January 8


1790: George Washington delivered the first State of the Union address in New York, New York.

1815: Gen. Andrew Jackson (seventh president, 1829-1837) won the Battle of New Orleans against the British.

1835: The United States national debt was zero for the first and only time.

1889: Herman Hollerith was issued US patent #395,791 for the ‘Art of Applying Statistics,’ his punched card calculator.

1994: Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 left for Mir. He stayed on the space station until March 22, 1995, for a record 437 days in space.


January 9


1788: Connecticut ratified the U.S. Constitution.

1839: The French Academy of Sciences announced the Daguerreotype photographic process.

1967: Born this day: rock musicians Dave Matthews (Dave Matthews Band), Carl Bell (Fuel) and Steve Harwell (Smash Mouth).

1972: The ocean liner Queen Elizabeth was destroyed by a fire of mysterious origin in Hong Kong harbor. (The listing, burned-out hull appeared in the 1974 James Bond movie Man With the Golden Gun starring Roger Moore. The hull was dismantled and removed shortly after filming was completed.)


January 10


1861: Florida became the third Southern state to secede from the Union.

1920: the League of Nations formally came into being when the Covenant of the League of Nations, ratified by 42 nations in 1919, took effect.

1923: President Warren G. Harding ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Germany, four years after the end of World War I.

1946: The United Nations convened for the first time in London, England.

2011: Swiss high-wire artist Freddy Nock walked 5,200 feet down the wire of a cable car on Mount Corvatsch near St. Moritz, Switzerland. He descended from an altitude of 10,836 feet to 8,865 feet.


January 11


1569: The first recorded lottery in England took place in London.

1759: The first life insurance company in America was incorporated, in Philadelphia.

1861: Alabama seceded from the United States.

1908: President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon a national monument.

1922: Insulin was first used to treat diabetes in a human patient.

1927: Louis B. Mayer, head of film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), announced the creation of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, at a banquet in Los Angeles, Calif.

1935: Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

1949: The first recorded instance of snowfall occurred in Los Angeles, Calif. The first “networked” TV programs were broadcast simultaneously on the East and West coasts.

1964: Surgeon General of the United States Dr. Luther Terry, M.D., published the landmark report ‘Smoking and Health: Report of the Advisory Committee to the Surgeon General of the United States,’ saying that smoking may be hazardous to health, sparking national and worldwide anti-smoking efforts.

1972: East Pakistan renamed itself Bangladesh.

2002: The first 20 kidnapped men arrived at Camp X-Ray at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.


January 12


1554: Bayinnaung was crowned King of Burma and went on to assemble the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia.

1893: Born this day: Hermann Göring, Nazi German officer (committed suicide on Oct. 15, 1946, the day of his scheduled execution; and Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi German architect and politician (executed on Oct. 16, 1946).

1900: The Detroit Automobile Company finished its first commercial vehicle, a delivery wagon. The wagon was designed by a young engineer named Henry Ford, who had produced his own first motorcar, the quadricycle, before joining the company. (Frustrated with his employers, Ford soon quit to start his own company.)

1905: Born this day: Jimmy Griffin, famous U.S. archaeologist (died 1997); and Tex Ritter, U.S. singer and actor (died 1974).

1908: A long-distance radio message was sent from the Eiffel Tower in Paris for the first time.

1915: The U.S. House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote. >:(

1918: Finland granted Finnish Jews full citizenship.

1921: Acting to restore confidence in baseball after the Black Sox Scandal, U.S. District Court Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866-1944) was elected as the first commissioner of Major League Baseball.

1930: Born this day: Tim Horton, Canadian ice hockey player and founder of Tim Hortons (died 1974); and Glenn Yarbrough, U.S. singer (“Baby the Rain Must Fall”)

1932: Ophelia Wyatt Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

1951: Born this day: radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh; actress Kirstie Alley; NFL player and sportscaster Drew Pearson; and musician Chris Bell (died age 27 in 1978.)

1962: Operation Chopper, the first American combat mission in the Vietnam War, took place.

1966: President Lyndon B. Johnson announced that the United States should stay in South Vietnam until communist aggression there was ended.

1967: Dr. James Bedford (1893-1967) became the first dead person whose body was cryonically preserved with the intent of future resuscitation. (His remains are preserved at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz.)

1969: The third AFL-NFL Championship Game became the first contest to be called “Super Bowl,” with Super Bowl III. In it, the New York Jets of the American Football League defeated the Baltimore Colts of the National Football League 16-7, in what is considered to be one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

1971: The controversial TV show All in the Family premiered on CBS.

1991: The U.S. Congress declared war to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

2004: RMS Queen Mary 2 made its maiden voyage and became the world’s largest ocean liner.

2007: Comet McNaught reached perihelion and became the brightest comet in more than 40 years.


January 13


1928: RCA and General Electric installed experimental television sets in three homes in Schenectady, N.Y. The screen on each set was 1½ inches square.

2007: Jennifer Strange, a 28-year-old woman from Sacramento, Calif., died of water intoxication while trying to win a Nintendo Wii console in a KDND 107.9 “The End” radio station’s “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest, which involved drinking large quantities of water without urinating.


January 14


1514: Pope Leo X issued a papal bull against slavery.

1943: Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. President to travel by airplane while in office when he flew from Miami to Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill.

1952: NBC’s morning news program Today debuted with host Dave Garroway.

1954: The Hudson Motor Car Co. merged with Nash-Kelvinator, an automaker formed by the merger of the Nash automobile firm and the Kelvinator kitchen-appliance company. The new company was called American Motors Corporation. (It went out of business in 1987.)