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Today in History

1880
Author, activist, and lecturer, Helen Keller born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. She was stricken deaf and blind by illness at 19 months of age
1930
US Marine, Emmy Award winning actor and clown, Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan born in Lynbrook, New York
1930
Founder of Electronic Data Systems and Reform Party presidential candidate, Ross Perot born in Texarkana, Texas
1950
US troops committed to join war in Korea
1966
Dark Shadows premieres on ABC
1969
Stonewall riots begin in New York City
1971
Promoter Bill Graham closes Fillmore East
1974
President Nixon visits the USSR
992
Death of Conan I of Brittany
1095
Death of St. Ladislaus I, King of Hungary
1352
Zug and Aeusser Amt join the Swiss Confederation
1462
Louis XII, King of France born
1497
Execution of Myghal an Gof
1519
Disputation of Leipzig
1550
Charles IX, King of France born
1574
Death of Giorgio Vasari, painter and writer
1638
Execution of Cyril Lucar, Patriarch of Istanbul
1652
New Amsterdam (now New York City) imposes the first speed limit in the U.S., specifying that it is illegal for traffic within the city limits to proceed at a gallop.
1682
King Charles XII, Charles the Great, of Sweden born
1776
Thomas Hickey, one of George Washington's guards, was convicted of plotting to deliver George Washington to the British and became the first person to be executed by the army of the U.S.
1787
Edward Gibbon completed "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire."
1801
British forces captured Cairo and the French began withdrawing from Egypt in one of the Napoleonic Wars.
1844
Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois.
1846
Irish patriot Charles Stewart Parnell born
1847
The first telegraph wire links were established between New York City and Boston.
1859
Mildred J. Hill - Composer, Musician, Schoolteacher; Happy Birthday To You born
1872
Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar born
1880
Blind and deaf author Helen Keller born
1884
Lawrence Corcoran pitched his third no-hit baseball game this day, leading Chicago to a 6-0 win over Providence. Corcoran set a baseball record for no-hitters for the feat.
1885
Chichester Bell and Charles S. Tainter applied for a patent for the gramophone. The patent was granted on May 4, 1886.
1893
The New York stock market crashed.
1907
Actor John McIntire (Honkytonk Man, Rooster Cogburn, Summer and Smoke, Psycho, Elmer Gantry) born
1911
Actress Audrey Christie (Splendor in the Grass, Harper Valley P.T.A., Frankie and Johnny) born
1913
Billiard Player Willie Mosconi (World American Straight Pool champion: 6 times between 1941-1956) born
1917
Composer Ben Homer (Sentimental Journey) born
1920
Screen WriterI.A.L. Diamond (Some Like It Hot, Irma La Douce, The Apartment) born
1924
Country Singer Julie Bedra) Rosalie Allen (He Taught Me How to Yodel) born
1925
Songwriter Jerome 'Doc' Pomus (Boogie Woogie Country Girl, A Teenager in Love, Turn Me Loose, Can't Get Used to Losing You, Save the Last Dance for Me, This Magic Moment) born
1927
"Captain Kangaroo," Bob Keeshan born
1930
Business executive Ross Perot born
1934
Opera singer Anna Moffo born
1936
The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army General John Shalikashvili born
1938
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt born
1941
The BBC began using the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth as a morale-boosting motif for listeners in the parts of Europe that had been overrun by the Nazis. In Morse Code, "dit-dit-dit dahhh" stands for the letter "V" and "V" stood for "Victory."
1942
Pianist, Composer, Arranger, Frank Mills (Music Box Dancer) born
1942
The FBI announced the capture of eight Nazi saboteurs who had been put ashore from a submarine on New York's Long Island.
1944
Singer-musician Bruce Johnston (The Beach Boys) born
1944
During World War Two, American forces completed their capture of the French port of Cherbourg from the Germans.
1944
"Bathing Beauty", the first film where Esther Williams swam, opened at the Astor.
1945
Fashion designer Norma Kamali born
1948
George Templeton Strong, Junior, died in Switzerland at the age of 92. Strong had been a promising American composer but gave up music to paint, and gave up America to live in Europe. Strong felt America was insufficiently cultured.
