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Today in History

1879
Humorist William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers born in Oologah, Oklahoma
1916
Presidential Medal of Freedom award winning broadcast journalist, Walter Cronkite born in St Joseph, Missouri
1918
Academy and Emmy Award winning actor, Arthur Matthew William "Art" Carney born in Mount Vernon, New York
1937
Two-time Emmy Award winning actress Loretta Swit born in Passaic, New Jersey
1946
Teacher, librarian, mother of twin daughters, First Lady Laura Bush born Laura Lane Welch in Midland, Texas
1950
Producer and actress, Markie Post born in Palo Alto, California
1956
Soviet forces crush revolt in Hungary
1979
Iranian militants seize US embassy workers
1995
Yitzak Rabin assasinated in Tel Aviv
644
Caliph Umar assassinated at Medina, succeeded by Caliph Uthman
1031
Death of St. Emeric
1212
Death of St. Felix of Valois
1380
Coronation of Charles VI, King of France
1493
Christopher Columbus discovers Guadeloupe during his second expedition.
1520
Christian II, King of Denmark and Norway, crowned King of Sweden
1575
Guido Reni born
1615
Ibrahim, Ottoman sultan (1640-48) born
1646
The Massachusetts Bay Colony passed a law making it a capital offense to deny that the Bible was the Word of God. Any person convicted of the offense was liable to the death penalty.
1650
William III, King of England and Ruler of Holland (William of Orange) born
1677
Marriage of William and Mary.
1740
Anglican clergyman Augustus M. Toplady. Toplady authored the hymn "Rock of Ages" two years before his premature death at 38 in 1778. born
1751
The British playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. His most famous play is The School for Scandal (1777). born
1842
After a stormy three-year courtship marked by a broken engagement, Abraham Lincoln marries Lexington-born Mary Todd.
1846
B.F. Palmer of Meredith, New Hampshire was issued a patent for an artificial leg.
1854
Lighthouse established on Alcatraz Island.
1862
The Gatling gun was patented
1863
Berlioz also composed a grand opera called "Les Troyens" only part of which was performed while he was still alive. That happened on this day, and the music was heckled by a conductor named Cheri. Cheri was promptly challenged to a duel by Georges Bizet.
1873
Two patents were issued Francisco for gold dental crowns, and one to Anthony Iske of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for a meat-slicing machine.
1879
A patent was issued to J.J. Ritty of Dayton, Ohio, for a cash register. He had obtained the idea from watching counters on a ship that kept up with the revolutions of ship propellers. His company became National Cash Register Company in 1884.
1879
Humorist Will Rogers (The Wall Street Girl, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; humorist: "I never met a man I didn't like."; mayor: Beverly Hills; cowboy; subject of Broadway show: Will Rogers Follies) born
1884
Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected to his first term as president, defeating Republican James G. Blaine.
1912
Fashion designer Pauline Trigere born
1916
Former CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite "...and that's the way it is" born
1917
Actor (Byron Barr) Gig Young (They Shoot Horses Don't They?, Teacher's Pet, Young at Heart, Desperate Hours, The Rogues; TV host/narrator: Warner Brothers Presents) born
1917
Actress Virginia Field (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Dance, Girl, Dance, Waterloo Bridge) born
1918
Actor (Mitzell) Cameron Mitchell (Trapped Ali, Hollywood Cop, Swift Justice, Blood and Black Lace, How to Marry a Millionaire, Desiree, The Tall Men, Carousel, Homecoming, The High Chaparral, Swiss Family Robinson) born
1918
Actor Art Carney (Ed Norton on The Honeymooners, Harry and Tonto, Last Action Hero, Izzy and Moe, House Calls, Roadie, Take this Job and Shove It) born
1919
Actor Martin Balsam (A Thousand Clowns, All the President's Men, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Carpetbaggers, Death Wish 3, Delta Force, The Goodbye People, Harlow, Little Big Man, Marjorie Morningstar, Murder on the Orient Express, Psycho, Tora! Tora! Tora!, Twelve Angry Men, All in the Family) born
1922
British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of ancient Egypt's child-king, Tutankhamen.
1922
Postmaster General orders all homes to get mailboxes or relinquish delivery of mail.
1923
Beer mogul Alfred Heineken born
1924
The composer of a very different Requiem died. It was recorded that Gabriel Faure's words were, "I did what I was able. And now let God judge."
1924
Calvin Coolidge elected 30th president.
1924
Nellie Tayloe Ross of Wyoming was elected the nation's first female governor to serve out the remaining term of her late husband, William B. Ross, Miriam Ferguson elected second women governor of Texas. Nellie Tayloe Ross was inaugurated the next month, five days before Texas governor Miriam Ferguson.
