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 September 21-27, 2015
1780 – Benedict Arnold gives British Major John Andre the plans for an attack on West Point. Major Andre is captured and is hanged on October 2nd. Benedict Arnold escapes and becomes an officer in the British Army.
1814 – “The Star Spangled Banner” is published as a poem.
1827 – According to Joseph Smith, Jr., the angel Moroni gave him a record of gold plates, one-third of which Joseph translated into The Book of Mormon.
1897 – The New York Sun runs the famous “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus” editorial in response to a letter written by 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon. Virginia meets Santa Claus in 1969. She died in 1971 at age 81. Santa Claus is still living.
1903 – The first western film “Kit Carson” premieres in the U.S.
1948 – “Texaco Star Theater” with Milton Berle premieres on NBC-TV. The final shoe airs in 1956.
1957 – “Perry Mason” starring Raymond Burr premiers on TV and airs until 1966.
1970 – “Monday Night Football” premieres on TV. The Browns beat the Jets 31-21.
1981 – Sandra Day O’Conner becomes the first female Supreme Court Justice. She serves until retirement on January 31, 2006.
1981 – The IBM-PC computer is introduced. When is goes on sale to the public in August it costs $1,565.
1982 – The National Football League (NFL) players begin a 57-day strike. It is their first regular-season walkout.
1996 – John F. Kennedy Jr. marries Carolyn Bessette in a secret ceremony on Cumberland Island, Georgia. They are killed in a plane crash in 1999.
2003 – The Galileo mission is terminated by sending the probe into Jupiter’s atmosphere, where it is crushed by the pressure of the planet’s lower altitudes.
2007 – Ventriloquist Terry Fator wins Season 2 of America’s Got Talent. Watch Fator’s amazing audition:
2008 – Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the two last remaining independent investment banks on Wall Street, become bank holding companies as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis.
1789 – The Office of Postmaster General is created under the Treasury Department. Ben Franklin is the first Postmaster General.
1863 – President Lincoln makes his Emancipation Proclamation speech.
1893 – The Duryea brothers build America’s first automobile in Springfield, Massachusetts. It has a one-cylinder engine, three speeds, and travels at 10 miles an hour.
1911 – Baseball pitcher Cy Young, age 44, wins his 511th and final game. The best pitcher of the year award is named for Cy Young, who died in 1955. Don Newcombe is first Cy Young winner in 1956.
1920 – A Chicago grand jury convenes to investigate charges that 8 White Sox baseball players conspired to fix the 1919 World Series.
1964 – “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” debutes on TV and airs until 1968. It debuts as a movie in August 2015.
1966 – The unmanned spacecraft Surveyor 2, launched on September 20th, crashes on the Moon in a failed landing attempt.
1975 – Sara Jane Moore tries to assassinate President Gerald Ford in San Francisco, California, just 17 days after Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme’s assassination attempt. Moore is convicted and given a life sentence. She is released in 2007 after serving 32 years. Moore is now 85 years old.
1985 – Willie Nelson’s first Farm Aid concert is held in Champaign, Illinois. The concert is attended by 80,000 people and raises $9 million. The 30th Anniversary concert was held this year in Chicago on September 19th. Watch Willie perform at the first concert:
1993 – Nolan Ryan pitches his last game at age 46. He holds the record for the most strikeouts of all time (5,714), the most no-hitters of all time (7), and the fastest “officially recorded” pitch thrown in a baseball game (100.9 miles per hour). Ryan is the only player to have his number retired by three baseball teams (Angels, Astros, and Rangers). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 with the second highest percentage of votes of all time (98.7% of ballots). Amazingly, Nolan Ryan never won the Cy Young Award.
2006 – The U.S. Navy retires the F-14 Tomcat.
1806 – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark return to St. Louis from the first overland journey from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Northwest and back.
1845 – The first official baseball team, the New York Knickerbockers, organizes and adopts a 20-rule code. The club started playing in Manhattan in 1842.
1862 – President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is published in Northern newspapers.
1912 – The first of Mack Sennett’s Keystone Cops Comedy movies is released. Watch a report of the silent movies with actual footage:
1938 – A time capsule is buried at World’s Fair in New York City. It is to be opened in 6939, some 5,000 years after it is buried. The capsule contains such items as a Life Magazine, kewpie doll, slide rule, Sears Roebuck catalog, pack of Camel cigarettes, seeds, and microfilm.
