This Week in History January 6 -12


by Dianne Hermann

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

Week of January 6-12, 2014


January 6

1893 – The Washington National Cathedral is chartered by Congress and signed by President Benjamin Harrison. Construction takes 83 years, from 1907 to 1990, at a cost of $65 million in private donations.


1931 – Thomas Edison submits the last of his 1,093 patent applications. Edison died in October of 1931 at age 84.

1942 – Pan American Airlines becomes the first commercial airline to schedule a flight around the world.

1963 – “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” hosted by Marlin Perkins premiers on NBC-TV. It airs until 1985. Perkins died in 1986 at age 81.


1973 – “Schoolhouse Rock” premieres on ABC-TV with Multiplication Rock. It airs until 2009.

1975 – The original daytime version of “Wheel Of Fortune” debuts on NBC-TV. It lasts until 1989, when it moves to CBS for two years before moving back to NBC. The original host is Chuck Woolery and Pat Sajak has been the host since 1981. Vanna White has been the hostess since 1982.


1994 – Tonya Harding’s ex-husband and her bodyguard hire Shane Stant to break the leg of ice skater Nancy Kerrigan the day before the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Kerrigan withdraws from the competition with a bruised leg. Both skaters are named to the Olympic team, where Kerrigan wins the Silver Medal and Harding finishes eighth. Harding pleads guilty to hindering the prosecution and receives three years probation, 500 hours of community service, a $160,000 fine, and a lifetime ban from figure skating.



January 7

1608 – Fire destroys the colony at Jamestown, Virginia.

1830 – The first U.S. Railroad Station opens in Baltimore, Maryland.

1896 – Fanny Farmer publishes her first cookbook. She is partially paralyzed after a stroke when she is 16. She enrolls in the Boston Cooking School at age 30 and attends until 1989. Farmer died in 1915 at age 57.

1927 – The Harlem Globetrotters basketball team play their first game in Hinckley, Illinois. They start as the “Savoy Big Five” in 1926 with 24-year-old coach Abe Saperstein. “Sweet Georgia Brown” becomes their theme song in 1952. They play against the Washington Generals. In 1982 the Harlem Globetrotters become the only sports team with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.


1929 – “Tarzan,” one of the first adventure comic strips and “Buck Rogers,” the first sci-fi comic strip, first appears in print.

1934 – The “Flash Gordon” comic strip by Alex Raymond debuts.

1955 – Marian Anderson becomes the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan in New York City.

1969 – The U.S. Congress doubles the president’s salary to $200,000. In 1999, President Clinton doubles his salary to $400,000. In 1789, George Washington got paid $25,000 a year.

1970 – Farmers sue Max Yasgur for $35,000 in damages caused by the “Woodstock” concert.

1972 – William H. Rehnquist and Lewis F. Powell Jr. are sworn in as Supreme Court Justices.

1994 – Tonya Harding wins the U.S. female Figure Skating Championship. Nancy Kerrigan drops out after Harding orchestrates an attack on Kerrigan the day before.

1998 – Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky files an affidavit in the Jones case in which she denies ever having a sexual relationship with President Clinton.

1999 – President Bill Clinton begins his impeachment trial in the Senate for perjury and obstruction of justice after saying he did not have sex with that woman. Although Clinton is convicted in the House, both charges fail in the Senate on February 12th.


January 8

1790 – President George Washington delivers the first State of the Union Address.

1833 – The Boston Academy of Music, the first U.S. music school, is established.

1835 – The United States national debt is $0 for the first and only time. The current national debt is over $17 trillion.

1867 – Legislation gives voting rights to blacks in Washington, DC, despite President Andrew Johnson’s veto.

1877 – Crazy Horse and his warriors fight their last battle with the U. S. Cavalry at Wolf Mountain in the Montana Territory. Crazy Horse surrenders in May with his band to protect them, and goes to Fort Robinson in Nebraska. Crazy Horse died in September.


1918 – Mississippi becomes the first state to ratify 18th amendment (prohibition).

1962 – Golfer Jack Nicklaus, age 21, makes his first pro appearance and comes in 50th. Nicholas goes on to beat Arnold Palmer in the 1962 U.S. Open.


1963 – The “Mona Lisa” painting by Leonardo de Vinci, on loan from the Louvre Museum in Paris, is unveiled in America’s National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson declares the “War on Poverty.”

1965 – The Star of India, a 563 carat blue star sapphire, is returned to the American Museum of Natural History. Jack Roland Murphy, Alan Kuhn, and Roger Clark steal this and other gems on October 29, 1964, are arrested two days later, and receive three-year sentences.

1973 – The trial of Watergate burglars begins in Washington, DC. James W. McCord and G. Gordon Liddy are convicted on charges of conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping. Five others plead guilty earlier. McCord’s sentence is reduced to four months and Liddy serves four years of his 20-year sentence.

1993 – CBS offers “The Late Show” to David Letterman. He is still the host.

2008 – New Jersey officially apologizes for slavery, becoming the first Northern state to do so.

