This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“History is a vast early warning system.” Norman Cousins
July 10-16, 2023
1850 – Vice President Fillmore becomes president when Zachary Taylor dies following a brief illness after just 16 months in office.
1900 – “His Master’s Voice” is registered with the U.S. Patent Office. The logo of the Victor Recording Company, and later, RCA Victor, shows the dog, Nipper, looking into the horn of a gramophone machine.
1919 – President Wilson personally delivers the Treaty of Versailles to the Senate. The Treaty followed six months of negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference after the WWI Armistice on November 11, 1918. The treaty was rejected by a deeply divided Senate and was never ratified.
1962 – The Telstar I Communications satellite is launched. Later that same day it transmitted the first live television images from the United States to France.
1985 – Coca-Cola resumes selling the old formula of Coke that is renamed “Coca-Cola Classic.” It was also announced that they would continue to sell “New” Coke. Watch Coke president Donald Keough make a hasty retreat.
1998 – The U.S. military delivers the remains of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Blassie to his family in St. Louis, Missouri. Blassie was shot down over South Vietnam in 1972. He had been placed in Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 1984. His identity was confirmed through DNA testing.
2017 – NASA‘s spacecraft Juno makes its closest pass over Jupiter’s Red Spot at 5,600 miles. Juno was launched in 2011. NASA updated Juno’s scientific operations to extend the mission until September 2025, or until the spacecraft ceases to function.
1798 – President John Adams signs the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy.
1804 – Vice President Aaron Burr kills Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel near Weehawken, New Jersey. Burr was indicted for murder, but the charges were later dropped. Burr and Hamilton had been bitter political and personal rivals for years.
1944 – Franklin Roosevelt announces that he will run for a fourth term as President of the United States. He was re-elected, but died in office in 1945 at the age of 63. Congress passed the 22nd Amendment in 1947 that limits a president to two terms in office.
1977 – Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. is posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Jimmy Carter. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
1981 – Neva Rockefeller is the first woman ordered to pay alimony to her husband. Neva, now 79, is the great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller.
1987 – Bo Jackson signs a contract to play football for the L.A. Raiders for 5 years. He also continued to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals. He is the still only athlete to be named an All-Star in two major sports. Bo is now 60 years old. Not to be outdone, Deion Sanders, now 55, is the only athlete to play in a Super Bowl and a World Series.
2019 – The Dow Jones closes above 27,000 for the first time. The Dow is now around 34,700, down from a high of 36,800 in January 2022.
1630 – New Amsterdam’s governor buys Gull Island from the Indians for cargo and renames it Oyster Island. It was later renamed Ellis Island.
1862 – Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor. More than 3,500 medals have been awarded to service men and women. Nineteen service members have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice.
1909 – The resolution proposing the 16th Amendment (income tax) is passed by the 61st Congress and submitted to the state legislatures. The resolution read simply “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” The 16th Amendment was voted on by each state legislature and subsequently ratified on February 3, 1913.
1933 – Congress passes the first minimum wage law (25 cents per hour) as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act. The Supreme Court ruled the act unconstitutional in 1935. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, although 30 states have a minimum wage about the federal level. California, Washington, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have a minimum wage of $15 per hour. They are also among the states with the highest cost of living.
1984 – U.S. Rep. Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-NY) is chosen by Democrat presidential candidate Walter Mondale to be his running mate. Ferraro became the first woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket. Ferraro died in 2011 at age 75. Watch part of her acceptance speech.
2009 – All television broadcasts in the U.S. switch from analog NTSC to digital ATSC transmission.
1787 – The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 establishes a government in the Northwest Territory. It allowed the territory to become at least 3 but no more than 5 states. Each would be admitted to the Union when the population reached 60,000.
1836 – U.S. patent #1 is issued for locomotive wheels (after 9,957 unnumbered patents were issued!). Patent #10,000,000 (10 million!) was issued in 2018.
1923 – The Hollywood sign is officially dedicated in the hills above Hollywood, Los Angeles. The sign originally read “Hollywoodland,” but the last four letters were dropped after renovation in 1949.
1954 – The United States, Great Britain, and France reach an accord regarding Indochina. It divided Vietnam into two countries, North and South, along the 17th parallel, also known as the DMZ (demilitarized zone). When Donald Trump crossed the DMZ on June 30, 2019, he became the first sitting president to enter North Korea.
1976 – The trial begins in the USSR for Valery Sablin for his 1975 mutiny on the Soviet submarine the Sentry. The true story of the mutiny is made into the 1990 American movie “The Hunt for Red October” based on Tom Clancy’s 1984 book. Sablin was convicted and executed by order of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Sablin is buried in an unmarked – and unknown – grave.
1985 – The “Live Aid” concert raises over $70 million for African famine relief during a live concert from Philadelphia and London. Watch an interview with organizer Bob Geldof.
2018 – The Department of Justice charges 12 Russian intelligence officers with cyber-attacks against the Democrat campaign during 2016 U.S. election.
1798 – The Sedition Act prohibits public opposition to the government through “false, scandalous, and malicious” writing against the U.S. government in response to foreign threats.
1853 – President Franklin Pierce opens the first U.S. World’s fair at New York’s Crystal Palace. The Palace was destroyed in 1858 by a fire that started in an adjacent lumberyard.
