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Today in History

1886
Actor Ed Wynn born Isaiah Edwin Leopold in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1934
Astronomer, astrobiologist, author, and moderator of Cosmos mini-series, Carl Edward Sagan born in Brooklyn, New York
1941
Guitarist and singer, Tom Fogerty born in Berkeley, California
1954
Dancer, singer and actress, Sue Upton born in London, England
1967
First issue of Rolling Stone published
1995
Bill Watterson announces the conclusion of Calvin and Hobbes
2001
World Freedom Day (US)
1225
Marriage of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, to Yolande, Princess of Jerusalem
1389
Coronation of Pope Boniface IX
1494
Overthrow of the Medici in Florence
1541
Henry VIII imprisons Queen Katherine Howard on suspicion of immorality
1620
"Mayflower" sights land, at Cape Cod, Mass.
1630
The first ferry route in the colonies opens, from Boston to Charlestown on the Charles River
1760
Haydn became engaged to Maria Anna Keller. Haydn was then 28. He really wanted to marry the woman's sister Therese, but Therese entered a nunnery.
1799
Napoleon Bonaparte participates in a coup and declares himself dictator of France.
1800
Asa Mahan, American educator and Congregational clergyman. President of Oberlin College in Ohio from 1835-1850, Mahan was instrumental in establishing interracial college enrollment and in the granting of college degrees to women. born
1801
Inventor, Archaeologist, evaporated milk inventor Gail Borden born
1802
Newspaper publisher and abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy born
1818
Russian prose writer Ivan Turgenev born
1836
Birth of Christian business traveler Samuel Hill. In 1899 Hill, John Nicholson and W.J. Knights co-founded the Gideons born
1837
British philanthropist Moses Montefiore, 52, became the first Jew to be knighted in England. Montefiore was a banking executive who devoted his life to the political and civil emancipation of English Jews.
1841
Edward VII, King of England. born
1853
American architect Stanford White designer of the Washington Monument born
1857
The "Atlantic Monthly" appeared on the newstands for the first time. This premier issue featured the first installment of Oliver Wendell Holmes' "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table."
1859
Flogging was abolished in the British army
1868
Actress (Leila Koerber) Marie Dressler (Min and Bill, Anna Christie, Dinner at Eight) born
1872
Fire destroyed nearly a thousand buildings in Boston.
1881
Brahms' own Second Piano Concerto was premiered with the composer as soloist.
1886
Comedian Ed Wynn (Ed Wynn Show, Mary Poppins, Ziegfeld Follies, Marjorie Morningstar, The Diary of Anne Frank, Cinderfella, Babes in Toyland, The Absent-Minded Professor) born
1888
Jack the Ripper's fifth and last known victim, Mary Jane Kelly, was found in her room in London's Whitechapel.
1889
Actor Claude Rains (Casablanca, The Invisible Man, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Lawrence of Arabia) born
1891
Actor (Webb Hollenbeck) Clifton Webb (Laura, Razor's Edge, Satan Never Sleeps, Titanic, Three Coins in the Fountain, Sitting Pretty, Mr Belvedere Goes to College) born
1903
Gregory Pincus inventor (birth control pill) born
1906
President Theodore Roosevelt leaves Washington D.C. for a 17 day trip to Panama and Puerto Rico, becoming the first president to make an official visit outside of the U.S.
1911
The patent for the electric neon sign was applied for by George Claude.
1913
Austrian-born actress (Hedwig Kiessler) Hedy Lamarr (Algiers, White Cargo, Samson and Delilah, Ziegfeld Girl) born
1915
Sergeant Shriver, first director of the Peace Corps born
1918
Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm the Second announced he would abdicate. He then fled to the Netherlands.
1918
Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon's vice president. born
1922
Actress Dorothy Dandridge (Island in the Sun, Carmen Jones) born
1928
American poet Anne Sexton born
1930
Sportscaster Charlie Jones born
1931
Baseball executive Whitey Herzog born
1933
President Roosevelt set up the Civil Works Administration as an emergency depression agency to provide jobs for the unemployed.
1934
Astronomer and author Carl Sagan (Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, Cosmos, Contact; astronomer: "Billions and billions of stars...") born
1935
Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson born
1935
United Mine Workers president John L. Lewis and other labor leaders formed the Committee for Industrial Organization.
1935
Japanese troops invade Shanghai, China. After WWII, Japanese military leaders faced trial for war crimes.
1938
Nazis looted and burned synagogues as well as Jewish-owned stores and houses in Germany and Austria in what became known as "Kristallnacht."
1938
The kids' magazine, "Jack and Jill" was published for the first time. 40,000 of the first edition were printed. By the late 1950s, the popular magazine reached a circulation of 702,000.
1940
Copland's "Billy the Kid" premiered as a concert suite.
