This Week in History, Week of November 23-29, 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 23-29, 2015


November 23

1783 – Annapolis, Maryland, becomes the capital of the U.S. until June 1784.

1897 – Black inventor John Lee Love patents the pencil sharpener. He died in a train accident in 1931.

1899 – The first jukebox is installed in the Palais Royal Hotel in San Francisco.

1903 – Enrico Caruso makes his U.S. debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York in “Rigoletto”.

1936 – The first issue of “Life,” a picture magazine created by Henry R. Luce, is published. A photograph of Fort Peck Dam is on the cover.


1945 – Most U.S. wartime rationing of foods, including meat and butter, ends.

1960 – Hollywood dedicates its Walk of Fame at Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. Joanne Woodward receives the first star. She wins an Academy Award in 1957 for “The Three Faces of Eve.”


1964 – The International Swimming Hall of Fame is founded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

1985 – Larry Wu-tai Chin, a retired CIA analyst, is arrested and accused of spying for China. He commits suicide a year after his conviction.

1992 – The 10,000,000th cellular telephone is sold.

1998 – A U.S. federal judge rejects a Virginia county’s effort to block pornography on library computer, calling the attempt unconstitutional.


November 24

1835 – The Texas Rangers, a mounted police force, is authorized by the Texas Provisional Government. They are the oldest law enforcement body in North America.

1871 – The National Rifle Association is organized in New York City.

1874 – Joseph F. Glidden patents barbed wire.

1936 – Grace D. Owen of Concord, New Hampshire, applies for her Social Security number and receives the lowest number possible: 001-01-0001.

1947 – The House on Un-American Activities Committee finds the “Hollywood 10” in contempt because of their refusal to reveal whether they were communists. Albert Maltz, Dalton Trumbo, John Howard Lawson, Samuel Ornitz, Ring Lardner, Jr., Lester Cole, Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Edward Dmytryk, and Robert Adrian Scott are charged with contempt of Congress.

1954 – Air Force One is christened as the first U.S. Presidential airplane. The presidential call sign is established in 1953 after a commercial aircraft with the same call sign enters the same airspace as the presidential aircraft.

1963 – The first live murder is shown on TV when Jack Ruby shoots Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in a police station. Watch it at:

1971 – Dan “DB” Cooper parachutes from a Northwest Airlines 727 with $200,000 he extorted from the airlines. His body and the money are never found.

1993 – Congress gives its final approval to the Brady handgun control bill.

1998 – AOL (America Online) announces a deal for their purchase of Netscape for $4.21 billion.

2012 – The Korean music video parody “Gangnam Style” by Psy becomes the most watched youtube video, surpassing 800 million views. The video has now been viewed over 2 billion times. Watch it at:

2014 – A 12-year-old boy is shot dead by police in Cleveland, Ohio, after brandishing what turned out to be a fake gun in a playground.


November 25

1792 – The Farmer’s Almanac is first published. It is the oldest continuously published periodical in the U.S. It is published during George Washington’s administration. Robert B. Thomas is the first editor.

1874 – The United States Greenback Party is established in Indianapolis as a political party. It consists primarily of farmers affected by the Panic of 1873, which started as a result of the collapse of several prominent banks, railroads, and industries.

1947 – Movie studio executives meeting in New York agree to blacklist the “Hollywood 10,” who were cited a day earlier and jailed for contempt of Congress when they failed to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

1960 – “Amos ‘n’ Andy” makes its final broadcast on CBS radio. The first broadcast of the original show airs in 1928 with Freeman Gosden as Amos and Charles Correll as Andy. The “Amos ‘n’ Andy Show” also airs on TV from 1951-1953. Watch an episode at:

1963 – President John F. Kennedy is laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy lights the eternal flame that still burns over JFK’s grave.

1973 – The maximum speed limit in the U.S. is cut to 55 MPH as an energy conservation measure during the oil crisis. In April of 1987, Congress passes the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act, which permits states to raise the legal speed limit on rural interstates to 65 mph. (See Nov. 28, 1995)

1986 – The Iran-Contra affair erupts when President Reagan reveals a secret arms deal with Iran in exchange for the release of hostages. The funds went to support the Contras in Nicaragua.

2014 – Missouri Governor Jay Nixon orders hundreds more U.S. National Guard troops to the town of Ferguson to prevent a second night of rioting and looting. The Guard members are never utilized.


November 26

1716 – The first lion is exhibited in America in Boston.

1789 – The first national Thanksgiving is celebrated.

1867 – The refrigerated railroad car is patented by J.B. Sutherland of Detroit, Michigan.

1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. In 1939 Roosevelt had signed a bill that changed the celebration of Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November.

1942 – The motion picture “Casablanca” has its world premiere at the Hollywood Theater in New York City.

1969 – President Nixon signs the lottery draft bill for the Selective Service.

