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

Today in History

486
St. Valentine's day
1838
Prolific inventor with over 80 US patents, Margaret Ethridge Knight born in York, Maine
1894
Comedic radio, television, and film actor, Jack Benny born Benjamin Kubelsky in Waukegan, Illinois
1920
League of Women Voters founded in Chicago
1924
International Business Machines founded
1934
Hypnotherapist, broadway musical star, actress and Brady mom, Florence Henderson born in Dale, Indiana
1946
Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) unveiled at University of Pennsylvania
1951
Three-time US Figure Skating Champion, JoJo Starbuck born in Birmingham, Alabama
1978
TI patents microcomputer on a chip
270
Martyrdom of Valentine
433
Death of St. Maro
842
Oaths of Strasbourg
1009
Massacre of St. Bruno of Querfurt and his party, by Lithuanians
1014
Coronation of Henry II, "the Saint" as Holy Roman Emperor
1130
Election of Innocent II as Pope
1349
2,000 Jews are burned at the stake in Strasbourg, Germany.
1400
Murder of Richard II, King of England
1432
Entrance of Henry VI, King of England and France, into London
1473
Polish astronomer Nicholas Copernicus born
1489
Treaty of Dordrecht
1549
Death of Giovanni Bazzi
1549
Maximillian II is recognized as the future King of Bohemia
1564
Michelangelo falls ill
1571
Death of Benevenuto Cellini
1613
Marriage of Fredrick V Elector Palantine and Princess Elizabeth of England
1613
William Shakespeare's "The Tempest" first performed
1760
Richard Allen, 1st black ordained by a Methodist-Episcopal church born
1778
The American ship Ranger carried the recently adopted Star and Stripes to a foreign port for the first time as it arrived in France.
1779
American Loyalists are defeated by Patriots at Kettle Creek, Georgia.
1803
Moses Coast received a patent on the apple parer.
1813
An early Russian opera composer, Alexander Dargomyzhsky, composer of "Rusalka." It was later said he had not learned to talk for six years. born
1847
Anna Howard Shaw, U.S. suffragette born
1848
President Polk became the first chief executive to be photographed while in office as he posed for Matthew Brady in New York.
1859
George Washington Gale Ferris, inventor of the Ferris Wheel born
1859
Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state.
1870
Esther Morris becomes the world's first female justice of the peace.
1876
Inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray applied separately for patents related to the telephone. (The US Supreme Court eventually ruled Bell the rightful inventor.)
1886
The West Coast citrus industry was born. The first trainload of oranges left Los Angeles for eastern markets.
1894
Comedian Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky) in Waukegan, Illinois. born
1895
Oscar Wilde's final play, "The Importance of Being Earnest," opened at the St. James's Theatre in London.
1899
Voting machines for use in federal elections were approved by the U.S. Congress.
1900
General Roberts invades South Africa's Orange Free State with 20,000 British troops.
1903
President Theodore Roosevelt signed a law creating a Department of Commerce and Labor.
1904
The "Missouri Kid" is captured in Kansas.
1908
Russia and Britain threaten action in Macedonia if peace is not reached soon.
1912
Arizona became the 48th state of the Union.
1913
Teamsters union president Jimmy Hoffa born
1913
Sportscaster Mel (Israel) Allen born
1915
The Kaiser invites the U.S. Ambassador Gerard to Berlin in order to confer on the war.
1918
Warsaw demonstrators protest the transfer of Polish territory to the Ukraine.
1918
The motion picture, "Tarzan of the Apes", was released. The film was based on a series of stories written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The movie focused on 10-year-old Gordon Griffith who played Tarzan as a boy. An older Tarzan was played by Elmo Lincoln.
1919
The United Parcel Service is incorporated in Oakland, California.
1920
The League of Women Voters was founded in Chicago; its first president was Maude Wood Park.
1921
Broadcaster Hugh Downs (The Jack Paar Show, Concentration, Today, 20/20) born
1924
Thomas Watson founds International Business Machines Corp.
1928
Explorer Peter Gimbel born
1928
Astronaut Frank Borman born
1929
The "St. Valentine's Day Massacre" took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone's gang were gunned down.
1931
Singer Phyllis McGuire (The McGuire Sisters Sugartime) born
1932
The U.S. won the first bobsled competition at the Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid, New York.
1933
An eight-day bank holiday was declared in Michigan in a Depression-era move to avert a financial panic. $50 million was rushed to Detroit to bolster bank assets.
1934
Actress-singer Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch) born
1935
Golf champion Mickey (Mary) Wright born
1936
Actor Andrew Prine (The Miracle Worker, Gettysburg, The Devil's Brigade) born
1939
The Reich launches the battleship Bismark.
