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Today in History

1859
Notorious wild west outlaw "Billy the Kid" born Henry McCarty in New York City
1887
Grammy Award winning actor, Boris Karloff born in London, England
1888
Legendary comedic actor and musician, Arthur "Harpo" Marx born in New York City
1889
First jukebox used at the Palais Royale Saloon in San Francisco
1926
Blues guitarist and singer, R.L. Burnside born in Oxford, Mississippi
1951
Teacher, Frestonian Foreign Minister and actor, David Rappaport born in London, England
1954
Grammy Award winning jazz pianist, Bruce Hornsby born in Williamsburg, Virginia
1963
Dr Who premieres on BBC1
1980
Earthquakes in Italy kill 4,800 people
912
Otto "the Great," Holy Roman Emperor born
955
Death of Edred, King of England
1221
Alfonso X (the Wise), King of Castile & Leon born
1248
Ferdinand III, King of Castile-Leon, takes Seville
1407
Louis, Duke of Orleans, brother of Charles IV of France, assassinated
1457
Death of Ladislaus V, King of Hungary and Bohemia
1470
Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikhs born
1499
Perkin Warbeck, pretender to the English throne, executed
1553
Prospero Alpini, botanist; introduced coffee, bananas to Europe born
1583
Edward Arden, heretic, stretched on the Rack in the Tower of London
1616
John Wallis, English mathematician, logician introduced the infinity math symbol born
1749
Declaration of Independence signer Edward Rutledge born
1765
Frederick County, Maryland, repudiated the British Stamp Act.
1785
John Hancock elected President of the Continental Congress for the second time
1804
Franklin Pierce, 14th President (1853-1857) born
1834
Scottish poet James Thomson born
1835
The horseshoe manufacturing machine was patented by Henry Burden of Troy, New York.
1852
Just past midnight, a sharp jolt causes Lake Merced to drop 30 feet.
1859
Outlaw Billy "The Kid" Bonney born
1863
Patent granted for a process of making color photographs.
1876
The first intercollegiate football association was established in Springfield, MA.
1883
Mexican artist Jose Clemente Orozco born
1887
Actor Boris Karloff (William Henry Pratt) (Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, House of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Die Monster, Die!, The Mask of Fu Manchu, The Mummy, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Body Snatcher; narrated How the Grinch Stole Christmas) born
1888
Comedian and Actor Harpo (Adolph) Marx (pretend-mute Marx brother; accomplished harpist) born
1889
The first jukebox made its debut in San Francisco, at the Palais Royale Saloon. The contraption consisted of an Edison tinfoil phonograph with four listening tubes and a coin slot for each tube.
1902
Actor Victor Jory (Gone with the Wind, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Miracle Worker, Papillon) born
1903
singer Enrico Caruso made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, appearing in "Rigoletto."
1909
Wright brothers form a million-dollar corporation for the commercial manufacture of airplanes.
1913
Author Maurice Zolotow (Billy Wilder in Hollywood) born
1915
Actress 1915 - Ellen Drew (Hollywood Boulevard, China Sky, Christmas in July, Dark Mountain) born
1917
Actor Michael Gough (Alfred in the "Batman" movies) born
1921
President Harding signs the Willis Campell Act, better known as the anti-beer bill. It forbids doctors to prescribe beer or liquor for medicinal purposes.
1924
Vincent Lopez and some 40 jazz musicians presented a concert of upbeat music at the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC.
1928
Broadway composer Jerry Bock (Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello) born
1929
Actress Sybil Jason (Jacobs) born
1929
Shirley Booth and Ed Gardner were married on this day. Miss Booth was famous for her television acting role ("Hazel"); but we remember when she and her husband played Miss Duffy and Archie on radio's classic, "Duffy's Tavern". She also gave an Oscar-winning performance in 1952 in "Come Back Little Sheba."
1930
Former Labor Secretary William E. Brock born
1931
Singer Gloria Lynne (I Wish You Love) born
1933
FDR recalls Ambassador Welles from Havana and urges stability in Cuba.
