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Today in History

1714
Mathematician, physicist and astronomer, John Winthrop born in Boston, Massachusetts
1901
Inventor of the Hellschreiber, electrical engineer Ruldolf Hell born in Eggm├╝hl, Germany
1918
Grammy Award winning Blues Hall of Fame singer and pianist, Henry Roeland "Professor Longhair" Byrd born in Bogalusa, Louisiana
1933
Fashion model, co-founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Emmy Award winning actress, Cicely Tyson born in New York City
1945
Actress and singer, Elaine Joyce born in Kansas City, Missouri
1972
Singer and actress, Alyssa Milano born in Brooklyn, New York
1974
Altair 8800 microcomputer kit goes on sale
1988
Consumer Product Safety Commission bans sale of lawn darts in the US
1998
US House of Representatives votes to impeach President William Jefferson Clinton
960
Reconstruction of Kyoto, Japan, begun after a fire
1036
Su Tung-p'o, Chinese poet, essayist, painter, official. born
1075
Death of Edith, wife of Edward "the Confessor," King of England
1155
Coronation of Henry II and Elanor of Aquitane as King and Queen of England
1370
Death of Pope Urban V
1406
Coronation of Pope Gregory XII
1498
Theologian Andreas Osiander His original name ANDREAS HOSEMANN German theologian who helped introduce the protestant Reformation to Nrnberg. born
1644
Observance of Christmas forbidden in England
1650
Edinburgh Castle surrenders to Oliver Cromwell
1683
Philip V, 1st Bourbon King of Spain born
1732
Benjamin Franklin began publishing "Poor Richard's Almanac."
1776
Thomas Paine published his first "American Crisis" essay, in which he wrote, "These are the times that try men's souls."
1777
General George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.
1790
Sir William Parry, England, Arctic explorer born
1814
Edwin M(cMasters) Stanton Secretary of war who, under President Abraham Lincoln, tirelessly presided over the giant Union military establishment during most of the American Civil War (1861-65). born
1820
Women's suffrage leader Mary Livermore born
1832
Sir John Kirk Scottish physician, companion to explorer David Livingstone, and British administrator in Zanzibar. born
1843
Charles Dickens' classic Yuletide tale, "A Christmas Carol," was first published in England.
1849
Henry Clay Frick, industrialist; worked for Carnegie. born
1865
Actress Minnie Fiske. She first appeared on stage at the age of three. born
1868
Novelist Eleanor Porter ("Pollyanna") born
1871
Corrugated paper was patented by Albert L. Jones of New York City. The rippled cardboard material is still used today in boxes and as packing protection.
1890
Tchaikovsky had a successful premiere in St. Petersburg with his opera "The Queen of Spades."
1900
Parliament votes amnesty for all involved in army treason trial known as the Dreyfus Affair.
1902
Actor Ralph Richardson SIR RALPH DAVID RICHARDSON British stage and motion-picture actor who, with Sir John Gielgud and Laurence Olivier, was one of the greatest British actors of his generation. born
1906
Leonid Brezhnev, Soviet statesman born
1907
239 workers died in a coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.
1909
U.S. socialist women denounce suffrage as a movement of the middle class.
1910
French dramatist Jean Genet, a pioneer in the theater of the absurd born
1912
Thomas (Tip) Philip O'Neill, Jr., longest serving Speaker of U.S. House born
1917
The first games of the new National Hockey League were played . Five teams made up the league: Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec, the Montreal Canadiens and the Montreal Wanderers.
1918
Robert Ripley began his "Believe It or Not" column in "The New York Globe."
1920
Country singer Little Jimmy Dickens. born
1925
Country Music Hall of Famer `Little' Jimmy Dickens (Country Boy, My Heart's bouquet, May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose) born
1926
A new law states that women authors must copyright under their husband's name.
1929
(Pulitzer Prize-winning Desire, Jaws 2) born
1930
Actor James Booth born
1930
Stravinsky's "Symphony of Psalms" was played by the Boston Symphony.
1932
The British Broadcasting Corporation began transmitting overseas with its "Empire Service" to Australia.
