Today In History...
In 1790 Samuel Slater opened the first U.S. textile factory in Rhode Island.
In 1891 Basketball is believed to have been played for the first time at Springfield College in Massachusetts.
In 1898 Scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium.
In 1913 The first crossword puzzle was published in the Sunday supplement of the New York World.
In 1914 The first feature-length silent film comedy, "Tillie's Punctured Romance," was released.
In 1929 First group hospital insurance plan went into effect in Dallas, Texas.
In 1933 Human blood serum was first prepared.
In 1937 Walt Disney's "Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs," the first feature-length animated movie in Technicolor, premieres.
In 1940 Author, F. Scott Fitzgerald dies in Hollywood at age 44.
In 1942 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that all states must recognize divorces granted in Nevada.
In 1945 General George S. Patton died of injuries he suffered in a car accident in Heidelberg, Germany.
In 1948 The state of Eire (formerly the Irish Free State) declared itself a republic and withdrew from the British Commonwealth.
In 1958 Charles de Gaulle was elected to a 7-year term as the first president of France's Fifth Republic.
In 1968 Apollo VIII (Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders) was launched on its way to make the first manned orbit around the moon.
In 1969 Vince Lombardi coached his last football game, as his team, the Washington Redskins lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-10.
In 1971 The U.N. Security Council chose Kurt Waldheim to be secretary-general, succeeding U Thant.
In 1973 Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, the U.S., and the USSR met in Geneva.
In 1976 The Liberian-registered tanker Argo Merchant ran aground near Nantucket Island, spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Atlantic Ocean.
In 1978 33 bodies were found under mass murderer John Gacy's house in Chicago, Illinois.
In 1980 Casey Kasem and actress Jean Thompson were married in Beverly Hills.
In 1984 Soviet Deputy Premier Ivan V. Arkhipov arrived in Beijing, becoming the highest-ranking representative of his government to visit China in 15 years.
In 1987 In New York, 3 white teenagers from the Howard Beach section of Queens were convicted of manslaughter in the death of a black man who was chased onto a highway, where he was struck by a car.
In 1988 Pan Am flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 aboard the Boeing 747 and 11 on the ground.
In 1989 Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu delivered what turned out to be his final speech. (Ceausescu fled from power and was executed four days later.)
In 1990 British Prime Minister John Major met with President Bush at Camp David, Maryland.
In 1991 Eleven of the twelve former Soviet republics proclaimed the birth of the Commonwealth of the Independent States and the death of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
In 1991 Cable TV and sports magnate Ted Turner marries actress Jane Fonda.
In 1992 Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic won re-election.
In 1992 President-elect Clinton tapped Richard Riley as education secretary and Hazel O'Leary as energy secretary.
In 1994 A firebomb on a crowded New York City subway train injured 48. Unemployed computer programmer Edward Leary was later convicted of attempted murder.
In 1995 A train collision outside Cairo, Egypt, claimed 75 lives.
In 1995 The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.
In 1996 After two years of denials, House Speaker Newt Gingrich admitted to violating House ethics rules.
In 1997 President Clinton, accompanied by his wife and daughter, left for Bosnia to announce that he wanted U.S. troops to remain there indefinitely as the region recovered from its devastating war.
In 1998 Israel's parliament voted for early elections, signaling the demise of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ailing hard-line government.
In 1999 Security was ordered tightened at American airports amid heightened concerns about the possibility of a holiday terrorist attack.
In 2002 President Bush received a smallpox vaccination, fulfilling a promise he'd made when he ordered inoculations for about a half-million U.S. troops.
In 2003 More than 150 people were killed in mudslides in the Philippines.
In 2004 The Associated Press told the Bowl Championship Series to stop using its college football poll to determine which teams would play for the national title and bowl games.
In 2021 The Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year.