May 6


1835: James Gordon Bennett Sr. published the first issue of the New York Herald.

1882: The U.S. Congress overrode President Arthur’s veto and passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese immigrants from the United States for 10 years.

1889: The Eiffel Tower in Paris opened for the first time.

1940: John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.

1941: Bob Hope performed his first USO show, at March Field, Riverside, Calif.

1981: A jury of architects and sculptors unanimously selected Maya Ying Lin’s design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial from 1,421 other entries.

1994: The Channel Tunnel, “Chunnel,” opened, connecting England to France for the first time in millions of years.

2001: During a trip to Syria, Pope John Paul II became the first pope to enter a mosque.

2013: Three women missing for more than a decade were found alive in the Cleveland, Ohio; 52-year-old Ariel Castro was taken into custody.


May 7


1718: The city of New Orleans was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville.

1789: The first inaugural ball was held in New York to honor President and Mrs. George Washington.

1824: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony premiered in Vienna, Austria, conducted by Michael Umlauf under the composer’s supervision.

 1846: The Cambridge Chronicle, America’s oldest surviving weekly newspaper, was published for the first time in Cambridge, Mass.

1847: The American Medical Association was founded in Philadelphia.

1945: Germany formally surrendered to the Allies at Reims, France, ending World War II in Europe.

1978: Ethelda Bleibtrey, the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal, died at age 76 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

1998: Mercedes-Benz bought Chrysler for $40 billion and formed DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.

2000: Vladimir Putin was inaugurated as president of Russia.

2016: Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, became the first person to be killed while in a self-driving car. Brown was killed in Williston, Fla., when the front camera on his self-driving Tesla failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky.


May 8


1886: Pharmacist John Pemberton first sold a carbonated beverage named “Coca-Cola” as a patent medicine, in Atlanta, Ga.

1877: The first Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opened at Gilmore’s Gardens in New York City.

1912: Paramount Pictures was founded in Hollywood, Calif.

1951: Professor Malcolm H. Soule, scientist, killed himself with an injection of snake venom and morphine after being fired from his job as head of the department of bacteriology at the University of Michigan.

1976: The rollercoaster ‘Revolution,’ the first steel coaster with a vertical loop, opened at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif.

1978: Climbers Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler made the first ascent of Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen.


May 9


1887: Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show opened in London, England.

1960: The Food and Drug Administration approved Searle’s Enovid, making it the world’s first approved oral contraceptive pill.

1961: Jim Gentile of the Baltimore Orioles became the first player in baseball history to hit grand slams in consecutive innings. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow gave his famous speech to the convention of the National Association of Broadcasters in which he said television was a “vast wasteland.”

1974: The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee opened formal and public impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon in connection with the Watergate scandal.


May 10


1869: The First Transcontinental Railroad, linking the eastern and western United States, was completed at Promontory Summit, Utah, with a golden spike.

1872: Victoria Woodhull became the first woman nominated for president of the United States.

1908: Mother’s Day was observed for the first time in the United States, in Grafton, West Virginia.

1924: J. Edgar Hoover was appointed director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and remained so until his death in 1972.

1962: Marvel Comics published the first issue of The Incredible Hulk.

1975: Sony introduced the ill-fated Betamax videocassette recorder in Japan.

2002: FBI agent Robert Hanssen was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for selling U.S. secrets to Moscow for $1.4 million in cash and diamonds.


May 11


1792: Captain Robert Gray became the first documented white person to sail into the Columbia River.

1846: President James K. Polk asked for and received a Declaration of War against Mexico, starting the Mexican-American War.

1858: Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U.S. state.

1910: An act of U.S. Congress established Glacier National Park in Montana.

1924: Mercedes-Benz was formed by Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz merging their two companies.

1927: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded in Beverly Hills, Calif.

1987: The first heart-lung transplant took place, in Baltimore, Md. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bruce Reitz of the Stanford University School of Medicine.


May 12


551: National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, was founded in Lima, Peru.

1926: The Italian-built airship Norge becomes the first dirigible to fly over the North Pole.

1935: Alcoholics Anonymous was founded when Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith met for the first time in Akron, Ohio, at the home of Henrietta Siberling.

1978: The Commerce Department announced that hurricanes would no longer be given only female names.

1990: NBC’s Saturday Night Live was broadcast with a seven-second delay for the second (and so far last) time because producers wanted to bleep out anticipated profanity by guest host Andrew Dice Clay.