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Today in History

1938
Singer and songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot born in Orillia, Ontario
1944
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor, Danny DeVito born in Neptune, New Jersey
1966
C├ęsar Award winning actress, Sophie Marceau born in Paris, France
1966
Leonid shower spawns 140,000 meteors per hour over Arizona
1966
Actress and model, Daisy Fuentes born in Havana, Cuba
1970
Douglas Engelbart patents the "X-Y position indicator" which comes to be known as the computer mouse
1973
President Nixon declares, "I'm not a crook."
1978
Actress Rachel McAdams born in London, Ontario
2003
Arnold Schwarzenegger inaugurated Governor of California
594
Death of St. Gregory of Tours
799
Artist and naturalist Titian Peale born
1200
Death of St. Hugh of Lincoln
1231
Death of St. Elizabeth of Thuringia
1292
John Baliol declared to be rightful King of Scotland
1370
Coronation of Louis I "the Great," as King of Poland
1372
Death of "Sir John de Mandeville," whose real name was Jean de Bourgogne of Liege, and who was also known as Dr. Jehan de la Barbe
1558
Elizabeth the First ascended the English throne upon the death of Queen Mary.
1603
Sir Walter Raleigh imprisoned for treason
1629
Laconia Company chartered to establish the colony of New Hampshire
1637
Anne Hutchinson, a founder of RI, brought to trial in Massachusetts.
1796
Catherine the Great of Russia dies.
1800
Congress held its first session in Washington in the partially completed Capitol building.
1839
The Rite of Spring was completed. We know this because Igor Stravinsky said so, writing in a parenthetical clause that he had
1851
The U.S. Post Office issued a 1-cent carrier stamp to make it easier to pay fees for delivering and collecting letters. It was the first postage stamp to depict an American eagle.
1869
The Suez Canal opened in Egypt, linking the Mediterranean and the Red seas.
1877
The first production of Gilbert and Sullivan's opera, "The Sorcerer" was presented in London.
1889
The Union Pacific Railroad Company began direct, daily railroad service between Chicago and Portland, Oregon, as well as Chicago and San Francisco.
1891
Poland's premier and premier ivory tickler, Ignace Jan Paderewski, made his American debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1901
Director Lee Strasberg born
1905
Actor Mischa Auer (My Man Godfrey, Brewster's Millions, Destry Rides Again, You Can't Take it with You) born
1914
Entertainer and comedian Archie Campbell (Trouble in the Amen Corner, Bleeping Sleauty, Ridercella, The Men in My Little Girl's Life; Hee Haw, Grand Ole Opry) born
1916
Historian Shelby Foote born
1917
Sculptor August Rodin died in Meudon, France.
1925
Actor (Roy Scherer Fitzgerald) Rock Hudson (McMillan and Wife, Giant, A Gathering of Eagles, Ice Station Zebra, Magnificent Obsession, Pillow Talk, Written on the Wind) born
1930
Olympic & National Track & Field Hall of Famer Bob Mathias born
1934
Lyndon Baines Johnson married Claudia Alta Taylor, better known as "Lady Bird."
1935
Baseball player Orlando Pena born
1936
Baseball player Gary Bell born
1937
Actor-comedian Peter Cook (Bedazzled, The Princess Bride, Whoops Apocalypse, The Two of Us) born
1938
Singer Gordon Lightfoot (Sundown, If You Could Read My Mind, Carefree Highway, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald) born
1941
Singer and Musician Gene Clark (Group Turn; New Christy Minstrels) born
1942
Singer Bob Gaudio (Group - The Four Seasons Don't Cry, Walk like a Man, Rag Doll) born
1942
Movie director Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, The Color of Money, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, New York, New York, The Last Temptation of Christ, Cape Fear, Michael Jackson's Bad video) born
1944
Actress Lauren Hutton (American Gigolo, Lassiter, Paper Lion) born
1944
Saturday Night Live" producer Lorne Michaels born
1944
Actor-director Danny DeVito (Taxi, Twins, Batman Returns, Hoffa, The Jewel of the Nile, Romancing the Stone, Terms of Endearment, director: Throw Mama from the Train, The War of the Roses, Jack the Bear) born
1944
Baseball hall-of-famer Tom Seaver (Cy Young Award-winner [1969, 1973, 1975]) born
1945
Movie director Roland Joffe ("The Killing Fields") born
1950
Olympic Gold Medalist in swimming Roland Matthes born
1950
Roberta Peters filled in for the lead in Mozart's "Don Giovanni;" making her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She would become one of the Met's most famous stars.
