This Week In History, Week of August 22-28, 2016


This Week In History

by Dianne Hermann

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”

– Ronald Reagan

Week of August 22-28, 2016


August 22


1762 – Ann Franklin is the first female U.S. newspaper editor. She inherited the newspaper “Mercury” from her husband James Franklin, brother of Ben Franklin.


1902 – President Teddy Roosevelt becomes first U.S. chief executive to ride in a car. He rides in a Columbia Electric Victoria Phaeton while on a campaign tour through Connecticut.


1906 – The Victor Talking Machine Company of Camden, New Jersey, begins to manufacture the Victrola. The hand-cranked unit, with horn cabinet, sells for $200.


1921 – J. Edgar Hoover becomes the assistant director of the FBI. He becomes the director in 1924 and leads the FBI for 48 years until his death in 1972.


1938 – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appear on the cover of “LIFE” magazine.


1946 – Baseball approves a 168-game schedule, but later rescinds it. There are now 162 games in a season.


1956 – Elvis Presley begins filming his first movie, “Love Me Tender,” which is released in November. Watch Elvis sing the title song in the movie:


1962 – Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered ship, completes her maiden voyage from Yorktown, Virginia, to Savannah, Georgia. She is decommissioned in 1972 and in 1999 the Savannah is moved to the James River Merchant Marine Reserve Fleet near Newport News, Virginia.


1973 – Henry Kissinger is named Secretary of State by President Nixon. Kissinger wins the Nobel Peace Prize the same year.


1984 – The last Volkswagen Rabbit rolls off the assembly line in New Stanton, Pennsylvania.


1989 – Nolan Ryan becomes the first major league pitcher to strike out 5,000 batters. Watch Ryan make Rickey Henderson swing at the air:


1992 – An FBI sniper shoots and kills Vicki Weaver, wife of white separatist Randy Weaver, during an 11-day siege at their home at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. She is holding her infant daughter, who is unharmed. Fourteen-year-old Sammy Weaver and a U.S. Marshall are shot to death the day before.


2003 – Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building.


2007 – The Texas Rangers rout the Baltimore Orioles 30-3, the most runs scored by a team in modern baseball history.



August 23


1850 – The first national women’s rights convention convenes in Worcester, Massachusetts.


1869 – The first carload of freight (boots and shoes) arrives in San Francisco from Boston after a 16-day rail trip.


1919 – The “Gasoline Alley” cartoon strip premiers in the Chicago Tribune.


1923 – Capt. Lowell Smith and Lt. John P. Richter perform the first mid-air refueling on a De Havilland DH-4B, setting an endurance flight record of 37 hours.


1947 – President Truman’s daughter Margaret makes her first public singing concert. A poor review after her third performance in 1950 causes the president to write a threatening letter to the Washington Post’s music critic. Listen to a 1950 audio recording of Margaret and judge for yourself:


1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photographs of Earth while orbiting the Moon.


1979 – Soviet dancer Alexander Godunov defects to the U.S. while the Bolshoi Ballet is on tour in New York City.


1984 – Southfork Ranch, the home of the fictitious Ewing clan of the TV show “Dallas” is sold. The ranch is transformed from a tourist site into a hotel resort.


1990 – The U.S. begins to call up 46,000 reservists to serve in the Persian Gulf.


1999 – American Robert Bogucki is rescued after getting lost on July 11 while bicycling in the Great Sandy Desert of Australia. During his 43-day ordeal Bogucki lost 44 pounds. Watch a trailer for the show “Miracle in the Desert” about his ordeal:



August 24


1814 – British forces capture Washington, DC and burn down many landmarks, including the U.S. Capitol and the President’s Mansion. The Library of Congress, housed in the Capitol building, suffers extensive damage.


1853 – Chef George Crum of Moon’s Lake House Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, New York, prepares the first potato chips after a customer complains his fried potatoes are too thick.


1891 – Thomas Edison patents the motion picture camera.


1912 – New York City holds a ticker tape parade for Jim Thorpe and other victorious U.S. Olympians from the Stockholm Sweden Summer Olympics.


1932 – Amelia Earhart starts the first transcontinental non-stop flight by a woman. She also set the women’s record for fastest non-stop transcontinental flight (twice, 1932 and 1933).


1954 – President Eisenhower signs Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the U.S.


1956 – The first non-stop transcontinental helicopter flight arrives in Washington, DC. The H-21 Shawnee helicopter lands after a 31-hour flight from San Diego, California. It is also the first in-flight refueling of a helicopter. Watch that refueling (no sound):


1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life for John Lennon’s murder in December 1980. Chapman is denied parole 7 times from the Wende Correctional Facility in New York and he is now 61 years old.


