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Today in History

1790
First US Census begins
1875
Artist Mstislav Dobuzhinsky born in Novgorod, Russia
1914
Academy Award winning actress, Beatrice Straight born in Old Westbury, New York
1924
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Caroll O'Connor born in Bronx, New York
1931
Albert Einstein urges all scientists to refuse military work I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
1932
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Peter O'Toole born in Leeds, England
1934
Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany
1964
Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress, Mary-Louise Parker born in Fort Jackson, South Carolina
1990
Iraq invades Kuwait
257
Death of St. Stephen I, Pope
461
Marjorian, Emperor of the West, deposed and killed
640
Death of Pope Severinus
686
Death of Pope John V
939
Defeat of the Normans by Alan Barvek, King of Brittany
1100
William II, "Rufus," King of England, killed in a hunting accident
1191
The first installment of freed prisoners and ransom money from Acre arrives from Saladin to the 3rd Crusade
1274
Edward I, King of England, lands at Dover to take his Crown
1307
The Templars are exempted from a tax of King Edward of England by the Pope
1332
Donald, Earl of Mar, made Regent of Scotland
1358
Paris opened to the Regent of France
1552
Death of St. Basil the Blessed
1552
John Fredrick (the Elector of Saxony) and Philip of Hesse are released from custody
1589
Assassination of Henry III, King of France
1754
Pierre Charles L'Enfant (architect, engineer, Revolutionary War officer: designed the plan for city of Washington D.C.) born
1776
The Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4th, was actually signed by members of the Continental Congress.
1791
Samuel Briggs and his son, Samuel Briggs, Jr. became the first father-son pair to receive a joint patent -- for their nail-making machine.
1823
The New York Mirror and Ladies Literary Gazette was founded on this day. The weekly newspaper later became the daily New York Mirror.
1824
Fifth Avenue was opened in New York City on this day. It became one of the most famous thoroughfares in the world, the home of many beautiful, fashionable stores.
1858
On this day, the first mailboxes were installed along the streets of Boston and New York City. The idea of mailboxes began in Belgium in 1848.
1871
John Sloan (artist Ashcan Art) born
1876
Frontiersman "Wild Bill" Hickok was shot and killed while playing poker at a saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota.
1887
Barbed wire was patented by Rowell Hodge this day.
1891
The composer Arthur Bliss was born in London. Bliss put himself on the musical map with something called the "Colour Symphony," premiered in 1922 just before the first of his two stays in the States. By his middle age, Bliss was director of music for the BBC.
1892
Movie studio chief Jack Warner of Warner Brothers born
1894
Westbrook Pegler (journalist) born
1900
Helen Morgan (singer, actress Boat, Applause) born
1905
Actress Myrna Loy born
1918
Actress Beatrice Straight born
1921
Enrico Caruso, Italian operatic tenor, died in Naples.
1922
Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish inventor of the telephone in 1876, died.
1923
The 29th president of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died in San Francisco at the Palace Hotel
1924
Author James Baldwin born
1924
Actor Carroll O'Connor born
1932
Actor Peter O'Toole born
1934
German President Paul von Hindenburg died, paving the way for Adolf Hitler's complete takeover.
1935
Country singer Hank Cochran born
1937
Rock musician Garth Hudson (The Band) born
1939
Movie director Wes Craven born
1939
Singer Edward Patten (Gladys Knight & The Pips) born
1939
Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Roosevelt urging creation of an atomic weapons research program.
1941
Singer Doris Kenner-Jackson (The Shirelles) born
1943
A Navy patrol torpedo boat, PT-109, commanded by Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, sank after being sheared in two by a Japanese destroyer off the Solomon Islands. (Kennedy was credited with saving members of the crew.)
1943
Actor Max Wright born
1944
Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., U.S. Navy pilot and elder brother of John F. Kennedy, was killed when his plane exploded over the Belgian coast.
1945
Actress Joanna Cassidy born
1945
President Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee concluded the Potsdam conference.
1945
