Today In History...
In 1844 Texas became a U.S. territory.
In 1853 The first truancy law was enacted in New York. A $50 fine was issued to parents whose children, aged 5-15, were absent from school.
In 1861 Fort Sumter, South Carolina, was shelled by the Confederacy, starting the Civil War.
In 1862 Union volunteers led by James J. Andrews stole a Confederate train near Marietta, Georgia, but were later caught.
In 1877 The catcher's mask was first used in a baseball game.
In 1892 The portable typewriter was patented by George C. Blickensderfer.
In 1894 A 3-day snowstorm dumped 30 inches on Pennsylvania and New York.
In 1934 The highest-velocity wind ever recorded, 231 mph, occurred at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire.
In 1934, F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "Tender is the Night" was first published by Scribner in New York.
In 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage, and Harry S. Truman became the 33rd U.S. president.
In 1955 The Salk vaccine against polio, developed by Dr. Jonas E. Salk, was declared "safe, potent, and effective."
In 1961 Soviet cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin became the first man in space, orbiting the Earth once aboard Vostok I.
In 1964 The Pink Panther made his first appearance in the Blake Edwards comedy film of the same name.
In 1966 B-52s began bombing North Vietnam.
In 1979 Soyuz 33 returned to Earth.
In 1981 The first Space Shuttle, Columbia, was launched, with astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen, on its first test flight.
In 1983 Chicago elected Harold Washington, the city's first black mayor.
In 1983 "Gandhi" dominated the 55th Academy Awards, winning Best Picture, Best Actor for Ben Kingsley, and Best Director for Richard Attenborough; Meryl Streep won Best Actress for "Sophie's Choice."
In 1985 Senator Jake Garn of Utah became the first U.S. Senator in space when Discovery 4 was launched.
In 1985 Kevin McCarthy ended the world's longest shower after 340 hours, 40 minutes, just over 2 weeks.
In 1985 A terrorist bombing killed 17 at a restaurant near a U.S. base in Spain.
In 1987 Texaco filed for bankruptcy.
In 1988 The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a patent to Harvard University for a genetically engineered mouse, the first time a patent was granted for an animal life form.
In 1989 Oliver North testified in his own defense that he had been "led to believe" everything he did was directed by President Reagan.
In 1989 Activist Abbie Hoffman was found dead at age 52.
In 1989 Former middleweight boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson died in Culver City, CA, at age 67.
In 1990 In its first meeting, East Germany's first democratically elected parliament acknowledged responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust and asked for the forgiveness of Jews and others who had suffered.
In 1991 Defense Secretary Dick Cheney announced plans to close 31 major U.S. military bases, including Fort Ord (CA) and Fort Dix (NJ).
In 1992 Euro Disney, a theme park costing $4 billion, opened in Marne-La-Vallee, France.
In 1993 NATO warplanes began enforcing a UN no-fly zone over Bosnia.
In 1994 Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell declined to be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1995 Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca made a $22.8 billion bid to buy the nation's #3 automaker.
In 1996 President Clinton named U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor to succeed the late Ron Brown as commerce secretary.
In 1997 Pope John Paul II, on a peace mission to Sarajevo, wades into crowds and declares, "Never again war."
In 1998 Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams appealed to IRA supporters to accept Northern Ireland's compromise peace accord.
In 1999 U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright cited President Clinton for contempt of court, concluding he had lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in a deposition in the Paula Jones case.
In 1999 A jury in Little Rock, AR, acquitted Susan McDougal of obstructing Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's Whitewater inquiry and deadlocked on two other charges, causing a mistrial.
In 2000 Attorney General Janet Reno meets in Miami with the U.S. relatives of Elian Gonzalez. Elian was seized by federal agents 10 days after Reno's order to turn him over.
In 2003 Women's activists took their fight against the all-male Augusta National as close as they could get to the Master's tournament.
In 2004 A federal judge allowed a nationwide ban on dietary supplements containing ephedra to take effect.
In 2009 Marilyn Chambers, the pretty Ivory Snow girl, helped bring adult films into the mainstream consciousness when she starred in the 1972 movie "Behind the Green Door." She was 56.