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Today in History

1835
US national debt is $0.00 (the only time)
1838
Alfred Vail demonstrates the telegraph
1889
Herman Hollerith patents punch card tabulator
1926
US Navy seaman, singer, dancer, DJ, and comedian, Soupy Sales born Milton Soupman in Franklinton, North Carolina
1935
Actor. soldier, musician, Hall of Fame singer and pop icon, Elvis Aaron Presley born in Tupelo, Mississippi
1942
Author, Lucasian professor of Mathematics and theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking born in Oxford, England
1947
Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, musician and actor, David Bowie born David Robert Jones in London, England
1955
Tony Award winning stage and TV actress, Harriet Sansom Harris born in Fort Worth, Texas
1958
Bobby Fischer wins US Chess Championship
1964
President Johnson declares "War on Poverty"
1982
AT&T loses antitrust case
482
Death of St. Severinus of Noricum
712
Death of St. Gedula
786
Death of St. Abo
1081
Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor born
1198
Death of Pope Clestine III
1198
Election of Pope Innocent III
1337
Death of Giotto
1506
Sigsimund I elected King of Poland
1536
Death of Catherine of Aragon
1547
Death of King Henry VIII of England
1570
Philibert Delorme, Renaissance architect, dies at about 55
1587
Johannes Fabricius, Dutch astronomer who discovered sunspots born
1598
Don Juan de Onate leaves Mexico for New Mexico with 500 colonists
1642
Astronomer Galileo Galilei died in Arcetri, Italy.
1654
Ukrainian Cossacks submit to Russian rule - Russian-Polish war follows
1675
The first corporation, the New York Fishing Company, was charted in the United States.
1786
Nicholas Biddle, made 2nd Bank of US 1st effective central bank. born
1792
Educator and hymn writer Lowell Mason ("Nearer My God To Thee") born
1815
US forces led by General Andrew Jackson defeated the British in the Battle of New Orleans -- the closing engagement of the War of 1812.
1821
James Longstreet, Confederate general in the Civil War born
1853
A bronze statue of Andrew Jackson on a horse was unveiled in Lafayette Park in Washington, D.C. The statue was the work of Clark Mills.
1856
Borax (hydrated sodium borate) was discovered by Dr. John Veatch in Tuscan Springs, California. It became a multiuse product that was popularized during the era of TV's "Death Valley Days."
1862
Frank Nelson Doubleday, founder of Doubleday publishing house. born
1867
Congress approved legislation that allowed blacks to vote in the District of Columbia.
1868
Sir Frank Dyson, proved Einstein right about light bent by gravity born
1880
The passing of Norton I, Emperor of the US, Protector of Mexico
1889
The tabulating machine was patented by Dr. Herman Hollerith.
1892
The famous conductor Hans von Bulow was born. Von Bulow, who was also a talented pianist, became the leading exponent of Wagner's music, a devout Wagnerite even after Wagner stole his wife Cosima away from him. 19??: Tammy Spencer (Kevin Spencer Family) born
1894
Fire caused serious damage at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
1900
President William McKinley places Alaska under military rule.
1901
The first tournament sanctioned by the American Bowling Congress was held in Chicago, Illinois.
1906
Arthur Rubinstein made his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1908
A subway linking New York's Brooklyn and Manhattan opens.
1912
Actor and director Jose (Cintron) Ferrer (some sources say 1909) born
1918
President Wilson outlined his 14 points for peace after World War One.
1923
An opera was broadcasted for the first time. The BBC broadcasted "The Magic Flute" from Covent Garden.
1923
Actor-comedian Larry Storch (F Troop) born
1924
Actor and singer Ron Moody (Oliver Twist) born
1925
Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, appeared in his first American concert, as he conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in a program of his own compositions.
1925
California ratifies the child labor amendment.
1926
Comedian (Morton Supman) Soupy Sales (The Soupy Sales Show; fired for asking kids to "...go into mommy's purse or daddy's wallet and find all the little green pieces of paper and send them to me!") born
1927
Hockey player Walter Hergesheimer born
1928
Broadcast journalist Sander Vanocur born
1933
American physicist Dr. Irving Langmuir successfully measures the force of a single atom.
1933
CBS newsman Charles Osgood born
1935
Rock-and-roll legend Elvis Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi. born
1937
Singer Shirley Bassey (James Bond themes Diamond's Are Forever) born
1940
Country-gospel singer Cristy Lane born
1940
Singer Anthony Gourdine (Group Imperials: Tears on My Pillow, Hurt So Bad) born
1941
Actress Yvette Mimieux (The Time Machine, The Most Deadly Game) born
1942
Physicist Stephen Hawking born
1945
Hocky player Ron Ellis born
1946
Rock musician Robby Krieger (The Doors) born
1946
President Truman vows to stand by the Yalta accord on self-determination for the Balkans.