Pietro Mascagni, who composed "Cavalleria Rusticana," died in Rome. His one big hit opera had poured from his pen in his twenties. Mascagni died at the age of 81, his international reputation marred by his support for Italian Fascism.
1950
Actress Kathryn Harrold born
1951
Singer Andrew Gold born
1959
Actress Victoria Jackson born
1963
Actress Cynthia Stevenson born
1964
Actress Mary-Louise Parker born
1964
The Pentagon reported the first of two attacks on US destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.
1968
Rock musician John Stanier (Helmet) born
1968
A major earthquake in the Philippines rocked Manila, killing 307 people.
1974
John Dean, counsel to President Nixon, was sentenced to one-to-four years in prison for his part in the Watergate cover-up.
1979
Actor Edward Furlong born
1980
85 people were killed when a bomb exploded at the train station in Bologna, Italy.
1983
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 338-90 to designate the third Monday in January a federal holiday in honor of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
1984
Charles Schultz' award-winning comic strip was picked up by the Daily Times in Portsmouth, OH on this day. With the addition of that paper, Peanuts, featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Pigpen, Linus, Peppermint Pattie, Woodstock and the gang, became the first comic strip to appear in 2,000 newspapers.
1984
The U.S. swim team won three more gold medals at the Los Angeles Olympics through the efforts of Mary T. Meagher, George DiCarlo and the men's 400-meter medley relay team.
1985
137 people were killed when a Delta Air Lines jumbo jet crashed while attempting to land at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
1986
Attorney Roy M. Cohn died at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland of cardiac arrest and complications from AIDS.
1987
The 50-year-old Walt Disney movie classic, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," was re-released. The film was the most popular animated film in motion picture history. It grossed almost $20 million in its first 2 weeks.
1987
More than a million people gathered in Tehran, calling for the overthrow of the sheiks of Saudi Arabia, where hundreds of Iranian pilgrims had died in rioting in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
1988
Despite previous threats of a veto, President Reagan said he would reluctantly allow a plant-closing notification bill to become law, accusing Democrats of "political shenanigans."
1988
U.S. military investigators concluded that "crew errors" led to the shooting down on July 3rd of an Iranian passenger jet by the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf.
1989
Abortion rights advocates gained a surprising victory in the U.S. House of Representatives, which voted against including abortion curbs in a spending bill for the District of Columbia.
1990
Iraq invaded Kuwait, seizing control of the oil-rich emirate. President Bush condemned the incursion as an act of "naked aggression." The Iraqis were driven out in Operation Desert Storm.
1991
President Bush told a news conference only poor health would prevent his running for re-election.
1991
Secretary of State James A. Baker III met in Jerusalem with a group of Palestinians, but failed to line up their immediate support for a Middle East peace conference.
1992
The Bush campaign, accused by Bill Clinton of mudslinging, responded with a vitriolic press release that referred to "sniveling hypocritical Democrats" (President Bush later disavowed the release).
1992
At the Barcelona Summer Olympics, Jackie Joyner-Kersee of the US repeated as heptathlon champion.
1992
Actress Hallie Eisenberg (Pepsi commercials) born
1993
In a dramatic scene shown on national television, Jessica, a two-and-a-half-year-old girl at the center of a custody battle, was removed from the Michigan home of Jan and Roberta DeBoer and turned over to her biological parents, Dan and Cara Schmidt of Iowa.
1994
Serbia threatened to cut all aid to the Bosnian Serbs if they didn't approve an international peace plan.
1995
China ordered the expulsion of two U.S. Air Force officers it said were caught spying on military sites.
1995
Hurricane Erin came ashore near Vero Beach, Florida; the storm was blamed for 11 deaths.
1996
Wall Street investors, worried about possible interest rate increases, roared their approval after the government reported that unemployment was creeping higher, consumer spending had slipped and manufacturing may have stalled.
1997
Nigeria's maverick musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who popularized the Afro-music beat globally, died of AIDS at age 58.
