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Today in History

1848
Notorious wild west lady outlaw, Belle Starr born Myra Maybelle Shirle in Carthage, Missouri
1919
Academy and Golden Globe award winning actor and comedian, Red Buttons born Aaron Chwatt in New York City
1922
Reader's Digest first published
1942
Naval officer, Vietnam veteran, Heisman trophy winner, Superbowl Champion quarterback, Roger Staubach born in Cincinnati, Ohio
1946
Acclaimed actress Charlotte Rampling born in Essex, England
1947
3-time Winston Cup champion, race car driver Darrel Waltrip born in Owensboro, Kentucky
1948
Emmy and Golden Globe award winning actress, Barbara Hershey born in Hollywood, California
1958
7,600 lb Tybee hydrogen bomb lost by US Air Force off coast of Savannah, Georgia
1971
Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell land on the Moon
1974
Patricia Hearst kidnapped by SLA
45
Cato, Roman patriot & philosopher, commits suicide
251
Death of St. Agatha
1265
Election of Pope Clement IV
1556
Truce of Vaucelles
1597
The Governor of Nagasaki, Japan, mutilates, then crucifies, 7 Christian missionaries and 19 Japanese converts
1611
Father Michelis denounces Father Louis Gaufridi as a witch
1631
A ship from Bristol, The Lyon, arrives with provisions for the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
1631
The founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, and his wife arrived in Boston from England.
1644
1st US livestock branding law passed, by Connecticut
1723
John Witherspoon, Declaration of Independence signer born
1744
Physician John Jeffries, 1st U.S. weatherman born
1779
Zebulon Pike (Pike's Peak, Colorado, is named after him). born
1783
Sweden recognized the independence of the United States.
1788
Prime minister of Britain Robert Peel. He founded the London police department, the first in the world to be structured the way modern police forces are. (The nickname of Bobbies for the police comes from Robert=Bobby's police). born
1837
Shoe salesman Dwight Moody. Famous evangelist in the 1800s and founder of the Moody Bible college in Chicago. born
1840
Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, the prolific U.S. inventor whose credits include the gun that bears his name. born
1848
Belle Starr, Western outlaw born
1861
Samuel Goodale, of Cincinnati, Ohio, patented the moving picture peep show machine. One put in a coin and turned a crank on the side of the ornately decorated box and voila, a flickering movie appeared.
1864
Federal forces occupy Jackson, Miss.
1881
Phoenix, Arizona, was incorporated.
1887
Verdi's opera "Otello" premiered at La Scala.
1887
Snow falls on San Francisco.
1897
The Indiana House of Representatives passed, 67-to-0, a measure redefining the area of a circle, effectively declaring the value of pi to be 3.2. (The bill died in the Indiana Senate.)
1900
The U.S. and U.K. sign the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty, giving the U.S. the right to build a canal in Nicaragua but not to fortify it.
1900
The American statesman Adlai E. Stevenson. He's the man Eisenhower defeated for the presidency. ``My definition of a free society,'' Stevenson once said, ``is one where it is safe to be unpopular.'' born
1906
Actor John Carradine (Appeared in over 200 films including Bride of Frankenstein, Captains Courageous, Alexander's Ragtime Band, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath, House of Dracula) born
1914
Novelist William Burroughs born
1916
Enrico Caruso recorded "O Solo Mio" for the Victor Talking Machine Company, which eventually became Victor Records, then RCA Victor.
1917
U.S. Congress nullifies Wilson's veto of the Immigration Act; literacy tests are required.
1917
Mexico's constitution was adopted.
1917
Congress passed, over President Wilson's veto, an immigration act severely curtailing the influx of Asians.
1918
The Soviets proclaim separation of church and state.
1919
Comedian-actor (Aaron Chwatt) Red Buttons (The Red Buttons Show, The Longest Day, The Poseidon Adventure, Sayonara, They Shoot Horses Don't They) born
1922
William Larned's steel-framed tennis racquet gets its first test.
1928
The Reverend Andrew M. Greeley (Author of Happy are the Merciful, An Occasion of Sin) born
1934
Hank Aaron, American baseball player, once all-time homerun leader born
1935
Country singer Claude King born
1937
"Modern Times", the first Charlie Chaplin talkie, was released. The star of the movie was Paulette Goddard who played the part of a waif.
1937
Actor Stuart Damon born
1937
President Roosevelt proposed increasing the number of Supreme Court justices; critics charged Roosevelt was attempting to "pack" the court.
1939
Financial writer Jane Bryant Quinn born
1940
The Glenn Miller Band recorded ``Tuxedo Junction'' on the Bluebird label. It fast became one of the band's most famous tunes...rivaling ``In The Mood'' in popularity.
1941
Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, the Australian poet widely credited as the author of "Waltzing Matilda," died.
1941
Singer-songwriter Barrett Strong (Just My Imagination, Papa Was a Rolling Stone, Ball of Confusion) born
1941
Actor David Selby (Falcon Crest, Rich and Famous, Flamingo Road) born
1941
Television producer-writer Stephen J. Cannell born
1942
Football Hall-of-Famer Roger Staubach born
1942
Singer Cory Wells (Three Dog Night) born
1943
George Gershwin's ``Porgy and Bess'' Variations premiered. The suite was actually orchestrated by Robert Russell Bennett.
