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Today in History

1859
Joshua A. Norton declares himself Emperor Norton I of the United States
1862
Battle of Antietam
1928
Emmy and Tony Award winning actor, Roddy MacDowall born in London, England
1931
Academy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony Award winning actress, Anne Bancroft born in Bronx, New York
1948
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winning actor and comedian, John Ritter born in Burbank, California
1951
Vegas showgirl, singer and actress, Elvira born Cassandra Peterson in Manhattan, Kansas
1963
Author, molecular biologist, and creator of the Darwin Awards, Wendy Northcutt born
1976
NASA unveils first Space Shuttle Enterprise
1978
Israel and Egypt sign Camp David Accords
853
Death of St. Columba of Cordoba
879
Charles III, "The Simple" of France (893-923) born
1179
Death of St. Hildegarde
1271
King of Bohemia & Poland Wenceslas II (1278-1305) born
1374
Compact of Kassa
1397
Parliament of England meets
1397
Arundel, Gloucester and Warwick accused of treason
1552
Pope Paul V born as Camillo Borghese (1605-21) born
1580
Poet and satirist Francisco Gomez de Quevado y Villegas (Vida del Buscn) born
1580
Countess of Nassau and daughter of Willem of Orange Charlotte Brabantia. born
1605
Composer Francesco Sacrati born
1619
English general and parliament leader John Lambert born
1621
Death of St. Robert Bellarmine, theologian
1630
The town of Boston is founded by John Winthrop as an extension of the colony at Salem.
1643
Bishop of Salisbury Gilbert Burnet born
1656
Massachusetts enacted severe laws against Quakers.
1709
Lexicographer and writer Samuel Johnson (Boswell's Tour Guide) born
1711
Composer Ignaz Jakob Holzbaue born
1717
The first synod of the Presbyterian Church in America met in Philadelphia.
1730
Baron Frederick von Steuben, made the Continental Army winners. born
1743
Marquis Marie Jean de Condorcet, French mathematician and philosopher, a leading thinker in the Enlightenment. born
1762
The violinist and composer Francesco Geminiani collapsed in Dublin upon learning that the only copy of his book on how to play the violin had been stolen by the maid.
1776
Along the western coast of North America, a party of 247 Spanish colonists consecrated their newly-founded mission, known as San Francisco. The Presidio of San Francisco was founded as a Spanish fort.
1787
The United States Constitution, completed in Philadelphia, was signed by a majority of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention.
1796
President George Washington delivers his "Farewell Address" to Congress before concluding his second term in office. When George Washington announced that he would retire from office he set the stage for the nation's first two party presidential campaign.
1862
The Battle of Antietam in Maryland, the bloodiest day in U.S. history, commences. Fighting in the corn field, Bloody Lane and Burnside's Bridge rages all day as the Union and Confederate armies suffer a combined 26,293 casualties. New York Tribune reporter George Smalley scooped the world with his vivid account of the Battle of Antietam.
1868
The Battle of Beecher's Island begins, in which Major George "Sandy" Forsyth and 50 volunteers hold off 500 Sioux and Cheyenne in eastern Colorado.
1868
Walter Gowans, Canadian missions pioneer. In 1893 he helped found the Sudan Interior Mission in Toronto. born
1872
Phillip W. Pratt, of Abington, MA, patented his version of the sprinkler system.
1874
Actor comedian Ben Turpin (Burlesque of Carmen, Yankee Doodle in Berlin, Mack Sennett comedies, When Comedy was King) born
1879
Andrew "Rube" Foster, father of the Negro baseball leagues. born
1883
William Carlos Williams, poet, playwright, essayist and writer who won a Pulitzer prize for Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems born
1884
Charles Tomlinson Griffes (Elmira, New York). Griffes, who only lived to be 35, is remembered today mainly for one brief work, "Poem for Flute and Orchestra." It's an impressionistic piece of great delicacy. born
1890
1940's radio news commentator Gabriel Heatter born
1900
Hotel magnate J. (John) Marriott born
1902
Actress Esther Ralston (Tin Pan Alley, We're in the Legion Now, Oliver Twist, Shadows of the Orient, To the Last Man) born
1902
U.S. troops are sent to Panama to keep train lines open over the isthmus as Panamanian nationals struggle for independence from Colombia.
1903
Turks destroy the town of Kastoria in Greece (Macedonia), killing 10,000 civilians.
1904
Actress Dolores Costello (The Magnificent Ambersons) born
1904
Comedian actor Jerry Colonna (Meet Me in Las Vegas, Kentucky Jubilee, The Road to Singapore; TV host: The Jerry Colonna Show) born
1907
Former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger 1 born
1908
The first fatality in an airplane accident.
