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Today in History

Halloween
1517
Martin Luther nails 95 theses to church door
1860
Founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Juliette Gordon Low born in Savannah, Georgia
1875
Pioneering practitioner of Yoga, Pierre Bernard born in Leon, Iowa
1892
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
1912
Singer and songwriter, Dale Evans born Frances Octavia Smith in Uvalde, Texas
1926
Harry Houdini dies of peritonitis
1928
Actress Cleouna Moore born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
1931
Peabody Award winning journalist and news anchor, Dan Rather born in Wharton, Texas
1936
Actor, writer and director, Michael Landon born in Forest Hills, New York
1941
Golden Globe Award winning actress, Sally Kirkland born in New York City
1943
NFL running back Brian Piccolo born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts
1945
Actor Brian Doyle-Murray born in Chicago, Illinois
1950
Emmy Award winning actor and comedian, John Candy born in Toronto, Ontario
1963
Actor and comedian, Rob Schneider born in San Francisco, California
2000
Last known Multics machine shut down
475
Romulus Augustulus, last Western Roman Emperor, elevated to the throne
655
Death of St. Follian
994
Death of St. Wolfgang
1345
Ferdinand I, King of Portugal born
1442
Wladislaus III, King of Poland born
1512
Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel shown
1517
Martin Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Palace church, marking the start of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.
1608
A crowd of 30-thousand people showed up at St. Peter's Basillica in Vatican City to hear the organist Frescobaldi.
1620
John Evelyn, English diarist, a founder of the Royal Society born
1632
Dutch painter Jan Vermeer, the finest of the Flemish domestic painters. born
1795
English poet John Keats (On First Looking into Chapman's Homer, Endymion: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever.", On a Grecian Urn, To a Nightingale, On Melancholy, To Autumn) born
1803
Congress ratifies the purchase of the entire Louisiana area in North America, which added territory to the United States for 13 subsequent states.
1838
A mob of about 200 attacks a Mormon camp in Missouri, killing 20 men, women and children.
1860
Girl Scout Founder Juliette Low born
1864
Nevada was admitted to the Union as the 36th state.
1868
Postmaster General Alexander Williams Randall approved a standard uniform for postal carriers.
1887
Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek, the first leader of Nationalist China born
1896
Actress and singer Ethel Waters (Beulah, A Member of the Wedding, Cabin in the Sky, Pinky, Mamba's Daughters, At Home Abroad, Thousands Cheer) born
1897
The Boston Herald said of this day, on Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra, "This work is unhealthy. It suffers severely from basstubaculosis."
1903
The Cleveland Theatre in Chicago welcomed the youngest member of the Barrymore family to the acting fold. Young John Barrymore made his stage debut in "Magda."
1912
Actress-singer Dale Evans (Frances Butts) born
1918
In the worst global epidemic of the century, influenza has been spreading around the world since May. Before it ends in 1919 it will kill 20 million people--about twice as many as World War I.
1918
Former Attorney General Griffin Bell born
1920
Popular mystery writer Dick Francis, who mainly writes books connected with horse racing born
1922
Actress Barbara Bel Geddes (Dallas, Vertigo, I Remember Mama) born
1922
Cambodian King Norodom Sihanouk born
1922
Musician Illinois (Battiste) Jacquet (tenor saxophone Flyin' Home, I Didn't Know about You; played with Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Count Basie) born
1926
Magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix.
1927
Musician, singer, pianist, record producer Anita Kerr (The Anita Kerr Singers) born
1927
Performer Lee Grant (Lyova Rosenthal) (Shampoo, Peyton Place, Fay, Backstairs at the White House, Citizen Cohen, Little Miss Marker, Airport '77, Voyage of the Damned, Valley of the Dolls, Mod Squad, In the Heat of the Night, The Balcony, The Detective Story) born
1928
Movie critic Andrew Sarris born
1928
Colorado Governor Roy Romer born
1930
In a rare recording, William 'Count' Basie sang with Bennie Moten's Orchestra, "Somebody Stole My Gal" -- on Victor Records.
1930
Former astronaut Michael Collins born
1931
CBS anchorman Dan Rather born
1932
Prokofiev's 5th piano concerto premiered in Berlin.