1943
Football player Craig Morton born
1944
Singer Al Kooper born
1945
Jamaican reggae singer and songwriter Bob Marley born
1946
The U.S. recognizes Rumania.
1946
Actress Charlotte Rampling (The Verdict, Farewell My Lovely, Georgy Girl) born
1947
Actor David Ladd (The Treasure of Jamaica Reef, Catlow, Misty, A Dog of Flanders) born
1947
Auto racer Darrell Waltrip born
1947
The U.S.S.R. and the U.K. reject terms for U.S. trusteeship over Japanese Pacific Isles.
1948
Actress Barbara (Herzstein) Hershey (Hannah and Her Sisters, With Six You Get Eggroll, Beaches, The Right Stuff, The Natural, From Here to Eternity, The Monroes) born
1948
Actor Christopher Guest born
1952
New York adopts the three-colored traffic lights.
1953
Walt Disney's film, "Peter Pan", opened at the Roxy Theatre in New York City.
1958
Gamel Abdel Nasser was formally nominated to become the first president of the new United Arab Republic.
1961
The Soviets launch Sputnik V, the heaviest satellite at 7.1 tons.
1961
The Shirelles' ``Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow'' topped the charts.
1962
Actress Jennifer Jason (Morrow) Leigh (Shortcuts, The Hudsucker Proxy, Single White Female, Rush, Backdraft, Miami Blues, The Big Picture, Easy Money, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Eyes of a Stranger) born
1962
French President Charles De Gaulle called for Algeria's independence.
1964
Rock musician Duff McKagan (Guns N' Roses) born
1968
Rock singer Chris Barron (Spin Doctors) born
1969
Singer Bobby Brown born
1971
Country singer Sara Evans born
1971
American astronauts Alan Shepard and Edward Mitchell of Apollo 14 walked on the moon for four hours.
1972
It is reported that the U.S. has agreed to sell 42 F-4 Phantom jets to Israel.
1974
Patty Hearst is kidnapped at gunpoint by a white woman and two black men.
1975
The United States cut off military aid to Turkey as a result of delays in a peace settlement of the Cyprus dispute.
1981
President Reagan, in a nationwide address, said the United States was in ``the worst economic mess since the Great Depression'' and called for sweeping spending and tax cuts.
1983
Klaus Barbie, wanted as a Nazi war criminal, was imprisoned in Lyons, France, following extradition from Bolivia.
1985
U.S. halts a loan to Chile in protest over human rights abuses.
1986
World oil prices plunged toward $15 per barrel from $30 three months earlier after OPEC failed to curb production. Prices dropped to nine dollars by the summer of 1986.
1987
The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day above the 22-hundred level for the first time, closing at 22-hundred-01-point-49.
1988
The Arizona House impeached Governor Evan Mecham, setting the stage for his trial and conviction in the state Senate.
1988
A pair of indictments were unsealed in Florida, accusing Panama's military leader, General Manuel Antonio Noriega, of bribery and drug trafficking.
1989
Radio Moscow announced the last Soviet soldier had left Kabul, Afghanistan.
1990
Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev proposed that the Communist Party give up its monopoly on power in the Soviet Union. Two days later the party's Central Committee would agree, and there was no turning back.
1990
Opposition candidate Rafael Calderon Fournier won Costa Rica's presidential election.
1991
President Bush sent his top military advisers to Saudi Arabia to decide whether a ground assault was needed to liberate Iraqi- occupied Kuwait.
1992
The House of Representatives authorized an investigation into whether the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign conspired with Iran to delay release of the American hostages. (The task force investigating the "October Surprise" allegations later said it found no credible evidence of such a conspiracy.)
1992
The New Kids on the Block performed on ``Arsenio Hall'' to deny lip-synching charges made by a Chicago fan as well as the group's former music producer.
1992
Euthanasia advocate Jack ``Dr. Death'' Kevorkian was freed on bond following his arrest in the assisted suicides of two women.
1993
Federal judge Kimba Wood, President Clinton's expected choice for attorney general, withdrew from consideration, saying her baby sitter had been an illegal alien for seven years.
1993
Oscar-winning writer-director Joseph Mankiewicz died at age 83.
1994
A mortar shell fell onto a crowded weekend market in Sarajevo, Bosnia, killing 69 people and injuring 200.
1994
Sixty-eight people were killed when a mortar shell exploded in a marketplace in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
1994
White separatist Byron De La Beckwith was convicted in Jackson, Mississippi, of murdering civil rights leader Medgar Evers in 1963. He was immediately sentenced to life in prison.
1995
The White House and congressional Republicans drew battle lines over President Clinton's $1.61 trillion budget, with Republicans accusing Clinton of "taking a walk" and the administration saying Clinton was cutting the deficit more than any president in history.
1995
Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley showed up hand-in- hand at a party in the Los Angeles offices of O-J Simpson attorney Johnnie Cochran...who was also Jackson's lawyer.
