[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Today in History

1897
Cyrano de Bergerac premieres in Paris
1903
Digital computer pioneer and one of history's most accomplished mathematicians, John von Neumann born in Budapest
1908
Earthquake kills over 75,000 in Sicily
1922
Comic book writer, editor, and chairman of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee born in New York City
1932
Singer, songwriter and actress, Nichelle Nichols born in Robbins, Illinois
1945
Pledge of Allegiance recognized by Congress
1946
Musician, songwriter and singer, Edgar Winter born in Beaumont, Texas
1969
Originator of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds born in Helsinki, Finland
1973
Endangered Species Act signed into law
1973
Comet Kohoutek at perihelion
418
Election of Boniface I as Pope
856
The Vikings burn Paris
1065
Consecration of Westminister Abbey
1384
Death of Wycliffe
1594
1st known Shakespearean production, "Comedy of Errors" at Gray's Inn
1622
Death of St. Francis de Sales
1669
A patent for chewing gum is granted to William Semple.
1688
William of Orange makes a triumphant march into London as James II flees.
1694
Queen Mary the Second of England died after five years of joint rule with her husband, King William the Third.
1763
Brewer John Molson born
1832
John Calhoun, at odds with President Andrew Jackson, became the first U.S. vice president to resign.
1846
Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.
1849
M Jolly-Bellin discovers dry-cleaning, he accidentally upset lamp containing turpentine & oil on his clothing & sees cleaning effect.
1856
Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States born
1869
William E. Semple, of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, patented "the combination of rubber with other articles adapted to the formation of an acceptable chewing gum."
1872
A U.S. Army force defeats a group of Apache warriors at Salt River Canyon, Arizona Territory, with 57 Indians killed but only one soldier.
1877
John Stevens, of Neenah, WI, applied for a patent for his flour-rolling mill which boosted production by 70%.
1879
The Gilbert and Sullivan opera "The Pirates of Penzance" was to be premiered in New York, but Sullivan left the music in England! Sullivan recomposed the entire opera from memory on this day just three days before the curtain went up on the show.
1882
Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, English astronomer who confirmed Eisteins theory of relativity. born
1896
The American composer Roger Sessions. born
1897
"Cyrano de Bergerac," the play by Edmond Rostand, premiered in Paris.
1902
The first professional indoor football game was played at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
1904
Farmers in Georgia burn two million bales of cotton to prop up falling prices.
1905
Jazz pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines born
1905
Comedian Cliff Arquette (Charlie Weaver) born
1908
Actor Lew Ayres (All Quiet on the Western Front, Johnny Belinda, Advice and Consent, Of Mice and Men, Battle for the Planet of the Apes) born
1911
Humorist Sam Levinson (Today I Am a Fountain Pen) born
1912
The first municipally-owned street cars took to the streets of San Francisco, California.
1913
Actor Lou Jacobi (Irma La Douce, Arthur, Avalon, The Diary of Anne Frank, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex) born
1914
Rhythm-and-blues singer Pop Staples born
1917
The New York "Evening Mail" published a facetious essay by H.L. Mencken on the history of bathtubs in America.
1921
Bandleader R & B Johnny Otis (Every Beat of My Heart, Dance with Me Henry) (some sources list 1924) born
1922
Writer for Marvel Comics Stan Lee born
1925
Actress Hildegarde (Neff) (The Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Three Penny Opera, Svengali, Bluebeard) born
1927
Actor Martin Milner (Surfside 6, Adam 12, Columbo, The Halls of Montezuma, Mr. Roberts, Valley of the Dolls) born
1929
Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber born
1934
Actress Dame Maggie Smith (Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, A Room with a View, Sister Act) born
1934
Golfer Peggy Wilson born
1935
Actor Bruce Yarnell (The Road Hustlers, Irma la Douce, The Outlaws) born
1937
Composer Maurice Ravel died in Paris.
1938
Rock singer-musician Charles Neville born
1943
Singer Bobby Comstock (Tennessee Waltz, I Want To Do It) born
1944
The musical, "On the Town", opened in New York City. It had a run of 462 performances. The shows hit song, "New York, New York", continues to be a success. "On the Town" was Leonard Bernsteins first big Broadway success.
1945
Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States.
1946
Golf champion Hubie (Hubert) Green born
1946
Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter born
1947
Baseball Player Aurelio Rodriguez born
1948
Jockey Jorge Velasquez born
1948
Premier Nokrashy Pasha of Egypt is assassinated by a member of the outlawed Moslem Brotherhood because of his failure to achieve victory in the war against Israel.
1950
Advancing Chinese troops crossed the 38th Parallel, dividing line between North and South Korea, to help the communist North Koreans fight American-led United Nations forces.
1950
Rock singer-musician Alex Chilton (The Box Tops; Big Star) born
1951
The U.S. pays $120,000 to free four fliers convicted of espionage in Hungary.
1954
Actor Denzel Washington (Glory, Malcolm X, St. Elsewhere) born
1956
The last "Ding Dong School" was seen on NBC-TV. Miss Frances (Dr. Frances Horwich) rang the bell for one last time after five years on television.
1958
Country singer Joe Diffie born
1958
Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) born
1960
Country singer-musician Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) born
1960
Actor Chad McQueen born
1964
Principal filming of the movie classic, "Dr. Zhivago", began on location near Madrid, Spain. When completed, the film was 197 minutes long and so spectacular that it received ten Oscar nominations, winning five of them.
