Today In History...
In 1842 Dr. Crawford W. Long of Jefferson, Georgia, first uses ether as an anesthetic during a minor operation.
In 1853 A patent is granted to Hyman Lipman for a pencil with an eraser.
In 1867 U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward reaches an agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million.
In 1870 The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving men the right to vote regardless of race, is declared in effect.
In 1870 Texas is re-admitted into the Union after the civil war.
In 1909 The Queensboro Bridge opens, linking the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Queens.
In 1945 The USSR invades Austria during World War II.
In 1948 Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi.
In 1950 The photo-transistor is invented.
In 1964 John Glenn withdraws from the Ohio race for the U.S. Senate because of injuries suffered in a fall.
In 1973 Ellsworth Bunker resigns as U.S. ambassador to South Vietnam, and is succeeded by Graham A. Martin.
In 1979 Airey Neave, a leading member of the British parliament, is killed by a bomb planted by the Irish National Liberation Army.
In 1981 President Reagan is seriously wounded in an attempt on his life outside a Washington, DC, hotel by John W. Hinckley Jr., who also shot and wounded press secretary James Brady, a secret service agent and a District of Columbia police officer.
In 1982 The space shuttle Columbia ends its third test flight with a smooth landing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
In 1983 A jury in Santa Monica, CA, decides that Groucho Marx's companion, Erin Fleming, had defrauded the late comedian, and awarded nearly a half a million dollars to the executor of Marx's estate.
In 1984 President Reagan formally ends the U.S. role in the multi-national peacekeeping force in Lebanon.
In 1986 James Cagney dies at his farm in Stanfordville, NY, at age 86.
In 1987 The Vincent Van Gogh painting "Sunflowers" is auctioned off for a record price of $39.9 million.
In 1987 The movie "Platoon" wins four Oscars including Best Picture. Paul Newman is named Best Actor for "The Color of Money," and Marlee Matlin Best Actress for "Children of a Lesser God."
In 1988 An attorney for Rev. Jimmy Swaggart said the televangelist would return to the pulpit; defying the National Assemblies of God who had suspended him for at least a year for "moral failure."
In 1989 "The Heidi Chronicles" by Wendy Wasserstein wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
In 1991 Patricia Bowman, a resident of Jupiter, FL, tells authorities she had been raped hours earlier by William Kennedy Smith, the nephew of Senator Edward Kennedy, at the family's Palm Beach estate.
In 1992 "The Silence of the Lambs" sweeps the 64th Academy Awards with Best Picture, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress (Jodie Foster), and Best Director (Jonathan Demme).
In 1993 Israeli authorities bar the West Bank's one million Palestinians from entering Israel after two traffic police officers were shot to death while sitting in a squad car.
In 1994 Serbs and Croats signed a cease-fire to end their war in Croatia while Bosnian Muslims and Serbs continued to battle each other.
In 1996 The space shuttle Atlantis narrowly avoided having to make an emergency landing when its cargo-bay doors wouldn't open at first to release built-up heat.
In 1998 Electronic stamps are approved for tests that would allow PCs and Internet links to print postage.
In 1998 Rolls-Royce is purchased by German automaker BMW for $570 million.
In 2002 The Queen Mother Elizabeth of England dies in her sleep at age 101.