1921 – Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti are convicted in Massachusetts of murdering a shoe company’s guard and paymaster during an armed robbery. Italian-born anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti were executed in the electric chair in 1927 at ages 36 and 39 respectively. After requesting a review of the case, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation on the 50th anniversary of their execution that Sacco and Vanzetti had been unfairly tried and convicted.
1934 – The New York Times erroneously declares that Babe Ruth’s 700 home run record will stand for all time. Hank Aaron broke Ruth’s record in 1973 (755 total home runs) and Barry Bonds broke Ruth’s record in 2006 (762 total home runs).
1965 – American space probe Mariner 4 flies within 6,118 miles of Mars after an eight-month journey. This mission provided the first close-up images of the red planet. The mission launched November 28, 1964, and communications were terminated in December 1967. The spacecraft is now in a derelict orbit. Watch a NASA video.
1986 – Richard W. Miller becomes the first FBI agent convicted of espionage. After two trials Miller was convicted in 1993 and sentenced to 20 years, which a judge reduced to 13 years. Miller was released in 1994 and died in 2013 at age 76.
2008 – The iTunes Music Store reaches 10 million downloads. The following year the number of downloads reached 1.5 billion. As of this year, iTunes downloads totaled 25 billion, an average of 7 million per day.
2015 – Harper Lee’s second novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” written in 1957, goes on sale. The book was an earlier version of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” published in 1960, which won a Pulitzer Prize for Literature and was made into a movie in 1962. Lee died in 2016 at age 89.
1789 – The Marquis de Lafayette (Marie Joseph Yves Roche Gilbert du Motier) is named colonel-general of the new National Guard of Paris. During the Revolutionary War, Congress commissioned Lafayette a Major General in the Continental Army. He assisted George Washington in winning the war and they became life-long friends. Lafayette received honorary U.S. citizenship in 2002, one of only eight people to receive the honor.
1830 – Indian tribes (Sioux, Sauk, and Fox) sign the fourth Treaty of Prairie du Chien giving the U.S. most of Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) represented the U.S. at the signing.
1933 – Wiley Post begins the first solo flight around the world. The flight took 7 days, 18 hours. He was killed, along with his friend Will Rogers, when their plane crashed in Alaska on August 15, 1935.
1954 – The Boeing 707 becomes the first commercial jet transport plane tested in the U.S. The prototype, nicknamed “Dash 80,” served as a flying lab until it was given to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in 1972. Boeing went on to build more than 14,000 jetliners. The company was started by William Boeing in 1916. Watch actual test flight footage with commentary from the test pilot.
1975 – The U.S.S.R.’s Soyuz 19 and NASA’s Apollo 18 launch and rendezvous in space two days later. It was the first space rendezvous of spacecraft from different countries.
1976 – Brothers Richard and James Schoenfeld and their friend Frederick Woods kidnapped 26 school children and their bus driver Frank Ray in Chowchilla, California. They hid the bus in a quarry and demanded $5 million ransom, but the bus driver Frank Ray helped the students escape. All three kidnappers pleaded guilty and were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, which was changed to life with the possibility of parole. Richard Schoenfeld, now 67, was paroled in 2012. James, now 70, was paroled in 2015. Frederick Woods, also 70, was finally granted parole in 2022. Frank Ray died in 2012 at age 91. Watch a montage of actual footage.
2002 – “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to supplying aid to the enemy and to possession of explosives during the commission of a felony and is sentenced to 20 years in prison. In May 2019, Lindh was released early from prison for good behavior with probation for the remaining time of his sentence.
2006 – The social networking service Twitter is launched. The micro-blogging service averages 330 million monthly users. In 2022, Elon Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion.
1790 – U.S. Congress establishes the District of Columbia, initially known as “The Federal City.” The nation’s capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington, DC in 1800.
1941 – Joe DiMaggio hits in his 56th straight game with the American League New York Yankees. The streak ends the next day in Cleveland, but Joe went on to hit in the next 18 consecutive games. Willie Keeler of Baltimore holds the National League record with 45 consecutive hits during the 1896-97 season. Watch still photos as DiMaggio talks about his hitting streak.
1957 – Marine Major John Glenn sets the transcontinental speed record in an F8U-1P Crusader. Glenn set another record when he becomes the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962 in Friendship 7 and the oldest person in space in 1998 at age 77 aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Glenn died in 2016 at the age of 95.
1969 – Apollo 11 launches from Kennedy Space Center carrying Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin on the successful mission to land on the moon.
1988 – Florence Griffith Joyner sets the 100-meter women’s world record at 10.49 seconds during the Olympic time trials in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is considered the fastest woman of all time because her record for the 100-meter and 200-meter has never been beat. Flo-Jo died in her sleep in 1998 at age 38 from an epileptic seizure. Watch the fastest woman ever.
1999 – John F. Kennedy, Jr. (piloting a Piper Saratoga), his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette, are killed in a plane crash off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
2015 – A 24-year-old Kuwaiti-born Muslim terrorist shoots and kills 5 American soldiers at a Chattanooga, Tennessee, naval reserve training center. The soldiers returned fire to help others escape. The terrorist was shot to death by police. His father was on the terrorist watch list.
Image from: espn.com