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

Today in History

1636
Harvard University founded in Massachusetts
1886
Statue of Liberty dedicated on Bedloe's Island
1914
Biologist, physician and developer of the first polio vaccine, Dr Jonas Salk born in New York City
1950
Jack Benny Program premieres on CBS
1952
Actress Annie Potts born Anne Hampton Potts in Nashville, Tennessee
1955
Software mogul William Henry (Bill) Gates III born in Seattle, Washington
1965
The St. Louis Gateway Arch is completed
1967
Fashion model and Academy Award winning actress, Julia Fiona Roberts born in Atlanta, Georgia
312
In a battle that marked the beginning of the Christian era in Europe, Constantine's army, wearing the cross, defeated the forces of Maxentius at Mulvian Bridge in Rome. Roman emperor Constantine, 32, after trusting in a vision he had seen of the cross, inscribed with the words, "In this sign conquer," Constantine was converted and became the first Roman emperor to embrace the Christian faith.
969
After a prolonged siege, the Byzantines end 300 years of Arab rule in Antioch.
1017
Henry II "the Black," Holy Roman Emperor born
1216
Henry III of England crowned.
1348
Third Wave of the Black Death hits Europe
1412
Death of Margaret, Queen of Scandanavia
1466
Erasmus, scholar, author of "In Praise of Folly" born
1585
Cornelius Otto Jansen, French Roman Catholic reform leader born
1628
After a fifteen-month siege, the Huguenot town of La Rochelle surrenders to royal forces.
1636
Harvard College was founded in Massachusetts.
1646
John Eliot, apostle to the New England Indians, preached his first sermon, in the Indians' language
1793
Rifle maker Eliphalet Remington. born
1793
Eli Whitney applied for a patent for his cotton gin (the patent was granted the following March).
1820
Author and composer of the Christmas hymn, "We Three Kings of Orient Are" John H. Hopkins. born
1831
Michael Faraday demonstrated the first electric dynamo in England.
1846
'King of chefs and chefs of Kings' Georges Escoffier born
1886
The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, was dedicated in New York Harbor by President Cleveland.
1896
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Howard Hanson born
1901
Race riots sparked by Booker T. Washington's visit to the White House kill 34.
1902
Actress Elsa Lanchester (Come to the Stable, Witness for the Prosecution, The Bride of Frankenstein, Nanny and the Professor, The John Forsythe Show; wife of actor: Charles Laughton). born
1903
English novelist Evelyn Waugh. born
1904
St. Louis Police try a new investigation method - fingerprints.
1907
Edith Head fashion designer, Oscar winner. born
1914
Dr. Jonas Salk, a developer of the polio vaccine. born
1915
Actress Dody Goodman (some sources list 1929.) born
1919
Congress enacted the Volstead Act, which provided for enforcement of Prohibition, over President Wilson's veto.
1922
Fascism came to Italy as Benito Mussolini took control of the government.
1922
WEAF in New York broadcast the first collegiate football game heard coast to coast. Princeton played the University of Chicago at Stagg Field in the Windy City. The broadcast was carried on phone lines to New York City, where the transmission began.
1924
Fewer than 20 people paid to see an exhibition baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants in Dublin, Ireland. Newspapers reported that attendance was off because church services were going on at the time. The Sox won 8-4.
1926
Former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn born
1927
Pan Am Airways launches the first scheduled international flight.
1929
Actress Dody Goodman (Forever Fernwood, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, The Jack Paar Show, Punky Brewster, Diff'rent Strokes) born
1929
Actress Joan Plowright (Avalon, Dennis the Menace, Enchanted April, The Merchant of Venice, Equus, The Entertainer; wife of actor, Lord Lawrence Olivier) born
1930
Emmy Award-winning news correspondent Bruce Morton born
1933
Actress Suzy Parker (The Interns, The Best of Everything, Ten North Frederick, Funny Face) born
1934
National Track & Field Hall of Famer Jim Beatty born
1936
Country music singer/song writer Charlie Daniels (Devil Went Down to Georgia) born
1936
President Roosevelt rededicated the Statue of Liberty on its 50th anniversary.
