This Week In History, February 10th -16th, 2014


by Dianne Hermann

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

Week of February 10-16, 2014

February 10

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

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

1863 – The first U.S. fire extinguisher patent was granted to Alanson Crane of Virginia.

1897 – The New York Times began using the slogan “All the news that’s fit to print.”

1940 – Cartoon movie shorts of “Tom & Jerry,” created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, make their debut with MGM Studios. A total of 114 cartoon shorts are made between 1940 and 1957.


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.

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


February 11

1794 – A session of the U.S. Senate opens to the public for the first time.

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 “gerrymander.”

1916 – Emma Goldman was 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 span more than 25 years from 1893 until she was deported back to Lithuania in

1919. She died in 1940 at age 70.

1969 – Diane Crump, at age 20, became 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.

1993 – Janet Reno became the first female U.S. Attorney General when she was selected by President Clinton.



February 12

1793 – The first U.S. fugitive slave law was passed, requiring the return of escaped slaves.

1850 – The original George Washington Farewell Address manuscript sold for $2,300.

1876 – Al Spalding opened 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.

1878 – Frederick Thayer patented the baseball catcher’s mask, although he was not credited with inventing it.

1914 – The cornerstone was laid for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. It was completed in 1922.

1955 – President Eisenhower sent the first U.S. advisors to South Vietnam.

1973 – The first U.S. POWs in North Vietnam were released – 116 of 456 were flown to the Philippines.

1984 – Cale Yarborough became the first Daytona 500 qualifier to reach more than 200 MPH, and won his fourth Daytona 500. He won in 1968, 1977, 1983, and 1984, making him second among winning drivers behind Richard Petty (7 wins). Cale is now 74 years old.

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


February 13

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

1866 – Jesse James robbed his first bank, the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri, netting $60,000.

1935 – Bruno Hauptmann was 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 organized in New Orleans. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. served as its first president.

1959 – The Barbie doll goes on sale. Ruth Handler invented the iconic doll and named it after her own daughter Barbara.


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

1997 – The Space Shuttle Discovery captured the Hubble Space Telescope to make repairs.


February 14

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

1849 – In New York City, James Knox Polk became the first sitting U.S. President to have his photograph taken. Future Civil War photographer Matthew Brady takes the photo.

1924 – IBM Corporation was founded by Thomas Watson.

1929 – Seven gangsters were killed in Chicago, allegedly on Al Capone’s orders, in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

1951 – Sugar Ray Robinson defeated Jake LaMotta to take the middleweight boxing title. In 1943 LaMotta handed Robinson his first defeat. Robinson won 173 of his 200 bouts, 108 by KO. He died in 1989 at age 67 and was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame the following year.


1978 – The first “micro on a chip” was patented by Texas Instruments.

1988 – Bobby Allison, age 50, became the oldest driver to win the Daytona 500 stock car race. Trevor Bayne, age 20, became the youngest Daytona 500 winner in 2011.

1989 – The first of 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System (GPS) were placed into orbit.

1990 – Space probe Voyager 1, launched in 1977, took 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 is 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.


February 15

1764 – St. Louis, Missouri, was founded as a French trading post by fur trader Pierre Laclede. Laclede died in 1778 at age 48.

1903 – The first Teddy Bear, named after President Theodore Roosevelt, was made by Morris and Rose Michtom.

1932 – George Burns and Gracie Allen debuted as regulars on the “Guy Lombardo Show.” Gracie Allen died in 1964 at age 69 and George Burns died in 1996 at age 100.


1932 – U.S. bobsled team member Eddie Eagan became the only athlete to win gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. He won gold in 1920 in boxing.

1992 – Jeffrey Dahmer is found sane and subsequently convicted of killing 15 boys and sentenced to 15 life terms in prison. Dahmer is murdered in prison in 1994 at age 34 by then 25-year-old Christopher Scarver.

2001 – The first draft of the complete Human Genome was published in Nature, the international weekly journal of science.

2005 – YouTube, the popular Internet site on which videos may be shared and viewed by others, is launched in the United States.


February 16

1852 – The Studebaker Brothers Wagon Company was established. It was the precursor of the automobile manufacturer.

1950 – The longest-running prime-time game show, “What’s My Line” premiered on CBS-TV and aired until 1967. An all-star panel tried to guess the contestant’s occupation. The first contestant was Miss Pat Finch, a hat check girl. The first “mystery guest,” when the panelists were blindfolded, is Yankee baseball great Phil Rizzuto.

1953 – Baseball star Ted Williams, recalled for active duty as a Marine fighter pilot in 1952, safely crash landed his damaged Panther jet in Korea. Williams was awarded the Air Medal and two Gold Stars before being discharged for health reasons. He returned to play baseball until 1960. Williams died in 2002 at age 83.

1968 – The first 911 emergency phone system in the U.S. went into service in Haleyville, Alabama.

1982 – “Six Million Dollar Man” Lee Majors and “Charlie’s Angel” Farrah Fawcett divorced after 7 years of marriage. Majors is now 74 years old. Fawcett died in 2009 at age 62.


2005 – The 2004-05 National Hockey League season was canceled by league commissioner Gary Bettman. This is the first time that a North American professional sports league canceled a season due to a labor dispute.


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