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 June 22-28, 2015
1611 – Mutineers from his ship Discovery set Henry Hudson, his son, and seven supporters adrift in the Hudson Bay. They are never seen again. The mutineers sail back to England and are arrested.
1775 – The colonies issue its first currency of $2 million in bills of credit.
1807 – British board the USS Chesapeake, a provocation leading to The War of 1812.
1847 – Elizabeth Gregory creates the doughnut when she makes a large batch for her son’s voyage. She gives the recipe to Captain Gregory’s cook so he could make doughnuts for him and his crew.
1870 – Congress creates the Department of Justice.
1939 – A uranium atom is first split at Columbia University.
1941 – President Franklin Roosevelt signs the “GI Bill of Rights.”
1946 – President Truman sets up the CIA, Central Intelligence Agency.
1964 – The Supreme Court rules that Henry Miller’s book, “Tropic of Cancer”, could not be banned.
1967 – “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In” premieres on TV and airs until 1973. Watch the show’s colorful intro:
1970 – President Nixon signs the 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18.
1970 – The Supreme Court rules that juries of less than 12 people are constitutional.
1979 – Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman) quits rock & roll again and returns to his religious ministry. He became in ordained minister in 1970. Little Richard is 82 years old.
1981 – Mark David Chapman pleads guilty to killing John Lennon in December 1980. Chapman changes his plea from not guilty be reason of insanity to second-degree murder and is sentenced to 20 years to life with mandatory psychiatric treatment. Chapman is now 60 years old.
1983 – The Space Shuttle Discovery is the first spacecraft to retrieve a satellite from orbit and return it to Earth. Discovery has also flown in space more (38 trips) and carried more crew (246) than any other spacecraft.
1992 – The Supreme Court rules that “hate crime” laws violate free-speech rights.
1998 – The Supreme Court rules that evidence illegally obtained by authorities can be used at revocation hearings for a convicted criminal’s parole.
2009 – Eastman Kodak Company announces that it will discontinue sales of the Kodachrome Color Film.
1683 – William Penn signs a friendship treaty with the Lenni Lenape Indians, the Six Nations (Mengwes), the Shawanese Nation, the Gawanese, and the Conestogas (Mingoes) in Pennsylvania. It is said that an exchange of wampum belts takes place, but in 1782 Chief Killbuck looses the historic wampum that contained the treaty that had been made with Penn one hundred years earlier.
1784 – The first manned balloon ascension in the U.S. takes place when 13-year-old Edward Warren goes aloft in a tethered hot air balloon at Bladensburg, Maryland.
1810 – John Jacob Astor organizes the Pacific Fur Company in Astoria, Oregon. His great-grandson, John Jacob Astor IV, dies on the Titanic in 1912.
1860 – Congress establishes the Government Printing Office.
1860 – The U.S. Secret Service is created to arrest counterfeiters.
1868 – Christopher Latham Sholes patents the first commercially successful “typewriter.” It does not have the numbers 0 and 1 because the letters o and l could be used instead.
1888 – Frederick Douglass is the first African-American nominated for president.
1926 – The College Board administers the first SAT exam (Scholastic Aptitude Test).
1931 – Wiley Post and Harold Gatty take off for a record-setting flight around the world. Their trip takes 8 days. Watch archive footage of the flight:
1938 – Marineland opens in Florida as “Marine Studios.” It is known as the World’s First Oceanarium.
1947 – Congress overrides President Truman’s veto of the Taft-Hartley Act (limiting labor unions).
1964 – Henry Cabot Lodge resigns as the U.S. envoy to Vietnam and is succeeded by Maxwell Taylor.
1967 – The U.S. Senate censures Thomas J. Dodd (D-CT) for misusing campaign funds. It is only the 7th time in the Senate’s history that it censured one of its own members. He is the father of former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT).
1969 – Warren E. Burger is sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, replacing retiring Chief Justice Earl Warren.
1972 – President Nixon signs Title IX of the Education Amendments, barring sex discrimination in college sports.
1981 – Amanda Maccaro becomes the first American to win the Russian Ballet Competition.