1911
The first transcontinental airplane flight, from New York City to Pasadena, California, was completed. It only took C.P. Rogers 82 hours to fly across the U.S.
1917
The German Army recaptures the Russian Port of Riga from Russian forces.
1920
The American Professional Football Association -- a precursor of the NFL -- was formed in Canton, Ohio (my hometown and the geographical site of the Daily Miscellany).
1923
Country music pioneer Hank Williams Sr.(I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive, I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry, Cold, Cold Heart, Take These Chains from My Heart, Honky Tonkin', Jambalaya, Kaw-Liga, Your Cheatin' Heart; 1st country musician whose music crossed over into pop; wrote 125 compositions) born
1928
Actor Roddy McDowall born
1929
Actress Pat Crowley (Joe Forrester, Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Red Garters, Return to Fantasy Island) born
1930
Actor David Huddleston born
1931
Actress Anne Bancroft (Annemarie Italiano) born
1933
Actress Dorothy Loudon (The Garry Moore Show) born
1935
Author Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) born
1938
Actor Paul Benedict (The Jeffersons, The Freshmen) born
1939
The Soviet Union invaded Poland, more than two weeks after Nazi Germany launched its assault.
1939
Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter born
1939
Singer LaMonte McLemore (The Fifth Dimension) born
1942
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill meets with Soviet Premier Josef Stalin in Moscow as the German Army rams into Stalingrad.
1944
British airborne troops parachute into Holland to capture the Arnhem bridge as part of Operation Market-Garden. The plan called for the airborne troops to be relieved by British troops, but they were left stranded and eventually surrendered to the Germans.
1947
Cartoonist Jeff MacNelly born
1947
James V. Forrestal was sworn in as the first US Secretary of Defense as a new National Military Establishment unified America's armed forces.
1948
Actor John Ritter born
1948
The United Nations mediator for Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, was assassinated in Jerusalem by Jewish extremists.
1950
Singer Fee Waybill born
1951
Actress Cassandra Peterson ("Elvira, Mistress of the Dark") born
1953
Ernie Banks became the first black baseball player to wear a Chicago Cubs uniform. Banks was the Cubs' outstanding shortstop from 1954 to 1960. In 1969, Ernie Banks was voted the Cub's best player ever by Chicago fans. 'Mr. Cub' retired in 1971.
1954
Rocky Marciano retained possession of the world heavyweight boxing title after knocking out Ezzard Charles in the eighth round of their championship bout.
1956
Comedian Rita Rudner born
1957
The Thai army seizes power in Bangkok.
1959
The X-15 rocket plane makes its first flight.
1962
The first federal suit to end public school segregation is filed by the U.S. Justice Department.
1962
Bebe Winans born
1963
"The Fugitive," starring David Janssen, premiered on ABC TV.
1965
Actor Kyle Chandler born
1966
Rapper Doug E. Fresh born
1967
Actor Malik Yoba ("New York Undercover") born
1969
Rock musician Keith Flint (Prodigy) born
1969
Actor Matthew Settle born
1970
Rapper Vinnie (Naughty By Nature) born
1972
"M*A*S*H" premiered on CBS TV.
1973
Rhythm-and-blues singer Marcus Sanders (Hi-Five) born
1976
"NASA" publicly unveiled the space shuttle "Enterprise" at ceremonies in Palmdale, California.
1978
After meeting at Camp David, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a framework for a peace treaty.
1980
Former Nicaraguan president Anastasio Somoza was assassinated in Paraguay.
1983
Vanessa Williams of New York became the first black to be named Miss America. (She resigned the crown 11 months later when Penthouse magazine published nude photos of her, but later became famous again as a singer and actress.)
1984
The largest group of immigrants to become naturalized citizens of the U.S., 9,706 people, were sworn in by Vice-President George Bush in Miami, Florida.
1986
The Senate confirmed the nomination of William H. Rehnquist to become the 16th chief justice of the United States.
1987
The city of Philadelphia, birthplace of the US Constitution, threw a big party to celebrate the 200th annivetsary of the historic document.
1988
Haitian President Henri Hamphy was ousted in a coup; Lieutenant General Prosper Avril declared himself president the following day.
1988
Opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics took place in Seoul, South Korea.
1989
Hurricane "Hugo" slammed into several Caribbean islands, including St. Croix, which was the hardest hit.
1990
Defense Secretary Dick Cheney sacked Air Force chief of staff General Mike Dugan for openly discussing contingency plans to launch massive air strikes against Baghdad and target Iraqi President Saddam Hussein personally.