1948
Rock singer David (Jones) Bowie born
1951
Movie director John McTiernan ("Die Hard") born
1954
President Dwight Eisenhower proposes stripping convicted Communists of their U.S. citizenship.
1957
In an article appearing in "LOOK" magazine, Jackie Robinson announced his retirement from baseball.
1958
Bobby Fisher, then age 14, won the United States Chess Championship for the first time.
1959
Charles De Gaulle was inaugurated as president of France's Fifth Republic.
1961
Robert Goulet made his national TV debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show."
1963
President John F. Kennedy attends the unveiling of the Mona Lisa.
1964
President Johnson declared a "War on Poverty."
1965
Actress Maria Pitillo ("Godzilla") born
1969
Actress Ami Dolenz born
1969
Rock musician Jeff Abercrombie (Fuel) born
1969
Singer R. Kelly born
1972
Dmitri Shostakovich's last symphony, the 15th, was premiered in Moscow.
1973
Secret peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam resumed near Paris.
1973
Carly Simon received a gold record for the single, "You're So Vain."
1975
Ella Grasso became the governor of Connecticut. She was the first woman to become a governor of a state without a husband preceding her in the governor's chair.
1976
Actress Jenny Lewis born
1976
Chinese premier Chou En-lai died in Beijing at age 78.
1982
Actress Gaby Hoffman ("Now and Then") born
1982
American Telephone and Telegraph settled the Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against it by agreeing to divest itself of the 22 Bell System companies.
1987
President Ronald Reagan returned to the White House from Bethesda Naval Hospital, where he'd undergone prostate surgery.
1987
Kay Orr was sworn in as the first female governor of Nebraska.
1987
For the first time, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 2,000, ending the day at 2,002.25.
1988
An Arizona state grand jury indicted Governor Evan Mecham and his brother, Willard, on charges of concealing a campaign loan -- both were later acquitted.
1989
Forty-seven people were killed when a British Midland Boeing 737-400 carrying 126 people crashed in central England.
1990
Military tribunals in Romania began trying the first captured members of the country's dreaded security forces, who stood accused of resisting the revolution that toppled Nicolae Ceausescu
1991
Secretary of State James A. Baker the Third and Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz arrived in Geneva for the first high-level talks between their countries since the Persian Gulf crisis began.
1991
Pan American World Airways filed for bankruptcy.
1992
President George Bush collapsed during a state dinner in Tokyo; White House officials said Bush was suffering from stomach flu.
1993
Serb gunmen shot and killed Bosnia's deputy prime minister (Hakija Turajlic) in the presence of French peacekeepers.
1993
At post offices across America, commemorative Elvis Presley stamps went on sale on what would have been "the king's" 58th birthday.
1994
Tonya Harding won the US Figure Skating Championship in Detroit, a day after Nancy Kerrigan dropped out following the clubbing attack on her knee. (The US Figure Skating Association later stripped Harding of the title because of her involvement in the attack.)
1995
Russian forces in Chechnya pounded the capital of Grozny with rocket and mortar fire in an attempt to scatter Chechen fighters defending the presidential palace.
1996
Federal employees who had been out of work for weeks while the government was shut down began returning to their jobs; however, along the East Coast, many government workers were idled by a huge blizzard that paralyzed the nation's capital.
1996
More than 300 people were killed in Kinshasa, Zaire, when a cargo plane crashed into a market on takeoff.
1996
Former French president Francois Mitterrand died at age 79.
1997
The US Supreme Court heard arguments on whether to allow physician-assisted suicide.
1997
The state of Arkansas put three men to death in the second triple execution since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976.
1997
Russian President Boris Yeltsin was hospitalized with early signs of pneumonia. years.
1998
A federal judge condemned Ramzi Ahmed Yousef as an "apostle of evil," and sentenced him to life in prison for masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center explosion and a plot to bomb a dozen U.S. passenger jets. U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy sentenced Yousef to 240 years in prison without parole for the trade center explosion and an additional life term for the airline plot. The judge imposed restrictions on Yousef that amount to solitary confinement in which only proven family members can visit him. The judge also fined Yousef $4.5 million and ordered restitution in the amount of $250 million.
1998
At the US Figure Skating Championships in Philadelphia, Michelle Kwan received seven perfect presentation marks out of nine for her short program.