1986 – Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill refuses to let President Reagan address House before its critical vote on funding for the anti-communist “Contra” rebels in Nicaragua.
2013 – Aerialist Nik Wallenda completes a quarter mile tightrope walk over the Little Colorado River Gorge in Arizona. Watch and listen to Nik talk to his crew as he walks across the gorge:
1795 – The U.S. and Great Britain sign the Jay Treaty, the first U.S. extradition treaty.
1844 – Charles Goodyear is granted U.S. patent #3,633 for vulcanized rubber.
1853 – President Franklin Pierce signs the Gadsden Purchase (29,670 square miles) from Mexico (now southern Arizona and New Mexico) for $10 million.
1916 – Mary Pickford becomes the first female film star to get a million dollar contract.
1940 – TV cameras are used for the first time in a political convention as the Republicans convene in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Watch and listen to the sights and sounds of the convention with commentary:
1947 – Flying saucers are sighted over Mount Rainier by civilian pilot Ken Arnold.
1949 – “Hopalong Cassidy” starring William Boyd becomes the first network TV western (NBC). Boyd also stars as Cassidy in 104 radio shows and 66 films from 1935 to 1948. Boyd died in 1972 at age 77.
1957 – “I Love Lucy” last airs on CBS-TV. The show premiers in 1951 starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez.
1957 – In Roth v. United States the Supreme Court rules that obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment, thus upholding the conviction of Samuel Roth for sending “obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy” materials through the mail.
1964 – The Federal Trade Commission announces that starting in 1965 cigarette manufactures will be required to include warnings on their packaging about the harmful effects of smoking.
1968 – This is the deadline set for redeeming silver certificate dollars for silver bullion.
1968 – “Resurrection City,” a shantytown constructed as part of the Poor People’s March on Washington D.C., is closed down by authorities. Watch actual news footage:
1970 – The U.S. Senate votes overwhelmingly on an amendment offered by Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) to repeal the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. The Resolution, passed in August 1964, gave then-President Lyndon Johnson authority to use force when declaring war in Vietnam.
1972 – Bernice Gera becomes the first female umpire in a minor league baseball game. She resigns when none of the other umpires will work with her on the field.
1982 – In Nixon v Fitzgerald the Supreme Court rules that the president can’t be sued for his actions while in office.
1993 – Yale computer science professor Dr. David Gelernter is seriously injured after receiving a mail bomb sent from the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski. Sixteen bombs injure 23 and kill 3 people from 1978 to 1995. Kaczynski is arrested in 1996, convicted of the bombings and murders, and is now serving life in prison without possibility of parole.
1997 – The U.S. Air Force releases a report titled “The Roswell Report, Case Closed” that dismisses the claims that an alien spacecraft crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947. Watch the official Pentagon press conference:
2002 – The Supreme Court rules that juries, not judges, must make the decision to give a convicted killer the death penalty.
2010 – John Isner of the U.S. defeats Nicolas Mahut of France at Wimbledon after 10 hours, the longest match in tennis history.
1638 – A lunar eclipse becomes the first astronomical event recorded in the U.S.
1798 – The U.S. passes the Alien and Sedition Act allowing the president to deport aliens considered “dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States.”
1867 – Barbed wire is patented by Lucien B. Smith of Ohio.
1868 – President Andrew Johnson passes a law giving government workers an 8-hour day.
1876 – George Armstrong Custer and his 7th Cavalry (262 men) are wiped out by the Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at Little Big Horn in Montana.
1921 – Jack Hutchinson becomes the first American to win the British Open Golf Tournament.
1951 – CBS broadcasts the first commercial color TV shows to 5 network stations from New York Studios. Arthur Godfrey, Ed Sullivan, and George Balanchine are among those appearing on the show.
1953 – The first passenger flies commercially around the world in less than 100 hours.
1962 – The Supreme Court rules that the use of unofficial non-denominational prayer in public schools is unconstitutional.
1968 – Bobby Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hits a grand-slam home run in his first game with the Giants. He is the first player to debut with a grand-slam home run.