1989 – Pete Rose is suspended from baseball for life for gambling. He retires from baseball in 1986 and becomes the Cincinnati Reds manager in 1987. The ban makes Rose ineligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.


2001 – The remains of nine American servicemen killed in the Korean War are returned to the U.S. The bodies are found about 60 miles north of Pyongyang. It is estimated that it will be a year before the identities of the soldiers would be known. Watch a similar return of four servicemen:


2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” such that Pluto is now considered a Dwarf Planet.


2011 – Tim Cook succeeds Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple Inc. due to Jobs’ illness. Jobs died in October 2011 at age 56.


2012 – A U.S. jury in California finds that Samsung is guilty of patent infringement and awards over $1 billion in damages to Apple.


2015 – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces that for the first time 1 billion people logged into Facebook. In 2004, Harvard students Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra accuse Zuckerberg of misleading them and using their ideas to develop Facebook. In 2008, Facebook settles the case for 1.2 million shares and $20 million in cash. Zuckerburg is now 32 years old.



August 25


1829 – President Jackson makes an offer to buy Texas, but the Mexican government refuses. President John Q. Adams offers to buy Mexico for $1 million two years earlier. His offer was also rejected.


1902 – “Al-Hoda” begins publication in New York City, making it the first Arabic daily newspaper in the U.S.


1916 – The National Park Service is established as part of the Department of the Interior.


1920 – Ethelda Bleibtrey becomes the first U.S. woman to win a medal in the Olympics (swimming). She wins three gold medals and sets three world records in Olympic swimming competitions in Antwerp, Belgium. Bleibtrey started swimming as therapy to overcome the effects of polio. Bleibtrey died in 1978 at the age of 76.


1932 – Amelia Earhart completes her transcontinental flight of over 2,400 miles in 19 hours.


1940 – The first parachute wedding takes place at the World’s Fair in New York City. The bride and groom, minister, best man and maid of honor, and four musicians are suspended in parachutes.


1949 – “Father Knows Best” debuts on the radio. The show moves to TV in 1954 and airs until 1960. Both shows star Robert Young. Watch the original TV show opening:


1950 – President Harry Truman orders the army to seize control of railroads to avert a strike.


1952 – Puerto Rico becomes a U.S. commonwealth.


1968 – Arthur Ashe becomes the first black person to win the U.S. singles tennis championship. Ashe contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion and died in 1993 at age 49. Watch a report about his championship win and career:


1970 – Elton John performs his first U.S. concert in Los Angeles.


1983 – The U.S. and the Soviet Union sign a $10 billion grain pact.


1989 – After a 12-year, 4-billion-mile journey, NASA’s Voyager 2 flies over the cloud tops of the planet Neptune and its moon Triton, sending back photographs.


1997 – The tobacco industry agrees to an $11.3 billion settlement with the state of Florida.


1998 – A survey released says that one-third of Americans use the Internet.


2012 – NASA’s Voyager 1 becomes the first spacecraft to enter interstellar space. It is launched in 1977.



August 26


1839 – The slave ship Amistad is captured off Long Island, New York, after a mutiny. The slaves are tried and acquitted because it is deemed they are not property, but had been kidnapped. Donations help repatriate the freed slaved to Sierra Leone.


1842 – The first fiscal year is established by the U.S. Congress to start on July 1st.


1843 – Charles Thurber of Worcester, Massachusetts, patents the typewriter. Thurber’s machine is never manufactured and the only model in existence is in a Worcester museum.


1873 – Susan Blow starts the first free kindergarten in the U.S. in Carondelet, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.


1895 – George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla build America’s first hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls. Electric Central at Niagara Falls gives off steam using hydroelectricity for the first time.


1907 – Magician and escape artist Harry Houdini escapes from chains underwater in 57 seconds at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park.


1920 – The 19th amendment passes granting women’s suffrage (right to vote).


1939 – In the first major league baseball telecast, the Reds beat the Brooklyn Dodgers.


1946 – George Orwell publishes his book “Animal Farm.”


1947 – Don Bankhead is the first black baseball pitcher. Bankhead hits a homerun on his first at bat.


1957 – The first Edsel made by the Ford Motor Company rolls of the assembly line. The car is produced for only 3 years. Watch a commercial for the 1958 Edsel:


1971 – The New York Giants football team signs a 30-year lease for a 75,000-seat stadium to be built in New Jersey for the 1975 season. They move from the Bronx into Giant Stadium in 1976 and play their first game against the Dallas Cowboys, losing to the Cowboys 24-14.


1973 – The University of Texas at Arlington is the first accredited school to offer belly dancing.


1973 – Ten-year-old Mary Boitano is the first female to win 6.8-mile Dipsea Race in Marin County, California, beating a field of 1,500 runners. (The finish time of participants is adjusted using an age and gender handicapping system.) The Dipsea Race is the oldest cross-county trail running event in the U.S., which started in 1905. Boitano is now 53 years old.