1934
Wimbledon Champion tennis player Lew Hoad born
1935
Ethel Leginska became the first woman to write an opera - and conduct it. Her original work titled, "Gale" opened at the Chicago City Opera Company.
1936
"Life," the magazine created by Henry R. Luce, was first published. It was an immediate sellout. The cover of that famous magazine showed an obstetrician slapping a baby and the caption read, "LIFE begins."
1936
U.S. abandons the American embassy in Madrid, Spain, which is engulfed by civil war.
1938
Bob Hope and Shirley Ross recorded a song for the film, "The Big Broadcast of 1938." "Thanks for the Memory" became Decca record number 2219. It also became Hope's theme song.
1940
Singer Betty Everett (Shoop Shoop Song [It's in His Kiss]) born
1940
Drummer and singer Freddy Marsden (Group Pacemakers: Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying, Ferry Cross the Mersey, How Do You Do It?, I Like It) born
1940
Pitcher Luis Tiant born
1941
Actor Franco Nero born
1943
During World War Two, US forces seized control of the Tarawa and Makin atolls from the Japanese.
1945
Actress Susan Anspach born
1945
Actor Steve Landesberg (Barney Miller) born
1945
Most US wartime rationing of foods, including meat and butter, ended.
1947
E. L. Sukenik of Jerusalem's Hebrew University first received word of the existence of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
1955
Singer Bruce Hornsby born
1958
Ronald and Nancy Reagan appeared together in the "GE Theatre" production of "A Turkey for the President."
1959
Actor Maxwell Caulfield (The Colbys) born
1959
The musical "Fiorello!," with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, opened on Broadway.
1960
Actor John Henton born
1966
Rock musician Charlie Grover (Sponge) born
1966
Rock singer-musician Ken Block (Sister Hazel) born
1968
Four hijack a U.S. jet, with 87 passengers, from Miami to Cuba.
1971
The People's Republic of China was seated in the UN Security Council.
1972
Rapper Kurupt (Tha Dogg Pound) born
1980
Around 48-hundred people were killed by a series of earthquakes that devastated southern Italy.
1985
Retired CIA analyst Larry Wu-tai Chin was arrested and accused of spying for China. (He committed suicide a year after his conviction.)
1986
Acting against growing political violence and repeated threats of a coup, Philippine President Corazon Aquino fired Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and asked for the resignation of her entire Cabinet.
1987
Two days after a riot by Cuban inmates erupted at a detention center in Oakdale, Louisiana, Cuban detainees at a federal prison in Atlanta also rioted, seizing hostages in a drama that was not resolved until December fourth.
1988
President-elect Bush announced his choice of Brent Scowcroft to be his national security adviser.
1988
President Reagan announced he was pocket-vetoing a bill designed to further restrict lobbying by former federal employees, saying it was "excessive and discriminatory."
1989
Lucia Barrera de Cerna, a housekeeper who said she'd witnessed the slaying of six Jesuit priests and two other people at the Jose Simeon Canas University in El Salvador, was flown to the U.S. under heavy security.
1990
President Bush conferred separately with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo and Syrian President Hafez Assad in Geneva, seeking Arab support for his drive to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait.
1991
Yugoslavia's rival leaders agreed to a new cease-fire, the 14th of the Balkan civil war.
1992
Country music star Roy Acuff died in Nashville, Tennessee, at age 89.
1992
In Germany, three Turks were killed when rightist militants firebombed their homes in Moelln; in Berlin, hundreds of demonstrators protested in solidarity with foreigners.
1993
President Clinton signed legislation lifting remaining US sanctions against South Africa, and announced an initiative to spur investment in South Africa's black private sector.
1994
NATO warplanes blasted Serb missile batteries in two air raids while Bosnian Serb fighters, for the first time, broke into the U.N.-designated safe haven of Bihac.
1994
At least 111 people, mostly women and children, were killed in a stampede after Indian police baton-charged tribal protesters in the western city of Nagpur.
1995
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic grudgingly accepted the U.S.-backed peace plan for the former Yugoslavia after meeting with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.
