This Week In History, August 25-31, 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 August 25-31, 2014

August 25

1829 – President Jackson makes an offer to buy Texas, but the Mexican government refuses. President John Q. Adams offered to buy Mexico for $1 million two years earlier. His offer was also rejected.

1916 – The National Park Service established in the Department of the Interior.

1920 – Ethelda Bleibtrey becomes the first U.S. woman to win a medal in the Olympics (swimming). She won three gold medals and set three world records in Olympic swimming competitions in Antwerp, Belgium. Bleibtrey started swimming as therapy to overcome the effects of polio.


1932 – Amelia Earhart completes a transcontinental flight.

1950 – President Harry Truman orders army to seize control of railroad to avert a strike.

1968 – Arthur Ashe becomes the first black to win the U.S. singles tennis championship. Ashe contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion and died in 1993 at age 49.


1970 – Elton John performs his first U.S. concert in Los Angeles.

1989 – After a 12-year, 4-billion-mile journey, Voyager 2 flies over the cloud tops of the planet Neptune and its moon Triton, sending back photographs.


August 26

1839 – The slave ship Amistad is captured off Long Island, New York, after a mutiny. The slaves are tried and acquitted because it is deemed they are not property, but had been kidnapped. Donations helped repatriate the freed slaved to Sierra Leone.

1843 – Charles Thurber of Worcester, Massachusetts, patents the typewriter. Thurber’s machine is never manufactured and the only model in existence is in a Worcester museum.


1873 – Susan Blow starts the first free kindergarten in the United States in Carondelet, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.

1895 – George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla build America’s first hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls. Electric Central at Niagara Falls gives off steam using hydroelectricity for the first time.

1907 – Magician and escape artist Harry Houdini escapes from chains underwater at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park in 57 seconds.


1939 – In the first major league baseball telecast, the Reds beat the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1946 – George Orwell publishes his book “Animal Farm.”

1947 – Don Bankhead is the first black baseball pitcher. Bankhead hits a homerun on his first at bat.

1971 – The New York Giants football team signs a 30-year lease for a 75,000-seat stadium to be built in New Jersey for the 1975 season. They move from the Bronx into Giant Stadium in 1976 and play their first game against the Dallas Cowboys, losing to the Cowboys 24-14.

2003 – The Columbia Accident Investigation Board releases its final reports on Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.


August 27

1667 – The earliest recorded hurricane in the United States strikes Jamestown, Virginia.

1859 – Edwin Drake drills the first successful oil well, near Titusville, Pennsylvania.

1894 – Congress passes the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, which includes a graduated income tax. The Supreme Court strikes it down in 1895 as unconstitutional. The 16th Amendment is ratified in 1913 allowing Congress to levy personal income taxes.

1912 – Edgar Rice Burroughs publishes “Tarzan of the Apes.”

1928 – The United States is one of 15 countries to sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which outlaws war. Forty-seven other countries later sign the Pact. The Senate ratifies it 85-1.

1955 – The “Guinness Book of World Records” is first published in London. The first issue was 197 pages. The following year it is published in the United States and sells 70,000 copies. It is published every October.

1961 – Francis the Talking Mule (with Chill T. Wills providing the voice) is the mystery guest on the TV show “What’s My Line?” Francis (in reality a female mule named Molly) is the first recipient of the American Humane Association Annual Patsy Award in 1950. The award is given for an outstanding performance by an animal appearing in motion pictures.


1976 – Transsexual Renee Richards, born Richard Raskind, is barred from competing in U.S. Tennis Open. The New York Supreme Court rules in her favoe and Richards played in the 1977 U.S. Open. She is now 80 years old.


2008 – Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be nominated by a major political party for President of the United States.

2012 – The first interplanetary human voice recording is broadcast from the Mars Rover Curiosity. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden makes the 169-word recording. Listen to it at: NASA


August 28

1609 – Henry Hudson discovers and explores Delaware Bay.

