This Week in History: Feb 8-14, 2021

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This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall
possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in
need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” Samuel Adams


Feb 8-14, 2021




February 8

1837 – Richard Johnson is the first vice president chosen by the Senate according to the 12th Amendment, which states that Congress shall cast votes specifically for president and vice president. He served during the Van Buren administration. Johnson died in 1850 at age 70.

1887 – The Dawes Act, written by Congressman Henry Dawes, authorizes the President of the United States to survey Native American tribal land and divide it into individual allotments called reservations.

1910 – William D. Boyce, philanthropist, incorporates the Boy Scouts of America. Boyce died in 1929 at age 70.

1935 – Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago is the first player picked in the first National Football League draft. Berwanger was picked by the Eagles, but he never played in the NFL. He died in 2002 at age 88.

1969 – The last edition of the “Saturday Evening Post” is published. It was first published in 1897. Beginning in 1916, Norman Rockwell painted more than 300 Saturday Evening Post covers during his 50-year career.

1977 – “Hustler” magazine publisher Larry Flynt is sentenced to 7-25 years for “pandering obscenity” for selling Hustler magazine in Cincinnati, but serves only 6 days. His conviction was overturned in 1979. Flynt was shot and paralyzed in 1978 by serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, who was executed in November 2013. Flynt is now 78 years old.

1993 – GM sues NBC, alleging that “Dateline NBC” program that aired on November 17, 1992 rigged two truck crashes to show that 1973 to 1987 GM pickups were prone to fires. NBC later admitted to editing the videos. Watch the rigged test.



2002 – The 19th Winter Olympic Games open at Salt Lake City, Utah. Following charges of corruption, an investigation led to the expulsion of 10 International Olympic Committee members and the sanctioning of 10 others. This was the first expulsion and sanctioning for corruption in the history of the IOC.


February 9

1870 – The U.S. Army establishes the U.S. National Weather Service.

1909 – The first federal legislation prohibiting narcotics outlaws the drug opium.

1942 – Daylight Savings War Time goes into effect in the U.S. during WWII. The war ended almost 80 years ago.

1960 – The first star is placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star was for Joanne Woodward. There are now more than 2,500 stars.

1964 – The Beatles make their first of four appearances of on the “Ed Sullivan Show” to 3.7 million viewers. Watch the four lads on their last of three appearances.



1971 – Satchel Paige becomes the first Negro League player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1947, at age 42, Paige became the oldest rookie in Major League Baseball history. In 1965, at age 59, he became the oldest baseball player to play in a game and pitches three scoreless innings for the Kansas City Athletics. Paige died in 1982 at age 75.

2001 – The submarine USS Greenville accidentally strikes and sinks a Japanese civilian training vessel off the coast of Hawaii during a ballast-blow maneuver. Nine people on the vessel were killed. Greenville Commander Scott Waddle was forced to retire after the findings of a court of inquiry were released.

2016 – In the New Hampshire Presidential Primary, Republican Donald Trump wins (35%) over John Kasich (16%) and Bernie Sanders (60%) defeats Hillary Clinton (38%) in Democrat race.


February 10

1846 – The Mormons, led by Brigham Young, begin their westward march to present-day Salt Lake City, Utah.

1855 – U.S. citizenship laws are amended so all children of U.S. parents born abroad are granted U.S. citizenship.

1930 – Congress authorizes the Grain Stabilization Corporation to bolster sagging prices by buying surplus crops.

1942 – Glenn Miller is awarded the very first gold record for selling 1 million copies of his song “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Miller died in 1944 at age 40 when his plane went down over the English Channel. The plane was never found.

1956 – “My Friend Flicka” premieres on CBS (later NBC) TV and airs until 1960. Johnny Washbrook starred with the purebred Arabian horse. The date of Flicka’s death is unknown. Flicka is listed as 49th of Animal Planet’s 50 Greatest TV Animals. Washbrook is now 76 years old. Watch the premiere episode.



1967 – The 25th Amendment (Presidential Disability and Succession) goes into effect. It states that the vice president will become president in case of the removal of the president from office or in case of his death or resignation.

1989 – To gain deregulation, the World Wrestling Federation admits in a New Jersey court that pro wrestling is an exhibition and not a sport.

1993 – “Michael Jackson Talks to Oprah Winfrey” airs on ABC and draws an astounding 39.3 rating/56 share, about 90 million people. Jackson died in 2009 at age 50. Watch part of the interview.



2002 – Kobe Bryant is named MVP of the 51st NBA All-Star game. Bryant and eight others, including his daughter, were killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020.


February 11

1752 – The Pennsylvania Hospital opens as the first hospital in the U.S.

1809 – Robert Fulton, an accomplished artist and portrait painter, patents the steamboat.

1812 – Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry signs a redistricting bill, leading to the term “gerrymandering.” When the state adopted new constitutionally-mandated electoral district boundaries, the Republican-controlled legislature created boundaries designed to enhance their control during elections. Gov. Gerry signed the legislature creating the oddly shaped districts. A local newspaper said that one looked like a salamander and published a political cartoon calling it a “Gerry”mander. He was also James Madison’s vice president.