1939
Country singer Razzy Bailey. born
1940
The first porpoise born in captivity arrived at Marineland in Florida.
1940
Britain announces that all merchant ships will be armed.
1941
Secretary of Health and Human Rights Donna Shalala born
1941
"Reflections in a Golden Eye" by Carson McCullers was first published.
1944
Journalist Carl Bernstein. born
1945
Peru, Paraguay, Chile and Ecuador joined the United Nations.
1946
Actor-dancer Gregory Hines. born
1948
TV personality Pat O'Brien born
1948
Magician Teller (Penn and Teller) born
1949
The United States charges the U.S.S.R. with interning up to 14 million in labor camps.
1950
Rock musician (Heart) Roger Fisher born
1951
Cajun singer-musician Michael Doucet (Beausoleil). born
1951
Ice skater (Alicia) Jo Jo Starbuck born
1955
A Jewish couple loses their fight to adopt Catholic twins as the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to rule on state law.
1956
Actor Ken Wahl. born
1956
The 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party opened, during which Nikita Khruschev denounced the policies of Joseph Stalin.
1957
Georgia Senate outlaws interracial athletics.
1960
Actress Meg Tilly. born
1962
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy conducted a televised tour of the White House. It was the first public peek into the Presidential back rooms and bedrooms and drew a record audience of 80 million.
1964
Actor Zach Galligan born
1965
Malcolm X's home is firebombed. No injuries are reported.
1966
Rock musician Ricky Wolking (The Nixons) born
1966
Rick Mount of Lebanon, Indiana, became the first, high school, male athlete to be pictured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
1967
Tennis player Manuela Maleeva-Fragniere. born
1971
Moscow publicizes a new five-year plan geared to expanding consumer production.
1972
The musical, "Grease," opened at the Eden Theater on Broadway. The play later moved to the Broadhurst Theater where it became the longest-running musical (at that time - CATS has since passed this record) ever with a run of 3,388 performances.
1972
Rock singer Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) born
1979
Adolph Dubs, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Kabul by Muslim extremists and killed in a shootout between his abductors and police.
1980
CBS announced that Dan Rather had been chosen to succeed Walter Cronkite as anchorman and managing editor of The CBS Evening News the following year.
1983
Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin appointed Moshe Arens, Israel's ambassador to the United States, to be defense minister, replacing Ariel Sharon.
1984
Six-year-old Stormie Jones became the world's first heart-liver transplant recipient at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (she lived until November 1990).
1984
British rocker Elton John married Renata Blauel in Sydney, Australia.
1985
Cable News Network reporter Jeremy Levin, who was being held hostage by extremists in Lebanon, was freed.
1986
The government reported that collapsing world oil prices sent U.S. wholesale prices plunging seven-tenths of one percent in January 1986.
1987
Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov addressed a closed-door session of a Kremlin-sponsored peace forum. Participants quoted Sakharov as calling for more democracy in the Soviet Union.
1988
Hours after learning that his sister had died of leukemia, American David Jansen lost his bid for a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada, when he fell during the 500-meter speed-skating event.
1988
Broadway composer Frederick Loewe, who wrote the scores for "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot," died in Palm Springs, California, at age 86.
1989
Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini called on Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie author of the novel "The Satanic Verses," a work condemned as blasphemous throughout the Islamic world.
1989
Union Carbide Corporation of the U.S. accepted an Indian Supreme Court ruling that it pay $470 million in compensation for the 1984 Bhopal poison gas disaster.
1990
94 people were killed when an Indian Airlines passenger jet crashed while landing at a southern Indian airport.
1991
Iraq charged the bombing of an underground facility the day before, which killed hundreds of civilians, was a deliberate attack on an air raid shelter, a charge denied by the United States.
1991
Two San Francisco men became the first couple to register as "domestic partners" under a new city ordinance.
1992
American speed skater Bonnie Blair won her second gold medal of the Albertville Olympics, in the one-thousand meters event.
1992
The former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Moldova and Azerbaijan rejected a proposal for a unified army, handing a sharp rebuff to Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin.
1993
The body of James Bulger, a two-year-old boy who had been lured away from his mother in a Liverpool, England, shopping mall two days earlier, was found along a stretch of railroad track. (Two boys who were ten years old at the time were later convicted of murdering James.)
1993
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Elliott Carter finished composing a 20-minute piece called "Partita" for the Chicago Symphony. Carter says "Partita" aims to depict the sense of motion in a floating bubble.
1994
At the Winter Olympics in Norway, speedskater Dan Jansen slipped and fell during the 500 meters race.
1994
President Clinton used his first annual economic report to proclaim his policies had put the country on track for rising prosperity for years to come.