1830 – The first locomotive train in the United States, “Tom Thumb,” runs from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mill, Maryland, carrying the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad directors. It hauls passengers until 1831 but is never put into regular service. “Tom Thumb” is salvaged for parts in 1834.


1845 – Scientific American magazine publishes its first issue.

1907 – The United Parcel Service (UPS) is founded by James E. Casey in Seattle, Washington.

1957 – Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC) begins a 24-hour 18-minute filibuster against the Civil Rights Bill. He still holds the record for the longest filibuster in Congress. The bill passes less than 2 hours after Thurmond ends his filibuster.

1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I have a dream speech” at the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. King is assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.


1981 – The National Centers for Disease Control announces a high incidence of Pneumocystis and Kaposi’s sarcoma in gay men. Both diseases are later linked to HIV and AIDS.

2005 – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in the southeastern United States, hammering New Orleans, Louisiana, and coastal Mississippi.


August 29

1758 – The New Jersey Legislature forms the first Indian reservation in the United States for the Lenni-Lenape Indians.

1862 – The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing begins operation, with Salmon P. Chase as the Treasury Secretary, by printing $1 and $2 bills. Salmon P. Chase appears on the $10,000 bill. He is one of only three men who appear on currency who were not presidents. Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill and Alexander Hamilton is on the $10 bill.

1904 – The first Olympics ever held in the United States opens in St. Louis, Missouri, with 651 athletes (645 men and 6 women) representing 12 participating countries.

1909 – American Glenn Curtiss wins the world’s first air race in his airplane “The Junebug.” The race is held in Rheims, France, over a 20-kilometer course. Curtiss flies the course at 46.5 miles per hour in less than 16 minutes.

1944 – An estimated 15,000 American troops liberating Paris, France, march down the Champs Elysees.


1958 – The Air Force Academy opens in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

1966 – The Beatles perform their last public concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.


1967 – The final TV episode of “The Fugitive” airs. It is the most watched TV show at that time with 46 percent of households with a TV tuning in.


August 30

1682 – William Penn, a Quaker, leaves England to sail to the New World aboard the ship Welcome. After arriving in Pennsylvania, he and a group of Quaker Friends found Philadelphia, which is Greek for “city of brotherly love.”

1884 – Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey (born John Edward Kelly) wins the middleweight boxing title in the first fight with boxing gloves. Over his 12-year professional career, Dempsey was defeated only three times in 68 bouts. He dies of TB in 1895 at the age of 32.

1901 – Hubert Cecil Booth patents the vacuum cleaner.

1963 – A hotline communications link between the Pentagon near Washington, DC and the Kremlin in Moscow begins.

1967 – The U.S. Senate confirms Thurgood Marshall as the first black Supreme Court Justice. He serves until 1991. Marshall dies in 1993 at the age of 84.


1979 – The first recorded occurrence of a comet hitting the sun produces energy equal to 1 million hydrogen bombs.

1997 – In the first Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Championship the Houston Comets beat the New York Liberty.


August 31

1842 – The U.S. Naval Observatory is authorized by an act of Congress and is built in Washington, DC.

1886 – The first major earthquake recorded in eastern United States hits Charleston, South Carolina, and kills 110 people.

1910 – President Theodore Roosevelt makes a speech in Kansas advocating a “square deal” in which property shall be “the servant and not the master of the commonwealth.”

1940 – The U.S. National Guard assembles.

1955 – William Cobb of General Motors demonstrates the first sun-powered automobile, the 15-inch-long “Sun Mobile,” in Chicago, Illinois.


1978 – Emily & William Harris (of the Symbionese Liberation Army) plead guilty to the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst. The Harris’ are released from prison in 1983. They are never charged with the murder of Myrna Opsahl, whom they shot during the bank robbery. Patty Hearst serves only 22 months in jail for the bank robbery after her sentence is commuted by Jimmy Carter.

1990 – Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. are the first father and son to play on same baseball team. Each player goes 1 for 4 for the Seattle Mariners.


2012 – Apple Computers loses its patent dispute with Samsung of Tokyo, Japan.


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