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 July 25-31, 2016
1775 – Maryland issues currency depicting King George III trampling the Magna Carta.
1832 – The first fatal railroad accident in U.S. is on the Granite Railway in Quincy, Massachusetts. A Cuban tourist dies and three other passengers are injured when a cable snaps, throwing the passengers down a 35-foot cliff.
1850 – Gold is discovered on the Rogue River in Oregon.
1861 – Congress passes the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution stating that “the present deplorable civil war” . . . “is not waged upon our part in any spirit of oppression” but is to be “fought to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union.”
1897 – Writer Jack London sails to join the Klondike Gold Rush where he writes his first successful stories.
1929 – A cross-country footrace from New York to San Francisco, dubbed the Bunion Derby, ends after more than 2 months. The winner is 60-year-old Abraham Lincoln Monteverde.
1946 – Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis perform their first show as a team at Club 500 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
1946 – Micheline Bernardini models the first bikini at a Paris fashion show. Mechanical engineer Louis Réard and fashion designer Jacques Heim invents the bikini using 30-square-inches of cloth. Réard names the bombshell swimsuit after the Bikini Atoll where the U.S. tests atomic bombs.
1959 – Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev argue in what is known as the “Kitchen Debate.” Watch the spirited argument:
1969 – Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy pleads guilty to leaving the scene of an accident a week after the Chappaquiddick car accident that kills his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy receives a two-month suspended sentence.
1990 – Roseanne Barr slaughters the National Anthem at San Diego Padre’s baseball game. Billboard ranks Barr’s performance as the second worst public singing of the National Anthem ever.
1997 – Autumn Jackson is found guilty of trying to extort $40 million from Bill Cosby. Jackson serves 14 months of a 26-month sentence for extortion, conspiracy, and crossing state lines to commit a crime. She claims to be Cosby’s child. Jackson is now 41 years old.
2010 – WikiLeaks leaks to the public more than 90,000 internal reports involving the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan from 2004-2010.
1775 – Benjamin Franklin becomes the first U.S. Postmaster General.
1790 – The House of Representatives narrowly passes the Assumption Bill, making the federal government responsible for state debts.
1847 – Moses Gerrish Farmer of New Hampshire builds the first miniature train for children to ride.
1878 – The American West outlaw and poet calling himself “Black Bart” (Charles E. Boles) commits his first of 28 robberies when he steals the safe box from a Wells Fargo stagecoach. No one is ever killed and some of the empty safe boxes are left with taunting poems inside. He is captured and convicted in 1883 and sentenced to 6 years in jail. He is released from jail early and in 1888 he disappears.
1908 – U.S. Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issues an order to staff the Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation).
1947 – President Harry Truman signs the National Security Act, establishing the Central Intelligence Agency.
1952 – Mickey Mantle hits his first grand slam home run in a game at Briggs Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. During his career, “The Mick” hits 9 regular season grand slams and one in a World Series game.
1964 – Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa is convicted of fraud and conspiracy. Hoffa disappears in 1975 and his body is never found.
1969 – Sharon Sites Adams, age 39, becomes the first woman to solo sail the Pacific Ocean.
1990 – President H. W. Bush signs the Americans with Disabilities Act.
1993 – NASA’s Mars Observer takes the first photos of Mars from 5 billion km.
1999 – Over 1,500 pieces of Marilyn Monroe’s personal items go on display at Christie’s in New York City. The items go up for auction in October 1999. Watch part of the auction with live commentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOAsqw-1scU
2005 – The Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-114) launches as NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.
1586 – Sir Walter Raleigh brings the first tobacco to England from Virginia.
1775 – Benjamin Rush begins his service as the first Surgeon General of the Continental Army.
1789 – President Washington signs legislation establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs (now called the State Department). Representative and future president James Madison of New York introduces the bill.
1804 – The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified directing the Electors to vote for a President and for a Vice-President rather than for two choices for President.
1888 – The National Geographic Society organizes in Washington, DC.
1909 – Orville Wright sets a record for the longest airplane flight. He tests the first Army airplane and keeps it in the air for 1 hour 12 minutes and 40 seconds. Watch a silent video of the historic flight: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q27jaEUkjOs
1918 – The first Tarzan film, “Tarzan of the Apes,” premieres at the Broadway Theater.
1931 – Swarms of grasshoppers in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota, destroy thousands of acres of crops.
1940 – Billboard magazine starts publishing their National List of Best Selling Retail Records.
1940 – The cartoon character Bugs Bunny debuts in “A Wild Hare.” Watch the cartoon:
1953 – The Armistice is signed ending the Korean War. Over 50,000 Americans and millions of Koreans and Chinese are killed during the three-year-long war.
1965 – President Johnson signs the Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act requiring cigarette makers print health warnings on all cigarette packages about the effects of smoking.
1977 – Beatle John Lennon is granted a green card for permanent residence in U.S.
1987 – The first salvaging of the Titanic wreckage begins. Robert Ballard locates the wreckage in 1985. The mini-submarine Nautile dives 2.5 miles below the ocean’s surface to retrieve objects not seen since the 1912 sinking.
1995 – The Korean War Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, DC.
1996 – A bomb explodes at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, killing 1 and injuring 110. Initially, Richard Jewell was falsely named a “person of interest” in the bombing. Eric Rudolph later pleads guilty and is sentenced to three concurrent terms of life imprisonment without parole.
1999 – The Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-93) completes a five-day mission commanded by Air Force Col. Eileen Collins. It is the first shuttle mission to be commanded by a woman.
2001 – The ribbon cutting ceremony is held for American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The event sets two new world records, one for the 3-mile-long ribbon and one for the 2,000 people who cut it.
1868 – The 14th Amendment is ratified, granting citizenship to ex-slaves.
1900 – Louis Lassing of New Haven, Connecticut, says his diner is the first to put a hamburger on a bun. (He is one of many who makes this claim.)
1932 – Two unemployed WWI veterans are killed in a scuffle with police in Washington, DC, during the “Bonus March.” President Hoover calls in federal troops when thousands of “Bonus Marchers” demand the government cash in their bonuses early. They clash with the troops led by General Douglass MacArthur and supported by Major George S. Patton. Watch a video by Historic Films:
1933 – Lucille Lipps, a Western Union operator in New York City, delivers the first singing telegram to Rudy Vallee on his birthday.
1945 – An Army bomber crashes into the 79th floor of New York City’s Empire State Building, 14 people are killed and 26 injured.
1959 – Hawaii’s first U.S. election sends its first Asian Americans to Congress.
1982 – San Francisco, California, becomes the first city in the U.S. to ban private ownership of handguns, but a state court concludes that under California law such decisions are reserved to the state legislature and can’t be made by individual cities.
1983 – Four days after the “pine tar bat” game American League baseball president Lee McPhail announces that even though George Brett’s bat had too much pine tar, only the bat should have been removed from the game, not the batter. He upholds the Kansas City Royals’ protest and says the two teams must resume the game in Yankee Stadium on August 18, with the Royals leading New York, 5-4, and two outs in the ninth. The Royals win the game. Watch the pine tar incident and Brett’s reaction:
1986 – NASA releases the transcript from the doomed Challenger. Pilot Michael Smith can be heard saying, “Uh-oh!” as Space Shuttle disintegrated on liftoff.
1998 – Monica Lewinsky receives blanket immunity from prosecution to testify before a grand jury about her relationship with President Bill Clinton.
2000 – Kathie Lee Gifford makes her final appearance as co-host of the TV talk show “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.”
2014 – Israel criticizes Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposed ceasefire.
1858 – The Treaty of Amity and Commerce (Harris Treaty) is signed between the U.S. and Japan opening Japanese ports to trade.
1899 – The first motorcycle race in held at Manhattan Beach, New York.
1914 – The first transcontinental telephone service is inaugurated when two people hold a conversation between New York, New York and San Francisco, California.
1920 – The first of three JL-6 aircraft leave New York for San Francisco on the inaugural transcontinental airmail flight. Former WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker is one of the passengers.
1928 – Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie” (Mickey Mouse) is released. Watch the primitive cartoon:
1938 – The comic strip “Dennis the Menace” first appears in print.
1945 – After delivering the Atomic Bomb across the Pacific, the USS Indianapolis is torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese submarine. Since the mission was secret, it was not reported missing. Survivors were accidentally found 4 days later. Only 317 of the 1,196 men on board survived.
1957 – Jack Paar begins hosting the “Tonight” show on NBC-TV. The name of the show is changed to “The Jack Paar Show.” Paar is host for five years.
1958 – President Eisenhower signs into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act (NASA).
1976 – Liz Taylor and Richard Burton divorce for the second time. They divorce for the first time in 1974.
1984 – The Summer Olympics open in Los Angeles, California.
1988 – A judge orders NASA to release the 2-minutes of unedited tape from the Challenger cockpit after the Space Shuttle explodes on takeoff on January 28th.
1988 – The last Playboy Club in the U.S. (in Lansing, Michigan) closes. The first Playboy Club is opened by Hugh Hefner in 1960.
1990 – The Boston Red Sox set the major league baseball record with 12 doubles in a single game.
1998 – The United Auto Workers union end a 54-day strike against General Motors. The strike causes $2.8 billion in lost revenues.
2015 – Microsoft launches Windows 10.
1619 – The first representative assembly in America convenes in Jamestown, Virginia as the House of Burgesses.
1733 – Eighteen men gather at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern on King Street in Boston and organize the first Masonic Lodge in North America.
1839 – Slaves take over the slave ship Amistad after 60 days at sea and are arrested in New York. The district court judge ruled that the slaves are free men, and orders them released from prison. He also orders that the United States government transport them back to Africa. The Supreme Court upholds the decision.
1898 – Will Kellogg invents the cereal Corn Flakes.
1898 – “Scientific America” carries the first magazine automobile ad. The ad is for the Winton Motor Car Company of Cleveland, Ohio.
1909 – The Wright Brothers deliver the first military plane to the army after meeting strict criteria and are paid $30,000.
1928 – George Eastman shows the first Kodacolor 16-mm color film to friends, including Thomas Edison and General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing, at his home in Rochester, New York.
1932 – Walt Disney’s “Flowers and Trees” premiers. It is the first Academy Award winning cartoon and first cartoon short to use Technicolor. Watch the video, which includes sound:
1942 – President FDR signs a bill creating the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service).
1956 – The phrase “In God We Trust” is adopted as the U.S. national motto.
1965 – President Johnson signs into law Social Security Act that establishes Medicare and Medicaid. It goes into effect the following year.
1975 – Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa disappears in suburban Detroit. His body is never found.
1988 – Harry Drake of Kansas shoots an arrow a record 2,028 yards. He is an early pioneer in the design of the composite bow. Drake died in 1997 at age 82.
1990 – The first Saturn automobile rolls off the assembly line in Spring Hill, Tennessee. Production is halted in October 2009.
1998 – A group of Ohio machine-shop workers (who call themselves the Lucky 13) win the $295.7 million Powerball jackpot. It is the largest-ever American lottery to date. The largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history is Mega Millions in 2012 at $565 million.
2014 – The European Union and the U.S. extend sanctions on Russia to include banks, energy, and defense firms. Moscow denies the allegation that Russia is arming rebels in Eastern Ukraine.
1792 – The cornerstone is laid for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, the first United States government building.
1876 – The U.S. Coast Guard officers’ training school is established in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
1922 – Eighteen-year-old Ralph Samuelson rides world’s first water skis in Minnesota.
1928 – MGM’s Leo the lion roars for the first time. He introduces MGM’s first talking picture, “White Shadows in the South Seas.” Hear Leo roar and watch the movie’s intro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pIfgwAlv0c
1953 – The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare is created during the Eisenhower administration. President Harding proposed a department of education and welfare in 1923.
1961 – The first tie in a baseball All-Star Game in major league history is recorded when it is stopped in the 9th inning due to rain at Boston’s Fenway Park.
1970 – Chet Huntley retires from NBC, ending the “Huntley-Brinkley Report.” Huntley died in 1974 at age 62. David Brinkley died in 2003 at age 82. Goodnight, Chet.
1971 – Astronauts ride in a vehicle on the moon for the first time in a lunar rover vehicle (LRV). Watch the lunar ride: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EliLP5uEYAU
1987 – Rockwell International is awarded a contract to build a fifth space shuttle, the Endeavor, to replace the Challenger. Final estimated cost: $1.7 billion.
1989 – The Game Boy handheld video game device is released in the U.S.
1991 – The U.S. Senate votes to allow women to fly combat aircraft. Air Force Colonel Martha McSally is the first woman to fly a combat mission after the 43-year ban is lifted.
1991 – President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev sign the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
1999 – The spacecraft Lunar Prospector crashes into the moon. It is a mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface. The craft is launched in January 1998.
2007 – The iTunes Music Store reaches 2 million feature-length films sold.
2014 – The U.S. agrees to resupply arms to Israel – including rocket launchers, mortar rounds, and grenades – despite condemnation of civilian casualties in Gaza.