1954
Golfer Arnold Palmer signed a contract with Wilson Sporting Goods.
1958
Actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (The Color of Money, The Abyss, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Class Action, Consenting Adults, Scarface) born
1959
Actor William Moses born
1960
Entertainer RuPaul born
1962
Actor Eric Olson (Apple's Way, Swiss Family Robinson) born
1962
The 4 Seasons, with Frankie Valli as lead singer, began the first of five weeks at the top of the tunedex with "Big Girls Don't Cry."
1962
Washington's Dulles International Airport was dedicated by President Kennedy.
1963
Actor Dylan Walsh born
1966
Actress-model-veejay Daisy Fuentes born
1966
Woody Allen's first play, "Don't Drink the Water" opened on Broadway.
1967
Rhythm-and-blues singer (New Edition) Ronnie DeVoe born
1967
Rhythm-and-blues singer Ronnie DeVoe (New Edition; Bell Biv DeVoe) born
1968
Rhythm-and-blues musician Jeff Allen (Mint Condition) born
1969
The strategic arms limitation talks (SALT) between the United States and the Soviet Union began in Helsinki, Finland.
1970
The Soviet Union landed an unmanned, remote-controlled vehicle on the moon, the "Lunokhod One."
1973
President Nixon told Associated Press managing editors meeting in Orlando, Florida, that "people have got to know whether or not their president is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook."
1976
Actor Brandon Call born
1979
Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the US Embassy in Tehran.
1980
Rock musician Isaac Hanson (Hanson) born
1980
Roger Mudd began working as chief Washington correspondent for NBC. Mudd had left CBS after being passed over as Walter Cronkite's replacement on "The CBS Evening News."
1981
Luke Spencer married Laura Baldwin in what was called "the wedding of the year" on the TV serial, "General Hospital". An audience of 14 million viewers watched as vows were exchanged on the ABC-TV program.
1986
South Korea reported that North Korean loud speakers along the border had announced the death of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung. The report, however, proved false. (Kim died eight years later, in July 1994.)
1987
A report from congressional committees investigating the Iran-Contra scandal said that "if the president did NOT know what his national security advisers were doing, he should have."
1987
A federal jury in Denver convicted two neo-Nazis and acquitted two others of civil rights violations in the 1984 slaying of radio talk show host Alan Berg.
1987
Retiring Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger received an elaborate send-off on the grounds of the Pentagon.
1988
President-elect Bush announced his choice of New Hampshire Governor John Sununu to be White House chief of staff.
1988
Actor Justin Cooper born
1988
Hollywood gossip columnist Sheilah Graham died in West Palm Beach, Florida, at age 84.
1989
The Senate Ethics Committee hired an outside counsel to look into allegations of improprieties against six senators.
1990
President Bush, on the first visit to Czechoslovakia by a U.S. president, told a cheering crowd of 100,000 in Prague that "America will stand with you" through hard times ahead.
1991
Secretary of State James A. Baker III concluded a three-day visit to China, touting an arms control agreement and progress on human rights and trade as "clear gains," but acknowledging that the gains fell short of goals.
1992
Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts, Tom Daschle of South Dakota and Hank Brown of Colorado made an unprecedented tour of Vietnam's military headquarters, but found nothing to substantiate reports of American prisoners sighted there after the Vietnam War.
1993
Polly Kahn was named Director of Education for the New York Philharmonic.
1993
By a surprisingly wide margin of 234-to-200, the House of Representatives voted to approve legislation implementing the North American Free Trade Agreement in what was seen as a major political victory for President Clinton.
1994
Francisco Martin Duran, the Colorado man accused of an assault-rifle attack on the White House, was indicted on a new charge of trying to assassinate President Clinton.
