On This Day April 10

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On This Day March 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1814 – European forces allied against Napoleonic France march triumphantly into Paris, formally ending a decade of French domination on the continent.

1842 – Anesthesia is used for the first time in an operation by Dr. Crawford Long. 

1858 – The first wooden pencil featuring a built-in rubber eraser on top is patented by Philadelphia inventor Hymen Lipman, who later sells his patent for $100,000 (about $2 million in today’s market). In 1875, The Supreme Court invalidates the patent, ruling that because the pencil combined two existing devices, it was not a legitimate invention. Nevertheless, this is observed as National Pencil Day.

1867 – U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7.2 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase is ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s Folly.” 

1964 – The popular game show “Jeopardy!” premieres on NBC with host Art Fleming. Alex Trebek takes over in 1984 and continues hosting until his death in 2020.

1981 – President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John Hinckley, Jr., who claims he was seeking to gain the attention of actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric hospital until 2016, when he is allowed to live with his mother in her Virginia home. Reagan is released from the hospital less than two weeks after the attempted assassination.

2009 – President Barack Obama issues an ultimatum to struggling American automakers General Motors (GM) and Chrysler: In order to receive additional bailout loans from the government, he says, the companies need to dramatically change the way they run their businesses. 

On This Day March 7

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary invention, the telephone, which remains a vital communications tool around the world today.

1924 – “The New Republic” publishes Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The work, beginning with the famous line “Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village though,” introduces millions of American students to poetry.

1933 – Unemployed during the Great Depression, Charles Darrow creates the board game Monopoly, which he personally sells for two years until Parker Brothers begins mass-marketing it in 1935. Darrow dies a millionaire in 1967.

1965 – A peaceful civil rights demonstration ends in violence in Selma, Alabama when many of the protesters are tear-gassed and beaten by white state troopers and sheriff’s deputies. The day’s events become known as “Bloody Sunday” and mark a tragic but important milestone in America’s civil rights movement. The clash was reported on national television and other media, spurring demonstrations in 80 cities across the country over the next few days.

1999 – Acclaimed screenwriter-director-producer Stanley Kubrick (“Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “The Shining,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “Eyes Wide Shut”) dies in England at the age of 70.

2010 – Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director, for the movie “The Hurt Locker,” about an American bomb squad that disables explosives in Iraq in 2004. Bigelow beats out directing heavyweights James Cameron (coincidentally, her ex-husband),  Lee Daniels, Jason Reitman and Quentin Tarantino.

On This Day March 5

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On This Day February 19

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On This Day January 28

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1915 – The American merchant ship William P. Frye becomes the first casualty of World War I as a German cruiser opens fire and sinks the vessel. Despite apologies from the German government, the attack sparks outrage in the U.S.

1922 – Ninety-eight guests are killed, 133 others are injured when the roof of Washington, D.C.’s Knickerbocker Theatre collapses under the weight of a heavy snowfall. The disaster ranks as one of Washington’s worst, and the “Knickerbocker Snowstorm,” as it is known, still holds the record for Washington’s single greatest snowfall.

1958 – The interlocking stud-and-tube plastic Lego brick is patented by Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, whose father founded the Lego toy company (“Lego,” from the Danish term “leg godt,” meaning “play well”). The colorful bricks have covered playroom floors for generations. In fact, it’s estimated that Lego has since produced the equivalent of 62 bricks for every human being on the planet.

1964 – The State Department accuses the Soviet Union of shooting down an unarmed Air Force trainer jet over East Germany, killing its three occupants.

1986 – A nation watches in horror as Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51-L) explodes 73 seconds into flight, killing teacher Christa McAuliffe — who was to have been the first civilian in space — and fellow crew members Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair and Gregory Jarvis.

1997 – Four apartheid-era police officers, appearing before a tribunal in South Africa, admit to the 1977 killing of Stephen Biko, a leader of the South African “Black consciousness” movement.

On This Day January 19

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On This Day November 16

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1907 – Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory collectively enter the United States as Oklahoma, the 46th state.

1915 – The patent for the iconic curved glass Coca-Cola bottle is awarded to the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana. Coca-Cola and Root Glass enter into an agreement to have six glass companies across the U.S. use the bottle shape. The contract called for the bottles to be colored with “German Green” which was later renamed “Georgia Green” in honor of Coke’s home state.

1945 – The United States implements “Operation Paperclip,” a top secret program that brings 88 German scientists to America to help develop rocket technology. The moves stirs controversy because many of the scientists, including Apollo program pioneer Wernher von Braun, had served under the Nazi regime.

1973 – President Richard Nixon authorizes construction of the Alaska Pipeline to meet America’s growing energy demands while reducing the nation’s reliance on foreign oil.

1977 – After terrifying audiences with “Jaws” two years earlier, director Steven Spielberg dazzles moviegoers with visitors from other worlds as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” opens in movie theaters.

1981 – Sixteen million TV viewers tune in to “General Hospital” on ABC for the much-anticipated Luke and Laura wedding.

2001 – “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” opens in U.S. movie theaters kicking off one of the most successful movie franchises of all time based on novels written by J. K. Rowling.

On This Day November 10

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On this Day July 10

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1850 – Vice President Millard Fillmore is sworn in as the 13th U.S. president. President Zachary Taylor had died the day before of a severe intestinal ailment. Fillmore becomes only the second man to inherit the presidency due to death.

1925 – The so-called “Monkey Trial” begins with John Thomas Scopes, a young high school science teacher, accused of teaching evolution in violation of a Tennessee state law. 

1962 –  Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin receives a U.S. patent for the three-point, lap-and-shoulder seatbelt he invented while head of safety at Volvo. Considered one of the most significant safety innovations of all time, the seatbelt is credited with saving millions of lives and preventing at least as many injuries in car crashes around the world. Bohlin received a gold medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science in 1995 and, in 1999, was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

1962 – NASA launches Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, from Cape Canaveral. Two days later, the man-made orb relays the first transatlantic television signal from Maine to France.

1978 – The ABC News nightly “World News Tonight” broadcast premieres, featuring co-anchors Frank Reynolds in Washington, D.C., Max Robinson in Chicago and Peter Jennings in London. 

1985 – French secret service agents plant two bombs on the hull of the Rainbow Warrior, the flagship of international conservation group Greenpeace, and sink the vessel in Auckland Harbor New Zealand. One crew member is killed in the blast, which was aimed at stopping the Rainbow Warrior from a protest mission to a French nuclear test site in the South Pacific.

1992 – The Alaska court of appeals overturns the conviction of Joseph Hazelwood, former captain of the oil tanker Exxon Valdez, citing a federal statute that gave him immunity from prosecution for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

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