1913: Death Valley, California, hit 134 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest officially recorded air temperature in the world.
1938: Howard Hughes completed a 91-hour airplane flight around the world and set a new record.
1958: Born this day: musician Béla Fleck, and Irish actress Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter movies, Three Men and a Little Lady).
1962: Telstar, the world’s first communications satellite, was launched into orbit.
1973: John Paul Getty III, a grandson of the oil magnate J. Paul Getty, was kidnapped in Rome, Italy. (He was released on Dec. 15, 1973, after his grandfather paid $2.9 million ransom.)
1997: Scientists in London reported the findings of the DNA analysis of a Neanderthal skeleton that supported the “out of Africa theory” of human evolution, placing an “African Eve” at 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
2002: At a Sotheby’s auction, Peter Paul Rubens’ painting The Massacre of the Innocents was sold for £49.5 million ($76.2 million) to Lord Thomson.
1914: Babe Ruth made his debut in Major League Baseball, with the Boston Red Sox.
1922: The Hollywood Bowl opened.
1960: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was first published.
2012: Astronomers announced the discovery of Styx, the fifth moon of Pluto.
1856: William Walker, originally of Tennessee, led a revolution and declared himself president of Nicaragua; he was court-martialed and executed in 1860.
1910: The Hon. Charles Stewart Rolls of Rolls Royce fame became the first Briton to be killed in a flying accident, when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during a flying display in the Southbourne district of Bournemouth, England. He was age 32.
1973: A fire destroyed the entire sixth floor of the National Personnel Records Center of the United States.
1923: A sign made of 50-foot-tall wooden letters spelling out “HOLLYWOODLAND” was dedicated in the Hollywood Hills to promote a subdivision. The final four letters were taken down in 1949.
1977: A 24-hour electrical blackout in New York City caused $1 billion in damage or lost revenue.
1853: The first major U.S. world’s fair, the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations, opened in New York City.
1865: The Matterhorn was ascended for the first time by Edward Whymper and party, four of whom died on the descent.
1838: Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered the Divinity School Address at Harvard Divinity School, discounting Bible miracles and declaring Jesus a great man, but not God. The Protestant community reacted with predictable outrage.
1910: In his book Clinical Psychiatry, Emil Kraepelin gave a name to Alzheimer’s disease, naming it after his colleague, Alois Alzheimer.
1916: William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt incorporated Pacific Aero Products (later renamed Boeing) in Seattle.
1922: The duck-billed platypus was displayed publicly for the first time.
2006: Twitter was launched; it would become one of the largest social media platforms in the world.
1935: The world’s first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City, Okla.
1945: The Atomic Age began when the United States successfully detonates a plutonium-based test nuclear weapon near Alamogordo, New Mexico.
1951: The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger was published for the first time by Little, Brown and Company.
1956: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus held its last “Big Tent” show in Pittsburgh, Pa. (All subsequent circus shows would be held in arenas.)
1969: Apollo 11, the first mission to land astronauts on the Moon, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Kennedy, Fla.
1973: During the Senate Watergate hearings, former White House aide Alexander P. Butterfield publicly revealed the existence of President Nixon’s secret Oval Office taping system.