1952 – The first closed circuit pay-TV telecast of a sporting event, the Marciano-Walcott fight, airs in 49 theaters in 31 cities. Rocky Marciano knocks out the heavyweight champion “Jersey Joe” Walcott in 13 rounds for heavyweight boxing title.
1957 – “That’ll Be Day” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets reaches #1 on the music charts. February 3, 1959, is the day the music died when Holly is killed in a plane crash. Watch a live performance:
1961 – “How to Marry a Millionaire” airs on TV as the first movie to become a TV series.
1962 – “The Jetsons” cartoon premieres on TV and airs until 1988. It is the first program on the ABC network to be broadcast in color.
1977 – Cheryl Ladd replaces Farrah Fawcett on the TV show Charlie’s Angels.
1984 – Sparky Anderson is the first baseball manager to win 100 games in both leagues.
1997 – The Seattle Mariners break the record for the most home runs in a single season with 258. The record still stands.
2002 – The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox (“Phoenix 0.1”) is released.
1657 – The first autopsy and coroner’s jury verdict in the U.S. is recorded in the colony of Maryland.
1789 – President George Washington nominates John Jay as the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
1869 – Panic on Wall Street results from Jay Gould and Jim Fisk’s attempt to corner the gold market. The price of gold plummets in what is referred to as Black Friday.
1929 – Lt. James H. Doolittle guides a Consolidated N-Y-2 Biplane over Mitchell Field in New York in the first all-instrument (IFR) flight.
1934 – Only 2,500 fans see Babe Ruth’s farewell appearance as a Yankee at New York’s Yankee Stadium. Ruth goes on to finish his baseball career with the Boston Braves.
1938 – American Don Budge becomes the first tennis player to win all four of the major titles when he wins the U.S. Tennis Open. He had already won the Australian Open, the French Open, and the British Open.
1955 – President Eisenhower suffers his first of several heart attacks while on vacation in Denver, Colorado.
1960 – The first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, launches from Newport News, Virginia. It was the oldest active ship in the U.S. Navy until it was decommissioned last December.
1963 – The U.S. Senate ratifies a Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty with Britain and the USSR to limit nuclear testing.
1968 – “60 Minutes” premieres on TV and is still on the air.
1969 – The trial of the “Chicago 8” begins (protesters at the 1968 Democrat National Convention). The case of Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panthers, is declared a mistrial and the remaining group becomes the “Chicago 7.” On February 19, 1970, they are found not guilty of conspiracy, five are convicted of lesser crimes, and all (plus two of their attorneys) are cited for criminal contempt and sentenced to anywhere from three months to four years in prison.
1976 – Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst sentenced to 7 years in prison for her part in a 1974 bank robbery while a captive of the SLA. Hearst is released by President Carter after 22 months. Hearst is now 61 years old.
1977 – “The Love Boat” debuts on TV and airs until 1987. The show features the romantic and comedic tales of a star-studded cast of passengers. Watch the show’s opening sequence with the theme song by Jack Jones:
1998 – The Federal Reserve releases into circulation $2 billion in new harder-to-counterfeit $20 bills.
1493 – Christopher Columbus sets sail with 17 ships on his second voyage to America.
1639 – The first printing press in America begins operating at Harvard in Massachusetts.
1775 – American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen, who captured Fort Ticonderoga from the British, is arrested and imprisoned in England. He is later released and returns to America.
1789 – Congress adopts the Bill of Rights, which are written largely by George Mason.
1867 – Congress creates Howard University in Washington DC, the first all-black university in America.
1919 – President Woodrow Wilson is paralyzed by a stroke. He serves the rest of his second term (1913-1921). Wilson died in 1924 at age 67.
1926 – Henry Ford announces an 8-hour 5-day work week.
1933 – “Tom Mix” premiers on the radio and airs until 1950. Tom Mix was a real cowboy and silent screen actor, but his character was played on the radio by Art Dickson. The real Tom Mix died in an auto acctident in 1940 at age 60. Watch a biography of Mix:
1936 – Joe Medwick sets a National League baseball record of batting 64 doubles in one season. The record still stands.