1949
The Communist composer Alan Bush was present for the premiere of his symphony on the story of Robin Hood. It was played in Nottingham.
1950
President Truman ordered U.S. naval and air forces to help repel the North Korean invasion of South Korea.
1950
President Truman ordered the Air Force and Navy into the Korean conflict following a call from the United Nations Security Council for member nations to help South Korea repel an invasion from the North.
1951
Actress Julia Duffy born
1955
Actress Isabelle Adjani born
1955
The nation's first automobile seat belt legislation is enacted in Illinois.
1955
The first of the "Wide Wide World" shows was broadcast on NBC-TV. Dave Garroway of the "Today" show was the program host.
1957
More than 500 people were killed when Hurricane "Audrey" slammed through coastal Louisiana and Texas.
1959
Country singer Lorrie Morgan born
1959
The play, "West Side Story", with music by Leonard Bernstein, closed after 734 performances on Broadway. The show remains one of the brightest highlights in the history of the Great White Way.
1960
Actor Brian Drillinger born
1964
Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman were married. The couple broke up 38 days later.
1964
R.C., "People" by Barbra Streisand peaked at #5 on the pop singles chart.
1966
"Dark Shadows", TV Daytime Sci-Fi Soap; debut on ABC.
1969
Patrons at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village, clashed with police in an incident considered the birth of the homosexual rights movement.
1973
Former White House counsel John W. Dean told the Senate Watergate Committee about an "enemies list" kept by the Nixon White House.
1975
Sonny and Cher (Bono) called it quits as husband and wife. They were divorced soon after their CBS-TV variety show was canceled.
1975
Actor Tobey Maguire ("Pleasantville") born
1976
Gospel singer Leigh Nash (Sixpence None the Richer) born
1980
President Carter signed legislation reviving draft registration.
1985
The legendary Route 66, which originally stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica, California, passed into history as officials decertified the road.
1987
The White House announced that a final laboratory analysis of two polyps removed from President Reagan's colon showed they were benign.
1989
President Bush, criticizing a Supreme Court decision upholding desecration of the American flag as a form of political protest, called for a constitutional amendment to protect the Stars and Stripes.
1990
NASA announced that a flaw in the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope was preventing the instrument from achieving optimum focus.
1991
Actress Madylin Sweeten ("Everybody Loves Raymond") born
1991
Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first black to sit on the nation's highest court, announced his retirement.
1991
The Supreme Court ruled that juries considering life or death for convicted murderers may take into account the victim's character and the suffering of relatives.
1992
Authorities found the body of kidnapped Exxon executive Sidney J. Reso buried in a makeshift grave in Bass River State Park in New Jersey. (Arthur and Irene Seale were later convicted and sentenced to prison.)
1993
Iraqis pulled their dead from the rubble of buildings wrecked by US missiles during an early morning raid ordered by President Clinton in reprisal for a reputed assassination plot against former President Bush.
1993
Actress Julia Roberts and singer Lyle Lovett were wed in Marion, Indiana. (The marriage ended in divorce.)
1994
President Clinton replaced White House chief of staff Mack McLarty with budget director Leon Panetta.
1994
U.S. Coast Guard cutters intercepted 1,330 Haitian boat people on the high seas in one of the busiest single days since refugees began leaving Haiti in droves following a 1991 military coup
1994
Kenny Lofton is named "Player of the Week", becoming the third Indian to be named in consecutive weeks.
1995
The San Francisco Chronicle received a message from the Unabomber threatening to blow up a plane by the July 4 weekend (the Unabomber later called the threat a prank).
1995
Former WMMS engineer William Alford is sentenced to 10 days and a $1,000 fine for cutting the cable of the satellite feed during Howard Stern's broadcast from the Cleveland Flats in 1994.
1995
The space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on a historic flight to link up with Russia's space station Mir and bring home American astronaut Norman Thagard.
1996
President Clinton and other Group of Seven leaders meeting in Lyon, France, pledged solidarity against terrorism following a truck bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans.
1996
A Dallas police officer was charged with trying to hire a hit man to kill football star Michael Irvin. (Johnnie Hernandez later pleaded guilty to solicitation of capital murder.)
