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

Today in History

1735
Second US President, John Adams born in Braintree, Massachusetts
1885
Poet Ezra Pound born in Hailey, Idaho
1892
Bodybuilding legend Charles Atlas born Angelo Siciliano in Acri, Italy
1938
Orson Welles' radio broadcast of War of the Worlds from New York city is convincing enough to cause panic in the real world
1939
Artist, musician and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame singer, Grace Slick born in Chicago, Illinois
1945
US government ends shoe rationing
1945
Author, director and actor, Henry Winkler born in Manhattan, New York
1945
Jackie Robinson joins Brooklyn Dodgers
1961
Soviet Union detonates Tsar Bomba, the largest ever hydrogen bomb (58 megatons)
1974
Mohammed Ali knocks out George Foreman
298
Death of St. Marcellus the Centurion
1270
The seventh crusade ends by the treaty of Barbary.
1270
8th & last Crusade is launched
1300
Edward, King of England, signs a truce and abandons his invasion of Scotland
1451
Christopher Columbus, discoverer of America (uncertain date) born
1485
King Henry VII created the Yeoman of the Guard, the "Beefeaters"
1536
Lutheranisim becomes the official religion of Denmark
1586
Anna Kleiss burned for witchcraft
1617
Death of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
1650
In a court case, the members of the Society of Friends were first called Quakers because of the admonition of their founder George Fox to "quake and tremble at the word of God."
1735
John Adams, second president of the United States born
1751
Playright Richard Sheridan (The Critic, School for Scandal, The Rivals) born
1817
Simon Bolivar established the independent government of Venezuela.
1822
The "Unfinished" was begun. Franz Schubert completed two movements of the B minor symphony and made sketches for a scherzo. But he never completed it, apparently because he was having something of a nervous collapse after discovering he had syphilis.
1826
Beethoven finished the new finale of his Opus 135 quartet. He wrote on the score, "Must it be? It must be," a phrase that listeners say they can hear in the music.
1839
French Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley born
1871
French poet Paul Valery born
1871
English philosopher H.A. Prichard born
1885
Poet Ezra Pound (Hugh Selwyn Mauberly, The Pisan Cantos) born
1886
Southern American novelist, poet, and short story writer Elizabeth Madox Roberts born
1894
Daniel M. Cooper of Rochester, New York patented the time clock. Timecards were inserted into the machine. The time clock would then stamp the time on the card -- to record the actual time (assuming the time clock was set correctly) employees started and ended work.
1894
Strongman Charles Atlas (Angelo Siciliano) born
1895
German bacteriologist and pathologist Gerhard Domagk, awarded the 1939 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discovery (announced in 1932) of the antibacterial effects of Prontosil, the first of the sulfonamide drugs. born
1895
American physiologist Dickinson Woodruff Richards, shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1956 with Werner Forssmann and Andr F. Cournand. born
1896
Actress Ruth Gordon (Jones) (Rosemary's Baby, Every Which Way but Loose, Harold and Maude) born
1900
Finnish-born Swedish physiologist, Ragnar Arthur Granit who was a corecipient (with George Wald and Haldan Hartline) of the Nobel Prize. born
1907
Actress Sue Carol (Evelyn Lederer) (The Lone Star Ranger, Walking Back, Captain Swagger) born
1912
John Sherman, Vice-President of the United States, died in office. Also, he had been nominated by the Republicans for a second term. But his death came before the General Election. The republican National Committee named Nicholas Murray Butler to be the candidate.
1913
Actress Ruth Hussey (O'Rourke) (Stars and Stripes Forever, Northwest Passage, The Philadelphia Story, Madame X, Another Thin Man) born
1915
Broadcast journalist Fred Friendly born
1918
Turkey signs an armistice with the Allies, agreeing to end hostilities at noon October 31.
1922
Mussolini sends his black shirts into Rome. The Fascist takeover is almost without bloodshed. The next day, Mussolini is made prime minister.
1925
John Baird used a tea chest, a biscuit box, darning needles, piano wire, motorcycle lamp lenses, old electric motors, cardboard scanning discs and glue, string and sealing wax to build the TV transmitter that beamed TV to London for the 1st time.