1941
Musician songwriter, singer Tom Fogerty born
1942
Actor Lou Ferrigno born
1942
Tom Weiskopf PGA golfer (British Open 1973) born
1948
Movie director Bille August born
1948
"This is Your Life" debuted on NBC Radio. Ralph Edwards hosted the radio show for two years and for nine more (1952 - 1961) on television.
1952
Actor Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) some sources list 1951. born
1953
The Supreme Court upheld a 1922 ruling that major league baseball did not come within the scope of federal antitrust laws.
1953
Author-poet Dylan Thomas died in New York at age 39.
1953
Maurice Richard set a National Hockey League record by scoring his 325th career goal. Most guys would have kept the record-breaking puck. Richard sent this one to Queen Elizabeth of England.
1955
Harry Belafonte recorded "Jamaica Farewell" and "Come Back Liza" for RCA Victor. The two tunes completed the "Calypso" album which led to Belafonte's nickname, 'The Calypso King.'s
1960
Rock musician Dee Plakas (L7) born
1961
The Metropolitan Museum in New York obtained Rembrandt's Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer for $2.3 million.
1963
Twin disasters struck Japan as some 450 miners were killed in a coal-dust explosion, and 160 people died in a train crash.
1964
"Wizard Of Id", Comic Strip debut.
1965
The great Northeast blackout occurred as several states and parts of Canada were hit by a series of power failures lasting up to 13 and a-half hours.
1967
A "Saturn Five" rocket carrying an unmanned "Apollo" spacecraft blasted off from Cape Kennedy on a successful test flight.
1967
The first issue of "Rolling Stone" was published. The magazine said it was not simply a music magazine but was also about "...the things and attitudes that music embraces." John Lennon was on the cover of this first issue.
1968
Rhythm-and-blues singer Ike Owensby (Twice) born
1968
Rhythm-and-blues singer Mike Owensby (Twice) born
1969
Rapper Pepa (Salt-N-Pepa) born
1969
Rapper Scarface (Geto Boys) born
1970
Former French president Charles De Gaulle died at age 79.
1972
Bones discovered by the Leakeys, push human origins back a million years.
1973
Rhythm-and-blues singer Nick Lachey (98 Degrees) born
1976
The U.N. General Assembly approved ten resolutions condemning apartheid in South Africa, including one characterizing the white-ruled government as "illegitimate."
1978
Rhythm-and-blues singer Sisqo (Dru Hill) born
1982
Sugar Ray Leonard retired from boxing this day, five months after having retinal surgery on his left eye. (In 1984, Leonard came out of retirement to fight one more time before becoming a fight commentator for NBC.)
1983
President Reagan arrived in Tokyo with his wife, Nancy, to begin a week-long visit to Japan and South Korea for talks on economic and security issues.
1983
Alfred Heineken, beer brewer from Amsterdam, is kidnapped and held for a ransom of more than $10 million.
1984
"Three Servicemen", a sculpture by Frederick Hart, was unveiled on this day in Washington, DC. It was the final addition to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The statue faces the wall of names of more than 58,000 Americans who were either killed or reported missing in action during the Vietnam War.
1985
MIAMI VICE THEME by Jan Hammer peaked at #1 on the pop singles chart.
1985
Gary Kasparov, 22, became the youngest world chess champion, ending the 10-year reign of Anatoly Karpov in Moscow.
1986
Israel revealed it was holding Mordechai Vanunu, a former nuclear technician who had vanished weeks earlier after providing information to a British newspaper about Israel's nuclear weapons program.
1986
Bobby Rahal won his first national driving title in auto racing. He had earned $300,000 for six victories, including an Indy 500 win.
1988
Former Attorney General John N. Mitchell, a major figure in the Watergate scandal, died in Washington at age 75.
1989
East Germans on foot and in cars began arriving in West Germany and West Berlin only hours after the East German government threw open its border to the West.
1990
King Birendra of Nepal proclaimed a new constitution that restored multi-party democracy to the Himalayan kingdom and stripped him of his absolute power.
1990
Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a historic non-aggression treaty with Germany, winning praise from German leaders for his role in the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall.
1991
police in Hong Kong forcibly repatriated 59 Vietnamese boat people, carrying them onto a transport plane.
1991
President Bush returned from a four-day European trip that included a NATO summit.
1992
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, visiting London, appealed for help in rescheduling his country's debt, and urged British businesses to invest.
1993
Vice President Al Gore and Ross Perot debated the North American Free Trade Agreement on CNN's "Larry King Live."
1993
Edward J. Rollins, who had managed New Jersey Governor-elect Christine Todd Whitman's campaign, set off a furor by asserting New Jersey Republicans had paid money to curb black voter turnout, a claim denied by Whitman and later retracted by Rollins.
1994
One day after Republicans won majorities in both the House and Senate, President Clinton and the GOP pledged cooperation, even as they started forming battle lines over their irreconcilable differences.