1995
Free-lance photographer Charles Rathbun was booked in Hermosa Beach, California, for investigation of murder in the disappearance of model Linda Sobek. (Rathbun was convicted of Sobek's murder in November 1996.)
1995
Movie director Louis Malle died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at age 63.
1996
A hijacked Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the waves off Comoros Islands, killing 125 of the 175 people on board.
1996
Following a four-day visit to Australia, President Clinton arrived in the Philippines for a summit of Asian-Pacific leaders.
1996
Forty-four people were injured when an Amtrak train derailed on a Secaucus, New Jersey, bridge.
1997
Artillery shells fired by Lebanese guerrillas accidentally struck a village near the Israeli border, killing eight.
1997
Iowa septuplet mom Bobbi McCaughey left the hospital and returned home while her seven babies stayed behind in intensive care.
1998
Whitewater figure Susan McDougal was acquitted in Santa Monica, California, of embezzling from conductor Zubin Mehta and his wife - a case McDougal said was trumped up to pressure her to testify against President Clinton.
1999
Defense Secretary William Cohen called for a military-wide review of conduct after a Pentagon study said up to 75 percent of blacks and other ethnic minorities reported experiencing racially offensive behavior.
1999
In a plea met with scant applause and silent stares, President Clinton told ethnic Albanians in Kosovo that "you must try" to forgive Serb neighbors and stop punishing them for the terror campaign of Slobodan Milosevic.
2005
Nitish wins in Bihar, India
2005
Australian man threatens to shoot down chopper with tomato-bazooka
2005
Bush backtracks over legal status of alleged "Dirty Bomber" Jose Padilla
2005
Anti-war protesters defy new Texas laws
2005
Workplace reform campaign most expensive in Australian history
2006
Nepal civil war ended by peace deal
2006
Harper to recognize Quebec as nation within Canada
2006
Family sues CNN's Nancy Grace after 'heated debate'
2006
Injunction fails to stop decision on waterfront stadium in New Zealand
2006
Michigan coaching icon Bo Schembechler dies
2006
Bangladesh election chief stands down
2006
3 out of 4 UMP voters prefer Sarkozy for President of France
2006
Auckland City Council supports waterfront stadium in New Zealand
2006
New Zealand National Party leader, Don Brash, resigns
2006
UK radio broadcaster Nick Clarke dies
2006
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation instant scratch tickets under scrutiny
2006
Exxonmobil burns off excess fuel in Jurong Island, Singapore
2006
UEFA Euro 2008: Cyprus - Germany 1-1. The mouse that roars?
2007
Colombia ends Chávez-FARC mediations
2007
Canadian cruise ship sinking in Antarctic
2007
Bomb blasts rock courts in Uttar Pradesh, India
2007
Kitty Hawk and other U.S. warships' visit to Hong Kong canceled
2007
Finnish PM: Media to be investigated over conduct at Jokela shooting
2007
MS Explorer cruise ship passengers are safe
2008
Arkansas judge tells parents to leave Tony Alamo compound to regain custody of seized children
2008
Scotland predicted to have worst recession since 1980, but not as bad as rest of UK
2008
Guns N' Roses' 'Chinese Democracy' released after 15 years
2008
YouTube hosts live music events in Japan and US
2008
Teen broadcasts suicide online
2008
Dam in Queensland, Australia bursts, four missing
2008
Opposing Thai protesters mass, PAD to march on parliament
2008
Security guard for Scientology building shoots, kills man
2009
Italian Air Force transport wreck kills five
2009
Former Iranian vice-president sentenced to six years; released on bail pending appeal
2009
Australian sport may be on the cusp of change
2010
Mexican politician Silverio Cavazos killed by gunmen
2010
Cabinet Minister resigns after boycott in Grenada
2010
North Korean military fires artillery on populated South Korean island
2010
SpaceX Dragon spacecraft certified by US Federal Aviation Administration
2011
England's elderly face human rights breaches in home care system
2012
Terror suspects arrested in connection with bombing public bus in Israel

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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