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

Today in History

1836
Dramatist, librettist, poet and illustrator, WS Gilbert born in London, England
1883
US establishes local standard time zones
1908
Comedian and Emmy Award winning actress, Imogene Coca born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1928
Mickey Mouse debuts in Steamboat Willie
1939
Golden Globe award winning stage, television and film actress, Brenda Vaccaro born in Brooklyn, New York
1942
Golden Globe Award winning actress, Linda Evans born in Hartford, Connecticut
1952
First hydrogen bomb blasts Enewetok
1968
Owen Wilson (Shanghai Knights, Zoolander, Royal Tenenbaums, Cars) born in Dallas, Texas
942
The Benedictine monk who named the notes of the scale "A" to "G" died. "Odo," as he was known, wrote a musical textbook. It begins with a foreword that says his brothers told him to keep it simple so anyone could understand the rules.
1095
The Council of Clermont begins
1188
Richard,"the Lion Hearted," heir to England, does homage to Philip Augustus, King of France, for his French possessions
1210
Excommunication of Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor
1247
Death of Robin Hood, according to Bulfinch
1307
William Tell shoots the apple off his son's head? Did it happen? No one know for sure. The origin of the story is even unknown. It is of either Swiss, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic or Persian origin.
1414
Coronation of Sigsimund as King of Germany
1441
Roger Bolingbroke, astrologer, hanged, drawn and quartered
1477
"The Sayings of the Philosophers" was published, the earliest known book printed in England to carry a date.
1518
Cortez sets out from Cuba to conquer Mexico
1531
Roberto Ridolfi - Florentine conspirator who attempted in 1570-71 to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I of England in favour of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. born
1557
John Hallingdale, William Sparrow and Richard Gibson tortured and executed for heresy.
1618
Sir George Yardley is appointed as Governor of Virgina
1626
Consecration of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican
1779
The theatre at Prince Esterhazy's country estate burned down. The Prince decided to go to Paris while it was rebuilt, giving Haydn and his musicians a much-needed vacation.
1785
British portrait painter and printmaker Sir David Wilkie born
1786
English composer Sir Henry Rowley Bishop ("Home, Sweet Home", "Lo, Here the Gentle Lark.") born
1786
German composer and opera director Carl Maria von Weber born
1789
French physicist Louis Daguerre, inventor of daguerreotype photography born
1820
US Navy Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer discovered the frozen continent of Antarctica.
1836
Professor of psychiatry and founder Criminology Cesare Lombroso born
1836
Comic opera libretto writer Sir W.S. Gilbert (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame) born
1848
French painter of rustic outdoor scenes Jules Bastien-Lepage. born
1860
Polish pianist, composer, and statesman Ignacy (Jan) Paderewski (prime minister of Poland in 1919). born
1870
Dorthea Dix, pseudonym for Elizabeth Gilman, who wrote syndicated advice born
1874
American writer Clarence (Shepard) Day (Life with Father). born
1874
Women's Christian Temperance Union is formed
1883
The United States adopted Standard Time and set up four zones - Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific.
1886
The 21st president of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, died in New York at age 56.
1894
The "New York World" published the first regular Sunday comic section on this day.
1897
Patrick M(aynard) S(tuart) Blackett Winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1948 for his discoveries in the field of cosmic radiation. born
1899
Hungarian-born American conductor Eugene Ormandy born
1900
Dr. Howard Thurman, theologian and first African American to hold a full time position at Boston University. born
1900
W. Wallace Smith American religious leader, president of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints born
1901
Pollster George Gallup born
1901
Golfer Craig Wood born
1908
Actress-comedian Imogene Coca (Your Show of Shows, Sid Caesar Invites You, It's about Time, Grindl, Admiral Broadway Revue, National Lampoon's Vacation) born
1909
American lyricist, vocalist, and composer Johnny Mercer (On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe, In the Cool Cool Cool of the Evening [w/Hoagy Carmichael] , Moon River , Days of Wine and Roses , Autumn Leaves, One for My Baby, Charade, Satin Doll, You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby, Come Rain or Come Shine, Hooray for Hollywood, Jeepers Creepers, I'm An Old Cowhand, Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive; wrote or co-wrote over a thousand songs) born
1912
Cholera breaks out in Constantinople.
1914
Expressionist painter Ibere Bassanti Camargo born
1916
Opera soprano Amelita Galli-Curci born
1919
Actress Jocelyn Brando (A Question of Love, The Big Heat) born
1921
Washington DC hosted the first international fencing championships to be held in America. The competition with light swords was sponsored by the Racquet Club.
1921
New York City considers varying work hours to avoid long traffic jams.