1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor sworn in as the first female Supreme Court justice.
1992 – The Mars Observer blasts off on a mission that cost $980 million. Contact with the probe is lost in August 1993, three days before its scheduled Mars orbit.
2001 – Michael Jordan, at age 38, announces he will return to the NBA as a player for the Washington Wizards. Jordan became the president of basketball operations for the team in January 2000.
1789 – Thomas Jefferson is appointed the first U.S. Secretary of State. Jefferson serves as President from March 1801 to March 1809.
1892 – John Philip Sousa’s band makes its first public appearance at Stillman Music Hall in Plainfield, New Jersey. The March King dies in 1932 at the age of 77. In 1987, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” is designated as the national march of the U.S.
1914 – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is established.
1955 – The New York Stock Exchange suffers its worst decline since 1929 when the word is released concerning President Eisenhower’s heart attack.
1957 – The musical “West Side Story” opens on Broadway. Watch rare footage from the Broadway show:
1960 – The first of four presidential TV debates with Richard Nixon and John Kennedy takes place in Chicago. Kennedy wins the election in 1960. Nixon goes on to become president in 1972.
1962 – “The Beverly Hillbillies” premiers on TV and airs until 1971.
1973 – Wilt Chamberlain signs with the American Basketball Association’s San Diego Conquistadors as a coach. He is drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1959 and ends his plating career with the LA Lakers in 1973. Chamberlain holds an astounding 72 NBA records, including the most number of points scored in a season (4,029). He died in 1999 at the age of 63.
1978 – New York District Court Judge Constance Baker Motley rules that women sportswriters cannot be banned from sports locker rooms.
1981 – The Boeing 767 makes its maiden flight in Everett, Washington.
1985 – Shamu is born at Sea World in Orlando, Florida, and becomes the first killer whale to survive being born in captivity.
1986 – William Rehnquist becomes Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He is an Associate Justice and is nominated following the death of Chief Justice Warren Burger. Rehnquist dies in 2005 while serving on the bench and is succeeded by John Roberts.
1986 – Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) returns to the TV show “Dallas.” His death is attributed to his wife Pam’s bad dream and erases all of the previous season.
1991 – Four men and four women begin their two-year stay inside the “Biosphere II.” The project is intended to develop technology for future space colonies.
1995 – “George” magazine premieres, published by John F. Kennedy Jr. Kennedy dies in a plane crash at the age of 38 along with his wife and sister-in-law in July of 1999.
2000 – The House of Representatives passes the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act. The act states that an infant is considered to have been born alive if he or she is completely extracted or expelled from the mother, breathes, has a beating heart, and definite movement of the voluntary muscles.
2006 – Facebook opens to everyone at least 13 years or older with a valid email address.
1779 – John Adams negotiates the Revolutionary War peace terms with England.
1892 – The Diamond Match Company patents matchbooks.
1908 – The first Ford Model T automobile is built at the Piquette Plant in Detroit, Michigan.
1928 – The U.S. recognizes the Nationalist Chinese government, and vice versa.
1937 – The first Santa Claus school opens in Albion, New York.
1941 – The first World War II liberty ship, the freighter Patrick Henry, is launched.
1954 – Steve Allen’s “Tonight Show” premiers on TV and Allen hosts the show until 1957. Jack Parr hosts the show 1957-1962, Johnny Carson hosts 1962-1992, and Jay Leno hosts 1992-2014 (except for 2009-2010 when Conan O’Brian hosts). Jimmy Fallon is the current host. It is the longest-running talk show in TV history. Watch the opening of the first episode:
1954 – Charles V. Bush is the first African-American Supreme Court page.
1964 – The Warren Commission releases its findings on the Kennedy assassination and determines that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. Oswald is killed by Jack Ruby on November 24,1963, as police transfer Oswald to another jail.
1973 – Vice President Spiro Agnew says he will not resign after he pleads “no contest” to a charge of tax evasion. He resigna on October 10th.
1979 – The Department of Education becomes the 13th Cabinet after the final approval from Congress.
1998 – Mark McGwire (St. Louis Cardinals) sets a major league baseball record when he hits his 70th home run of the season.
2012 – NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover discovers evidence of a fast-moving streambed in Mars.