1994
The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Sunset Boulevard" opened on Broadway with Glenn Close as faded movie star Norma Desmond.
1995
The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific called the rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl "absolutely stupid" and said in Washington the incident could have been avoided if the U.S. servicemen involved had simply paid for sex. (Adm. Richard C. Macke later apologized for his remarks, and took early retirement.)
1996
A Russian Mars space probe carrying plutonium plunged into the South Pacific Ocean after failing to break out of Earth orbit following its launch.
1996
The World Food Summit concluded a five-day meeting in Rome.
1997
Sixty-two people, most of them foreign tourists, were killed when six militants opened fire at the Temple of Hatshepsut in Luxor, Egypt; the attackers were killed by police.
1998
Israel's parliament overwhelmingly approved the Wye River land-for-peace accord with the Palestinians.
1998
The public got to hear Monica Lewinsky's voice for the first time as the House Judiciary Committee released 22 hours of tape recordings secretly made by Linda Tripp.
1998
Actress Esther Rolle died in Culver City, California, at age 78.
1999
Officials close to the investigation into the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 said a relief co-pilot alone in the cockpit had said, in Arabic: "I made my decision now; I put my faith in God's hands" just before the jetliner began its fatal plunge. (In Egypt, relatives angrily rejected any notion that relief co-pilot Gameel el-Batouty had deliberately crashed the plane.)
2005
Australia qualifies for FIFA World Cup 2006
2005
Islamic militant threatens West in a video
2005
Thai PM sues media critic for one billion Baht
2005
Rumsfeld's Australia visit sparks protests
2005
American War Hero congressman wants U.S. troops out of Iraq soon
2005
US use of white phosphorus in Iraq may constitute a war crime
2005
French parliament extends state of emergency to three months
2006
New Zealand girls planned "undie run" defended by politician
2006
Virginia Bill of Rights to deny legal status to same-sex and unmarried relationships
2006
Tommy Thompson shows interest in 2008 run for the White House
2006
Canadian Prime Minister to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao in Vietnam
2006
US Soldier gets life in prison for Iraq rape-slayings
2006
Islamic groups protest Pakistani rape law reform
2006
Brazilian model dies of anorexia
2006
China reinstates ban on Wikimedia after short-lived loosening
2006
Convoy attacked in Iraq, 5 kidnapped
2006
New PlayStation 3 lines people up in stores today
2006
MLS championship goes to Houston Dynamos
2006
UCLA student tasered repeatedly
2006
Justice Sachar committee says Indian Muslims "lag behind" other communities
2006
Audit commision ethics report on Liverpool City Council questions Mike Storey appointment
2006
Teenage boys rape 13-year-old in Zurich, film act on cellphone
2006
Riots in Tonga
2006
Vancouver storm pollutes water; 2 million waterless
2006
Microsoft pushing community Wi-Fi
2007
Oral Roberts calls 'emergency meeting'
2007
UN's Third Commission passes resolution condemning capital punishment
2007
Two airliners come within seconds of collision over Indiana, US
2007
Dutch Justice Department bans Wikipedia for employees following vandalism
2007
Jokela High School reopens after deadly multiple shooting
2008
New Zealand delays emissions trading scheme
2008
Pirates capture Saudi oil tanker
2009
Egypt registers first domain name in Arabic
2009
Zambian "porn" journalist found not guilty
2009
Rebels say 626 Ethiopian troops killed in clashes
2009
British rapper Derek B dies at age 44
2009
Four dead after explosion at police station in Peshawar, Pakistan
2009
Poaching in Zimbabwe on the rise
2009
Amnesty International calls for police justice in Mozambique
2009
Iraq threatened with expulsion from world football by FIFA
2009
Family seeks prosecution over loss of UK Nimrod jet in Afghanistan
2009
Israel announces settlement expansion plans
2009
Rockets kill ten civilians in Afghanistan
2009
50 dead after ferry in Myanmar capsizes
2010
London fire extinguisher throw suspect bailed
2012
Egypt bus and train crash kills dozens of children
2012
Hamas claims Israeli jet shoot-down; report of Israeli soldiers captured

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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