1995
In a pair of telephone interviews, O. J. Simpson told Associated Press reporter Linda Deutsch that people have supported rather than shunned him since his acquittal, and that he has learned that fame and wealth are illusions: "The only thing that endures is character."
1996
President Clinton used his weekly radio address to condemn the decision of the nation's distillers to end their longstanding voluntary ban on airing hard-liquor ads, calling it "simply irresponsible." Evander Holyfield upset Mike Tyson to win the WBA heavyweight title in an eleven-round fight in Las Vegas.
1997
A Boeing 707 jetliner carrying First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was forced to return to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington after a sensor indicated an engine fire, which turned out to be a false alarm. (Mrs. Clinton left the following day for a tour of Central Asia.)
1998
The age of digital and interactive TV opened with the airing of a PBS documentary special, "Chihuly Over Venice."
1998
A federal judge in New York approved the richest antitrust settlement in US history, a promise by leading brokerage firms to pay $1.3 billion to investors who had sued over a price-rigging scheme for stocks listed on the Nasdaq market.
1999
One year ago the landmark Brandenburg Gate, Germany celebrated the tenth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
1999
The flight data recorder from EgyptAir Flight 990 was recovered from the Atlantic Ocean and shipped to a National Transportation Safety Board laboratory in Washington.
2005
Flooding in South Australia
2005
European Venus probe launched successfully
2005
Vatican issues defence of evolution, rejects fundamentalist creationism
2005
Police call off search for missing woman in Georgia, USA
2005
Teaching Intelligent Design: Incumbent Dover PA school board fails reelection
2005
Series of explosions hit hotels in Amman
2005
France invokes emergency law in response to riots
2005
British Prime Minister Tony Blair suffers defeat in vote on terror laws
2005
Angry Azeris protest allegedly faked results of parliamentary elections
2006
New Zealand students able to use txt language in exams
2006
Indian Railways tie up with Bombardier Transportation
2006
'Jesus Camp' shuts down
2006
Retired pastor burns himself alive to protest spread of Islam
2006
Microsoft announces that new Vista OS on schedule
2006
Chicago activist publicly burns himself alive in protest of Iraq War
2006
Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes dies at 65
2006
New Zealand's alcohol purchasing age not to be raised
2006
Royal Canadian Legion upset over white poppies
2006
Inventor prize goes to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Donal "Jimbo" Wales
2006
Allen Concedes in Virginia, giving Democrats control of Senate
2007
Master Forum on Walking in Taiwan warms up for the Taiwan Walking Day
2007
Meat Loaf calls off European tour
2007
Man kills five relatives in family massacre in Croatia
2007
Candidates make campaign stop at trade fairs ahead of 2008 Taiwan Presidential Election
2007
Baseball teams from Taiwan and Japan battled same day in different places
2007
Dollar General chain in US recalls sunglasses, toy cars
2007
Major protests in Venezuela over proposed constitutional changes
2007
Australia completes inquest for victims of Garuda Indonesia Flight 200
2007
Former Oral Roberts University Regent member speaks out
2007
Finland considers tougher gun laws
2007
Muslim hair stylist sues hairdresser over alleged discrimination
2007
Pakistan lifts house arrest of former PM Benazir Bhutto
2007
Delaware scientists create shortest ever metal to metal bond
2008
Three Indonesian terrorists executed by firing squad for 2002 Bali bombing
2008
Luis Fortuño is elected new governor of Puerto Rico
2008
Hurricane Paloma hits Cuba
2008
Bomb ruled out in Mexico plane crash that killed twelve
2008
Gay marriage banned in three states; other ballot measures decided
2008
Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 enters moon orbit
2008
Events take place across UK to mark Remembrance Sunday
2009
Somali pirates launch attack on oil tanker
2009
Disney has high hopes for new 'Ferb' Christmas special
2009
Former Formula 1 designer unveils new electric car
2009
US Army chief of staff: more troops needed in Afghanistan
2009
China executes nine for ethnic riots
2009
Thousands to celebrate twenty years since fall of Berlin Wall
2009
Two US pilots killed in Iraq after helicopter crash
2009
Nokia recalls 14 million phone chargers
2009
Seven armed robbers in South Africa shot dead by police
2009
Cigarette butts kill fish, scientists complain
2009
Suicide bomber kills three in northwestern Pakistan
2010
US TV: Jay Leno bested by Conan O'Brien in late night ratings
2010
Josef Fritzl's former house to be demolished
2010
At least eight dead after bus crash in Albania
2010
Argentine admiral Emilio Eduardo Massera dies at age 85
2010
Two killed in new Copiapó, Chile mining accident
2010
Former chief of Czechoslovak constitutional court murdered
2010
Vettel wins Brazilian Grand Prix, securing Constructors' Championship for Red Bull
2011
Indian court hands out 31 life sentences for race riot murders

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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