1928
American microbiologist, Daniel Nathans corecipient with Hamilton Othanel Smith of the United States and Werner Arber of Switzerland of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1978. born
1929
It was announced that John D. Rockefeller was buying sound, common stocks to help stem the massive sell-off going on at the New York Stock Exchange. It didn't help. More than 10.7 million shares had been dumped the previous day and the market was in a free fall.
1932
Director Louis Malle (Pretty Baby, Atlantic City, Aurevoir Les Enfants, Goodbye Children, Crackers, The Fire Within) born
1934
Actor Hamilton Camp born
1937
Movie director Claude Lelouch born
1938
Orson Welles triggered a national panic with a realistic radio dramatization of a Martian invasion, based on H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds."
1939
Rock singer Grace Slick born
1939
Songwriter Eddie Holland part of the writing team Holland-Dozier-Holland (Where Did Our Love Go, Baby Love, Stop! In the Name of Love, I Hear a Symphony, You Keep Me Hangin' On, Reach Out, I'll Be There) born
1939
Singer Grace Slick (Wing) (with the group Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Starship: Somebody to Love, White Rabbit, Rejoice, Miracles, Count on Me, Runaway, We Built this City, Sara) born
1940
Actor Ed Lauter born
1941
More than a month before the United States entered World War II, an American destroyer, the Reuben James, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine.
1944
The Martha Graham ballet "Appalachian Spring," with music by Aaron Copland, premiered at the Library of Congress, with Graham in a leading role.
1945
Actor, director and producer Henry Winkler born
1945
The US government announced the end of shoe rationing.
1947
Musician Timothy B. Schmit (The Eagles) born
1951
Actor Harry Hamlin (L.A. Law, Studs Lonigan, Laguna Heat, Clash of the Titans, Dinner at Eight, Murder So Sweet, Under Investigation, Save Me) born
1953
Actor Charles Martin Smith born
1953
General George C. Marshall was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Dr. Albert Schweitzer received the Peace Prize for 1952.
1954
Country singer T. Graham Brown born
1958
Actor Kevin Pollak born
1958
Due to great pressure from the Soviet government, Boris Pasternak refused the Nobel Prize for literature. His signature work is the novel Doctor Zhivago.
1960
Rock singer Joey Belladonna (Anthrax) born
1961
The Soviet Union tested a hydrogen bomb with a force estimated at 58 megatons.
1961
The Soviet Party Congress unanimously approved a resolution ordering the removal of Josef Stalin's body from Lenin's tomb.
1963
Rock singer-musician Jerry DeBorg (Jesus Jones) born
1964
Roy Orbison went gold with his hit single, "Oh, Pretty Woman."
1967
Rock singer-musician Gavin Rossdale (Bush) born
1970
Actress Nia Long born
1972
45 people were killed when an Illinois Central Gulf commuter train collided with another train in Chicago's South Side.
1972
Elton John gave a command performance for the Queen of England.
1974
Muhammad Ali knocked out George Foreman in the eighth round of a 15-round bout in Kinshasa, Zaire, to regain his world heavyweight title.
1975
As dictator Francisco Franco lay near death, Prince Juan Carlos assumed power in Spain.
1976
Country singer Kassidy Osborn (SHeDAISY) born
1979
President Carter announced his choice of federal appeals judge Shirley Hufstedler to head the newly created Department of Education.
1984
Barry Manilow opened at Radio City Music Hall, New York. His concerts sold out to the tune of $1.9 million dollars - besting the previous record set by Diana Ross -- by $100,000.
1987
President Reagan announced that Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev would visit Washington the following December for a summit, during which the two leaders would sign a treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
1988
Responding to Republican attempts to pin the term "liberal" on him, Democrat Michael Dukakis declared on the campaign trail, "Yes, I am a liberal, in the tradition of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy."
1990
The Iraqi News Agency quoted Saddam Hussein as saying Iraq was making final preparations for war, and that he expected an attack by the United States and its allies within days.
1990
In the Persian Gulf, 10 American sailors died when a steam pipe ruptured aboard the U.S.S. Iwo Jima; in Saudi Arabia, a Marine was killed in an accident while driving in the desert.
