Today in History
1698 – Russia's Peter the Great imposed a tax on beards.
1774 – The first session of the U.S. Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia. The delegates drafted a declaration of rights and grievances, organized the Continental Association, and elected Peyton Randolph as the first president of the Continental Congress.
1793 – In France, the 'Reign of Terror' began. The National Convention enacted measures to repress the French Revolutionary activities.
1836 – Sam Houston was elected as the first president of the Republic of Texas.
1877 – Sioux chief Crazy Horse was killed by the bayonet of a U.S. soldier. The chief allegedly resisted confinement to a jail cell.
1881 – The American Red Cross provided relief for disaster for the first time. The disaster was the Great Fire of
1881 in Michigan.
1882 – The first U.S. Labor Day parade was held in New York City.
1885 – Jake Gumper bought the first gasoline pump to be manufactured in the U.S.
1900 – France proclaimed a protectorate over Chad.
1901 – The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues was formed in Chicago, IL. It was the first organized baseball league.
1905 – The Treaty of Portsmouth was signed by Russia and Japan to end the Russo-Japanese War. The settlement was mediated by U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in New Hampshire.
1906 – Bradbury Robinson executed the first legal forward pass in football. Robinson threw the ball to Jack Schneider of St. Louis University in a game against Carroll College.
1914 – Babe Ruth hit his first home run as a professional player in the International League.
1914 – The Battle of the Marne began. The Germans, British and French fought for six days killing half a million people.
1917 – Federal raids were carried out in 24 cities on International Workers of the World (IWW) headquarters. The raids were prompted by suspected anti-war activities within the labor organization.
1930 – Charles Creighton and James Hagris completed the drive from New York City to Los Angeles and back to New York City all in reverse gear. The trip took 42 days in their 1929 Ford Model A.
1938 – The NBC Red network broadcast 'Life Can Be Beautiful' for the first time.
1939 – The U.S. proclaimed its neutrality in World War II.
1945 – Iva Toguri D'Aquino was arrested. D'Aquino was suspected of being the wartime radio propagandist 'Tokyo Rose'. She served six years and was later pardoned by U.S. President Ford.
1953 – The first privately operated atomic reactor opened in Raleigh, NC.
1957 – Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road' was first published.
1958 – The first color videotaped program was aired. It was 'The Betty Freezor Show' on WBTV-TV in Charlotte, NC.
1958 – Boris Pasternak's 'Doctor Zhivago' was published for the first time in the U.S.
1960 – Cassius Clay of Louisville, KY, won the gold medal in light heavyweight boxing at the Olympic Games in Rome, Italy. Clay later changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
1961 – The U.S. government made airline hijacking a federal offense.
1971 – J.R. Richard (Houston Astros) tied Karl Spooner’s record when he struck out 15 batters in his major-league baseball debut.
1977 – The U.S. launched Voyager .
1980 – The St. Gothard Tunnel opened in Switzerland. It is the world's longest highway tunnel at 10.14 miles long.
1982 – Eddie Hill set a propeller-driven boat water speed record when he reached 229 mph.
1983 – U.S. President Reagan denounced the Soviet Union for shooting down a Korean Air Lines. Reagan demanded that the Soviet Union pay reparations for the act that killed 269 people.
1983 – 'Sports Illustrated' became the first national weekly magazine to use four-color process illustrations on every page.
1983 – The 'MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour' on PBS (Public Broadcasting System) became the first hour-long network news show.
1984 – The space shuttle Discovery landed after its maiden voyage.
1984 – Mortimer Zuckerman purchased the newsmagazine, 'U.S. News & World Report' for $163 million.
1985 – Rioting in South Africa spilled into white neighborhoods for the first time.
1986 – Merv Griffin aired his final program for Metromedia Television after 23 years on various talk shows.
1986 – NASA launched DOD-1.
1989 – Chris Evert retired from professional tennis after a
19 year career.
1989 – Deborah Norville became the news anchor of the 'Today' show.
1990 – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein urged for a Holy War against the West and former allies.
1991 – Soviet lawmakers created an interim government to usher in the confederation after dissolving the U.S.S.R. The new name the Union of Sovereign States was taken.
1992 – A General Motors Corporation strike ended with a new agreement being approved. Nearly 43,000 workers were on strike.
1995 – France set off an underground nuclear blast in the South Pacific.
1996 – The play 'Summer and Smoke' opened at the Criterion Theatre.
2001 – Fox News Channel terminated Paula Zahn for breach of contract.
2003 – In London, magician David Blaine entered a clear plastic box and then suspended by a crane over the banks of the Thames River. He remained there until October 19 surviving only on water.