1977 – Roy C. Sullivan, a park ranger in Virginia, is struck by lightning for the 7th time. Sullivan died in 1983 at age 71 of a self-inflicted gunshot. Listen to a report about his life:
1981 – The Supreme Court upholds a male-only draft registration as constitutional.
1985 – ABC’s “Monday Night Football” begins the season with a new line-up. The trio includes Frank Gifford, Joe Namath, and O.J. Simpson.
1990 – The Supreme Court upholds the right of an individual, whose wishes are clearly made, to refuse life-sustaining medical treatment. “The right to die” decision is made in the Curzan vs. Missouri case.
1998 – In Clinton vs. City of New York the Supreme Court rules that the presidential Line Item Veto Act of 1996 is unconstitutional.
2000 – A Florida judge approves a class-action lawsuit to be filed against American Online (AOL) on behalf of hourly subscribers who were forced to view “pop-up” advertisements.
1721 – Dr. Zabdiel Boylston of Massachusetts gives the first untested smallpox inoculation in America to his own son.
1797 – Charles Newbold patents the first cast-iron plow. He can’t sell it to farmers because they fear the effects of iron on soil.
1870 – The Christian holiday of Christmas is declared a federal holiday in the U.S.
1900 – U.S. Army physician Dr. Walter Reed begins research that, in 1901, leads to the discoverery of how to beat Yellow Fever. His experiments with other doctors in Cuba prove that mosquitoes transmit Yellow Fever.
1919 – The first issue of the New York Daily News is published.
1934 – President FDR signs the Federal Credit Union Act establishing credit unions.
1945 – The UN Charter is signed by 50 nations in San Francisco, California.
1948 – The Berlin Airlift begins as the United States, Britain, and France start ferrying supplies to the isolated western sector of Berlin, Germany.
1959 – President Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth open the St. Lawrence Seaway, allowing ships to travel between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. Watch a short newsreel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mky5od13SJ0
1959 – CBS journalist Edward R. Murrow interviews Lee Remick, his 500th and final guest on “Person to Person.”
1963 – President Kennedy visits West Berlin and announces, “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a jelly-filled donut”).
1974 – Liz Taylor’s gets divorced for the 5th time (her 2nd divorce from Richard Burton).
1974 – The Universal Product Code (UPC) is scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio.
1977 – Elvis Presley sings in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is the last performance of his career. Presley dies on August 16th at age 42. Watch Presley perform the last song he ever sings live:
1979 – Muhammad Ali, at 37 years old, announces that he is retiring as world heavyweight boxing champion.
1981 – Virginia Campbell of Mountain Home, Idaho, takes her coupons and rebates and buys $26,460 worth of groceries. She only pays 67 cents after all the discounts.
1996 – The Supreme Court orders the Virginia Military Institute to admit women or forgo state support.
1997 – The Supreme Court strikes down the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that makes it illegal to distribute indecent material on the Internet.
2000 – The Human Genome Project and Celera Genomics Corp. jointly announce that they have created a working draft of the human genome.
2008 – In District of Columbia v. Heller the Supreme Court rules that the ban on handguns in the District of Columbia is unconstitutional.
1778 – The Liberty Bell is returned to Philadelphia from Northampton Town (now Allentown) where it is hidden until after the British depart following the Revolutionary War.
1833 – Prudence Crandall, a white woman, is arrested for conducting an academy for black females at Canterbury, Connecticut.
1893 – The New York stock market crashes. By the end of the year 600 banks and 74 railroads have gone out of business. This is why the period of time following the stock market crash of 1929 is called the “Great” Depression.
1922 – The first Newbery Medal for the year’s best children’s book is presented to Hendrik Van Loon for “The Story of Mankind.” The award is named for the eighteenth-century English bookseller John Newbery.
1923 – Capt. Lowell H. Smith and Lt. John P. Richter perform the first ever aerial refueling in a DH-4B biplane.