1996
A judge ordered President Clinton to testify in the Whitewater trial. He later did so via videotape.
1996
Actress Elizabeth Taylor filed for divorce from Larry Fortensky, her seventh husband.
1996
John C. Salvi the Third went on trial in Dedham, Massachusetts, in the shooting deaths of two receptionists at abortion clinics. (Salvi was convicted and sentenced to two life terms; he was found dead in his cell in November 1996, an apparent suicide.)
1997
Switzerland's "Big Three" banking giants announced they would create a $71 million fund for Holocaust victims and their families.
1997
US Ambassador Pamela Harriman died in Paris at age 76.
1997
Investment bank Morgan Stanley announced a $10 billion merger with Dean Witter.
1998
A federal judge in Los Angeles threw out S&L figure Charles Keating's state securities fraud conviction for a second time, saying the trial judge had given jurors flawed instructions.
1998
The biggest winter storm of the season battered the eastern United States for a second day, raking the Mid-Atlantic and New England coastlines with rain and high winds while dropping new snow as far inland as Illinois. The giant "Nor'easter," blanketed the Ohio Valley and Appalachia with heavy snowfalls that reached 20 inches in the hills of western Maryland. Authorities blamed the storm for at least 10 deaths. Tens of thousands of people were still without electricity across West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee. Rivers swollen by back-to-back snowstorms and heavy rains approached flood stage in Virginia.
1998
Democratic fund-raiser Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie pleaded innocent in Washington to charges he'd raised illegal donations to buy influence in high places.
1998
President Clinton insisted the allegations in the sex scandal engulfing him were false, while the independent counsel Kenneth Starr said he was making significant progress in his search for the truth. "I have already denied the legal charges and I do so strongly," Clinton said.
1999
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was sentenced in Maryland to a year in jail for assaulting two motorists following a traffic accident. He ended up serving 3 months).
2000
Right-wing leader Joerg Haider told a deeply divided Austria not to worry about international sanctions, saying the new governing coalition that included his Freedom Party would soon prove its democratic credentials to the world.
2005
GNU Hurd operating system: first user program run using L4 microkernel
2005
Uribe-Chavez meeting postponed
2005
Bob Marley birthday celebrations marked by dispute over possible reburial
2005
Java creator criticizes .Net
2005
Missing Afghan jet found; 104 believed dead
2005
New York court rules in favor of same-sex marriage
2006
BHP halts operations after mine death in Western Australia
2006
Rio Tinto makes more than $4 billion
2006
Manhunt on for gay bar attacker in Massachusetts
2006
Masterminds of USS Cole and Limburg bombings escape from Yemeni prison
2006
US Army Chaplains adopt new program to aid personnel in spouse selection
2006
Suspect in gay bar attack dies after gunfight with police
2006
400 Survivors rescued from ferry disaster
2007
Google removes posts from blog critical of New Zealand government
2007
Riots feared over verdict in inter-state water sharing dispute in India
2007
Former New Zealand politician, Don Brash, officially leaves politics
2007
Putin, Gorbachov question charging of teacher with software piracy
2007
Letter bomb explodes near Scotland Yard in London, England
2007
Cutting bonuses and management is Dell's new strategy
2007
$200,000 reward for information on Perth arsonist
2008
Opening performance at Norway's new opera house postponed
2008
Fall '08 styles at New York Fashion Week: the '70s are back
2008
Furor continues a week after Rep. Brown-Waite's "foreign" comment
2008
Kansas library discusses Wikipedia
2008
US citizens in 24 states vote on 'Super Tuesday'
2008
UK shopping centre Afflecks Palace secures its future
2008
Progress M-63 freighter en route to International Space Station
2009
Ukranian ship MV Faina with cargo of tanks freed by pirates
2009
Bill Gates releases mosquitoes during conference for malaria awareness
2009
England's Football Association complains over missed goal
2009
ITV Wales drops local news sign language
2009
UN demands return of aid seized by Hamas
2009
Queensland state Green party to run environmental lawyer in treasurer's electorate
2009
Strike ends at UK oil refinery
2009
UK rail firm cuts 180 jobs
2009
MySpace removes 90,000 sex offenders
2009
US Supreme Court judge Ginsburg undergoes surgery for pancreatic cancer
2009
Six indicted over jet crash at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport
2010
Pope Benedict XVI confirms visit to Scotland as part of his UK tour
2010
Concern about sovereign debt of some EU members roils markets
2010
NTSB says pilot error caused crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407
2010
South African lawyer and anti-apartheid leader Harry Schwarz dies age 85
2010
Ten US missionaries charged with child kidnapping in Haiti
2010
Double bombing in Pakistani city leaves at least 22 dead
2010
Toyota poised to recall 270,000 Prius vehicles
2010
Chinese animator Te Wei dies at age 95
2011
Chilean policeman dies after falling from roof mid-pursuit
2012
Mitt Romney wins Nevada caucuses
2012
UN resolution on Syria vetoed by Russia and China
2013
UN adds to criticism of Australian offshore centers
2013
Super Bowl XLVII: Ravens defeat 49ers, 34-31

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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