1987 – The Fuller Brush Company announces plans to open two retail stores in Dallas, Texas. The company is started by Arthur C. Fuller and sells its products door to door for 81 years.


2003 – The Columbia Accident Investigation Board releases its final reports on Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.


2011 – Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner receives certification from the FAA.


2015 – TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward are fatally shot on live TV by an ex-colleague in Moneta, Virginia. The gunman shot himself during a car chase by police and died in the hospital. Watch the murders live as it was seen by TV viewers:



August 27


1667 – The earliest recorded hurricane in the U.S. strikes Jamestown, Virginia.


1859 – Edwin Drake drills the first successful oil well near Titusville, Pennsylvania.


1894 – Congress passes the Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act, which includes a graduated income tax. The Supreme Court strikes it down in 1895 as unconstitutional. The 16th Amendments is ratified in 1913 allowing Congress to levy personal income taxes.


1912 – Edgar Rice Burroughs publishes “Tarzan of the Apes.”

1928 – The U.S. is one of 15 countries to sign the Kellogg-Briand Pact, which outlaws war. Forty-seven other countries later sign the Pact. The Senate ratifies it 85-1.


1945 – American troops land in Japan after the surrender of the Japanese government at the end of World War II.


1955 – The first “Guinness Book of World Records” is published in London. The first issue is 197 pages. The following year it is published in the United States and sells 70,000 copies. It is published every October.


1961 – Francis the Talking Mule (with Chill T. Wills providing the voice) is the mystery guest on the TV show “What’s My Line?” Francis (in reality a female mule named Molly) is the first recipient of the American Humane Association Annual Patsy Award in 1950. The award is given for an outstanding performance by an animal appearing in motion pictures. Watch the blindfolded judges try to guess (starts at 15:08 of clip):


1976 – Transsexual Renee Richards, born Richard Raskind, is barred from competing in U.S. Tennis Open. The New York Supreme Court rules in her favor and Richards plays in the 1977 U.S. Open. Richards is now 81 years old.


1984 – President Ronald Reagan announces that the first citizen to go into space will be a teacher. The teacher who is eventually chosen is Christa McAuliffe. She died in the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986 at age 37.


1996 – California Governor Pete Wilson signs an order that would halt state benefits to illegal immigrants.


2001 – Work begins on the future site of a World War II memorial on the U.S. capital’s historic National Mall. The site is located between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.


2008 – Barack Obama becomes the first African-American to be nominated by a major political party for President of the United States. He wins the election in November and again in 2012.


2012 – The first interplanetary human voice recording is broadcast from the Mars Rover Curiosity. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden makes the 169-word recording. Listen to it at:



August 28


1609 – Henry Hudson discovers and explores Delaware Bay.


1830 – The first locomotive train in the U.S., “Tom Thumb,” runs from Baltimore to Ellicott’s Mill, Maryland, carrying the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad directors. It hauls passengers until 1831 but is never put into regular service. “Tom Thumb” is salvaged for parts in 1834.


1845 – Scientific American magazine publishes its first issue.


1907 – The United Parcel Service (UPS) is founded by teenagers James E. Casey and Claude Ryan in Seattle, Washington.


1917 – Ten suffragists are arrested as they picket in front of the White House.


1922 – The first radio commercial airs on WEAF in New York City. The Queensboro Realty Company buys 10 minutes of time for $100.


1938 – Northwestern University awards an honorary degree to ventriloquist Edgar Bergen’s dummy Charlie McCarthy.


1955 – In the first NFL preseason sudden death football game the Rams beats the Giants 23-17.


1957 – Senator Strom Thurmond (D-SC) begins a 24-hour 18-minute filibuster against the Civil Rights Bill. He still holds the record for the longest filibuster in Congress. The bill passes less than 2 hours after Thurmond ends his filibuster. Thurmond died in 2003 at age 100.


1963 – Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his “I have a dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Dr. King is assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. Listen the entire speech with text: American Rhetoric


1965 – The first Subway sandwich shop opens in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Subway now has nearly 44,000 restaurants worldwide. Subway co-founder Fred DeLuca died in 2015 at age 67.


1981 – The National Centers for Disease Control announces a high incidence of Pneumocystis and Kaposi’s sarcoma in gay men. Both diseases are later linked to HIV and AIDS.


1995 – The biggest bank in the U.S. is created when Chase Manhattan and Chemical Bank announce their $10 billion deal.


2005 – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in the southeastern U.S., hammering New Orleans, Louisiana, and coastal Mississippi.


2014 – Google announces Project Wing, aimed at delivering products across a city using unmanned flying vehicles (drones). Watch the Project Wing test flight video:




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