This Week In History July 7-13 2014


This Week In History
by Dianne Hermann

“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
– Winston Churchill

Week of July 7-13, 2014

July 7

1863 – The first military draft in the U.S. is held. Exemptions to service during the Civil War cost $100.

1898 – President McKinley signs the resolution of annexation of the Hawaiian Islands.

1946 – Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini is canonized as the first American-born saint.


1948 – The Cleveland Indians sign 42-year-old Satchel Paige to a baseball contract. He is the oldest rookie in baseball history.

1949 – “Dragnet” starring Jack Webb premieres on NBC radio. Dragnet is also a TV series in 1951 and 1967, also starring Jack Webb.

1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor nominated as the first woman Supreme Court justice. She is confirmed by Congress 99-0 on July 8.

1987 – Lt. Col. Oliver North began public testimony at the Iran-Contra hearing.


July 8

1693 – New York City authorizes the first police uniforms in the American colonies.

1776 – Col. John Nixon gives the first public reading of Declaration of Independence. It is read aloud at the State House in Philadelphia.

1796 – The U.S. State Dept issues the first American passport.

1797 – William Blount of Tennessee becomes the first U.S. senator to be expelled by impeachment. He is allegedly part of a conspiracy to assist England in taking possession of Louisiana and parts of Florida. Blount fails to appear before the Senate to answer the charges.

1889 – The Wall Street Journal begins publishing.

1911 – Nan Aspinwall is the first woman to make a solo transcontinental trip by horse. She leaves San Francisco on September 1, 1910, and arrives in New York City. Aspinwall makes the ride on a bet by Buffalo Bill Cody. Aspinwall died in 1968 at age 88.


1932 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at its lowest during the Depression (41.22). The Dow closes over 17,000 for the first time on July 3, 2014.

1948 – The Milton Berle Show (“Texaco Star Theater”) premieres on NBC TV. The show runs under various names on various TV networks until 1956. Berle died in 2002.

1950 – Gen. Douglas MacArthur becomes commander-in-chief of UN forces in Korea by order of President Truman. MacArthur is relieved of his command by Truman in April of 1951. MacArthur later tells Congress, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”

1975 – President Ford announces he will seek the Republican nomination for president. Ford is the only person to serve as vice president and president without being elected to either office. Ford is nominated Vice President to replace Spiro Agnew after he resigned for tax evasion and bribery and replaces Richard Nixon when he resigns after the Watergate scandal.


1988 – Blind singer Stevie Wonder announces he will run for mayor of Detroit in 1992. Wonder withdraws from the race.

2011 – The Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched on the final mission of the U.S. of the Space Shuttle program. There are a total of 135 flights starting with the Columbia on April 12, 1981.


July 9

1868 – The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, granting citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” which included former slaves recently freed. In addition, it forbids states from denying any person “life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”

1872 – The doughnut cutter is patented by John Blondel of Thomaston, Maine. His original design is made of wood.


1893 – Dr. Daniel Williams performs the first successful open heart surgery in the U.S. Dr. Williams treats a man who had been stabbed in the chest.

1951 – President Harry Truman asks Congress to formally end the state of war with Germany.

1956 – Dick Clark’s makes his first appearance as host of “American Bandstand.” The show runs until 1989. Dick Clark died in 2012 at age 82.

1973 – Secretariat becomes the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years by winning horse racing’s Belmont Stakes. (The previous winner is Citation in 1948.) Secretariat is inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame in 1974. He is euthanized in 1989 at age 19 because of Laminitis, a painful inflammation of the sensitive tissue beneath the hoof wall.



July 10

1850 – Vice President Fillmore becomes president when Zachary Taylor dies in office after a brief illness.

1866 – The indelible pencil is patented by Edson P. Clark of Northampton, Massachusetts.

1913 – The highest temperature ever recorded in the U.S. is 134° F in Death Valley, California.

1919 – President Wilson personally delivers Treaty of Versailles to the U.S. Senate. The treaty is rejected by the Senate and never ratified.

1938 – Howard Hughes sets a new record when he flies around the world in 91 hours.


