This Week In History, November 11 – 17


by Dianne Hermann

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

Week of November 11-17, 2013

November 11 – Thanks to our Veterans!

1750 – The F.H.C. Society, also known as the Flat Hat Club, is formed at Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia. It is the first college fraternity.

1865 – Mary Edward Walker, the first female Army surgeon, becomes the first woman to be awarded the Medal of Honor.


1918 – World War I ends at 11 AM with the signing of the Treat of Versailles. President Wilson proclaims November 11 a national holiday as Armistice Day in 1919. The holiday is renamed Veteran’s Day after WWII. In 1954 President Eisenhower makes the first Veterans Day proclamation.

1926 – U.S. Route 66 is established and when completed goes from Chicago to LA, covering more than two thousand miles all the way. Get your kicks on Route 66.

1939 – Kate Smith makes her first public performance of “God Bless America,” written by Russian-born immigrant Irving Berlin. Berlin wrote the song in 1918.


1965 – Heavyweight boxer Mohamed Ali (Cassius Clay) KOs Floyd Patterson in Las Vegas, Nevada.

1981 – Fernando Valenzuela is the first rookie pitcher ever to win baseball’s Cy Young Award.



November 12

1910 – A man jumps into Hudson River from a burning balloon for the first movie stunt.

1920 – Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis is elected the first baseball commissioner.

1927 – The Holland Tunnel opens as the first underwater tunnel. It connects New York to New Jersey.

1933 – The first Sunday football game is played in Philadelphia. It was previously illegal to play on Sunday.

1946 – A branch of the Exchange National Bank in Chicago, Illinois, opens the first multiple drive-up teller windows.


1954 – Ellis Island, the immigration station in New York Harbor, closes. It opened in 1892. Over 12 millions immigrants pass through Ellis Island.

1968 – The Supreme Court declares the Arkansas law banning teaching of evolution in public schools unconstitutional.

1969 – The U.S. army announces it is investigating Lt. William Calley for an alleged March 19th massacre of civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai. He is convicted on 22 counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison. President Nixon orders Calley transferred to house arrest in Fort Benning, Georgia, where he remains for 3 ½ years.


1981 – Double Eagle V completes the first balloon crossing of Pacific Ocean from Japan to California in 84 ½ hours. It sets a new distance record of 5,768 miles.



November 13

1789 – Ben Franklin writes, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.”

1875 – The National Bowling Association organized in New York City.

1964 – Bob Pettit (St. Louis Hawks) becomes the first NBA player to score 20,000 points in his career. Thirty-seven other players have since scored over 20,000 points in their careers.


1977 – The final Al Capp comic strip of “Li’l Abner” is printed. It premiered in 1934. Al Capp died in November of 1979 at age 70.


1980 – The U.S. spacecraft Voyager I sends back the first close-up pictures of Saturn.



November 14

1832 – The first horse-drawn streetcar (designed by John Stephenson) debuts in New York City. The fare is 12 cents to ride on 4th Avenue between Prince and 14th Streets.

1851 – “Moby Dick,” written by Herman Melville, is published. Melville died in 1891 at age 72.

1881 – Charles J. Guiteau goes on trial for the July 2nd assassination of President Garfield. Guiteau is convicted and then hanged on June 30, 1882.

1889 – New York World reporter Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) begins her attempt to surpass fictitious journey of Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg by traveling around world in less than 80 days She succeeded, finishing the trip in January in 72 days and 6 hours, setting a real world record.

1965 – The U.S. government sends 90,000 soldiers to Vietnam.

1972 – Dow Jones closes above 1,000 for first time (1003.16).

1993 – Don Shula becomes the winningest coach in NFL history with his 325th victory with the Miami Dolphins in his 31-year career. He passes coach George Halas’ record of 324 wins during his 40-year career with the Chicago Bears.



November 15

1763 – Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon begin surveying the Mason-Dixon Line between Pennsylvania and Maryland.


1881 – The American Federation of Labor (AFL) is founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (See Nov. 9, 1935)

1805 – Lewis and Clark first viewed the Pacific Ocean, becoming the first European Americans to cross the continent.

1904 – King C. Gillette patents the Gillette razor blade.


1939 – FDR lays the cornerstone of Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC. It is completed in 1943.


1957 – The U.S. sentences Soviet spy Rudolf Ivanovich Abel to 30 years in prison and fines him $3,000. He smuggled coded messages in hollow nickels.

1960 – Elgin Baylor of NBA’s LA Lakers scores a record 71 points against the New York Knicks. Wilt Chamberlain now holds the record for most points scored in a single game. The Philadelphia Warriors’ player scores 100 points in a March 1962 game, also against the Knicks.

1985 – A research assistant is injured when a package from the Unabomber addressed to a University of Michigan professor explodes. Ted Kaczynski mails bombs for 18 years, killing 3 and injuring 23 people. He is convicted in 1998 after pleading guilty. Kaczynski is sentenced to four life terms in prison.


1993 – Joe Buttafuoco is sentenced to 6 months for the statutory rape of Amy Fisher. Fisher shoots Joe’s wife in the face and severely injures her. Fisher is convicted and spends seven years in prison. The Buttafuoco’s get a divorce in 2003.


November 16

1676 – The first colonial prison is organized in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

1841 – Napoleon Guerin of New York patents life preservers made of cork.

1914 – The Federal Reserve System formally opens. The “Fed” is created by Congress during the Wilson administration as the central bank of the U.S. to influence monetary policy and regulate banks. The “Fed” has never been audited.

1963 – The touch-tone telephone is introduced.


1965 – Walt Disney launches Epcot Center (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow). Walt Disney dies the following year and Epcot opens in 1982.



November 17

1800 – Congress holds its first session in the incomplete Capitol building Washington, DC. The building is completed in 1826.

1936 – Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy become an overnight success on radio. The Edgar Bergen/ Charlie McCarthy Show airs until 1956. Edgar Bergen died in 1978 at the age of 75.


1968 – NBC cuts to the movie “Heidi,” missing the Oakland Raider’s rally in the final two minutes of the football game. The Raiders score two touchdowns in 42 seconds to beat the New York Jets, 43-32 in the “Heidi Bowl.”

1993 – The U.S. House of Representatives approves the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

2012 – The video game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 grosses $500 million in 24 hours to become the biggest entertainment launch of all time.


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