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

Today in History

Twelfth night
1904
Astrologer and psychic, Jeane Dixon born in Medford, Wisconsin
1913
-50 degrees F (-46 C) in Strawberry, Utah
1917
Academy Award winning actress, Jane Wyman born Sarah Jane Mayfield in St Joseph, Missouri
1931
Academy, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning director and actor, Robert Duvall born in San Diego, California
1940
FM radio demonstrated to FCC
1946
Producer, director, and Oscar winning actress Diane Keaton born Diane Hall in Los Angeles, California
1947
NFL Pro Bowl running back, Eugene "Mercury" Morris born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1953
Busboy, researcher, legislative assistant and CIA director under two presidents, George Tenet born in Queens, New York
1972
President Richard Nixon orders development of space shuttle program
1984
Richard Stallman begins GNU
1066
Death of Edward, "the Confessor," King of England
1371
Acession of Pope Gregory XI
1531
Ferdinand of Hapsburg elected King of the Romans
1537
Alessandro de Medici, Duke of Florence, assassinated
1548
Francisco Su√Ěrez, Granada, Spain, philosopher, theologian born
1549
Elijah b. Asher Levita, author of 1st printed Yiddish book, dies
1589
Death of Catherine de Medici, Queen of France at age 69.
1592
Shah Jahan, Moghul emperor of India, builder of Taj Mahal born
1779
Zebulon Pike, discoverer of Pike's Peak in Colorado born
1779
Stephen Decatur, U.S. naval hero in the War of 1812. born
1781
A British naval expedition led by Benedict Arnold burned Richmond, Virginia.
1794
Agriculturist Edmund Ruffin. He was one of the originators of crop rotation and fertilization born
1855
King Camp Gillette, inventor of the safety razor born
1877
American clergyman, author, and educator Henry Sloane Coffin born
1880
The composer Nicolai Medtner born
1889
The hamburger first appears on a restaurant menu in Walla Walla, Washington.
1895
Balloonist Jeannette Piccard She was the first American woman to be a free balloon pilot. With her husband she set a record for balloon ascent into stratosphere of 57,579 feet in 1934. She was also one of first women to be Episcopalian priest. born
1895
French Captain Alfred Dreyfus, convicted of treason, was publicly stripped of his rank. (He was ultimately vindicated.)
1896
An Austrian newspaper ("Wiener Presse") reported the discovery by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen of a type of radiation that came to be known as "X-rays."
1904
American Marines arrive in Seoul, Korea to guard U.S. legation there.
1906
American jazz cornet player Wild Bill Davison born
1909
The U.S. Navy asks Congress to fund the construction of new battleships capable of carrying eight 14-inch guns.
1914
Ford Motor Co. increased its daily wage from $2.34 for a nine-hour day to $5.00 for eight hours of work.
1917
Actress Jane Wyman born
1919
The National Socialist (Nazi) Party was formed in Germany.
1920
George Herman ``Babe'' Ruth is traded to the New York Yankees by the Boston Red Sox for a record $125,000.
1920
GOP women demand equal representation at the Republican National Convention in June.
1921
Swiss playwright and novelist Friedrich Durrenmatt ( ``The Visit'' and ``The Physicists.'' ) born
1921
Wagner's "Die Walkyrie" opens in Paris. This is the first German opera performed in Paris since the beginning of WWI.
1922
Sun Records founder Sam Phillips born
1923
The Senate debates the benefits of Peyote for the American Indian.
1925
Nellie T. Ross succeeded her late husband as governor of Wyoming, becoming the first female governor in U-S history.
1928
Walter Mondale, 42nd Vice President of the U.S. born
1931
Paul Wittgenstein rehearsed Ravel's left-handed piano concerto on this day. The public premiere would be tomorrow. Wittgenstein lost his right arm in World War One but was determined to continue his concertizing career anyway.
1931
American dancer and choreographer Alvin Ailey born
1931
Actor Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies, A Family Thing, Stalin, A Show of Force, Days of Thunder, Colors, The Natural, True Confessions, Apocalypse Now, Network, The Godfather, M*A*S*H, True Grit, Countdown) born
1932
Raisa Gorbachev. born
1932
Singer Johnny Adams born
1932
Football Hall-of-Fame coach Chuck Noll born
1933
The 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, died in Northampton, Massachusetts, at age 60.
