This Week in History August 12


by Dianne Hermann


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

         – Winston Churchill           

Week of August 12-18, 2013

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.

Isaac Singer

Photo of Isaac Singer

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.

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.

Curt Flood


Photo of Curt Flood 

August 13

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 United States.

1919 – The racehorse Man o’ War suffers the only defeat of his career (ironically) from 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.

Man of War

Photo of Man O’War


1981 – The last broadcast of the “Waltons” airs on CBS-TV. The show premiered in 1971.

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.


August 14

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

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.”

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

the Beatles and Ed Sullivan

Photo of the Beatles with Ed Sullivan

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

1824 – Freed American slaves form the country of Liberia in Africa. The original settlement had been called Christopolis but was renamed Monrovia after the American president, James Monroe. The colony was formally called Liberia.


Photo of Monrovia

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.

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


August 16

1863 – President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation.

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

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.

Night Baseball in Milwaukee August 16, 1954 X 1388 Credit: Mark Kauffman

Photo of the First Issue of Sports Illustrated

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


August 17

1807 – Robert Fulton’s steamboat the Clermont begins its first trip up the Hudson River.

1859 – The first airmail flight takes off from Lafayette, Indiana, in a hot air balloon.

1903 – Journalist and publisher Joseph Pulitzer donates $1 million to Columbia University to begin the Pulitzer Prizes. The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded in 1917 to Herbert Bayard Swope of the New York World newspaper for his articles entitled Inside The German Empire and the biography Julia Ward Howe by Laura E. Richards and Maude Howe Elliott. The New York Tribune receives an award for an editorial on the first anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania.

1945 – At the end of World War II, North and South Korea are divided along the 38th parallel. The United States occupies the area south of the 38th parallel and the Soviet Union occupies the area north of the parallel.

1958 – The United States attempts to launch the world’s first Moon probe, Thor-Able, which fails when it explodes at T +77 seconds (77 seconds after takeoff).


Photo of Thor-Able

1998 – U.S. President Bill Clinton admits in taped testimony that he had an “improper physical relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He admits before the nation that he “misled people” about his relationship with her.


August 18

1735 – The Boston Evening Post newspaper begins publishing in Boston, Massachusetts. It is among the oldest newspapers published in America. The last issue is published in April of 1775.

1872 – Aaron Montgomery Ward issues the first mail-order catalog from his Chicago-based company. It offers 163 products. In 1875 Ward announces his products come with “satisfaction guaranteed.”

1920 – The 19th Amendment is ratified giving women the right to vote.

Women and their first vote

Photo of women voting for the first time

1969 – The Woodstock Music & Art Fair in New York State closes with Jimi Hendrix as the final act.

1973 – Drummer Gene Krupa, plays for the final time with the Benny Goodman Quartet. Two months later Krupa dies of a heart attack at age 64.


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