This Week In History, Week of August 10-16, 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 August 10-16, 2015



August 10


1831 – Former slave Nat Turner leads a violent slave insurrection, killing 55 to 65 whites. Turner is captured two months later. He is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Turner is hanged on November 11th. Between 100 and 200 slaves (guilty and innocent) are executed and lynched after the revolt.


1846 – Congress signs a charter establishing the Smithsonian Institution with a $500,000 donation from English scientist James Smithson. Childless, Smithson’s will specifies that if his nephew dies without an heir that his fortune should go “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Smithson dies in 1829 and his nephew dies without an heir in 1935.


1900 – The first Davis Cup tennis match results in the United States beating the British Isles 3-0 in Boston. The Davis Cup is now the world’s largest annual international team sport competition (130 nations enter in 2013).


1927 – Mount Rushmore was formally dedicated. The individual faces of the presidents are dedicated later.


1944 – Boston Brave pitcher Red Barrett sets a record by throwing only 58 pitches to the minimum 27 batters to beat the Cincinatti Reds 2-0.


1945 – The day after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki the Japanese government announces Japan will surrender. The only condition is that the status of Emperor Hirohito will remain unchanged.


1948 – Allen Funt’s Candid Camera TV show debuts on ABC. Allen Funt hosts or co-hosts almost every TV version of the show until his stroke in 1993 from which he never recovers. His son Peter Funt hosts and produces the show until 2004. Watch one of the earliest, and funniest, shows:


1975 – David Frost purchases exclusive rights to interview former President Richard Nixon.


1977 – “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz is arrested for six shooting deaths in New York. Berkowitz shoots a total of 13 people. He is arrested 11 days after his last murder when a witness notices the killer’s car has a parking ticket on the windshield. Berkowitz is sentenced to 25 years-to-life for each murder and is denied parole in May 2014 for the 7th time. He is now 62 years old.


1985 – Michael Jackson buys ATV Music (including every Beatles song) for $47 million.


1990 – NASA’s Magellan spacecraft arrives at Venus and maps 98 percent of the planet’s surface. It is launched in May 1989.


1994 – President Clinton claims presidential immunity when he asks a federal judge to dismiss, at least for the time being, a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Corbin Jones.


2001 – The U.S. and U.K. reject a proposal by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to permit the Iraqi government to use $1 billion per year to fund infrastructure improvements and to increase oil production capacity.


2006 – Scotland Yard disrupts a major terrorist plot to destroy aircraft travelling from the United Kingdom to the United States. All toiletries over 3 ounces are banned from commercial airplanes.



August 11


1860 – The first successful silver mill in the U.S. begins operating in Virginia City, Nevada.


1866 – The world’s first roller skating rink opens in Newport, Rhode Island.


1877 – American astronomer Asaph Hall discovers the two moons of Mars and names them Phobos and Deimos.


1919 – The Green Bay Packers football team is founded by George Calhoun and Curly Lambeau and is named after its sponsor, the Indian Packing Company. The Packers win the first Super Bowl on January 15, 1967, in Los Angeles against the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.


1924 – Presidential candidates Calvin Coolidge and John Davis make the first campaign film for public viewing.


1934 – The first federal prisoners arrive at Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay in California. Sixty special FBI agents, U.S. Marshals, and railway security officials escort the 137 handcuffed prisoners.


1951 – The Boston Braves and the Brooklyn Dodgers play the first baseball game telecast in color. The Braves beat the Dodgers 8-1.


1966 – The last Beatles concert tour in the U.S. begins.


1970 – Jim Bunning becomes only the second pitcher (Cy Young is the first) to win 100 baseball games in both leagues.


1984 – During a radio voice test President Reagan joked he “signed legislation that would outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in 5 minutes.” Listen to the radio bite:


1984 – Carl Lewis duplicates Jesse Owens’ 1936 feat by winning four Olympic track gold medals during the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.


1992 – The Mall of America opens in Bloomington, Minnesota, as the largest shopping mall in the U.S.


1994 – A U.S. federal jury awards $286.8 million to about 10,000 commercial fishermen for losses as a result of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.