1973 – President Nixon’s personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, tells a federal court she accidentally caused part of 18½-minute gap in a key Watergate tape.


1975 – A federal jury finds Lynette Fromme guilty of the attempted assassination of President Ford. Fromme is released from prison in 2009 after serving 34 years. Her parole is delayed after she escaped from prison and her sentence is lengthened.

1990 – The first Billboard Music Awards are handed out. Among the winners are Janet Jackson for Song of the Year (“Miss You Much”) and her brother Michael for album of the year (“Bad”).

2013 – After a street tirade is captured on video, Alec Baldwin’s show “Up Late with Alec Baldwin” is cancelled after only five episodes. Watch a news report and read Alex’s lips:

November 27

1817 – U.S. soldiers attack Florida Indian village, beginning the Seminole War.

1870 – The New York Times dubs baseball “The National Game.”

1910 – New York’s Penn Station opens as the world’s largest railway terminal.

1924 – In New York City, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is held.


1926 – Restoration begins on Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Eighty-eight of the current buildings are original.

1934 – Bank robber Lester Gillis (aka Baby Face Nelson) dies in a shoot-out with the FBI. He is 25 years old. J. Edgar Hoover named him “Public Enemy #1.”

1962 – The first Boeing 727 rolls out. The first commercial flight of the Boeing 727 is on February 9, 1963. It is designed to service smaller airport with shorter runways and carries 131 passengers plus its crew.


1973 – The U.S. Senate votes 92-3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President following the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew.

1980 – Dave Williams of the Chicago Bears becomes the first player in National Football League history to return a kick for touchdown in overtime.

2013 – “Frozen”, the highest-grossing animated film of all time, is released.


November 28

1907 – Scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer of Haverhill, Massachusetts, opens his first movie theater, formerly a burlesque theater called the “Garlic Box.” In 1918 the Russian-born Mayer moves to Los Angeles to form the Louis B. Mayer Pictures Company. He later merges his company to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).

1919 – U.S.-born Lady Nancy Astor is elected and serves as the first female member of British Parliament. Astor sits in the House of Commons until her retirement in 1945.


1925 – The Grand Ole Opry premieres as WSM Barn Dance on WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee. The Ryman Auditorium is the venue for the Opry until 1974. Since 1974, the show has been broadcast from the Grand Ole Opry House east of downtown Nashville.

1929 – Ernie Nevers of the St. Louis Cardinals becomes the first professional football player to score six touchdowns in a single game.

1948 – “Hopalong Cassidy” premieres on TV. The new TV series airs from 1952-1954. William Boyd stars as “Hopalong Cassidy” in over 50 western movies before appearing in the TV show. Boyd died in 1972 at the age of 77.

1961 – Ernest Davis is first black football player to win the Heisman Trophy. Davis is diagnosed with leukemia shortly after winning the award and died in 1963 at age 23. The trophy is named for John Heisman, the late director of the Downtown Athletic Club.

1963 – President Johnson announces that Cape Canaveral would be renamed Cape Kennedy in honor of his assassinated predecessor. The name wis changed back to Cape Canaveral in 1973 by a vote of residents.

1975 – “As the World Turns” and “The Edge of Night,” the final two American soap operas that resisted going to pre-taped broadcasts, air their last live episodes.

1981 – Bear Bryant wins his 315th game to become college football’s winningest coach.

1994 – Convicted serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer is clubbed to death by an inmate in the Columbia Correctional Institution gymnasium in Portage, Wisconsin.

1995 – Congress passes the National Highway Designation Act, which officially removes all federal speed limit controls.


November 29

1877 – Thomas Edison demonstrates his hand-cranked phonograph.

1890 – The first Army-Navy football game is played. Final score: Navy 24, Army 0. The game is played at West Point.

1915 – Fire destroys most of the buildings in Avalon on Santa Catalina Island, California. Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. purchases the resort in 1919. Wrigley’s Santa Catalina Island Company builds the iconic Avalon Casino in 1928-29 and becomes the setting for many movies.

1929 – U.S. Navy Lt. Comdr. Richard E. Byrd makes the first airplane flight over the South Pole.

1948 – “Kukla, Fran, & Ollie” debuts on NBC-TV and airs until in 1957. Kukla is a puppet, Ollie is a sock-puppet dragon, and Fran is Fran Allison, the only human on the show. Watch an episode at:

1963 – President LBJ sets up the Warren Commission to investigate assassination of President JFK.

1964 – The Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. replaces Latin with English in mass.

1975 – Bill Gates adopts the name Microsoft for the company he and Paul Allen formed to write the BASIC computer language for the Altair.

1981 – Actress Natalie Wood drowns in a boating accident off Santa Catalina Island, California, at the age 43.

1988 – The Supreme Court rules that the rights of criminal defendants are not violated when police unintentionally fail to preserve potentially vital evidence.

2004 – Godzilla receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.



Leave a Reply