1997
The Supreme Court threw out a key part of the Brady gun-control law, saying the federal government could not make local police decide whether people are fit to buy handguns. However, the court left intact the five-day waiting period for gun purchases.
1998
An earthquake in Ceyhan, Turkey, killed 144 people.
1998
During a joint news conference beamed live to hundreds of millions of homes across China, President Clinton and President Jiang Zemin offered an uncensored airing of differences on human rights, freedom, trade and Tibet.
1999
The Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 in the final game at the Kingdome.
1999
George Papadopoulos, the head of Greece's 1967-74 military dictatorship, died of cancer in Athens at age 80.
1999
Juli Inkster won the LPGA Championship, becoming the second woman to win the modern career Grand Slam (the first was Pat Bradley).
2000
House Republicans cut a deal to allow direct sales of U-S food to Cuba for the first time in four decades.
2000
President Robert Mugabe's ruling party was assured a majority in Zimbabwe's new parliament despite historic gains by the opposition.
2005
U.S. Marines accused of assaulting Australian freed by U.S. military court
2005
U.S. Supreme Court rules on government display of Ten Commandments
2005
Israeli soldier convicted of killing British activist in Gaza Strip
2005
Paul Winchell, voice of Tigger, Gargamel, dead at 82
2005
Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court rules against file swapping companies
2005
Lula tries to save the government with alliance with opposition party
2005
Russia voids border treaty with Estonia
2005
Actor John Fiedler, voice of Piglet and "Bob Newhart" regular, dead at 80
2005
Russia probing Jewish law as "incitement"
2006
Canterbury farmers to get aid because of snow
2006
Dung appointed Vietnam's new PM
2006
Australian government provides $15.8 million for North Adelaide Technical College
2006
Drunk woman hits police car in Sydney
2006
Brazil knock-out Ghana 3-0 to grab quarter-final place
2006
Mauritanians vote for new constitution
2006
Hamas strikes deal with Fatah
2006
IPod manufacturer Foxconn broke labour laws
2006
France out-wit Spain 3-1 and clinch quarter-final spot
2006
Conditions in the womb determine male sexuality
2006
W. Axl Rose arrested near Stockholm
2006
Chinese government levies hefty 'sudden event' fines
2006
Daughter of Yuko Ikeda kidnapped to ransom in Tokyo; freed 13 hours later
2007
No survivors in Cambodian air crash
2007
Gordon Brown becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
2007
Tony Blair becomes the Quartet's envoy to the Middle East
2007
America's Cup: Team New Zealand wins third race
2008
III IDEAS Show to showcase achievements of Internet industry in Taiwan
2008
US claims to have killed al-Qaida in Iraq leader
2008
Asteroid slammed into Mars' northern hemisphere
2008
Clinton and Obama call for unity in Democratic Party
2008
North Korea destroys nuclear cooling tower
2008
Indonesian military plane disappears
2008
Microsoft without Bill Gates at the helm
2008
Gordon Brown's troubled first year
2008
Prime Minister of Thailand survives no-confidence vote
2008
Former Polish Foreign Minister discusses anti-missile shield in Washington, DC
2008
Divers safe from pesticide from MV Princess of the Stars
2008
Obama gives check to Clinton campaign
2008
Proton rocket launches Prognoz satellite
2008
BBC spends £3.4m on sell-off
2009
US House of Representatives passes 'clean energy bill'
2009
Sales of Jackson songs and memorabilia rise after his death
2009
Armed Forces Day to get underway in the UK
2009
Death of Michael Jackson causes last minute changes to films and dramas
2009
9 year old girl reported to be latest US swine flu death
2009
Brazil ceases hunt for bodies from Air France crash
2009
Farrah Fawcett's funeral arrangements announced
2010
Kyrgyzstan votes on referendum for new constitution
2010
FIFA World Cup: arrivederci Italia!
2010
Fuel leak prompts 17,000-vehicle recall by Toyota
2011
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao visits Shakespeare's birthplace
2011
Funeral held for former Zambian President Frederick Chiluba
2011
Ryan Dunn twice over drink-drive limit at time of fatal accident
2011
Internet hacking group LulzSec disbands
2012
NSW appeal court acquits Jeffrey Gilham of parents' murders
2013
US Supreme Court rules Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional

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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