1992
Special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh called a halt to his five-and-a-half-year probe of the Iran-Contra scandal.
1992
A federal judge overturned the impeachment of former US District Judge Alcee Hastings, saying he did not receive a fair trial by the Senate, which convicted him in 1989 of perjury and conspiracy.
1993
President Clinton urged China to cancel an underground nuclear test, assuring the Beijing government it had nothing to fear from the world's other atomic powers.
1994
As some 20 warships sat off the coast of Haiti, former President Jimmy Carter, Senator Sam Nunn (Democrat, Georgia) and retired General Colin Powell arrived in the Caribbean nation in an eleventh-hour bid to avert a US-led invasion.
1994
Heather Whitestone of Alabama was crowned "Miss America," the first deaf woman to win the title.
1995
Hong Kong held its last legislative election before the 1997 takeover by China, with some of Beijing's fiercest critics the big winners.
1996
A nonpartisan commission recommended that Ross Perot be denied a spot in presidential debates, saying he had no realistic shot at winning the White House; Perot vowed to sue.
1996
Former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew died in Berlin, Maryland, at age 77.
1997
A UN helicopter slammed into a fog-shrouded mountain in central Bosnia and burst into flames, killing German diplomat Gerd Wagner, five Americans and six others.
1997
President Clinton rejected a ban on land mines endorsed by 89 countries.
1997
Comedian Red Skelton died in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 84.
1998
In Mexico, gunmen apparently sent by a drug lord yanked three families from their beds before dawn and opened fire, killing 19 men, women and children near a popular Baja California resort.
1999
Supreme Court nominee David H. Souter concluded three days of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
1999
President Clinton lifted restrictions on trade, travel and banking imposed on North Korea a half-century earlier, rewarding it for agreeing to curb missile tests.
2005
Deadly car bomb explosion rocks Beirut
2005
Gwanda Chakuamba freed by Malawi court
2005
Navy helping New Orleans pets
2005
Hubble Space Telescope running on two gyroscopes
2005
Polls Closed in The New Zealand General Election
2005
Gaza looters destroy Palestine Authority property
2005
UN agrees on reform document
2005
Results of the New Zealand General Election
2005
Australian man allegedly ignites carpet, plastic with static electricity
2005
Results to be announced in the New Zealand General Election
2005
Voting chaos in Germany expected
2005
Saudi Arabia, UAE to support increasing oil production
2005
Nintendo unveils controller for Revolution console
2006
Nun murdered in Somalia after Pope's speech
2006
India, Pakistan decide to resume peace process
2006
Study: chemicals from cruciferous veggies kill cancer cells
2006
Mujahedeen Army issues threat of attack on Vatican City
2006
Set of CSI: Miami becomes real crime scene
2006
Maher says 'Free speech' segment on CBS News' not so Free
2006
Street protests in Hungary over PM's taped lies
2006
Pope apologises in person for the reaction to his comments
2007
A 1-year long strike against FMC Novamed: Women workers allege unfair treatment
2007
ING Taipei Marathon warming up competition goes to Kaohsiung
2007
ICC World Twenty20: Pakistan vs Sri Lanka
2007
US President Bush nominates Michael B. Mukasey as Attorney General
2007
Lord Ganapathi festival celebrations begin
2007
Flight data recorder recovered in Thailand crash; 89 confirmed dead
2008
WWE Raw Results from Memphis, TN for September 15, 2008
2008
Stock markets worldwide fall dramatically
2008
Discovery sheds light on flow of water in carbon nanotubes
2008
Russian stock markets suspended amid market turmoil
2008
Doha round negotiations might restart in a matter of weeks
2008
Controversy after leak of preliminary report into Spanair disaster
2008
Libertarian National Committee motion to chastise Ron Paul for not endorsing U.S. presidential nominee Bob Barr released
2008
US Federal Reserve prepares to take over AIG
2008
Tarja Turunen to perform at Doro Pesch's 25th anniversary concert and record duets with her
2009
Driver fined after following sat-nav to edge of cliff in West Yorkshire, England
2009
UK teens cleared of school massacre plot
2009
US fall foliage report: September 17
2009
Italian mafia implicated in radioactive waste dumping
2009
Swine flu, in-depth: worldwide report
2009
Cypriot court begins Greek air disaster trial
2009
Yukio Hatoyama formally elected Japanese prime minister
2010
Algerian teen falls to death in Mecca; rape, murder suspected
2011
Denmark elects new centre-left coalition and prime minister
2011
Zimbabwe minister warns media

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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