1934
Actress Cicely Tyson (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, Roots, Fried Green Tomatoes, Heat Wave, Sounder) born
1937
Maurice Ravel underwent brain surgery. Ravel had been in a traffic accident, and since that time had begun to lose his memory and his ability to concentrate. The operation was a failure. Ravel would not survive long after it.
1941
Rhythm-and-blues singer-musician Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire) born
1941
Hitler assumes the title of Commander in Chief of the German Army, after accepting the resignation of Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch, whom Hitler calls a `vain, cowardly wretch'.
1944
Musician singer Zal Yanovsky (Group You Believe in Magic, You Didn't Have to Be So Nice, Daydream, Did You ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?, Summer in the City, Rain on the Roof, Nashville Cats) born
1944
Actor Tim Reid born
1944
Paleonthologist Richard E. Leakey born
1944
Rock singer Alvin Lee (Ten Years After) born
1945
Actress Elaine Joyce born
1945
Musician John McEuen (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) born
1945
Congress confirms Eleanor Roosevelt as the U.S. delegate to the UN.
1946
Actor Robert Urich (Final Descent, Boatworks, The Lazarus Man, Danielle Steel's A Perfect Stranger, Vegas, Spenser: for Hire, Magnum Force) born
1947
Singer Janie Fricke born
1949
U.S. Olympic Gold swimmer Claudia Kolb born
1950
The North Atlantic Council names General Eisenhower supreme commander of Western European defense forces.
1952
Musician Jeff Davis born
1952
Country music singer Janie Fricke born
1957
The musical play "The Music Man," starring Robert Preston, with book and songs by Meredith Willson, opened on Broadway.
1957
Basketball player Kevin McHale born
1959
Reputed to be the last civil war veteran, Walter Williams, dies at 117 in Houston.
1960
Actor Mike Lookinland ("The Brady Bunch") born
1960
Frank Sinatra recorded his first session with his very own record company, Reprise Records. Frank did "Ring-A-Ding-Ding" and "Let's Fall in Love."
1960
Neil Sedaka's "Calendar Girl" was released on RCA Victor Records. It became Sedaka's fourth record to make the charts.
1961
The movie "Judgment At Nuremberg" opened in New York City with a star-studded cast including Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, Richard Widmark, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, and Maximillian Schell.
1963
Actress Jennifer Beals (Four Rooms, Devil in a Blue Dress, Day of Atonement, Indecency, Vampire's Kiss, The Bride, Cinderella, Flashdance, 2000 Malibu Road) born
1966
Actor Robert McNaughton (I am the Cheese, E.T. Extra-Terrestrial) born
1968
Rock musician Kevin Shepard (Tonic) born
1972
Actress Alyssa Milano (Fear, Deadly Sins, Conflict of Interest, Commando, Old Enough, Who's the Boss?) born
1972
"Apollo 17" splashed down in the Pacific, winding up the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.
1973
Johnny Carson pulled a good one before a nationwide late-night audience on NBC. He started a fake toilet-paper scare. In his "Tonight Show" monologue, he told his huge audience that a Wisconsin congressman had warned that toilet paper was disappearing from supermarket shelves. Due to his gag -- it did in many areas of the United States.
1974
Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States after a House vote.
1980
Actor Jake Gyllenhall born
1980
Actress Marla Sokoloff born
1982
Four bombs explode at South Africa's only nuclear power station in Johannesburg.
1984
Britain and China signed an accord returning Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty on July first, 1997.
1984
The United States formally withdrew from UNESCO in an effort to force reform of the U.N. cultural organization's budget and alleged Third World bias.
1985
ABC Sports announced that it was severing ties with Howard Cosell and released `The Mouth' from all TV commitments. Howard continued on ABC Radio for another five years.
1986
The Soviet Union announced it had freed dissident Andrei Sakharov from internal exile, and pardoned his wife, Yelena Bonner.
1987
The Palestinian uprising in Israel's occupied territories spread to Arab east Jerusalem.
1988
President-elect Bush nominated New York Congressman Jack Kemp to be his secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
1988
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir agreed to a Likud-Labor coalition to govern the Jewish state.
1989
Police in Jacksonville, Florida, disarmed a parcel bomb at the local NAACP office, the fourth in a series of mail bombs to turn up in the Deep South. (Two of the bombs killed a Savannah, Georgia, alderman and a federal judge in Alabama -- Walter L. Moody Junior was convicted in both bombings.)