1929
Baseball player Jim Piersoll born
1930
Actress Doris Roberts (St. Elsewhere, Remington Steele, Maggie, Angie, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Ordinary Heroes, Used People) born
1930
Actress Kate Reid (Death of a Salesman, The Andromeda Strain, Atlantic City, Death Ship, Gavilan, Dallas) born
1930
Baseball player Dick Groat born
1933
Baseball player Tito (John) Francona born
1937
Actress Loretta Swit (Hot Lips Houlihann - M*A*S*H ) born
1938
Rhythm-and-blues singer Harry Elston (Friends of Distinction) born
1939
Two months after England and France declared war on Nazi Germany, Congress passes the Neutrality Act of 1939, repealing the prohibition of arms exports to belligerent powers as specified in the Neutrality Act of 1937.
1940
Blues singer Delbert McClinton (I Received a Letter, Sandy Beaches, Hey Baby, Giving It Up for Your Love) born
1942
During World War Two, Axis forces retreated from El Alamein in North Africa in a major victory for British forces commanded by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.
1944
Baseball pitcher Joe Niekro born
1946
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is established.
1946
Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe (known for photographs of sadomasochistic rituals, nudes, portraits, still lifes) born
1948
T.S. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature
1950
Actress Markie Post (Night Court, Hearts Afire, Fall Guy, The Gangster Chronicles) born
1952
Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson and ending 20 years of Democratic administrations.
1953
Country singer-musician Van Stephenson (BlackHawk) born
1954
Pianist Yanni born
1954
Rock singer-musician Chris Difford (Squeeze) born
1956
Soviet forces entered Budapest to crush the anti-Communist revolt in Hungary.
1958
Angelo Roncalli becomes Pope John XXIII. Though his papacy was expected to be uneventful, his convening of the Second Vatican Council and his changing of the church's attitudes toward nonCatholics were milestones for Roman Catholics.
1960
Country singer Kim Forester (The Forester Sisters) born
1962
Actor Ralph Macchio (the Karate Kid) born
1963
Singer Andrea McArdle (Annie) born
1966
London's "Evening Standard" newspaper published John Lennon's controversial remark stating that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus." The quote touched off a storm of controversy and international protest, resulting in a world-wide boycott of Beatles music.
1969
Actor Matthew McConaughey born
1970
Rapper-producer Puff Daddy (Sean "Puffy" Combs) born
1970
King Peter II of Yugoslavia dies in a hospital in Denver, Colorado, and is buried in the Liberty Easter Serbian Orthodox Monastery in Liberty, Illinois, becoming the first European king or queen to die and be buried in the United States.
1971
Rhythm-and-blues singer Shawn Rivera (Az Yet) born
1979
The Iranian hostage crisis began as militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran. 90 people, including 63 Americans, were taken hostage at the embassy in Iran, by militant student followers of Ayatollah Khomeini who demand the return of Shah Mohammad Reza Pablavi, who was undergoing medical treatment in New York City.
1980
Ronald Reagan won the White House as he defeated President Carter by a strong margin.
1983
President Reagan paid homage to U.S. servicemen killed and wounded in Lebanon and Grenada when he attended a ceremony at the Camp Lejeune Marine base in N. Carolina, and met privately with the servicemen's families.
1984
Nicaragua held presidential elections, with the ruling Sandinistas claiming victory the next day and the United States denouncing the proceedings as a farce.
1985
To the shock and dismay of U.S. officials, Soviet defector Vitaly Yurchenko announced he was returning to the Soviet Union, charging he had been kidnapped by the CIA.
1986
Democrats regained control of the U.S. Senate, 55-45.
1987
Six-year-old Elizabeth (Lisa) Steinberg was pronounced dead at a New York City hospital in a child-abuse case that sparked national outrage; her illegal adoptive father, Joel Steinberg, was later sentenced to prison for manslaughter.
1988
In a ceremony at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, President Reagan signed a measure providing for US participation in an anti-genocide treaty signed by President Truman in 1948.
1989
Iran marked the 10th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy with a poorly attended commemoration.
1989
Up to one million East Germans filled the streets of East Berlin for a pro-democracy rally.
1990
Iraq issued a new broadside, saying he was prepared to fight a "dangerous war" rather than give up Kuwait.
1990
Secretary of State James A. Baker III visited U.S. troops in the Saudi Arabian desert.
1990
Douglas Wakiihuri of Kenya and Wanda Panfil of Poland won the New York City Marathon.
1991
Former President Reagan opened his library in Simi Valley, California, with a dedication ceremony attended by President Bush and former presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon.
1992
Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency announced the arrest the previous September of American businessman Milton Meier, who had lived in Iran for 17 years, on charges of "illegal business dealings" and espionage.
