This Week In History May 5-11 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 May 5-11, 2014

May 5

1809 – Mary Kies is the first woman issued a U.S. patent. It is for a technique of weaving straw with silk and thread in making hats.


1816 – The American Bible Society is organized in New York. Elias Boudinot, former president of the Continental Congress, serves as its first president.

1847 – The American Medical Association is organized in Philadelphia.

1865 – About one dozen men tear up tracks in the first U.S. train robbery. Over 100 passengers are the guest conductor.


1893 – In the wake of the Panic of 1893, the New York Stock Exchange crashes, leading to the Depression of 1893. This is why the resulting stock market crash of 1929 is called the Great Depression.

1925 – John T. Scopes is arrested for teaching evolution in Tennessee. Scopes is tried, convicted, and fined $100. His conviction is overturned on a technicality by the Tennessee Supreme Court.

1942 – The U.S. begins rationing sugar during World War II.

1943 – Postmaster General Frank C. Walker develops the Postal Delivery Zone System.

1961 – Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space aboard Freedom 7. He later goes to the moon on Apollo 14. Shepard died in 1998 at age 74.

1965 – U.S. Army ground units arrive in South Vietnam for the first large-scale mission.

1979 – Voyager 1 passes Jupiter. It is launched September 1977. In 2012 Voyager I passes into interstellar space.

1997 – The final episode of “Married With Children” airs on Fox TV after 11 seasons.


May 6

1833 – Blacksmith and inventor John Deere makes its first steel plow. His company is founded in 1837.

1853 – In the first major U.S. rail disaster, 46 people are killed in Norwalk, Connecticut, when a train engineers misses an open drawbridge signal and the cars plunge into the Norwalk River.

1861 – Jefferson Davis approves a bill declaring War between the U.S. and the Confederacy.

1937 – The Dirigible Hindenburg explodes in flames at Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing 36.


1941 – Bob Hope performs in his first USO show at California’s March Field. Hope headlines 57 tours during every war until Operation Desert Shield in 1991. Hope died in 2003 at age 100.


1957 – John F. Kennedy is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for book “Profiles in Courage.”


1996 – The body of former CIA director William Colby is found washed up on a riverbank in southern Maryland, eight days after he disappears in an apparent boating accident. He was 46 years old.

2013 – Wal-Mart becomes the largest company by revenue on the Fortune 500 list.


May 7

1789 – The first inaugural ball is held for George Washington in New York City.

1888 – George Eastman patents the “Kodak box camera.”


1912 – Columbia University approves plans for awarding the Pulitzer Prize in several categories. The award is established by Joseph Pulitzer as part of his will. The first prize is awarded in 1917.

1914 – The U.S. Congress establishes Mother’s Day.

1975 – President Ford declares an end to the “Vietnam Era.”

1982 – IBM releases PC-DOS version 1.1.

1992 – A Constitutional amendment barring mid-term congressional raises is ratified. James Madison proposes in 1789 what becomes the 27th Amendment.

1992 – The U.S. Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-49) launches on its maiden voyage. It is built to replace the Challenger, destroyed in a launch accident in January 1986.

1998 – Mercedes-Benz buys Chrysler for $40 billion and forms Daimler/Chrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.

1999 – A jury finds “The Jenny Jones Show” and Warner Brothers liable in the shooting death of Scott Amedure, after the show purposely deceives Jonathan Schmitz into appearing on a secret same-sex crush episode. Schmitz kills Amedure days after the show’s taping. A jury awards Amedure’s family $25 million.


May 8

1792 – The U.S. establishes the military draft.

1861 – Richmond, Virginia, is named the capital of the Confederacy.

1878 – Paul Hines completes the first unassisted triple play in organized baseball when he catches a fly ball and touches third base, resulting in 2 outs for the two runners who had already passed third for home plate.


1879 – George Selden files for the first patent for a gasoline-driven automobile.

1886 – Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta sells Coca-Coke for the first time. It actually contains cocaine.

1919 – Edward George Honey first proposes the idea of a moment of silence to commemorate the Armistice of World War I, which later results in the creation of Remembrance Day.

1952 – Mad Magazine debuts. Its mascot is Alfred E. Neuman.


1961 – The first practical seawater conversion plant opens in Freeport, Texas.

1973 – A group of about 200 Indians holding the South Dakota town of Wounded Knee since February 27th surrender after protesting corruption and treaty violations.

1976 – The rollercoaster Revolution opens at Six Flags Magic Mountain as the first roller coaster with a full vertical flip.


1984 – The USSR announces it will not participate in Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

1987 – Democrat presidential candidate Gary Hart quits the race after the Donna Rice affair.

1994 – Colorado Silver Bullets, an all-female pro baseball team, play their first game. They played their last game in 1997.

1999 – Nancy Mace becomes the first female cadet to graduate from The Citadel military college.



May 9

1754 – The first political cartoon in America, “Join, or Die,” is printed in Benjamin Franklin’s newspaper.


1887 – Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show opens in London.

1913 – The 17th Amendment passes providing for the election of senators by popular vote.

1914 – President Wilson proclaims Mother’s Day a holiday.

1926 – Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett make the first flight over the North Pole. They circle the North Pole to verify their location and take photos.


1939 – The Catholic Church beatifies Kateri Tekakwitha as the first Native American saint. Born in 1656 in New York, Tekakwitha is known as the “Lily of the Mohawks.”


1946 – “NBC’s Hour Glass,” premieres as the first hour-long variety show on TV. The show lasts until March 1947.

1960 – The U.S. is the first country to use the birth control pill legally.

1977 – Patty Hearst is released from jail after serving her sentence for bank robbery after being kidnapped and held by the SLA.

2005 – The liberal commentary website The Huffington Post is launched by Arianna Huffington.


May 10

1752 – Benjamin Franklin tests the lightning rod.

1775 – The 2nd Continental Congress names George Washington as supreme commander.

1801 – The Barbary pirates of Tripoli declare war on the United States of America.

1823 – The first steamboat to navigate the Mississippi River arrives at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

1869 – The Golden Spike is driven, completing the Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Point, Utah.


1877- President Rutherford B. Hayes has the first telephone installed in the White House. The White House phone number is #1.

1924 – J. Edgar Hoover is appointed head of the FBI. He remains the FBI director until his death in 1972.

1930 – The first planetarium opens in the U.S. in Chicago.

1968 – The Vietnam peace talks began in Paris between the U.S. and North Vietnam.

1983 – The last episode of “Laverne & Shirley” airs on ABC-TV. The show premiers in 1976.



May 11

1751 – The first hospital in the 13 Colonies in America is founded as the Pennsylvania Hospital.

1752 – The first U.S. fire insurance policy issued in Philadelphia.

1904 – Andrew Carnegie donates $1.5 million to build the Peace Palace in The Hague, Holland. Construction is completed in 1913. It houses the International Court of Justice.


1927 – Louis B. Mayer forms the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

1928 – General Electric opens the first TV station in Schenectady, New York.

1929 – The first regularly scheduled TV broadcasts 3 nights per week.

1951 – Jay Forrester patents the computer core memory.

1973 – Citing government misconduct, the charges against Daniel Ellsberg’s for his involvement in releasing the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times is dismissed.

1978 – Margaret A. Brewer is the first female general in the U.S. Marine Corps.


1980 – Pete Rose, age 39, steals second, third, and home in one inning for the Phillies.


1987 – The first “domino” heart-lung transplant takes place in Baltimore. A healthy human heart is taken from one living person (whose lungs were destroyed by cystic fibrosis) and transplanted into another human needing a heart transplant. The donor receives the heart and lungs of a deceased accident victim.


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