1995
The House passed the centerpiece of the Republican anti-crime package, voting to create block grants for local governments while eliminating President Clinton's program to hire more police.
1995
A federal judge rejected the Justice Department's proposed antitrust settlement with Microsoft Corporation; U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin was later overruled.
1996
Texas Senator Phil Gramm bowed out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination following his poor showing in the Louisiana and Iowa caucuses.
1996
An armed North Korean demanding political asylum shot his way into the Russian embassy compound in Pyongyang, killing three people.
1997
American Airlines and its pilots union continued contract talks as the clock ticked down to a midnight strike deadline. (The pilots did strike, but President Clinton immediately intervened, ordering a 60-day "cooling off" period.)
1998
Russia's Ilya Kulik won the men's figure skating gold medal at the Nagano Olympics.
1998
Authorities officially declared Eric Rudolph a suspect in the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama, abortion clinic and offered a $100,000 reward.
1999
John D. Ehrlichman, President Nixon's domestic affairs adviser imprisoned for his role in the Watergate cover-up that ultimately led to Nixon's resignation, died in Atlanta at age 73.
1999
President Clinton, accompanied by his wife, Hillary, began a quick visit to Mexico to encourage its struggle against narcotics and government corruption, and grow its markets for U.S. products.
2000
Three tornadoes tore across rural southwest Georgia, killing 20 people and destroying homes, businesses and farms.
2000
Two sophomores at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, were found shot to death in a fast-food restaurant just two blocks from the school, which was still reeling from the April 1999 massacre.
2005
U.S. drones reported in Iranian airspace
2005
Brazilian Medicine Council against Cuban privileges
2005
Severe weather warning issued for Samoa
2005
Madrid skyscraper devastated by fire
2005
Iran rejects EU nuclear reactor offer
2005
Passenger ship Voyager radios SOS in the Mediterranean
2005
WestJet Airlines retires 18 aircraft
2005
Best Buy signs leases for 28 new stores
2005
Large explosion in Beirut kills many including former prime minister
2005
'Baby 81's parents confirmed
2006
California police kill knife-wielding man
2006
Study says people don't understand the emotional tone of emails, but think they do
2006
GAO reveals $1.6 billion spent on public relations by the Bush administration in 2003-2005
2006
Israeli group announces anti-semitic cartoons contest
2006
Body found on a Kingwood Street in Houston
2006
Police embarrassed after car stolen from station
2006
The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court sentences Omri Sharon
2006
Man shot by US Vice President suffers mild heart attack
2006
Pennsylvania man named in alleged terror plot
2006
Trainee police officer shot in Nottingham
2006
Bali Nine ringleaders sentenced to death
2007
Indian museum combats spread of HIV
2007
Canada's best films of 2006 honoured at Genie Awards
2007
Archaeologist finds earliest tools used by non-human apes
2007
Car bomb kills 11 in Iran
2007
DaimlerChrysler plans to cut 13,000 jobs
2007
Funding gap forces library closures in Jackson County, Oregon
2007
New England area of USA braces for winter storm
2008
Clinton's speech at St. Mary's University stirs debate over abortion
2008
Historic manuscript "The Housebook" reported sold in Germany
2008
Six dead in campus shooting at Northern Illinois University
2008
Inflation in Finland reaches 7-year high at 3.8%
2008
National Hockey League news: February 14, 2008
2008
Employment figures in Brazil up by 2.2% according to IBGE
2008
Study reports that 28% of broiler chickens struggle to walk
2009
500 stranded melon-headed whales rescued in Philippine bay
2009
Germany's GUN Records closes
2009
Six killed in UK car crash
2009
Queensland Premier denies March 28 election
2009
Virgin Atlantic jet fire investigation finds faulty wiring in A340 fleet
2009
British Airways jet makes rough landing at London City Airport
2009
Israel elects 18th Knesset
2009
Australia's Queensland Roar through to A-League football preliminary final
2010
Chicago Metra considers selling naming rights for train lines, stations
2010
Winning British EuroMillions lottery ticket worth £56 million claimed
2010
Chip and PIN 'not fit for purpose', says Cambridge researcher
2010
Bill Clinton leaves hospital following heart procedure
2011
Indian foreign minister criticized after reading wrong speech at UN summit
2011
Former Egyptian president Mubarak reportedly ill, may be in coma
2011
Canadian rapper Bad News Brown murdered in Montreal
2011
Four found dead in Leicestershire, England
2011
NASCAR: Dale Earnhardt, Jr. earns Daytona 500 pole
2012
Santorum neologism spreads to Romney
2013
Ukraine plane crash landing kills five

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