1998 – British Petroleum (BP) becomes No. 3 among oil companies with the $49 billion purchase of Amoco. It is the largest foreign takeover of a U.S. company to date.



August 12


1620 – The ships Mayflower and Speedwell arrive in Dartmouth, England, to repair leaks in the Speedwell. On September 6th the Mayflower heads for America alone when the Speedwell’s leaks cannot be fixed. The Mayflower voyage takes 66 days.


1851 – The U.S. schooner America beats the British yacht Aurora in the first America’s Cup race.


1851 – Isaac Singer patents the sewing machine.


1898 – Secretary of State William Day signs the Peace Protocol (by the authority of President McKinley) ending the Spanish-American War.


1908 – Ford builds the first Model T automobile in Detroit, Michigan. It sells for $825.


1927 – The movie “Wings” opens starring Clara Bow. It is the only silent film to win an Oscar for best picture. It wins the Oscar at the first Academy Awards in 1929. Watch the movie trailer with voice over:


1935 – Babe Ruth plays his final baseball game at Fenway Park with 41,766 fans in attendance.


1937 – Red Skelton appears on the radio for the first time on the “Rudy Vallee Show” on NBC. Skelton died in 1997 at age 84.


1953 – Ann Davison arrives in Miami, Florida, becoming the first woman to sail solo across the Atlantic.


1955 – President Eisenhower raises the minimum wage from 75 cents to $1 an hour.


1970 – St. Louis Cardinal’s outfielder Curt Flood loses his antitrust lawsuit against baseball following a Supreme Court decision. He claims baseball effectively binds a player and his contract to a team for life. In December 1975 baseball players finally win the right to free agency.


1972 – The last American combat ground troops leave Vietnam.


1977 – The Space Shuttle Enterprise makes the first atmospheric flight.


1981 – IBM unveiles its first PC (personal computer). It sells for $1,565.


1993 – Pope John Paul II begins a 4-day visit of the U.S. culminating in World Youth Day in Denver.


1993 – President Clinton lifts the ban on rehiring air traffic controllers who had been fired for going on strike in 1981.


1994 – Stephen G. Breyer is sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice.


2013 – Mob boss Whitey Bulger is found guilty of federal racketeering, extortion, conspiracy, and 11 murders. He is sentenced to two life terms plus 5 years. Bulger is now 85 years old.


2013 – According to a U.S. Treasury report only 65 percent of the nearly $80 billion that President Obama unilaterally diverted from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out the auto industry has been recovered. Congress excluded the auto industry from the TARP bill in 2008.


2014 – Riots break out in Ferguson, Missouri, after the death of Michael Brown by a policeman.



August 13


1876 – The Reciprocity Treaty (free trade agreement) between the U.S. and Hawaii is ratified.


1889 – William Gray patents the coin-operated telephone. He installs the first phone at a bank in Hartford, Connecticut, as a post-pay phone. The first pre-pay phone is installed in Chicago in 1898. By 1902 there are 81,000 pay telephones in use in the U.S.


1919 – The racehorse Man o’ War suffers the only defeat of his career by the ironically named horse Upset at Saratoga, New York. Man o’ War retires to stud in 1920 and foals many champions, including the 1937 Triple Crown winner War Admiral.


1939 – Sabotage is suspected in the crash of the passenger train “City of San Francisco” which falls into the Humboldt River in Elko, Nevada, killing 24.


1963 – Federal custom agents confiscate 21 gold coins from the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas. The 1933 Gold Act prohibits the “hoarding” of gold.


1981 – The last broadcast of the “Waltons” airs on CBS-TV. The show premieres in 1971. Watch the final goodnight of the last episode:


1993 – The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals rules (subsequent to Armstrong vs. The Executive Office following a Freedom of Information Act request) that the White House, specifically, and government agencies, in general, must preserve all their e-mail messages under the Federal Records Act (FRA) of 1950 since they are deemed official records.


1997 – The first episode of South Park airs on TV.



August 14


1873 – Charles Hallock publishes his first magazine called “Forest and Stream.” It is renamed “Field & Stream” in 1930.