1940 – Robert Pershing Wadlow’s height is measured at 8′ 11.1″, making him the tallest person in history according to Guiness World Records. He is only 22 at the time of his death on July 15, 1940. Watch a slide show of his life:
1942 – The FBI captures eight Nazi saboteurs from a sub off New York’s Long Island before they carry out any destructive acts against the U.S. All eight men are found guilty and one is sentenced to life in prison, another to 30 years, while six are sentenced to death. They are executed within a few days.
1950 – North Korean troops reach Seoul and the UN asks its members to aid South Korea. Harry Truman orders the U.S. Air Force and Navy into the Korean conflict.
1950 – The U.S. sends 35 military advisers to South Vietnam.
1955 – The first U.S. automobile seat belt legislation is enacted in Illinois.
1966 – The first sci-fi soap opera, “Dark Shadows,” premieres on ABC-TV and airs until 1971. Watch a recap with voice over of the first few seasons:
1976 – The first 157 women are admitted to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In October 1975 President Gerald R. Ford signs legislation permitting women to enter the United States service academies.
1979 – The Supreme Court rules employers may use quotas to help minorities.
1983 – Americans Maxie Anderson and Don Ida die during a gas balloon race in France commemorating the 200th anniversary of man’s first flight. After a mechanical malfunction they make an emergency landing to avoid flying into Communist East Germany and crash in a forest. Anderson wss 48 and Ida was 49.
1986 – The World Court rules that the U.S. broke international law by aiding Nicaraguan rebels.
1991 – Justice Thurgood Marshall resigns from the Supreme Court. He was appointed in 1967 by President Lyndon Johnson.
2001 – The International Court of Justice finds against the United States in its judgment in the LaGrand Case. The German-born LaGrand brothers are sentenced to death for killing a man in an armed bank robbery in Arizona. The brothers Karl-Heinz and Walter contact the German consulate for assistance under the Vienna Convention. Despite intervention by the German Ambassador and a member of the German Parliament the brothers are executed in 1999.
2003 – The U.S. National Do Not Call Registry, formed to combat unwanted telemarketing calls and administered by the Federal Trade Commission, enrolls almost three-quarters of a million phone numbers on its first day.
1770 – Quakers open a school for blacks in Philadelphia.
1778 – Mary Ludwig Hayes, aka “Molly Pitcher,” aids American patriots during the Revolutionary War Battle of Monmouth by carrying water to wounded soldiers. Hayes takes over operation of her husband’s cannon after he collapses during the battle. Hayes died in 1832 at age 87.
1820 – Col. Robert Gibbon Johnson from Salem County, New Jersey, eats tomatoes to prove they are not poisonous, as was thought.
1902 – The U.S. Congress passes the Spooner Bill, authorizing a canal to be built across the Isthmus of Panama.
1938 – The U.S. Congress creates the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure construction loans.
1951 – “Amos ’n’ Andy” moves from radio to CBS-TV.
1953 – The first Corvette rolls off the production line in Flint, Michigan.
1956 – The first atomic reactor built for private research begins operation on the Chicago Institute of Technology campus for the Armour Research Foundation.
1960 – Fidel Castro confiscates American-owned oil refineries in Cuba without compensation.
1968 – Daniel Ellsberg is indicted for leaking the Pentagon Papers, copies he made of classified documents that are ultimately published in the New York Times.
1971 – The Supreme Court overturns the draft evasion conviction of Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali).
1978 – The Supreme Court orders University of California Davis Medical School to admit Allan Bakke, a white man and former marine who claims reverse discrimination after his application is twice rejected. Bakke graduated from U.C. Davis medical school in 1982 and worked as an anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic. Bakke is now 75 years old.
1996 – The Citadel votes to admit women, ending a 153-year-old men-only policy at the South Carolina military school. The unanimous vote by the school governing board comes after the Supreme Court declares unconstitutional the all-male admissions policy at the Virginia Military Institute.
1997 – Mike Tyson is disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield’s ear after three rounds of their boxing heavyweight title fight in Las Vegas, Nevada. Watch it happen:
2007 – The American bald eagle is removed from the endangered species list.
2000 – Six-year-old Elián González returns to Cuba with his father. The child has been the center of an international custody dispute.
2010 – The Supreme Court rules in a 5-4 decision that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live.