1965
U.S. bars oil sales to Rhodesia.
1968
Israel attacks an airport in Beirut, destroying 13 planes.
1971
U.S. Justice Department sues Mississippi officials for ignoring the ballots of blacks.
1973
Alexander Solzhenitsyn published "Gulag Archipelago," an expose of the Soviet prison system.
1973
The Chamber of Commerce of Akron, Ohio terminated its association with the All-American Soap Box Derby, stating that the race had become "a victim of cheating and fraud." Overanxious youngsters and their dads were found to be hiding things like heavy lead etc. in secret places in the home-built cars.
1974
More than 5,200 people killed in Pakistan earthquake
1981
Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American "test-tube" baby, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.
1982
Nevell Johnson Junior, a black man, was mortally wounded by a police officer in a Miami video arcade, setting off three days of race-related disturbances that left another man dead.
1985
Lebanese Moslem and Christian leaders signed a peace agreement backed by Syria.
1987
The bodies of 14 relatives of R. Gene Simmons were found at his home near Dover, Arkansas, following a shooting spree by Simmons in Russellville that claimed two other lives. (Simmons was later executed.)
1988
British authorities investigating the explosion that destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, concluded that the blast had been caused by a bomb on board the jumbo jet.
1989
Actress Mackenzie Rosman ("7th Heaven") born
1989
Alexander Dubcek, the former Czechoslovak Communist leader who was deposed in a Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, was named chairman of the country's parliament.
1990
The government reported that its chief economic forecasting gauge, the Index of Leading Indicators, plunged one-point-two percent the previous month, the fifth consecutive monthly drop.
1990
Two people died in a subway fire in New York City; 33 people were injured in a trolley collision in Boston.
1991
Nine people died in a crush to get into a rap basketball game at City College in New York.
1991
Ted Turner is named Time Magazine Man of the Year
1992
Somalia's two main warlords, Mohamed Farrah Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mohamed, promised an end to their hostilities.
1993
Journalist William Shirer, author of "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," died in Boston at age 89.
1993
Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary told CNN that people weongfully exposed to radiation through federally funded experiments more than 40 years ago deserved to be compensated.
1994
CIA Director R. James Woolsey resigned, ending a tenure that was shadowed by the Aldrich Ames spy scandal.
1994
President Clinton nominated Dan Glickman to be agriculture secretary, succeeding Mike Espy.
1995
CompuServe obeyed a German order to suspend member access to 200 Internet newsgroups deemed pornographic.
1995
President Clinton vetoed a $265 billion defense bill, saying it would waste money on an unneeded missile defense system. (Congress failed to override the veto.)
1996
Leftist rebels in Peru released 20 more hostages, including two ambassadors, from Japan's embassy residence, following the first face-to-face talks between guerrillas and the government's negotiator.
1997
One woman was killed, more than 100 other people hurt, when a United Airlines jumbo jet en route from Tokyo to Honolulu encountered severe turbulence over the Pacific.
1998
Four people were killed, two gone missing and presumed dead, when fierce gales struck during an Australian yacht race.
1998
American warplanes exchanged missile fire with Iraqi air defenses, and President Clinton said there would be no letup in American and British pressure on Saddam Hussein.
1999
Clayton Moore, television's "Lone Ranger," died in West Hills, California, at age 85.
2000
that confessed Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh understood that he was dropping his appeals. McVeigh said that he wanted an execution date, set but wanted to reserve the right to seek presidential clemency.
2001
The National Guard was called out to help Buffalo, New York, dig out from a paralyzing, five-day storm that had unloaded nearly 7 feet of snow.
2005
NYC Transit asks members to ratify new contracts
2005
Former German deputy foreign minister and family abducted in Yemen
2005
Colombian soldiers killed by rebel group
2005
Argentina to pay off IMF debt
2005
Australian copyright laws to be overhauled in 2006
2005
Rebellion in Brazilian State Prison is over
2005
Study says poor African American women less likely to receive pap smears
2005
Five U.S. defense contractor lobbying groups block ban on forced prostitution and labor
2005
Jose Maria Aznar wants NATO to take in Australia and Israel
2005
Battle of Adre extends Darfur Conflict
2005
Shooting at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
2006
Former U.S. Senator John Edwards announces candidacy for U.S. President
2006
Italian MP starts thirst and hunger strike to protest Saddam execution
2006
Russian spy deported out of Canada
2006
Cindy Klassen named Canada's female athlete of the year
2007
Benazir Bhutto buried; violence erupts in assassination aftermath
2007
Wall of Siberian tiger enclosure at San Francisco Zoo is too short
2009
Elvish, Klingon and Na'vi: Constructed languages gain foothold in film
2009
Finnish Olympic champion ski jumper arrested for attempted murder
2009
Run-off likely in Croatian presidential elections
2009
Briton faces execution in China
2009
Thailand begins repatriation of Hmong migrants to Laos
2010
Over 200 skiers trapped as lift breaks at Maine resort
2010
Gunman dies, police officer injured after stand-off ends in West Yorkshire, England
2010
December blizzard slams Northeastern United States
2010
Boat sinks off New Jersey coast, killing one
2012
South Africa hospital discharges former president Nelson Mandela

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.

Select a section