1998
Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski tried to commit suicide just hours before stunning a packed courtroom by saying he wanted to be his own lawyer and argue he is sane. He appeared in court with a red mark on his neck and missing his undershorts, leading police to conclude he attempted to kill himself in his cell at the Sacramento County Jail. He was placed under 24-hour-a-day security surveillance.
1998
A winter storm spread from Quebec into New England and New York. The storm splintered trees, caused flooding and leaft thousands of people without electricity. Maine Gov. Angus King declared a state of emergency so the National Guard could be called to supply shelters with generators. Emergencies were also declared for several counties in northern New York.
1998
Scientists identified a chemical compound which explains how nicotine becomes addictive. It was announced that this discovery could help point the way to new drugs for people who want to stop smoking.
1998
Emergency crews worked to contain an oil spill along the Louisiana coast after a tugboat struck a Chevron Corp. pipeline on January 6. The Coast Guard said 31,000 gallons of crude had spilled before the pipeline was shut down late in the day January 7.
1998
Air traffic control over the Pacific broke down for 16 hours; officials said the outage posed no real danger.
1999
The top two executives of Salt Lake City's Olympic organizing committee resigned amid disclosures that civic boosters had given cash to members of the International Olympic Committee.
1999
By a unanimous vote, senators formally ratified the rules for President Clinton's impeachment trial.
2000
During a debate in Johnston, Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley accused Al Gore of trying to scare voters by misrepresenting his health care proposal; for his part, the vice president said he had not been hiding in a Washington bunker but campaigning on "the front lines in the fight for our future."
2002
President Bush signed the most far-reaching federal education bill in nearly four decades.
2002
Wendy's fast food chain founder Dave Thomas died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at age 69.
2005
First unvaccinated survivor of rabies discharged from hospital
2005
2005/01/08 Tsunami aid donations in deductible for 2004 in the U.S. Tsunami aid donations in deductible for 2004 in the U.S.
2005
US Navy Los Angeles-class attack submarine runs aground near Guam
2005
Heavy lift Delta IV rocket launch problems
2006
Woman killed in shark attack at Amity Point, Australia
2006
Truckies could foot the bill for NSW Pacific Highway upgrade
2006
"Hyperspace drive" paper gains interest, AIAA award
2006
Earthquake shakes Athens
2006
Representative Tom DeLay not seeking future Majority Leader position
2006
White House, Kerry criticizes comments made by televangelist Pat Robertson
2006
Birmingham Central Mosque is set on fire
2007
Nick Smith responds to claims he is New Zealand's worst behaved politician
2007
Subway train derails in Washington, D.C.
2007
Natural gas odor permeates New York and Jersey Cities
2007
Accusations Tigger threw punch fill airwaves as teen claims neck injuries
2007
Sextuplets born in Vancouver, Canada
2007
Austrian students protest new government's student fees plan
2007
Scorpion found on flight to Toronto, Canada
2007
North American roads suffer from dramatic thaws and freezes
2007
Polish Archbishop resigns after spying revelations
2008
Abbas and Olmert meet before Bush visit
2008
Bomb explodes in Sri Lanka near Ministry of Finance
2008
Taipei Game Show preview highlights computer industry
2008
Alaskan plane crash survivors say cargo door swung open
2008
A1GP New Zealand races Boeing 777
2008
Sun begins Solar Cycle 24
2008
Jay Walsh named Wikimedia Foundation Head of Communications
2009
Matt Smith revealed as 11th incarnation of Doctor Who
2009
Rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon
2009
Washington flooded by rain and melting snow
2009
Palestinian president pleads with UN Security Council for help in Gaza
2009
International experts probe deadly Ebola Reston virus outbreak in Philippine pigs
2009
Ziff Davis sells 1UP to UGO Networks/Hearst, closes Electronic Gaming Monthly
2009
Princess Beatrice's unlocked BMW stolen
2010
Costa Rican volcano erupts, alert issued
2010
Alabama wins American football college title
2010
Japanese survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings dies, aged 93
2010
Suicide bomber kills at least eight in eastern Afghanistan
2010
Tribal clashes in Sudan kill 139
2010
Moroccan court sentences fourteen to jail on terror charges
2010
Suicide bomber in southern Russia kills at least five policemen
2010
U.N. pulls out of southern Somalia
2010
Rocket hits US consulate in Afghanistan
2010
UN: 30,000 people affected by flooding in Kenya
2010
Togo footballers ambushed in Angola
2011
US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot at Arizona supermarket
2011
Former CIA agent indicted after leaking classified information
2013
Three cities submit bids for 2020 Summer Olympics

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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