1962 – The Telstar I Communications satellite is launched. Later that same day it transmits the first live television images from the United States to France.

1997 – RJR Nabisco announces it will replace cigarette logo Joe Camel in new ads.

1998 – The U.S. military delivers the remains of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Blassie to his family in St. Louis, MO. Blassie is shot down over South Vietnam in 1972. He had been placed in Arlington Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown in 1984. His identity is confirmed with DNA tests.



July 11

1798 – President John Adams signs the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy.

1804 – Vice President Aaron Burr kills Alex Hamilton in a pistol duel near Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr is indicted for murder, but the charges are later dropped.

1914 – Babe Ruth debuts as a pitcher for Boston Red Sox, and he beats Cleveland 4-3.


1934 – FDR becomes the first president to travel through the Panama Canal.

1944 – Franklin Roosevelt announces that he will run for a fourth term as President of the United States. He is re-elected, but dies in office in 1945 at the age of 63. Congress passes the 22nd Amendment in 1947 limited a president to two terms in office.

1967 – Singer Kenny Rogers forms the group The First Edition.

1977 – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter. King was assassinated on April 4,1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

1981 – Neva Rockefeller is the first woman ordered to pay alimony to her husband. She is the great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller.


1984 – The U.S. government orders air bags or seat belts will be required in cars by 1989.


July 12

1630 – New Amsterdam’s governor buys Gull Island from Indians for cargo and renames it Oyster Island. It is later known as Ellis Island.

1774 – Citizens of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, pass a declaration of independence.

1862 – Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor. A total of 3,471 Medals have been awarded to service men and women.


1909 – The resolution proposing the 16th Amendment (income tax) is passed by the 61st Congress and submitted to the state legislatures. The resolution reads simply “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” The 16th Amendment was voted on by each state legislature and subsequently ratified on February 3, 1913.

1957 – Dwight Eisenhower is the first President to fly in a helicopter.

1978 – The U.S. performs a nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site. Underground testing of weapons continues until September of 1992.

1984 – U.S. Rep. Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-NY) is chosen by Democrat presidential candidate Walter Mondale to be his running mate. Ferraro becomes the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket. Ferraro dies in 2011 at age 75.


1996 – Michael Jordan signs a National Basketball Association contract for 1 year for $25 million.


July 13

1787 – The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 establishes a government in the Northwest Territory. It allows the territory to become at least 3 but no more than 5 states and each would be admitted to the Union when the population reaches 60,000.

1832 – Henry R. Schoolcraft discovers the source of the Mississippi River is Lake Itasca, Minnesota.


1836 – U.S. patent #1 is issued for locomotive wheels (after 9,957 unnumbered patents were issued!). Patent #8,000,000 (8 million!) is issued in 2011. Patent #9 million is expected to be issued next year.

1865 – Horace Greeley, who favors westward expansion, advises his readers to “Go west young man” in a New York Tribune editorial. The actual quote is, ”Washington is not a place to live in. The rents are high, the food is bad, the dust is disgusting and the morals are deplorable. Go West, young man, go West and grow up with the country.”

1865 – P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in lower Manhattan burns down. The loss of the museum and the nine other buildings that are destroyed is estimated at $1 million.


1923 – The Hollywood sign is officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood, Los Angeles. The sign originally reads “Hollywoodland” but the last four letters are dropped after renovation in 1949.


1939 – Frank Sinatra makes his recording debut singing “High Hopes” with the Harry James Band.

1976 – The trial begins in the USSR for Valery Sablin for his 1975 mutiny on the Soviet submarine the Sentry. The true story of the mutiny is made into the 1990 American movie “The Hunt for Red October” based on Tom Clancy’s 1984 book. Sablin is convicted and executed by order of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Sablin is buried in an unmarked – and unknown – grave.

1978 – Lee Iacocca is fired as Ford Motor President by chairman Henry Ford II. The following year, Iacocca is hired as president of the Chrysler Corporation.

1985 – The “Live Aid” concert raises over $70 million for African famine relief.