Washbrook stars with the purebred Arabian horse. The date of Flicka’s death is unknown. Washbrook is now 72 years old. Watch the premiere episode:
1967 – The 25th Amendment (Presidential Disability and Succession) goes into effect.
1989 – To gain deregulation, the World Wrestling Federation admits in a New Jersey court that pro wrestling is an exhibition and not a sport.
1993 – “Michael Jackson Talks to Oprah Winfrey” airs on ABC and draws an astounding 39.3 rating/56 share, about 90 million people. Watch part of the interview:
1997 – The O J Simpson jury reaches a decision and awards $25 million in punitive damages in a civil trial.
1752 – The Pennsylvania Hospital opens as the first hospital in the U.S.
1794 – A session of the U.S. Senate opens to the public for the first time.
1809 – Robert Fulton, an accomplished artist and portrait painter, patents the steamboat.
1812 – Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signs a redistricting bill, leading to the term “gerrymandering.”
1861 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln takes a train from Springfield, Illinois, to Washington, DC.
1916 – Emma Goldman is arrested for lecturing on birth control. She is convicted and serves 15 days in jail rather than pay the $100 fine. Goldman becomes a mentor to future Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Goldman’s arrests span more than 25 years from 1893 until she is deported back to Lithuania in 1919. She died in 1940 at age 70.
1937 – General Motors agrees to recognize the United Automobile Workers Union, ending the sit-down strike against them.
1941 – The first Gold record is presented to big band leader Glenn Miller for “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” a year before his death.
1953 – President Eisenhower denies the clemency appeal for the Rosenberg couple, who are convicted of spying.
1960 – Jack Paar walks off the set while live on the air on the “Tonight Show” with four minutes left. He did this in response to censors cutting out a joke from the show the night before. Watch rare clips, including Paar’s departure and return:
1969 – Diane Crump, age 20, becomes the first U.S. woman jockey to ride against male jockeys. The following year she becomes the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby.
1971 – The U.S., UK, USSR, and other countries sign the Seabed Treaty, outlawing the placement of nuclear weapons on the ocean floor.
1988 – Anthony Kennedy is appointed to Supreme Court by President Ronald Reagan. Kennedy is currently the longest serving Supreme Court Justice. He is now 80 years of age.
1993 – Janet Reno becomes the first female U.S. Attorney General when she is selected by President Clinton.
2002 – The six stars on NBC’s “Friends” sign a deal for $24 million each for the ninth and final season of the series.
2006 – While quail hunting in Texas, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shoots and wounds a companion.
1793 – The first U.S. fugitive slave law is passed, requiring the return of escaped slaves.
1850 – The original George Washington farewell address manuscript sells for $2,300.
1876 – Al Spalding opens his first sporting goods shop with his brother Walter. Al Spalding is a baseball player, manager, owner, and entrepreneur. He also publishes the first official rule guide for baseball in 1878. Spalding died in 1915 at age 65.
1878 – Frederick Thayer patents the baseball catcher’s mask, although he is not credited with inventing it.
1908 – The New York City to Paris great auto race begins. The route includes Albany, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Valdez (Alaska), Vladivostok, Omsk, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Berlin, and finally Paris. George Schuster wins behind the wheel of his Thomas Flyer, covering 3 continents and over 22,000 miles in 169 days. The feat has never been duplicated or equaled. Schuster died in 1972 at age 99.
1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded.
1914 – The cornerstone is laid for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. It is completed in 1922.
1924 – President Calvin Coolidge makes the first presidential radio speech.
1955 – President Eisenhower sends the first U.S. advisors to South Vietnam.
1964 – The Beatles perform their first in concert in New York City at Carnegie Hall.
1973 – The first U.S. POWs in North Vietnam are released – 116 of the 456 POWs are flown to the Philippines.
1984 – Cale Yarborough becomes the first Daytona 500 qualifier to reach more than 200 MPH, and wins his fourth Daytona 500. He wins in 1968, 1977, 1983, and 1984, making him second among winning drivers behind Richard Petty (7 wins). Yarborough is now 77 years old.
2001 – The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker spacecraft, launched in 1996, touches down on 433 Eros, becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.
2004 – Mattel announces that “Barbie” and “Ken” are breaking up. The dolls met on the set of their first television commercial together in 1961. Watch the original commercial: