This Week In History, Week of November 16-22, 2015


This Week In History

by Dianne Hermann


“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.

They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

– Thomas Jefferson


Week of November 16-22, 2015


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.


1933 – President Roosevelt establishes diplomatic relations with the USSR.


1952 – In the Peanuts comic strip, Lucy first holds a football for Charlie Brown.


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.


1973 – President Nixon authorizes construction of the Alaskan pipeline.


1981 – Luke and Laura finally get married on the soap opera “General Hospital.” Watch the long-awaited ceremony:


2000 – Bill Clinton becomes the first U.S. President to visit Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.


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



November 17


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


1894 – TheDaily Racing Form” for Thoroughbred horse racing is founded. It is launched in Chicago and is the only U.S. newspaper dedicated to a single sport. It is published daily except for Christmas Day.


1927 – A tornado hits the Washington, DC area and is the most destructive tornado to hit DC. One person is killed and 49 are injured. About 150 homes are destroyed or damaged. The Navy Yard and Anacostia Naval Air Station are hardest hit, causing an estimated $1 million in damage.


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 age 75. Charlie is on display at the Smitsonial Museum of American History in Washington, DC.


1940 – The Green Bay Packers become the first NFL team to travel to a game by plane.


1967 – Surveyor 6 becomes the first man-made object to lift off the Moon.


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.” Watch the news broadcast and last minute of the game never seen at on TV:


1982 – The Empire State Building in New York City is added to the National Register of Historical Places.


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


2003 – Britney Spears, age 21, becomes the youngest singer to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


2004 – Kmart Corp. announces it is buying Sears, Roebuck and Co. for $11 billion USD and naming the newly merged company Sears Holdings Corporation.


November 18


1820 – U.S. Navy Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer of Connecticut, age 22, discovers Antarctica.


1852 – Sister Rose Philippine Duchesne dies in St. Charles, Missouri, at age 83. Born in France in 1769, Rose is sent to Missouri in 1818 and opens the first free school west of the Mississippi. She is canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.


1865 – Samuel L. Clemens publishes “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” under the pen name “Mark Twain” in the New York “Saturday Press.”


1871 – American suffragette Susan B. Anthony is arrested after voting on November 5th in Rochester, New York.


1883 – Standard time zones are formed by the railroads in U.S. and Canada.


1902 – Brooklyn toymaker Morris Michton names the stuffed bear after President Theodore Roosevelt. The “teddy” bear is nicknamed for the president following a hunting trip in 1902 with Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino. Teddy Roosevelt refused to kill an old bear tied to a tree.


1928 – The first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon, Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie,” starring Mickey Mouse premieres in New York.


1932 – “Flowers & Trees” by Walt Disney Studios receives the first Academy Award for a cartoon. Watch it at:


1949 – Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers is named the National League’s MVP.


1951 – Chuck Connors (Los Angeles Angels) becomes the first player to oppose the major league baseball draft. Connors later becomes the star of the television show “The Rifleman.”


1966 – U.S. Roman Catholic bishops do away with the rule against eating meat on Fridaysexcept during Lent.


1978 – In Jonestown, Guyana (South America), 909 members of the Peoples Temple are murdered or commit suicide under the leadership of American cult leader Jim Jones.


1985 – Quarterback Joe Theismann (Washington Redskins) breaks his leg after being hit by Lawrence Taylor (New York Giants), ending Theismann’s 12-year NFL career.


1991 – Muslim Shiites release Iranian hostages Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland.


2001 – Phillips Petroleum and Conoco merge into a new company as ‘ConocoPhillips’, the third-largest oil and natural gas company in the U.S.



November 19


1620 – The “Mayflower” reaches Cape Cod and explores the coast.


1794 – The Jay Treaty is signed with Great Britain. Named for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Jay, the treaty grants America “Most Favored Nation” status but leaves many issues from the Revolutionary War unresolved.


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


1861 – Julia Ward Howe pens “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” as a poem. It is first published in “The Atlantic Monthly” in February 1862. The music is from the song “John Brown’s Body.”


1863 – Abraham Lincoln delivers his famous “Four score and seven years ago…” address in Pennsylvania dedicating the Gettysburg battlefield. Lincoln is asked to deliver the “concluding remarks” at the dedication ceremony, following the lengthy principal address by Massachusetts Senator Edward Everett.


1919 – The U.S. Senate rejects the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations by a vote of 55-39.


1928 – “Time” magazine presents its cover in color for the first time. The subject is Japanese Emperor Hirohito.


1950 – U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes the supreme commander of NATO in Europe. He is the U.S. president from 1952-1960.


1959 – Ford cancels production of the Edsel automobile.


1965 – Kellogg’s Pop Tarts pastries are created.


1979 – Future Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chuck Berry is released from prison after serving a four-month sentence for income tax evasion.


1980 – CBS TV bans Calvin Klein’s jeans ad featuring 15-year-old Brooke Shields. Watch the ad at:


1984 – Dwight Gooden, 20-year-old, of the New York Mets, becomes the youngest major-league pitcher to be named Rookie of the Year in the National League.


1985 – U.S. President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time.


1998 – The U. S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against President Bill Clinton for the Monica Lewinsky scandal. The House of Representatives impeaches Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice but he remains in office. President Andrew Johnson is the only other president to endure impeachments proceedings. The impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors” is not upheld and Johnson also remains in office.


2002 – The U.S. government completes its takeover of security at 424 airports nationwide.


2007 – The Amazon Kindle is first released.



November 20


1789 – New Jersey becomes the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.


1866 – The first national convention of the veterans’ organization the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) is held.


1914 – The U.S. State Department starts requiring photographs on passports.


1947 – “Meet the Press” makes its network TV debut on NBC. The news program is the longest running TV show and still airs weekly.


1959 – WABC fires Alan Freed over the “payola” scandal. Freed accepts gratuities and consultation fees from record companies and promoters. When ABC demands that Freed sign a prepared oath swearing he never received payments for promoting musical recordings on the air, Freed refuses and is fired.


1967 – The Census Clock at the Department of Commerce in Washington, DC, goes past 200 million. See the U.S. and World Census Clocks:


1969 – The Nixon administration announces a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phase out of the substance.


1982 – Drew Barrymore hosts Saturday Night Live at age 7, making her the youngest host in SNL history. She has hosted SNL six times.


1984 – McDonald’s made its 50 billionth hamburger. They stopped updating their signs after 99 billion is sold in 1994. It is estimated that McDonald’s will sell their 300 billionth hamburger this year. They sell 75 hamburgers every second.


1998 – Forty-six states agree to a $206 billion settlement of health claims against the tobacco industry. The industry also agrees to give up billboard advertising of cigarettes.


2001 – President George W. Bush dedicates the U.S. Department of Justice headquarters building in DC as the Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building, honoring the late Robert F. Kennedy on what would have been his 76th birthday.



November 21


1871 – Emilio Onra is the first human cannonball.


1946 – Harry Truman becomes the first U.S. President to travel in a submerged submarine.


1959 – Jack Benny (on violin) and Richard Nixon (on piano) play their famed duet during the President’s Ball at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Watch their performance at:


1963 – President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, arrive in San Antonio, Texas, to beginning an ill-fated, two-day tour of Texas that would end in Dallas.


1974 – Congress passes The Freedom of Information Act over President Ford’s veto.


1980 – It is revealed that Kristin Shepard (played by Mary Crosby) is the person who shot J.R. Ewing (played by Larry Hagman) on the TV show “Dallas.” Several alternate scenes were filmed to keep it secret. Watch it at:


1993 – The House of Representatives votes against making the District of Columbia the 51st state.


1995 – The Dow Jones closes above 5,000 for first time.


2013 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 16,000 for the first time.


2013 – The Alabama legislature grants posthumous pardons to three members of the Scottsboro boys, nine black teenages who were accused of raping two white women on a train in 1931.



November 22


1718 – British pirate Edward Teach (“Blackbeard”) is killed off the coast of North Carolina in battle with a boarding party led by Lieutenant Robert Maynard.


1906 – International Radio Telecommunications Company adopts “SOS” as the new Morse Code call for help. . . . – – – . . .


1935 – The first trans-Pacific airmail flight begind in Alameda, California, when the flying boat known as the China Clipper leaves for Manila carrying over 110,000 pieces of mail.


1943 – President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek met in Cairo to discuss measures for defeating Japan.


1950 – In the lowest scoring NBA game, the Ft. Wayne Pistons beat the Minneapolis Lakers 19-18.


1963 – President John F. Kennedy is assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, et al, in Dallas, Texas.


1977 – The Packet Radio net, SATNET, and ARPANET are connected, sending a message from California to London and back via satellite to Virginia and then the University of Southern California in a demonstration of what would eventually become the Internet.


1984 – Fred Rogers of PBS’ “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” presents a sweater to the Smithsonian Institution. Watch Mr. Rogers don his sweater at the opening of his show:


1985 – In the largest swearing-in ceremony, 38,648 immigrants became citizens of the U.S.


1986 – Mike Tyson at age 20 becomes the youngest to wear the world heavyweight-boxing crown.


1995 – “Toy Story” is released as the first feature-length film completely created using computer-generated imagery.


1998 – CBS’s “60 Minutes” airs a tape of Jack Kevorkian giving lethal drugs in an assisted suicide of a terminally ill patient. Kevorkian is later sentenced to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder.


2005 – Microsoft’s XBOX 360 goes on sale.


2008 – YouTube hosts the largest ever live broadcast, YouTube Live.

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