1992
Iran-Contra special prosecutor Lawrence E. Walsh released an excerpt of notes taken by former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger in January 1986 which suggested then-Vice President Bush was fully aware of the Reagan administration's arms-for-hostages deal with Iran. (Bush said despite the notes, he was not aware until December 1986 that the arrangement was an actual arms-for-hostages swap.)
1993
Martin Fettman, America's first veterinarian in space, chopped the heads off six rats and performed the world's first animal dissections in space, aboard the shuttle "Columbia."
1995
By a vote of 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent, Federalists prevailed over separatists in Quebec in a secession referendum.
1996
After a four-hour trial, a Chinese court sentenced pro-democracy activist Wang Dan to eleven years in prison for "conspiring to subvert the Chinese government."
1997
Confronting some of his harshest critics, Chinese President Jiang Zemin defended his country's human rights record before members of Congress.
1997
Movie director Samuel Fuller died in Hollywood at age 86.
1997
A jury in Cambridge, Massachusetts, convicted British au pair Louise Woodward of second-degree murder in the death of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen. (The judge, Hiller B. Zobel, later reduced the verdict to manslaughter and set Woodward free.)
1998
In Nicaragua, a mudslide caused by Hurricane Mitch killed at least 2,000 people on the slopes of the Casitas volcano in Posoltega.
1999
Fifty-five people were killed in a fire at an illegal bar in Inchon, South Korea.
2005
Cuban funds tied to Lula campaign, Brazilian magazine alleges
2005
Opposing a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory
2005
World Bank continues its support of Moldovan private sector development
2005
Moldova State University student to represent Moldova at world cyber games in Singapore
2005
Russian peacekeepers will not leave Transdniestria, official says
2005
Explosions rock New Delhi marketplace
2006
Winner of New Zealand Idol announced
2006
Brown promises Britain will lead world in fight against climate change
2006
Death sentence to Santosh Singh in Priyadarshini Mattoo case
2006
Wikimedia chair Jimmy Wales steps down
2006
Concerns arise about the new, synthetic NBA ball
2006
Voting ends in landmark Congo election
2006
Lula re-elected as President of Brazil
2006
Sokoto mourns after plane crash that killed Sultan
2006
UK Foreign Secretary Beckett breaks ranks over Trident
2006
Interview with Bill Bousfield, Regional Council candidate for Wards 1 & 5 in Brampton, Canada
2006
Bombay Stock Exchange Sensex crosses 13,000 mark in morning trade
2006
Wal-Mart cuts ties with PR consultant over controversial Republican TV ad
2007
Shoplifting mother leaves son at scene of crime
2007
Bush announces Medal of Freedom winners
2007
Wikipedia making bread in China? Not so, but close
2007
International Space Station's solar panel damaged
2007
Rugby player Bryan Habana tackled by fan
2007
ACLU President Strossen on religion, drugs, guns and impeaching George Bush
2007
Dollar reaches record low after US consumer confidence and home prices fall
2007
Germany to host 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup
2007
Nine French nationals face kidnapping charges in Chad
2008
Syria files UN Security Council complaint after US raid
2008
David Tennant announces exit from Doctor Who
2009
Nine missing after US Coast Guard plane and Navy helicopter collide
2009
Chris Hughton appointed permanent manager of Newcastle United
2009
Mike Ashley takes Newcastle United off the market for a second time
2009
Nokia files lawsuit against Apple
2009
Typhoon Mirinae heads towards the Philippines
2009
English actor Norman Painting dies at age 85
2009
Strong earthquake hits northern Pakistan
2009
Canadian folk singer attacked and killed by coyotes in Nova Scotia
2009
Attack on UN guesthouse by Taliban in Afghanistan kills nine
2009
Vigil for hate victims takes place in London
2009
US president Obama honors soldiers killed in Afghanistan
2010
UK court jails man for trolling online tribute pages
2010
Final launch of Space Shuttle Discovery delayed another day
2010
First Prime Minister of Greenland Jonathan Motzfeldt dies at age 72
2011
Qantas grounds all flights in labour dispute

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