2011 – The attempted assassination of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a Safeway grocery store in Tuscon, Arizona, kills 6 and wounds 13, including Giffords. She resigns from Congress a year later. Jared Lee Loughner is convicted of the shooting and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.



January 9

1793 – The first hot-air balloon flight in the U.S. lifts off in Philadelphia, piloted by Jean Pierre Blanchard. He flies to an altitude of over a mile and travels more than 15 miles.

1858 – Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas, commits suicide. He is bitterly disappointed at not being appointed to the U.S. Senate, suffers a crippling arm injury, and then fails to win a single vote in the state legislature. He shoots himself in the head.

1942 – The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff positions are created. The first members are Admiral William D. Leahy, President Roosevelt’s special military adviser, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy; General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army; Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet; and General Henry H. Arnold, Deputy Army Chief of Staff for Air and Chief of the Army Air Corps.

1951 – “Life After Tomorrow,” the first film to receive an “X” rating, premieres.

1956 – Abigail Van Buren’s “Dear Abby” column first appears in newspapers. Her real name is Pauline Phillips. Dear Abby died in January 2013 at age 94. Her twin sister is columnist “Ann Landers.” Ann died in 2002 at age 83.


1959 – “Rawhide” with Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates premieres on CBS-TV. It airs until 1965.


1979 – The Supreme Court strikes down (6-3) a Pennsylvania law requiring doctors performing an abortion to try to preserve lives of potentially viable fetuses.

1991 – Baseball officially bans Pete Rose from being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “Charlie Hustle” is banned for betting on baseball games while he is a player and manager.


1997 – Frank Sinatra has a heart attack and is sent to the hospital for the second time that week. Sinatra died in 1998 at age 82.

2002 – Michael Jackson receives the Artist of the Century award at the American music awards. Jackson died in 2009 at age 50.


January 10

1776 – Thomas Paine publishes “Common Sense.” Originally published anonymously, “Common Sense” advocated independence from Britain for the American colonies.

1912 – The Curtiss hydro-aeroplane, the world’s first flying boat, makes its maiden flight. It is designed by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss.


1967 – PBS, the National Educational TV station, begins as a 70-station network.

1984 – The U.S. establishes full diplomatic relations with Vatican after 117 years. In 1983 Congress lifts a prohibition on diplomatic relations enacted in 1867 during widespread anti-Roman Catholic sentiment and concern about the struggle for Italian unification.

1994 – The trial of Lorena Bobbitt begins. She cuts off her husband John’s penis in 1993 after what she claims is years of abuse. His member is reattached during a nine-hour surgery. Lorena is acquitted of malicious wounding.



January 11

1794 – Robert Forsyth, a 40-year-old U.S. Marshal, is killed in Augusta, Georgia, when trying to serve court papers. Forsyth is the first U.S. marshal to die in the line of duty.


1803 – James Monroe and Robert Livingston sail for Paris to buy New Orleans. They end up purchasing Louisiana. Monroe serves as president from 1817 to 1825. Livingston helped draft the Declaration of Independence and administered the presidential oath of office to George Washington in 1789.


1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman in the U.S. to earn a medical degree. She opens an infirmary in 1857 and trains nurses during the Civil War. Blackwell died in 1910 at age 89.

1935 – Amelia Earhart flies non-stop from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California.

1964 – The first government report is issued by U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry warning that smoking may be hazardous to one’s health.

1976 – Dorothy Hamill wins her third consecutive national figure skating championship. She also wins a gold medal at the Montreal Olympics.

1991 – Congress empowers President Bush to use force against Iraq.


January 12

1773 – The first public museum in the U.S. is established in Charlestown, South Carolina.

1906 – Dow Jones closes above 100 for the first time (100.26).

1921 – Kenesaw Mountain Landis becomes the first commissioner of baseball.

1943 – Hot dogs are replaced by Victory Sausages, a mix of meat and soy meal, due to the shortage of meat during World War II.

1966 – “Batman” with Adam West and Burt Ward premieres on ABC-TV and airs until 1968.


1967 – The Louisville, Kentucky, draft board refuses an exemption for the boxer Muhammad Ali. Ali is convicted of draft evasion, sentenced to 5 years in prison, fined $10,000, and banned from boxing for three years. He stays out of prison during his appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court overturns his conviction in 1971.

1967 – Dr. James Bedford, who died of kidney cancer at age 73, becomes the first person to be placed in cryonic suspension with the intent of future resuscitation. Bedford’s body is successfully transferred to a new capsule in 1991.


1971 – “All in the Family” premieres on CBS featuring the first toilet flush on TV. It is the number one TV series from 1971-1976 and airs until 1979. Archie and Edith Bunker’s easy chairs are now on display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.


1995 – Malcolm X’s daughter, Qubilah Shabazz, is arrested for plotting Louis Farrakhan’s murder, who she believed is responsible for her father’s assassination in 1965.

1995 – The murder trial against OJ Simpson begins in Los Angeles. He is acquitted of murdering his wife and her friend.

1997 – HAL (Heuristic ALgorithmic) becomes operational as the fictional computer in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.”


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