1933
In San Francisco, construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge.
1938
Juan Carlos I, King of Spain born
1938
Football Hall of famer- Jim Otto born
1940
FM radio is first demonstrated.
1942
Talk show host Charlie Rose born
1943
Educator and scientist George Washington Carver died in Tuskegee, Alabama, at age 81.
1946
Actress Diane Keaton born
1947
Actor Ted Lange born
1947
Great Britain nationalizes its coal mines.
1948
Alfred Kinsey's ``Sexual Behavior in the Human Male'' is published.
1949
Rhythm-and-blues musician George "Funky" Brown (Kool and the Gang) born
1949
In his State of the Union address, President Truman labeled his administration the "Fair Deal."
1952
Churchill arrives in Washington to confer with Truman.
1953
Actress Pamela Sue Martin born
1960
Actress Suzy Amis born
1965
Rock musician Kate Schellenbach (Luscious Jackson) born
1969
President Nixon appoints Henry Cabot Lodge as negotiator at the Paris Peace Talks.
1969
Rock singer Marilyn Manson born
1970
Joseph A. Yablonski, an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of the United Mine Workers, was found murdered with his wife and daughter at their Clarksville, Pennsylvania, home.
1971
Nixon names Robert Dole as chairman of the Republican National Party.
1972
President Nixon ordered development of the space shuttle
1982
A Federal judge voids a state law requiring balanced classroom treatment of evolution and creationism.
1987
President Ronald Reagan underwent prostate surgery at Bethesda Naval Hospital, one day after four small polyps were removed from his colon. Doctors reported no signs of cancer.
1988
Basketball star "Pistol" Pete Maravich dies of a heart attack during a pickup game in Pasadena, California, at age 40.
1988
The UN Security Council voted unanimously to ask Israel not to deport Palestinians from the occupied territories in the first
1988
China said a new round of tests indicated the Chinese mainland was free of the deadly "bird flu" virus that has sparked a mass slaughter of poultry in Hong Kong.
1989
Lawrence E. Walsh, the special prosecutor in the Iran-Contra case, asked for a dismissal of two charges against Oliver North, citing the Reagan administration's refusal to release material sought by North.
1990
President Bush told a news conference the United States had a "strong" case against deposed Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, and said he was convinced Noriega would receive a fair trial in the US on drug-trafficking charges.
1991
President Bush met at Camp David, Maryland, with UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar to discuss the Persian Gulf crisis. The same day, a pretaped radio address by Bush was broadcast in which the president warned Iraq: "Time is running out."
1993
"Canzona," by the Polish composer Tadeusz Baird, was played by the Chicago Symphony for the first time. Daniel Barenboim led the orchestra in the Tchaikovsky Fifth Symphony and Scirabin's Piano Concerto in F-sharp minor. The soloist was Dmitri Bashkirov.
1993
A Liberian-registered tanker ran aground in Scotland's Shetland Islands, spilling more than 24 million gallons of light crude oil.
1993
The 103rd Congress convened.
1993
The state of Washington executed Westley Allan Dodd, an admitted child sex killer, in America's first legal hanging since 1965.
1994
The Clinton administration said North Korea had agreed to allow renewed international inspections of seven nuclear sites.
1994
Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, former speaker of the US House of Representatives, died in Boston at age 81.
1995
President Clinton received Republican congressional leaders at the White House, declaring that "we can do a lot of business together" on reforming the way government works
1996
Lawyers for Hillary Rodham Clinton released sought-after billing records that were discovered the day before in a White House office.
1996
The longest government shutdown ends after 21 days when Congress passed a stopgap spending measure that would allow federal employees to return to work. President Clinton signed the bill the next day.
1996
Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama resigned.
1997
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat held a secret, predawn summit, but fell short of agreement on the issues holding up an Israeli troop withdrawal from Hebron.
1998
Sonny Bono, the 1960's pop star-turned-politician, was killed when he struck a tree while skiing in South Lake Tahoe, California; he was 62.
