December 5

1931: The first wooden money issued as legal tender in the United States was made in Tenino, Wash., after the town’s only bank closed, leaving the town without a ready supply of cash to do business. Denominations of 25 cents, 50 cents and $1 were printed on three-ply Sitka spruce.


December 6

      1865: The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, banning slavery.


December 7

1869: Outlaw Jesse James (1847-1882) committed his first confirmed bank robbery, in Gallatin, Mo.

December 8

1962: The longest newspaper strike in U.S. history began when workers at four New York City newspapers (Daily News, New York Journal American, The New York Times, New York World-Telegram & Sun) walked off the job. The strike soon expanded to five more papers  (New York Daily Mirror, New York Herald Tribune, New York Post, Long Island Star Journal, Long Island Daily Press. The strike ended 114 days later, on March 31, 1963.)

December 9

1888: Statistician Herman Hollerith (1860-1929) installed his computing device, a punch-card tabulator, at the U.S. War Department, thus beginning the era of automatic data processing systems. (His design dominated the computing landscape for almost 100 years, and he is widely regarded as “The father of modern machine data processing.”)

1953: General Electric announces that all communist employees would be fired immediately.

1962: Petrified Forest National Park was established in Arizona.

1979: The smallpox virus was certified as eradicated, making it the first and to date only human disease driven to extinction.


December 10

1884: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1835-1910) was published for the first time, in Canada and the United Kingdom, by Charles L. Webster And Company.

1906: Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) became the first U.S. president to win a Nobel Prize when he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in mediating the Russo-Japanese War.

1909: Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940) became the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

1965: The Grateful Dead performed its first concert under this new name, in San Jose, Calif., during one of author Ken Kesey’s “Acid Tests,” a notorious series of LSD-fueled parties.


December 11

1968: The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus featuring The Rolling Stones, Jethro Tull (band), The Who, Taj Mahal (musician), Marianne Faithfull, The Dirty Mac, Yoko Ono, Sir Robert Fossett’s Circus, and the Nurses, was filmed at the Intertel (V.T.R. Services) Studio, Wycombe Road, Wembley.