1923
Senator Ted Stevens (Republican, Alaska) born
1923
Former astronaut Alan Shepard (First American in space) born
1925
Baseball manager Gene Mauch born
1926
Singer (Marjorie Chandler) Dorothy Collins (My Boy Flattop, Your Hit Parade) born
1926
Baseball outfielder Roy Sievers (Rookie of the Year 1949) born
1928
The first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon, Walt Disney's "Steamboat Willie," starring Mickey Mouse, premiered in New York at the Colony Theater.
1928
George Gershwin finished "An American in Paris". It is the best-known piece of music scored for taxi horns.
1932
For the first time, a tie occurred for the Best Actor Academy Award. Wallace Beery and Fredric March were only one vote apart so the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ruled it a tie. Both received an Oscar. March thought it rather funny that the two were honored for "best male performance of the year" when they each had adopted a child that year.
1936
Singer Hank Ballard (The Twist, Finger Poppin' Time, Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go, Work with Me Annie, Sexy Ways, Annie Had a Baby) born
1936
The main span of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is joined.
1936
Germany and Italy recognized the Spanish government of Francisco Franco.
1939
Canadian poet, novelist, and critic, Margaret (Eleanor) Atwood (Cat's Eye, Dancing Girls & Other Stories) born
1939
Actress Brenda Vaccaro (The Shape of Things, Once is Not Enough, Cactus Flower, The Goodbye People, How Now Dow Jones, Midnight Cowboy, Airport '77, Ten Little Indians) born
1939
The Irish Republican Army explodes three bombs in Picadilly Circus.
1941
Auto racer Gary Bettenhausen (fastest Indy 500 qualifying time ever: 224.468 mph 1991) born
1942
Actress Linda (Evanstad) Evans (Dynasty, The Big Valley, Standing Tall, Hunter, North and South, Book II) born
1942
Thornton Wilder's play, "The Skin of Our Teeth" opened in New York City. The play was Wilder's sequel to "Our Town". "The Skin of Our Teeth" starred Tallulah Bankhead, Fredric March, Montgomery Clift and E.G. Marshall. One critic wrote, "As of last evening, the theatre was looking up."
1944
Actress Susan Sullivan (It's a Living, Falcon Crest, Rich Man Poor Man Book II, Having Babies, The George Carlin Show, The Dark Ride, The Incredible Hulk, Deadman's Curve) born
1946
Country singer Jacky Ward born
1947
Actor Jameson Parker born
1948
Actress-singer Andrea Marcovicci born
1948
Alben W. Barkley married Elizabeth J. Rucker in St. Louis. It was the first time a U.S. Vice President married while in office.
1949
Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers was named the National League's Most Valuable Player.
1949
The U.S. Air Force grounds B-29s after two crashes and 23 deaths in three days.
1949
Rock musician Herman Rarebell (The Scorpions) born
1950
Singer Graham Parker born
1953
Comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live, All I Want for Christmas, Roxanne) born
1960
Actress Elizabeth Perkins born
1960
Singer Kim Wilde born
1962
Rock musician Kirk Hammett (Metallica) born
1965
Rock singer Tim DeLaughter (Tripping Daisy) born
1966
US Roman Catholic bishops did away with the rule against eating meat on Fridays.
1967
Lulu's "To Sir with Love", from the movie of the same name, started its fifth and final week at number one on the "Billboard Hot 100."
1969
Financier-diplomat Joseph P. Kennedy died in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, at age 81.
1969
Singer Duncan Sheik born
1970
Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling declared that large doses of Vitamin C could ward off the common cold.
1974
Actress Chloe Sevigny born
1974
Frank Sinatra, emerged from retirement to do a TV special with dancer, Gene Kelly. The show was a smash hit and revived Sinatra's career.
1975
John Denver received a gold record for his song, "I'm Sorry". When he, like all artists do, took the gold single out of the frame and tried to play it, he heard "I'm Sorry" - by Brenda Lee - instead.
1976
Spain's parliament approved a bill to establish a democracy after 37 years of dictatorship.
1978
California Congressman Leo J. Ryan and four other people were killed in Jonestown, Guyana, by members of the Peoples Temple; the killings were followed by a night of mass murder and suicide by 912 cult members.
1986
For the first time since his departure from his own late-night TV show, Jack Parr was a guest of Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show." One of TV's great lines came from the show, when Carson quipped (after one of Parr's long, long spiels), "Why is it that I feel I'm guesting on your show?"
1986
Roger Clemens was named the American League's Most Valuable Player. He was the first American League starter to be so named in 15 years. The Boston Red Sox hurler won the honor one week after earning the Cy Young Award.
1987
Thirty-one people died in a fire at King's Cross, London's busiest subway station.
1987
CBS Incorporated announced it had agreed to sell its records division to Sony Corporation for about two billion dollars.
1987
The congressional Iran-Contra committees issued their final report, saying President Reagan bore "ultimate responsibility" for wrongdoing by his aides.