1992
Speaking outside the Arkansas governor's mansion, Arogant president-elect Bill Clinton appealed to foreign leaders to cooperate with President Bush during his final two months in office.
1993
The White House challenged Ross Perot to a debate on the North American Free Trade Agreement with Vice President Al Gore; Perot, calling it "a desperate move," quickly accepted.
1993
Alfred Schnittke produced a classical work which sounds completely different from anything you've heard before in spite of his tendency to quote from older composers. This time it's Concerto Grosso No. 5, actually a violin concerto.
1994
In Union, South Carolina, townspeople jeered as Susan Smith was led into court, a day after the 23-year-old secretary was arrested and charged with murder in the drownings of her sons, three-year-old Michael and 14-month-old Alexander.
1995
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a right-wing Israeli minutes after attending a peace rally. Rabin, 73, was a war hero who had become one of the Jewish state's foremost architects of peace.
1996
On the last day of campaigning before Election Day, President Clinton appealed for a second term by taking credit for a revived economy, while Republican Bob Dole warned of mounting Clinton ethical questions.
1997
In off-year elections, Republicans won high profile races as New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman won a cliffhanger re-election while New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani won a second term and James Gilmore won the race for Virginia governor.
1997
Iraq agreed to postpone the expulsion of American weapons inspectors until after UN envoys finished their mission.
1998
In the wake of disappointing election results in which House Republicans saw their majority trimmed, GOP lawmakers talked of quickly wrapping up impeachment proceedings against President Clinton and raised the prospect of challenges to Speaker Newt Gingrich or other party leaders.
1999
Aaron McKinney, who beat gay college student Matthew Shepard and left him to die on the Wyoming prairie, avoided the death penalty by agreeing to serve life in prison without parole and promising never to appeal his conviction.
1999
Some 10,000 Iranian students rallied outside the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran to mark the 20th anniversary of its seizure by Islamic militants.
2005
First Google Print books unveiled
2005
UK National Audit Office: Online learning service Learndirect 'too bureaucratic'
2005
Anti-Bush protests turn violent in Argentina
2005
Major new bird flu outbreaks reported in Asia
2006
New Zealand radiographers plan to strike
2006
Telecom New Zealand to sell Yellow Page Group
2006
100 icebergs heading for New Zealand
2006
Dove ad viewed more than 3 million times on YouTube
2006
Stern: greatly underestimated costs in climate change report?
2006
Outlaw gangs, says New Zealand First
2006
Green opportunism pays off
2006
Massive blackout in France
2006
Israeli attacks in Gaza kill 17
2006
Evangelist Hovind found guilty for tax fraud
2006
Subtropical storm strikes Washington
2007
Peter Andren, Australian MP dies aged 61
2007
Australia Votes 2007: Labor plan for home buyers
2007
University of Maine may file lawsuit against My Chemical Romance
2007
Hundreds detained under emergency rule in Pakistan
2007
Chad releases seven Europeans held in alleged kidnap plan
2007
Rare earthquake strikes Antarctica
2007
Paula Radcliffe makes comeback and wins New York City marathon
2008
Genentech seeks accelerated FDA approval for brain tumor treatment
2008
Viewed wins the Melbourne Cup
2008
DNA tests confirm bones found are Steve Fossett's
2008
Cyprus to charge five over 2005 plane crash that killed 121
2008
Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, October 2008
2008
US voters go to the polls
2008
New Mexico-based charismatic leader fails to predict doomsday, again
2008
One killed, many boats damaged in storms on Spanish island of Majorca
2009
Tropical Storm Mirinae kills 90 in Vietnam
2009
French structuralist Claude Lévi-Strauss dies at age 100
2009
Sierra Leone rebel convicts sent to Rwandan jail
2009
Staffordshire hoard goes on display in British Museum in London, England
2009
Palestinian state set to be abandoned, says Erekat
2009
Afghan policeman shoots and kills five British soldiers
2009
Seventeen year old accused of raping four year old in Kherwadi, Mumbai
2009
Tom Menino wins historic fifth term as Mayor of Boston; plus results from area cities
2009
Polls held for US state and local elections, with incomplete GOP success
2009
Equatorial Guinea coup plotters pardoned, released from jail
2010
New insulin-resistance discovery may help diabetes sufferers
2010
Sparky Anderson, former baseball manager for Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds, dead at 76
2010
UK judge clears policeman of fraud during London bomb probe
2010
Jerry Brown defeats Meg Whitman in election for California governorship
2011
Diamonds: Anglo American to pay US$5.1 billion for 40% of De Beers
2011
Australian newspapers could be fined for breaches of media standards

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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