On This Day February 6

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1917 – Three days after U.S. President Woodrow Wilson severs diplomatic relations with Germany and warns that war would follow if American interests at sea were again assaulted, a German submarine torpedoes and sinks the passenger steamer California off the Irish coast.

1933 – The 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, establishing the beginning and ending of the terms of elected federal offices, takes effect. 

1937 – John Steinbeck’s novella, “Of Mice and Men,” the story of the bond between two migrant workers during the Great Depression, is published. Eight months later, the stage adaptation opens in New York and earns Steinbeck the New York Drama Critics’ Circle’s Best Play Award in 1938.

1952 – Princess Elizabeth becomes Queen of England when her father, King George VI, dies following a long illness. But it takes the 25-year-old Elizabeth more than a day to learn of her new royal status. She was on safari at the time, inside a Kenyan tree hut watching a herd of elephants gather at a watering hole.

1978 – One of the worst Nor’easters in New England history pounds the region for more than 30 hours, with wind gusts exceeding 100 mph and snowfall of four inches an hour. High tides cause damaging coastal flooding, while inland, thousands of cars are stranded in snow drifts. Remembered as “The Blizzard of ’78,” the monster storm leaves about 100 people dead and 4,500 others injured.

1993 – Tennis champion Arthur Ashe, the only African-American man to win Wimbledon and the U.S. and Australian Opens, dies of complications from AIDS, at age 49 in New York City.

On This Day December 23

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1783 – Following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, General George Washington resigns as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retires to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

1888 – Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, uses a razor to sever part of his left ear. He later documents the event in a painting titled “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.” Over years, however, a variety of new theories have emerged about this incident.

1913 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the Federal Reserve Act into law establishing the Federal Reserve, which continues serving as the nation’s central banking system today and is responsible for executing monetary policy.

1947 – John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley with Bell Laboratories unveil their invention of the transistor, which revolutionizes communications and electronics.

1968 – The crew and captain of the American intelligence gathering ship USS Pueblo are released after 11 months imprisonment by the North Korean government.

1986 – Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager complete the first non-stop flight around the world without refueling. They set a new world record of 216 hours of continuous flying in the experimental aircraft Voyager.

1993 – The movie “Philadelphia,” starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington, and directed by Jonathan Demme, opens in U.S. theaters. It is the first major Hollywood film to address the HIV/AIDS crisis and garners Hanks a Best Actor Oscar and Bruce Springsteen a Best Original Song Oscar for his track, “Streets of Philadelphia.”

On This Day December 9

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On This Day November 21

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On This Day September 27

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On This Day September 18

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