1998
An Australian cancer specialist said there might be a link between brain tumors and mobile phones, but the country's major telephone company Telstra rejected his offer of a detailed study. In a letter in Monday's Medical Journal of Australia, Dr. Andrew Davidson said statistics charted a 50% rise in the incidence of brain tumors in Western Australia state between 1982 and 1992.
1998
American millionaire Steve Fossett abandoned his third attempt to become the first man to fly round the world non-stop in a balloon and landed safely in the southern Russian region of Krasnodar. "I decided I needed to land because my equipment was not going to make it round the world," the lone 53-year-old adventurer said after he had brought his towering balloon Solo Spirit down to earth.
1998
Bangladesh's coldest weather in 5 years killed at 58 or more people, many of them street sleepers, and threatened thousands of other homeless. Most of the deaths were reported from northern districts where temperatures dropped to 4 degrees Celsius, the lowest in 5 years. Unofficial sources put the death toll at nearly 150 in less than 2 weeks.
1998
The jury considering a sentence for Terry Nichols in the Oklahoma City bombing trial ended its first day of deliberations without reaching a decision on the fate of the convicted conspirator. The jury convicted Nichols of conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter for the April 19, 1995 the previous month. Nichols's attorneys implored the jury the sentence not be based upon vengeance. The government called for his execution.
1999
Four US Air Force and Navy jets fired on -- and missed -- four Iraqi MiGs testing the "no-fly" zone over southern Iraq in the first such air confrontation in more than six years
2000
Touching off angry protests by Cuban-Americans in Miami, the US government decided to send six-year-old Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba. (After a legal battle, and the seizure of Elian from the home of his US relatives, the boy was returned to Cuba in June.)
2000
Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and Bill Bradley engaged in a feisty debate in Durham, New Hampshire.
2001
Italy's foreign minister, Renato Ruggiero, resigned after a spat with Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi over the government's lukewarm reception of the euro.
2002
Charles Bishop, a 15-year-old student pilot, deliberately crashed a small plane into a skyscraper in Tampa, Florida, killing himself.
2006
Teen post officer hides 400 New Year cards in Japanese snow
2006
Deaths on South African roads at 1215 for December 2005
2006
VP Cheney role surfaces in U.S. domestic spying
2006
Microsoft releases emergency patch for WMF exploit
2006
Turkish teenager dies from bird flu
2006
Building collapses in Mecca at eve of Hajj pillgrimage
2006
Texas defeats USC in Rose Bowl
2006
Australian Labor Party announces new Climate Change Policy
2006
Saginaw Spirit victorious in first home shootout
2007
Indonesian passenger plane crashes in mountains
2007
FBI details chief justice's prescription drug trouble
2007
Report: 50,000 American casualties in Iraq
2007
Egypt announces Internet crime initiative
2007
Ethics debate surrounds surgery to stunt disabled girl's growth
2007
US nuclear security director asked to resign
2007
Canada wins gold at IIHF World Junior Ice Hockey Championship
2007
Record low amount of organs donated in New Zealand
2008
Extremist group claims responsibility for killing of American diplomat in Sudan
2008
Kucinich suggests tonight's Democratic debate unfair, files FCC charges versus ABC
2008
Dakar Rally cancelled over terrorist threat
2008
Nevada, Northern California struck by massive storm
2008
Childhood pneumonia can be cured at home
2008
Former Indonesian president, Suharto in critical condition
2008
Baby attacked by dog in New York
2008
Queen voted Britain's greatest band
2008
Lakota Freedom Delegation says spokesman Russell Means 'hijacked' organization
2008
President Bush urges progress on Palestinian state
2009
Female suicide bomber kills 40 Shi'ite pilgrims at Baghdad shrine
2009
Protester killed in West Bank; world reacts to Gaza conflict
2009
Helicopter crash kills eight, injures one in Louisiana
2009
Imperial College London geology students fined in China for "illegal map-making"
2009
UN warns of humanitarian crisis in Gaza
2010
Airport security tightened worldwide
2010
Suicide bomber at US base in Afghanistan was al-Qaeda double agent
2010
US Secret Service discovers third uninvited guest at White House dinner
2012
Mitt Romney wins Iowa Caucus by eight votes over surging Rick Santorum
2013
Church of England to allow celibate gay bishops

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