1937
Basketball Hall of Famer Len Wilkens born
1939
Actress Jane Alexander (Quigley) (Playing for Time, Kramer vs. Kramer; The Great White Hope, All the President's Men, Eleanor & Franklin) born
1940
Italy invaded Greece during World War Two.
1941
Singer Curtis Lee (Pretty Little Angel Eyes, Under the Moon of Love) born
1943
Actor Dennis Franz (N.Y.P.D. Blue, Nasty Boys, Hill Street Blues, Chicago Story, Beverly Hills Buntz, The Bay City Blues, Die born
1945
Pop singer Wayne Fontana born
1946
The flying cowboy was heard on ABC Radio for the first time. "Sky King", starring Jack Lester, then Earl Nightingale and, finally, Roy Engel as Sky. Beryl Vaughn played Sky's niece, Penny; Jack Bivens was Chipper and Cliff Soubier was the foreman. "Sky King" was sponsored by Mars candy.
1946
Football player Jim Yarbrough born
1948
Actress Telma Hopkins (A New Kind of Family, Getting By, Family Matters, Bosom Buddies, Gimme a Break) born
1949
Olympic Gold Medal winner Bruce Jenner. (decathalete 1976) born
1950
Jack Benny took his well-known radio show [on radio for 20 years] to television without missing a beat. The show premiered in black and white and lasted for 27 years into the age of color TV.
1952
Actress Annie Potts (Mary Jo-Designing Women) born
1953
Actress Lauren Tewes (Julie McCoy-Love Boat) born
1954
Ernest Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature
1955
Billionaire CEO Microsoft Bill Gates born
1955
Buddy Holly, a local kid from Lubbock, Texas, opened a concert for Marty Robbins and Elvis Presley.
1957
Rock musician Stephen Morris (New Order) born
1958
Rock singer-musician William Reid (The Jesus & Mary Chain) born
1958
The Roman Catholic patriarch of Venice, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, was elected pope, taking the name John the 23rd.
1958
Country singer-musician Ron Hemby (The Buffalo Club) born
1960
Actor Mark Derwin (The Guiding Light, The Young and the Restless) born
1961
Brian Epstein, a record store owner in London, was asked by a customer for a copy of the record, "My Bonnie", by a group known as The Silver Beatles. He didn't have it in stock, so he went to the Cavern Club to check out the group. He signed to manage them in a matter of days and renamed them The Beatles.
1961
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the Municipal Stadium at the site of the New York World's Fair in Flushing, NY. The name was later changed to Shea Stadium, after New York Commissioner, William A. Shea.
1962
Actress Daphne Zuniga born
1962
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev informed the United States that he had ordered the dismantling of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.
1963
Actress Lauren Holly born
1964
Olympic silver medal figure skater Paul Wylie born
1965
Actress Jami Gertz (Square Pegs, Sibs, The Lost Boys, Quicksilver, Sixteen Candles, Alphabet City) born
1965
the Gateway Arch (630 feet high) completed in St. Louis, Missouri.
1967
Actress Julia Roberts (Pretty Woman, Mystic Pizza, Steel Magnolias, Dying Young, Hook, The Pelican Brief, I Love Trouble, Mary Reilly, Blood Red, Flatliners) born
1968
Country singer-musician Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown) born
1969
Actor Jeremy Davies ("Saving Private Ryan") born
1972
Country singer Brad Paisley born
1973
Secretariat raced into history, by winning the Canadian International Stakes in Toronto. It was the last race run by this magnificent thoroughbred.
1974
Rhoda Morgenstern made TV history when she married Joe Girard on "Rhoda." The CBS show was a spin-off from the hugely successful "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
1974
Actor Joaquin (Leaf) Phoenix born
1976
Former Nixon aide John D. Ehrlichman entered a federal prison camp in Safford, Arizona, to begin serving his sentence for Watergate-related convictions.
