September 18


1851: The New York Times began publishing.

1870: Old Faithful Geyser was observed and named by Henry D. Washburn during the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition to Yellowstone National Park.

1873: The U.S. bank Jay Cooke & Company declared bankruptcy, triggering a series of bank failures.

1895: Daniel David Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, gave the first chiropractic adjustment.

1919: Fritz Pollard became the first African-American to play professional football for a major team, the Akron Pros.

1970: Rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix, 27, died of a heroin overdose in London.

1973: Hungarian Finance Minister Péter Vályi fell into a blast furnace full of molten iron on a visit to a steelworks factory at Miskolc.

1977: Voyager I took the first photograph of the Earth and the Moon together.

2009: The final episode of The Guiding Light was broadcast, ending the soap opera’s 72-year run.


September 19


1468: Johanes Gutenburg, inventor of the printing press, died in Germany.

1881: 20th U.S. President James Abram Garfield died in Elberon, N.J., of a gunshot wound received July 2, 1881. (He became the second president to be assassinated. His assailant, a mentally ill man named Charles J. Guiteau, 40, was convicted of murder and hanged on June 30, 1882.)

1902: The congregation of Shiloh Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., stampeded to the exit, thinking the church on fire, trampling or suffocating 115 people to death.

1952: The United States barred actor/producer Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England. Chaplin moved to Switzerland and never returned.

1959: Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was barred from visiting Disneyland due to security concerns.

1976: Two Imperial Iranian Air Force F-4 Phantom II jets flew out to investigate an unidentified flying object when both independently lost instrumentation and communications as they approached, only to have them restored upon withdrawal. One of the aircraft also suffered temporary weapons systems failure while preparing to open fire. (The incident, recorded in a four-page U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report distributed to the White House, Secretary of State, Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency, remains one of the most well-documented military encounters with UFOs in history. Senior Iranian military officers directly involved with the event have gone on public record stating their belief that the object was not of earthly origin.)

1982: Computer scientist Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons 🙂 and 🙁 on the Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System.

1985: A strong earthquake killed thousands and destroyed about 400 buildings in Mexico City.

1991: Ötzi the Iceman, a naturally mummified man who lived 3,300 years ago, was discovered in the Alps by German tourists.

2003: Hurricane Isabel caused a rain of frog eggs in Berlin, Conn. The eggs came from North Carolina.


September 20


1973: Billy Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match.

2001: In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people,   President George W. Bush declared a “war on terror.”

2005: Richard Sumner, a British artist suffering from schizophrenia, went into a remote section of Clocaenog Forest in Denbighshire, Wales, handcuffed himself to a tree and threw the keys out of his reach. His skeleton was discovered three years later. There were signs that he may have later changed his mind.


September 21


1780: During the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold met with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money and a high position in the British army. (The plot was foiled and Arnold, a former American hero, became synonymous with the word “traitor.”)

1881: Chester Alan Arthur took the oath of office to become the 21st president, following the death of James Garfield, who was mortally wounded by an assassin on July 2 in Washington.

1912: Bugs Bunny animator Chuck Jones was born in Spokane, Wash.

1937: “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkein was first published.

1938: A hurricane struck parts of New York and New England, causing widespread damage and killing about 700 people.

1968: Singer Jeannie C. Riley became the first female performer to top the Billboard Country and Pop charts simultaneously, with “Harper Valley P.T.A.”

1981: Sandra Day O’Connor was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.


September 22


1862: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in only the Confederate States of America.

1888: The first issue of National Geographic magazine was published.

1889: Philosopher Martin Heidegger was born in Messkirch, Baden, Germany.

1975: Sara Jane Moore tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford but was foiled by Oliver Sipple.

1994: The television sitcom Friends, about six young adults living in New York City, debuted on NBC.

1995: An E-3B AWACS crashed outside Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, after multiple bird strikes to two of the four engines soon after takeoff. All 24 personnel on board were killed.

2011: Scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research announced their discovery of neutrinos breaking the speed of light.


September 23


1846: German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle discovered the planet Neptune while working at the Berlin Observatory.

1909: The Phantom of the Opera (original title: Le Fantôme de l’Opéra), a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux, was first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois.

1939: Psychologist Sigmund Freud died in London.

2010: A group of chefs at Harrah’s Fulton Square in New Orleans set a world record when they made a 2,469-pound macaroni and cheese as a fundraiser for New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, The Magnolia School, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans.


September 24


1780: Benedict Arnold fled to British Army lines when the arrest of British Major John André exposed Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point. (The name Benedict Arnold soon became synonymous with “traitor.”)

1789: The U.S. Congress passed the Judiciary Act which created the office of the U.S. Attorney General and the federal judiciary system, and ordered the composition of the Supreme Court of the United States.

1846: U.S. Army Gen. Zachary Taylor captured the city of Monterrey, in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, during the Mexican-American War.

1890: The Mormon church officially renounced polygamy.

1869: The “Black Friday” financial crisis began when President Ulysses S. Grant ordered the U.S. Treasury to sell large quantities of gold,  after Jay Gould and James Fisk plotted to control the market, causing gold prices to crash.

1906: President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower in Wyoming as the nation’s first national monument.

1912: Born this day: actor Don Porter (Gidget, died 1997), and Pulitzer-winning author Robert Lewis Taylor (The Travels of Jamie McPheeters, died 1998).

1935: The first outdoor rodeo under electric lights was held in Columbia, Miss.

1941: Born this day: NFL player John Mackey (Baltimore Colts, San Diego Chargers, died 2011), and singer/photographer Linda McCartney (Wings, died 1998).

1948: Honda Motor Company was founded in Tokyo. Born this day: actors Gordon Clapp (NYPD Blue), and Phil Hartman (Saturday Night Live, died 1998).

1957: President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered 101st Airborne Division troops to Little Rock, Ark., to enforce desegregation.

1960: USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launched at Newport News, Va.

1968: The CBS news program 60 Minutes debuted.

1979: CompuServe, based in Columbus, Ohio, became the first consumer internet service provider, offering the first public email service.