This Week In History, Week of August 26


by Dianne Hermann


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

         – Winston Churchill           


Week of August 26-September 1, 2013


August 26

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 United States in Carondelet, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.

1895 – George Westinghouse and Nicola 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 at San Francisco’s Aquatic Park in 57 seconds.


Harry Houdini

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

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.

August 27

1667 – The earliest recorded hurricane in the United States strikes Jamestown, Virginia.

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.

1928 – The United States 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.

1955 – The “Guinness Book of World Records” is first published in London. The first issue was 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.


Francis the Talking Mule

2012 – The first interplanetary human voice recording is broadcast from the Mars Rover Curiosity. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden made the 169-word recording.


August 28

1830 – The first locomotive train in the United States, “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.


Tom Thumb Train

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

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.

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 



Martin Luther King Jr. August 28, 1963

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


August 29

1758 – The New Jersey Legislature forms the first Indian reservation in the United States for the Lenni-Lenape Indians.

1862 – The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing begins operation, with Salmon P. Chase as the Treasury Secretary, by printing $1 and $2 bills. Salmon P. Chase appears on the $10,000 bill. He is one of only three men who appear on currency who were not presidents. Benjamin Franklin is on the $100 bill and Alexander Hamilton is on the $10 bill.


The first 10,000 dollar bill

1904 – The first Olympics ever held in the United States opens in St. Louis, Missouri, with 651 athletes (645 men and 6 women) representing 12 participating countries.

1909 – American Glenn Curtiss wins the world’s first air race in his airplane “The Junebug.” The race is held in Rheims, France, over a 20-kilometer course. Curtiss flies the course at 46.5 miles per hour in less than 16 minutes.

1944 – An estimated 15,000 American troops liberating Paris, France, march down the Champs Elysees.

1958 – The Air Force Academy opens in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

1966 – The Beatles perform their last public concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.


August 30

1682 – William Penn, a Quaker, leaves England to sail to the New World aboard the ship Welcome. After arriving in Pennsylvania, he and a group of Quaker Friends found Philadelphia, which is Greek for “city of brotherly love.”

1884 – Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey (born John Edward Kelly) wins the middleweight boxing title in the first fight with boxing gloves. Over his 12-year professional career, Dempsey was defeated only three times in 68 bouts. He dies of TB in 1895 at the age of 32.

1901 – Hubert Cecil Booth patents the vacuum cleaner.

1967 – The U.S. Senate confirms Thurgood Marshall as the first black Supreme Court Justice. He serves until 1991. Marshall dies in 1993 at the age of 84.


Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marsahall

1979 – The first recorded occurrence of a comet hitting the sun produces energy equal to 1 million hydrogen bombs.

1997 – In the first Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Championship the Houston Comets beat the New York Liberty.


August 31

1842 – The U.S. Naval Observatory is authorized by an act of Congress and is built in Washington, DC.

1886 – The first major earthquake recorded in eastern United States hits Charleston, South Carolina, and kills 110 people.

1955 – William Cobb of General Motors demonstrates the first sun-powered automobile, the 15-inch-long “Sunmobile,” in Chicago, Illinois.



The Sunmobile

1978 – Emily & William Harris (of the Symbionese Liberation Army) plead guilty to the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst. The Harris’ are released from prison in 1983. They are never charged with the murder of Myrna Opsahl, whom they shot during the bank robbery. Patty Hearst serves only 22 months in jail for the bank robbery after her sentence is commuted by Jimmy Carter.

1990 – Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr., the first father and son to play on the same baseball team, each goes 1 for 4 at the plate for the Seattle Mariners.


Ken Griffey Sr and Jr

September 1

1752 – The Liberty Bell arrives in Philadelphia from France. The Pennsylvania Assembly orders the Bell in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania’s original Constitution. The cause of the bell’s famous crack is unknown.

1859 – The first Pullman sleeping car is put in service on the Chicago and Alton Railroad. George M. Pullman and Benjamin C. Field use rebuilt day coaches.

1862 – Federal tax is levied on tobacco for the first time. Taxes are also levied on such items as feathers, telegrams, pianos, yachts, billiard tables, drugs, and whiskey to help pay for the Civil War.

1897 – The Boston subway opens, becoming the first underground rapid transit system in North America.

1914 – The passenger pigeon becomes extinct when a female pigeon named Martha dies in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo. The passenger pigeon was once the most common bird in the United States, numbering in the billions. Its demise is the result of overhunting, habitat loss, and disease. A Smithsonian taxidermist mounts Martha’s skin and she is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.


1972 – Bobby Fischer of the United States defeats Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union for the world chess title.

1979 – A Los Angeles Court orders actor Clayton Moore to stop wearing the Lone Ranger mask in public appearances after Jack Wrather, who owned the rights to the character, files a restraining order. Clayton Moore (The Lone Ranger) changes his mask slightly and in 1985 wins the right to wear his mask. Moore, who started his career as a child circus star, dies in 1999.



The Lone Ranger


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