1990
Iraq urged its people to stockpile oil to avoid shortages should war break out, and Saddam Hussein declared he was "ready to crush any attack."
1992
More than 400 suspected Muslim fundamentalists deported by Israel were confined to a makeshift refugee camp in a "no man's land" in Lebanon because of the Lebanese government's refusal to accept them.
1993
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and senior PLO officials ended two days of closed-door talks in Oslo, Norway, in which they sought to break a deadlock over Palestinian self-rule in the occupied territories.
1994
CNN publicly acknowledged it had wrongfully disobeyed a judge's order in broadcasting former Panamanian military ruler Manuel Noriega's jailhouse telephone conversations.
1994
Former President Jimmy Carter, on a peace mission to Bosnia-Herzegovina, met with Bosnian Serb leaders, who offered a four-month cease-fire.
1995
The Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate, turning fears to cheers on Wall Street a day after the biggest one-day stock plunge in four years.
1995
Yigal Amir, the confessed assassin of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, went on trial.
1995
A gunman opened fire inside a Bronx, N.Y., shoe store, killing five people.
1996
The television industry unveiled a plan to rate programs using tags such as "TV-G," "TV-Y" and "TV-M."
1996
Actor Marcello Mastroianni died in Paris at age 72.
1997
A SilkAir Boeing 737-300 plunged from the sky, crashing into an Indonesian river and killing all 104 people aboard.
1997
In Milwaukee, postal clerk Anthony Deculit killed a co-worker he'd feuded with, wounded a supervisor and injured another worker before taking his own life.
1997
James Cameron's epic "Titanic," the highest grossing film ever made, opened in American movie theaters.
1998
President Clinton halted airstrikes against Iraq after a fourth day of attacks.
1998
Two days after his confession of marital infidelity, Bob Livingston told the House he wouldn't serve as its next speaker.
1999
Space shuttle Discovery and seven astronauts roared into the night toward the crippled Hubble Space Telescope.
1999
Macau spent its last day under Portuguese control before being handed back to China, ending 442 years of colonial rule.
1999
Actor Desmond Llewelyn, who'd starred as the eccentric gadget expert Q in a string of James Bond films, was killed in a car crash in East Sussex, England; he was 85.
1999
Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Orlando Brown was ejected for pushing referee Jeff Triplette to the ground during a game against Jacksonville after accidentally being hit in the eye with Triplette's weighted penalty flag.
2005
Bank of Italy governor, Antonio Fazio, presents resignation today
2005
President Bush defends NSA domestic intercepts
2005
Anti-racism rally in Sydney
2005
Evo Morales wins presidential elections in Bolivia
2005
Public services shutting down in New South Wales, Australia due to lack of money
2005
New Jersey Devils coach Robinson resigns
2005
Black vulture population targeted for reduction at Virginia boat launch
2005
Spacex cancels Falcon 1 launch until 2006
2005
40 alleged drunken Santas accused of running amok
2005
China has extensive plans for space exploration
2006
Pakistan : New policy on renewable energy launched
2006
President Bush signs U.S.-India nuclear deal
2007
Pakistani train derailment kills at least 56
2007
One killed by TGV crash with lorry
2007
Danish troops killed in Afghanistan by UK friendly fire says Danish MoD
2007
New mall in Washington, US almost complete, traffic a concern
2007
Man dies on ride at Disney World in Florida; possibly had prior conditions
2008
Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, wife of 'Star Trek' creator dies of cancer at 76
2008
RNA journal submits articles to Wikipedia
2008
Polaroid goes bankrupt
2009
US East Coast prepares for blizzard
2009
London court jails man for killing wife with remote control
2009
NASA flyby of Saturn moon Titan produces first image of liquid on another world
2009
Copenhagen climate conference ends with "meaningful agreement"
2009
Students raise record amounts of money during Christmas fundraiser at Benet Academy, Illinois
2009
Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Jones dies at age 90
2009
Iraqi insurgents intercepted drone feeds using widely available software
2009
Sir Terry Wogan leaves BBC Radio 2 breakfast show
2010
Fifteen people killed in Philippines hotel fire
2011
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il dead

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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