1988
President Reagan signed major legislation creating a Cabinet-level drug czar and providing the death penalty for drug traffickers who kill.
1989
Longshoreman Buck Helm, who had initially survived the northern California earthquake, died at a hospital in Oakland, almost a month after he was pulled from a flattened section of the Nimitz Freeway.
1990
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev met at the Vatican with Pope John Paul II, who said all possible efforts should be made to avoid war in the Persian Gulf.
1990
President Bush began a series of meetings in Paris with Allied leaders aimed at solidifying support for his Persian Gulf policies.
1991
Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon freed Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite and educator Thomas Sutherland.
1992
President-elect Clinton began a two-day whirlwind visit to the nation's capital by meeting with President Bush.
1992
Roman Catholic bishops defeated a controversial document on women in the church, with the issue of women's ordination at the center of their disagreement.
1993
American Airlines flight attendants went on strike; they ended their job action four days later.
1993
Representatives of 21 South African political parties approved a new constitution.
1993
The US House of Representatives joined the Senate in approving legislation aimed at protecting abortion facilities, staff and patients.
1994
The Commerce Department reported that America's trade deficit worsened to $10.3 billion dollars in September.
1994
Bandleader Cab Calloway died in Hockessin, Delaware, at age 86.
1994
15 people were killed and more than 150 wounded when Palestinian police opened fire on rioting worshipers outside a mosque in the Gaza Strip.
1995
With no relief in sight from a budget impasse that forced a partial government shutdown, the House rebelled against Republican leaders during a raucous Sunday session and voted to oppose formally adjourning the chamber until Monday.
1995
Bob Dole won a major Florida straw poll, cementing his status as the Republican presidential front-runner.
1996
Onetime CIA station chief Harold J. Nicholson was charged with selling top secrets to the Russians for more than 120-thousand dollars. (Nicholson later pleaded guilty to espionage and was sentenced to 23 and a-half years in prison; he was spared a life sentence for cooperating with investigators.)
1997
The FBI officially pulled out of the probe into the TWA Flight 800 disaster, saying the explosion that destroyed the Boeing 747, killing all 230 people aboard, was not caused by a criminal act.
1997
In the biggest banking deal in US history, First Union Corporation announced the purchase of CoreStates Financial Corporation for $16.1 billion.
1998
House Republicans endorsed US Representative Bob Livingston of Louisiana to be their next speaker, succeeding Newt Gingrich. (However, Livingston later resigned from the House before he could take over the speakership after admitting to marital infidelities.)
1999
Twelve people were killed when a bonfire under construction at Texas A&M University collapsed.
1999
A jury in Jasper, Texas, convicted Shawn Allen Berry of murder for his role in the dragging death of James Byrd Jr., but spared him the death penalty.
1999
American author and composer Paul Bowles, best known for "The Sheltering Sky" and other novels set in North Africa, died in Morocco at age 88.
2005
British policewoman shot dead
2005
At least 60 killed in Iraq suicide bombings
2005
U.S. government proposes removing Yellowstone grizzlies from endangered species list
2005
Haiti postpones presidential elections until December
2006
New Zealand National party rejects waterfront stadium
2006
Indian Army to preserve British-era architecture
2006
New Zealand Qantas Television Awards announced
2006
Anant Gupta returns after spending 5 days with his abductors
2006
Islamic Jihad considers halting rocket-fire into Israel
2006
Brad and Angelina's bodyguards arrested after allegedly saying racial slurs to parents
2006
Socialist Ségolène Royal launches campaign for French presidency
2006
Blair agrees Iraq is a disaster
2006
Chinese Wikipedia publishes 100,000th article
2006
"Darfur a powder keg" says UN Head of Humanitarian Affairs
2007
Baseball World Cup Quarter Final: A brand new semi-finalists except the host team
2007
Athletes from 2009 Summer Deaflympics participate the Warming Up Challenge of Taipei 101 Run Up
2007
Lula: Venezuela "does not lack democracy"
2007
Australia defeat Nigeria in international football (soccer) friendly
2007
Baseball World Cup Semi Final: Cuba meets USA 8 times
2008
ETA chief arrested in southern France
2008
Pakistan wins Fortune Cup defeating West Indies by 3-0
2008
Japan enters recession
2009
Russia may delay launch of "Angara" rocket due to funding cuts
2009
Illinois tollway worker jailed for stealing fines
2009
Czechs and Slovaks celebrate twenty years since Velvet Revolution
2009
British army bomb disposal expert killed in Afghanistan
2009
New poll indicates Barack Obama's approval rating under 50%
2009
European Union to train Somali security forces
2010
Vettel becomes youngest Formula One champion
2010
'Criminal in a police uniform' given eleven years jail for role in English drugs gang
2011
Philippine court issues arrest warrant for former President Arroyo
2012
Journalists in Gaza City injured in Israeli airstrike

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