Today In History...
In 1859 French acrobat Blondin, born Jean Francois Gravelet, crosses Niagara
Falls on a tightrope as 5,000 spectators watched.
In 1870 Ada Kepley of Effingham, Illinois, becomes America's first female
law school graduate.
In 1893 The Excelsior diamond (blue-white, 995 carats) is discovered.
In 1894 Korea declares independence from China and asks for Japanese aid.
In 1906 The Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act become law.
In 1914 Mahatma Gandhi is arrested in a campaign for Indian equal rights in
In 1921 President Harding appoints former President Taft chief justice of
the United States.
In 1930 First round-the-world radio broadcast is heard from Schenectady, NY.
In 1934 Adolf Hitler begins his "blood purge" of political and military
leaders in Germany. Among those killed was Ernst Roehm, leader of
the Nazi stormtroopers and Hitler's one-time ally.
In 1936 The novel "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell is published.
In 1936 Congress approves a 40-hour work week.
In 1948 The transistor is demonstrated in Murray Hill, New Jersey.
In 1952 "The Guiding Light," a popular radio program, makes its debut as a
TV soap opera on CBS.
In 1953 U.S. ground forces enter the Korean conflict.
In 1963 Pope Paul VI is crowned the 262nd head of the Roman Catholic Church
in St Peter's Square.
In 1971 The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified lowering to
minimum voting age to 18.
In 1971 A Soviet space mission ends in tragedy when three cosmonauts aboard
Soyuz II are found dead inside their spacecraft after its return
In 1977 President Carter announces he had decided against production of the
B-1 bomber, saying it was too costly. (Reagan later revives it.)
In 1983 Actress Mary Livingstone, wife of the late comedian Jack Benny, dies
at age 77.
In 1984 John Turner is sworn in as Canada's 17th prime minister, succeeding
Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
In 1984 Playwright Lillian Hellman dies in Vineyard Haven, MA, at age 79.
In 1985 A 17-day TWA hi-jacking ends when 39 Americans are released in
In 1986 In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that states could
outlaw homosexual acts between consenting adults.
In 1987 The prosecutor at the trial of Klaus Barbie in Lyon, France,
denounces the crimes of the former Nazi Gestapo official and
demanded the maximum sentence of life in prison.
In 1988 Renegade Roman Catholic Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre consecrated four
bishops in defiance of papal authority; the Vatican announced the
excommunication of all five.
In 1989 General Wojciech Jaruzelski announces he would not run for Poland's
In 1991 The federal base-closing commission votes to shut down 17 military
bases, including the massive Philadelphia Navy Shipyard, in addition
to seven facilities ordered closed two days earlier.
In 1992 Fidel Ramos is sworn in as the new president of the Philippines.
In 1992 Planes loaded with food and medicine arrive at the airport in
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, as part of an international relief
In 1993 Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy promises federal help for Midwestern
farmers as he began a tour of flood-damaged areas of Iowa, South
Dakota and Wisconsin.
In 1993 Actor George "Spanky" McFarland of "Our Gang" and "Little Rascals"
fame dies in Grapevine, Texas, at age 64.
In 1994 The U.S. Figure Skating Association strips Tonya Harding of the 1994
national championship and bans her from the organization for life
for an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan.
In 1994 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that judges can bar even peaceful
demonstrators from getting too close to abortion clinics.
In 1995 In a stunning Kremlin purge, Russian President Boris Yeltsin fired
In 1995 three top security ministers for the botched handling of a bloody
In 1995 ostage-taking by Chechen rebels in southern Russia.
In 1995 Actor Gale Gordon (Mr. Mooney-The Lucy Show) dies at age 89.
In 1996 Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic responds to international
pressure to step aside by handing his powers to an equally
In 1997 The BBC launches a news program for American public radio, targeting
the U.S. market for the first time.
In 1997 In Hong Kong, the Union Jack is lowered for the last time over
Government House as Britain prepared to hand the colony back to
China after ruling it for 156 years.
In 1998 The American Automobile Association (AAA) says one in four Americans
admits to aggressive driving.
In 1998 Officials confirm that the remains of a Vietnam War serviceman
buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery
were identified as those of Air Force pilot Michael J. Blassie.
In 2001 Doctors implanted a dual-purpose pacemaker in Vice President Dick
In 2001 President George W. Bush meets with Japanese Prime Minister
Junichiro Koizumi at Camp David.
In 2002 Parttime firefighter Leonard Gregg is charged with starting one of
the two wildfires that merged into a huge blaze in eastern Arizona.
In 2003 Comedian Buddy Hackett dies at age 79.
In 2004 After nearly seven years of travel, the international Cassini
spacecraft enters Saturn's orbit.
In 2013 19 fire fighters are killed controlling a wildfire in Yarnell, AZ.