1936
Michael Landon (Eugene Orowitz) (Bonanza, Sam's Son, The Loneliest Runner, I was a Teenage Werewolf, God's Little Acre, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven) born
1937
Folk singer Tom Paxton (I Can't Help but Wonder Where I'm Bound, The Last Thing on My Mind, Goin' to the Zoo, The Willing Conscript, Lyndon Johnson Told the Nation, Leaving London, All the Way Home, Is This Anyway to Run an Airline, Talking Vietnam Pot-Luck Blues, Forest Lawn) born
1941
Singer Otis Williams (with the group Can't Get Next to You, Cloud Nine, Runaway Child, Running Wild, Just My Imagination, Papa was a Rolling Stone, Masquerade) some sources place his birthday as October 30, 1942. born
1942
One of the great wartime radio shows premiered, as CBS debuted "Thanks to the Yanks". The show, starring Bob Hawk, became one of the most popular of the wartime programs.
1942
Actor David Ogden Stiers (Major Winchester on MASH) born
1944
Actress Sally Kirkland born
1944
Singer Kinky Friedman born
1947
Olympic Hall of Famer in Track Frank Shorter born
1948
Actress Deidre Hall (Our House, Days of Our Lives) born
1950
John Candy comedian (Second City, The Blues Brothers, Home Alone, JFK, Little Shop of Horrors, National Lampoon's Vacation, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Spaceballs, Stripes, Uncle Buck, Who's Harry Crumb?; Emmy Award-winning writer: SCTV Network) born
1950
NBC anchorwoman Jane Pauley born
1950
Actress Lynda Goodfriend (Who's Watching the Kids, Happy Days, Blansky's Beauties) born
1952
The United States explodes the first hydrogen bomb at Eniwetok Atoll in the Pacific.
1953
Singer-songwriter Johnny Clegg born
1953
NBC televised "Carmen" on "Opera Theatre" -- in living color. It was the first major opera televised in anything other than black and white.
1955
Britain's Princess Margaret ended weeks of speculation by announcing she would not marry Royal Air Force Captain Peter Townsend.
1956
Rear Admiral G.J. Dufek became the first person to land an airplane at the South Pole.
1961
Rock musician Larry Mullen born
1961
The body of Joseph Stalin was removed from public display, (in Stalin's Tomb). The longtime dictator of the former Soviet Union was reburied in a simple grave. This incident was the beginning of the USSR's "destalinization policy."
1963
Actor Dermot Mulroney born
1963
Rock musician Mikkey Dee (Motorhead) born
1964
Actor Rob Schneider born
1966
Rap musician Adrock born
1966
Mirhir Sen, of Calcutta, India, swam the length of the Panama Canal. Previously, the distance swimmer had conquered the Palk Strait from India to Ceylon, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Dardanelles.
1967
Nguyen Van Thieu took the oath of office as the first president of South Vietnam's second republic.
1967
Songwriter Adam Schlesinger ("That Thing You Do!") born
1968
President Johnson ordered a halt to all US bombing of North Vietnam, saying he hoped for fruitful peace negotiations.
1968
Rap performer Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) born
1970
Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) born
1971
Saigon begins the release of 1,938 Hanoi POW's.
1980
Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas ("American Pie") born
1984
Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated near her residence by two Sikh security guards. Her son, Rajiv, succeeded her.
1986
For the first time, Universal Studios in Hollywood opened at night. The plan was to give fans a Halloween scare. The night included Dracula, the Mummy, King Kong, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Wolfman.
1987
Noburo Takeshita, leader of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, was elected party president in his first official step toward replacing Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone.
1988
In Lebanon, the kidnappers of American hostage Terry Anderson released a videotape in which the Associated Press correspondent accused the Reagan administration of blocking his release.
1989
President Bush announced he and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev would hold a summit aboard ships in the Mediterranean near Malta in early December.
1990
During a campaign swing in suburban Washington, President Bush said "I have had it" with the way Iraq was treating American diplomats and hostages, but added he had no timetable for deciding on a possible military strike.
1992
It was announced that five American nuns in Liberia had been shot to death near the capital Monrovia; the killings were blamed on rebels loyal to Charles Taylor.