1916 – Emma Goldman is arrested for lecturing on birth control. She was convicted and served 15 days in jail rather than pay the $100 fine. Goldman became a mentor to future Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Goldman’s arrests spanned more than 25 years from 1893 until she was deported back to Lithuania in 1919. She died in 1940 at age 70.

1937 – General Motors agrees to recognize the United Automobile Workers union, ending the sit-down strike against them.

1953 – President Eisenhower denies the clemency appeal for the Rosenberg couple, who were convicted of spying. They were executed on June 19, 1953.

1960 – Jack Paar walks off the set while live on the air on the “Tonight Show” with four minutes left. He did this in response to censors cutting out a joke from the show the night before. Watch rare clips, including Paar’s departure and return.



1969 – Diane Crump, age 20, becomes the first U.S. woman jockey to ride against male jockeys. The following year she became the first woman to ride in the Kentucky Derby.

2002 – The six stars on NBC’s “Friends” sign a deal for $22 million each for the ninth and final season of the series.

2006 – While quail hunting in Texas, Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shoots and wounds a companion.


February 12

1793 – The first U.S. fugitive slave law is passed, requiring the return of escaped slaves. The Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and 1850 were not repealed until 1864.

1876 – Al Spalding opens his first sporting goods shop with his brother Walter. Al Spalding was a baseball player, manager, owner, and entrepreneur. He also published the first official rule guide for baseball in 1878. Spalding died in 1915 at age 65.

1908 – The New York City to Paris great auto race begins. The route included Albany, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Valdez (Alaska), Vladivostok, Omsk, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Berlin, and finally Paris. George Schuster won behind the wheel of his Thomas Flyer, covering three continents and over 22,000 miles in 169 days. The feat has never been duplicated or equaled. Schuster died in 1972 at age 99.

1955 – President Eisenhower sends the first U.S. advisors to South Vietnam. The first combat troops were sent to Vietnam in 1965. The Vietnam Conflict officially ended in 1975.

1973 – The first U.S. POWs in North Vietnam are released – 116 of the 456 POWs were flown to the Philippines. There are still about 1,600 MIAs (Missing In Action) from the Vietnam War.

1984 – Cale Yarborough becomes the first Daytona 500 qualifier to reach more than 200 MPH, and wins his fourth Daytona 500. He won in 1968, 1977, 1983, and 1984, making him second among winning drivers behind Richard Petty (7 wins). Yarborough is now 81 years old.

1999 – President Clinton is acquitted by the Senate, by a vote of 55 to 45, on the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice during his impeachment trial. Clinton had been impeached in the House of Representatives on the same charges on December 19, 1998.

2001 – The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker spacecraft, launched in 1996, touches down on 433 Eros, becoming the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.

2004 – Mattel announces that “Barbie” and “Ken” are breaking up. The dolls met on the set of their first television commercial together in 1961. Russell Arons, VP of Mattel marketing, said that Ken and Barbie “feel it’s time to spend quality time – apart,” suggesting that the split was partially due to Ken’s reluctance to get married. Watch the original 1961 commercial.




February 13

1795 – The University of North Carolina opens, becoming the first state university in the U.S.

1866 – Jesse James robs his first bank, the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, netting $60,000. James was killed in 1882 at age 34 when he was shot in the back of the head at his home by fellow gang member Robert Ford.

1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded.

1935 – Bruno Hauptmann is found guilty of kidnapping and murdering the 20-month-old Lindbergh baby during “The Trial of the Century.” Hauptman was executed in the electric chair in 1936.

1957 – The Southern Christian Leadership Conference organizes in New Orleans. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as its first president.

1984 – Six-year-old Stormie Jones of Texas receives the first successful heart and liver transplant. Jones died in 1990 at age 13.

1997 – The Space Shuttle Discovery captures the Hubble Space Telescope to make repairs. Watch Discovery astronauts repair the telescope.



2000 – The final “Peanuts” comic strip appears in newspapers. Its creator, Charles M. Schulz, died the day before at age 77. The comic strip was launched by Schulz in January of 1950.

2002 – Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani receives an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II.


February 14

1803 – Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall declares that any act of the U.S. Congress that conflicts with the Constitution is void.

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray apply separately for telephone patents. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that Bell was the rightful inventor.

1929 – Seven gangsters are killed in Chicago, allegedly on Al Capone’s orders, in what became known as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

1978 – The first “micro on a chip” is patented by Texas Instruments. It was designed by Gary Boone and Michael Cochran.

1989 – The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS) are placed into Earth’s orbit.

1990 – Space probe Voyager 1, launched in 1977, takes a photograph of our entire solar system. It carried a gold-plated audio-visual disc containing photos of Earth life forms, scientific information, music, and sounds of the Earth in the event it was found by intelligent life forms. Voyager’s mission is expected to continue collecting and sending back data until 2025, when it won’t have enough power to operate its instruments.

2002 – The House of Representatives passes the Shays-Meehan bill. The bill bans millions of dollars of unregulated money that goes to the national political parties. John McCain and Russ Feingold pushed a similar bill in the Senate.

2005 – The video-sharing website YouTube is activated. Watch the first video ever uploaded on YouTube.



2011 – Barbie and Ken get back together after they split up in 2004.




Image from: parade.com

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