1987
During a debate in Houston that included the six Republican presidential contenders, Vice President George Bush argued that as President Reagan's "co-pilot," he knew how to "land the plane in a storm."
1988
A French pharmaceutical company that manufactured the abortion pill RU-486 announced it would resume distribution of the drug after the government of France demanded it do so.
1989
Twenty people were killed in the crash of a commuter plane on the island of Hawaii.
1989
Mitsubishi Estate Company, a major Japanese real estate concern, announced it was buying 51 percent of Rockefeller Group Incorporated of New York.
1989
The Oakland A's won the earthquake-interrupted World Series, completing a four-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants.
1990
In a surprise move, Iraq said it was halting gasoline rationing imposed earlier in response to global economic sanctions.
1992
Less than a week before Election Day, President Bush continued to emphasize that voters could not trust Bill Clinton in the White House; for his part, Clinton accused Bush of abusing the powers of the presidency.
1993
Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, speaking at the United Nations, called for a blockade of all air and sea trade to Haiti to force out its military leaders.
1994
President Clinton visited Kuwait, where he praised US ground forces sent in response to an Iraqi threat, and all but promised the troops they'd be home by Christmas.
1994
Pope John Paul the Second named 30 new cardinals, including the archbishops of Baltimore and Detroit and the first-ever from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and two former East-bloc states, Albania and Belarus.
1995
The Atlanta Braves defeated the Cleveland Indians, 1-0, to win the World Series in Game 6.
1995
The Senate approved a GOP package of spending slashes and tax reductions, 52-47.
1996
Richard Jewell, cleared of committing the Olympic park bombing, held a news conference in Atlanta in which he thanked his mother for standing by him and lashed out at reporters and investigators who had depicted him as the bomber.
1996
Comedian Morey Amsterdam died in Los Angeles at age 81.
1997
A day after plunging 554 points, the stock market roared back, posting a 337-point recovery, with more than one billion shares traded.
1998
In London, the High Court ruled that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was immune from prosecution in British courts (however, the House of Lords later overturned the decision, saying Pinochet's arrest could stand).
1999
Five Republican presidential hopefuls debated such issues as abortion, health care and taxes in their second meeting in less than a week; once again, front-runner George W. Bush was absent from the gathering in New Hampshire.
1999
The House passed, 218-211, the last spending bill of the year, which President Clinton said he would veto.
2005
Japanese riot police deployed around consulates
2005
Lewis "Scooter" Libby indicted on five charges Lewis
2005
Japan-Korea premiers' meeting in doubt over shrine visit
2005
Body of Rosa Parks to lie in honor at U.S. Capitol
2006
Two children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning in Corfu
2006
Reward for Californian arsonist now at $500,000
2006
London Police Commissioner seeks new powers
2006
Physicists test 'forgotten' Brownian motion theory
2006
Bush signs to rewrite insurrection act
2006
Two Pakistani militants arrested in south Indian city of Mysore
2006
UK War Crimes court hears evidence from dead victim
2007
Suspect "Rembrandt" sold for £2.2 million in English auction house Suspect
2007
BDSM as business: Interviews with Dominatrixes
2007
Wikimedia Conference Netherlands held on wikis and education
2007
Cristina Kirchner set to win Argentinian presidential elections
2007
Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party chooses new leader
2007
Major League Soccer Playoffs: New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution
2008
More teenagers attracted to computer crime, say experts
2008
Arctic ice thickness decreasing, suggests satellite data study
2008
Acting teacher and director Milton Katselas dies at age 75
2008
Homes of six Minnesota politicians vandalized
2009
Tunisian president re-elected for fifth term
2009
Nine killed after bombings in southern Afghanistan
2009
Dozens killed after car bomb explodes in market in Peshawar, Pakistan
2009
Court in France convicts Scientology of organized fraud
2010
Fifteen dead in Mexican car wash shooting
2010
'Explosive' Haitian cholera outbreak kills 292, neighboring countries prepare
2010
Russian cargo ship launches to International Space Station
2011
Swedish journalists hit by hacking scandal

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