1935 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act into law creating unemployment insurance and pension plans for the elderly.


1936 – Rainey Bethea is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky, in the last public execution in the U.S. Bethea is convicted of rape and murder based on his fingerprints, a new identification technique.


1941 – U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill issue the joint declaration that later becomes known as the Atlantic Charter. Although not a treaty, it is an affirmation “of certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they based their hopes for a better future for the world.”


1945 – In what is called V-J Day, Japan surrenders unconditionally to end World War II.


1965 – The Beatles make their fourth and final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.


1966 – The first U.S. lunar spacecraft begins orbiting the Moon. It crashes on the far side of the moon on October 29th after 577 moon orbits.


1974 – Congress authorizes U.S. citizens to own gold again. The Gold Reserve Act of January 1934 outlawed most private possession of gold.


1987 – Mark McGwire sets the record for major league home runs by a rookie when he connects for his 49th home run of the season.


1997 – The Oklahoma Court of Appeals upholds the death sentence of Timothy McVeigh for the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that kills 168 people. McVeigh dies by lethal injection on June 11, 2001.



August 15


1635 – The first recorded hurricane in the U.S. hits the Plymouth Colony.


1748 – The United Lutheran Church of the U.S. is organized.


1824 – Freed American slaves form the country of Christopolis in Africa. The settlement is renamed Monrovia after the American president, James Monroe. The colony is now formally called Liberia and is the oldest democratic republic in Africa.


1877 – Thomas Edison writes to the president of the Telegraph Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The letter states that the greeting “hello” would be a more appropriate greeting than “ahoy” when answering the telephone.


1911 – Procter & Gamble unveils Crisco shortening, which is made entirely of vegetable oil. The brand name Crisco is a modification of the phrase “crystallized cottonseed oil” and is designed to remain a solid at room temperature.


1914 – The Panama Canal opens to trans-oceanic traffic. Work began on the canal in 1904. The grand opening procession that was planned is cancelled after the outbreak of World War I.


1935 – Will Rogers and Wiley Post are killed in a place crash in Alaska. Rogers was 55 and Post, one of America’s greatest aviation pioneers, just 36.


1939 – “The Wizard of Oz” premiers at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California.


1945 – Japan surrenders after the U.S. drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


1948 – CBS-TV inaugurates the first nightly news broadcast with anchorman Douglas Edwards.


1969 – Woodstock Music & Art Fair opens in New York State on Max Yasgur’s 600-acre Dairy Farm. Thirty-two musical acts perform at the outdoor concert. Watch Max welcome the crowd:


1970 – Patricia Palinkas becomes the first woman professional football player (Orlando).


1971 – President Nixon announces a 90-day freeze on wages, prices, and rents.


1991 – About 750,000 attend singer Paul Simon’s free concert in Central Park, New York.


1994 – The Social Security Administration becomes an independent government agency. It had been a part of the Department of Health and Human Services.


1995 – Shannon Faulkner becomes the first female cadet in the history of The Citadel, South Carolina’s state military college. She quits the school less than a week later. Shannon Faulkner Marshal is now 39 years old.



August 16


1829 – Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker arrive in Boston to be exhibited in the circus.


1863 – President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation.


1898 – Edwin Prescott patents the “Loop-the-Loop” roller coaster. The first roller coaster in the U.S., however, is built by L. A. Thompson and opens at Coney Island, New York, in June of 1884 and is based on railway designs.


1920 – Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit in the head by a New York Yankee Carl Mays pitch. Chapman dies next day and is the only major league baseball player game fatality.


1949 – During the Truman Administration, U.S. General Omar Bradley becomes the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On September 22, 1950, Congress officially promotes Bradley to General of the Army with five stars. He is the last officer promoted to that rank, and the only one since World War II.


1954 – “Sports Illustrated” publishes its first magazine. Milwaukee Braves baseball player Eddie Mathews is on the cover.


1960 – Joseph Kittinger sets the free-fall world record. He falls more than 16 miles (about 84,000 feet) before opening his parachute over New Mexico.


1988 – New York City Mayor Koch says he plans to wipe out street-corner windshield washers.