1993
Hollywood star River Phoenix died.
1993
Movie director Federico Fellini died in Rome at age 73.
1994
68 people were killed when an American Eagle ATR-72, en route from Indianapolis to Chicago, crashed in northern Indiana.
1995
Stung by defeat in the secession referendum, Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau said he would resign as head of the bitterly divided province at year's end.
1996
Also in Pontiac, Jenny Jones testified at the trial of one of her talk show guests, Jonathan Schmitz, who was accused of killing another guest, Scott Amedure.
1996
A Brazilian Fokker-100 jetliner crashed in Sao Paulo, killing all 96 people on board and three on the ground.
1996
Pontiac, Michigan, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was charged with assisting three suicides since June 1996 (he was later acquitted).
1997
British au pair Louise Woodward received a mandatory life sentence, a day after a jury in Cambridge, Massachusetts, convicted her of second-degree murder in the death of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen. (The verdict was later reduced to manslaughter, and Woodward was set free.)
1997
Chinese President Jiang Zemin rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange to open the day's trading.
1998
A genetic study was released suggesting President Thomas Jefferson did in fact father at least one child by his slave Sally Hemings.
1998
Iraq announced it would cut off all dealings with UN weapons inspectors, a move condemned by the Security Council.
1999
EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed off the Massachusetts coast, killing all 217 people aboard.
2005
Bush narrows choice to Supreme Court
2005
Bush nominates Alito to U.S. Supreme Court
2005
Hurricane Beta makes landfall in Nicaragua
2005
UN calls for further Syrian cooperation
2005
Canadian Immigration Minister outlines plan for application backlog, job vacancies
2005
Kansas School Board has copyright withheld over teaching Intelligent Design
2005
IBM partners with Google to produce a corporate desktop search program
2006
Reactions to review of economic implications of climate change
2006
New Zealand police lose criminal at Heathrow Airport
2006
Lyricist Javed Akhtar awarded Indira Gandhi Prize
2006
Reserve Bank of India hikes repo rate, keeps most key interest rates stable
2006
South African rail police pilot successful, to be implemented nation wide
2006
North Korea returns to six-party talks
2006
Three day traders' strike in New Delhi
2006
Ontario Provincial Police: Caledonia land dispute is top priority
2006
In a Show of Force Mexican Federal Forces Remove Oaxacan Protesters from Oaxaca City centre
2006
Continuing controversy surrounds German mission to Middle East
2007
China dissaproves of Dalai Lama's meeting with Canada's PM
2007
Minnesota Governor opposes state funds to Iran-tied company
2007
Halloween events banned at Moscow schools
2007
Canadian government announces major tax reductions
2007
Thevar centenary celebrations begin amidst tight security arrangements
2007
Crude oil passes US$94.00 a barrel; sets new all-time record high
2007
Judge delivers verdicts in 2004 Madrid train bombing trial
2007
Britain's top traffic cop faces driving ban
2007
5.6 earthquake strikes California
2007
North American Daylight Saving Time to end on November 4
2007
Two Lordi fans mugged while manager and bodyguard were shot at in Louisville, US
2007
DFB-Pokal 2007–08: Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Mönchengladbach
2007
World champion Boston Red Sox hold "rolling rally"; many more could be on the way
2008
Former U.S. President Clinton stumps for Obama, Franken in Minneapolis
2008
Synchronised bombings strike Indian state of Assam
2008
Sprint Nextel depeers from Cogent Communications
2009
Iraqi officials arrest over 60 in connection with recent bombings
2009
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah may boycott runoff election
2009
England rail users highlight Teesside Airport 'ghost station'
2009
Ukraine closes schools after reports of swine flu deaths
2009
Denmark holds nationwide light show to mark digital switchover
2009
Former French president Jacques Chirac to stand trial on embezzlement charges
2009
Bomb blast kills seven in northwest Pakistan
2009
Indian Air Force chopper crashes in Jammu and Kashmir
2009
Man jailed for manslaughter of wife in Hampshire, England
2011
St Louis Cardinals win baseball's World Series
2012
Metropolitan Police to sell New Scotland Yard

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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