1997
"Naked Lunch" (based on his experiences as a drug addict) author William S. Burroughs, the godfather of the "Beat generation," died in Kansas City, Missouri, at age 83.
1998
Ventriloquist Shari Lewis died in Los Angeles at age 65.
1998
Cyclist Marco Pantani of Italy won the Tour de France, which had been marred by a doping scandal.
1999
A train collision in India claimed 286 lives.
1999
Launching another salvo in a war of nerves with rival Taiwan, China announced it had test-fired a new long-range missile.
2000
Republicans awarded Texas Governor George W. Bush their 2000 presidential nomination at the party's convention in Philadelphia and ratified Dick Cheney as his running mate.
2000
Former President Ford was hospitalized after suffering one, possibly two, small strokes.
2000
President Clinton postponed the scheduled execution of Juan Raul Garza, a Texas drug kingpin and murderer (Garza was executed by lethal injection June 19th, 2001)
2005
Pennsylvania man acquitted of rape after DNA exoneration
2005
Russia bans ABC following interview with Chechen rebel leader
2005
Atkins Nutritionals Inc. goes bankrupt
2005
Formula 1: Barrichello leaves Ferrari
2005
Appalachia Mountains coal company plays State politics
2005
Attorney Jack Thompson sets sights on Sims 2
2005
U.S. immigrant worker debate taken up by Virginia township
2005
All passengers survive Toronto plane crash
2005
Tom Cruise orders €14,500 takeaway meal
2006
Israeli soldiers landing in Baalbek
2006
Man arrested for photographing unrelated arrest
2006
Rotorua, New Zealand bans criminals from CBD
2006
Father pays tribute to his son who died in Iraq
2006
Bombs kill several during Iraq football game
2006
Indonesian Health Ministry: Two new human clusters of Bird Flu suspected in Sumatra
2006
Study at the University of Toronto says text messaging helps with grammar
2007
Whoopi Goldberg to take Rosie O'Donnell's spot on 'The View'
2007
Al-Qaeda terror ad warns of 'big surprise'
2007
Chris Langham found guilty of downloading child pornography
2007
Russia claims North Pole by planting flag on seabed
2007
Highway bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapses
2008
188 Fatah supporters permitted to enter Israel
2008
European football: Tottenham defeats Celtic 2 - 0
2008
Explosion in Turkey kills seventeen
2008
Bristol Harbour Festival lauched, 200 thousand expected to attend
2008
Obama heckled in Florida
2008
World's first double arm transplant undertaken in Munich
2009
Homeless man causes bomb scare at LaGuardia Airport in New York City
2009
Body of missing Desert Storm pilot found in Iraq
2009
Three American hikers arrested in Iran
2009
Food packages to Vestas occupiers cut off
2010
Chelsea Clinton marries Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, New York
2010
UK military deaths in Afghanistan reach 327
2010
Greg Biffle wins fifteenth career NASCAR Sprint Cup race
2010
Australian rules football: Gippsland Football League round 16 split round week one
2010
'Black box' found near crash site of Airblue flight
2010
Cargo plane crashes in Alaska's Denali Park, sparks wildfire
2010
Canadian singer Justin Bieber to publish memoir
2011
Jenson Button wins Hungarian Grand Prix
2012
Quebec election called for September 2012
2012
Needle found in sandwich on Air Canada flight
2013
Two die in two-car crash near Connel, Scotland

In the early days of Unix, a date-tagged list of historical events was used by system administrators to add some interest to the system's Message of the Day. Whenever users logged in they would be presented with the latest system notices, perhaps some mildly amusing quotes and one or two lines of historical events, based on the current date.

Today in History (UNIX calendar) uses some of the entries from the original library but is updated with current events as well. Instead of plain text, each entry is now formatted in HTML and each day may include one or more icons of historical figures or celebrities.

Other things unique to the UNIX calendar are references to dates found in fictional literature such as Lord of the Rings, perhaps undue emphasis on people and events that were part of popular culture in the 70's and technical minutiae about computers and operating systems that might not be found in other places.

In association with Amazon, this symbol is a link to related products at amazon.com. Any proceeds resulting from the sales of these products are used to defray the cost of maintaining the Today in History site and editorial efforts.

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