This Week in History, February 9-15, 2015


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


Week of February 9-15, 2015


February 9

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.

1942 – Daylight Savings War Time goes into effect in the U.S. The war ended 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.

1964 – The Beatles make their first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show” to 3.7 million viewers. Watch the four lads at:

1964 – The GI Joe character is 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.

2002 – The XIX Winter Olympics opens in Salt Lake City, Utah.


February 10

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.”

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.


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 70 years old.


1967 – The 25th Amendment (Presidential Disability and Succession) goes in effect.

1989 – To gain deregulation, the World Wresting 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.

1997 – The O J Simpson jury reaches a decision on $25 million in punitive damages in a civil trial.


February 11

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.

1953 – President Eisenhower denies the clemency appeal for the Rosenberg couple, who are convicted of spying.

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.


1993 – Janet Reno becomes the first female U.S. Attorney General when she is selected by President Clinton.


February 12

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.


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 75 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.


February 13

1795 – The University of North Carolina opens, becoming the first state university in the U.S.

1866 – Jesse James robs his first bank, the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, netting $60,000.

1935 – Bruno Hauptmann is found guilty of kidnapping and murdering the 20-month-old Lindbergh baby during “The Trial of the Century.” Hauptman is executed in the electric chair in 1936.

1957 – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference organizes in New Orleans. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. serves as its first president.

1959 – The Barbie doll goes on sale. Ruth Handler invents the iconic doll and names it after her own daughter Barbara. Ruth died in 2002 at age 85. Barbie is 55 years old. Watch an interview with Handler at:


1984 – Six-year-old Stormie Jones of Texas receives the first successful heart and liver transplant. Jones died in 1990 at age 13.

1997 – The Space Shuttle Discovery captures the Hubble Space Telescope to make repairs.


February 14

1803 – Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall declares that any act of the U.S. Congress that conflicts with the Constitution is void.

1849 – James Knox Polk becomes first sitting U.S. President to have his photograph taken. Future Civil War photographer Matthew Brady takes the photo.


1876 – Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray apply separately for telephone patents. The Supreme Court eventually rules that Bell is the rightful inventor.

1924 – IBM Corporation is founded by Thomas Watson.

1929 – Seven gangsters are killed in Chicago, allegedly on Al Capone’s orders, in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

1937 – The “Prince Valiant” comic strip appears in print. It is known for its historical detail.

1951 – Sugar Ray Robinson defeats Jake LaMotta to take the middleweight boxing title in their 6th and final fight. In 1943 LaMotta handed Robinson his first defeat. Robinson wins 173 of his 200 bouts, 108 by KO. He died in 1989 at age 67 and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame the following year. Watch the exciting 13th and final round at:

1971 – President Richard Nixon installs a secret taping system in the White House.

1978 – The first “micro on a chip” is patented by Texas Instruments.

1988 – Bobby Allison, age 50, becomes oldest driver to win the Daytona 500 stock car race. Trevor Bayne, age 20, becomes the youngest Daytona 500 winner in 2011.

1989 – The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS) are placed into orbit.

1990 – Space probe Voyager 1, launched in 1977, takes a photograph of our entire solar system. It carries a gold-plated audio-visual disc containing photos of Earth life forms, scientific information, music, and sounds of the Earth in the event it is found by intelligent life forms. Voyager’s mission is expected to continue collecting and sending back data until 2025, when it won’t have enough power to operate its instruments.


February 15

1764 – St. Louis, Missouri, is founded as a French trading post by fur trader Pierre Laclede. Laclede died in 1778 at age 48.

1879 – Congress authorizes women lawyers to practice before the Supreme Court.

1903 – The first Teddy Bear, named after President Theodore Roosevelt, is made by Morris and Rose Michtom.


1932 – George Burns and Gracie Allen debut as regulars on the “Guy Lombardo Show” on the radio. Gracie Allen died in 1964 at age 69 and George Burns died in 1996 at age 100.

1932 – U.S. bobsled team member Eddie Eagan becomes the only athlete to win gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. He wins gold in 1920 in boxing.

1941 – Duke Ellington records his hit song “Take the A Train.”

1961 – The entire U.S. figure skating team of 18 dies in the Belgian Sabena 707 plane crash en route to the World Figure Skating Championships in Prague. One of the skaters who dies is 16-year-old Laurence Owen, who wins the U.S. figure Stating Championship in January. She appears on the February 13th cover of Sports Illustrated.


1992 – Jeffrey Dahmer is found sane and subsequently convicted of killing 15 boys and sentenced to 15 life terms in prison. Dahmer is murdered in prison in 1994 at age 34 by then 25-year-old Christopher Scarver.

2001 – The first draft of the complete Human Genome is published in Nature, the international weekly journal of science.

2005 – YouTube, the popular Internet site on which videos may be shared and viewed by others, is launched in the United States.