February 5


1908: Born this day: swing musician Bob Dunn, first person to record an electrically amplified instrument (died 1971); and famous English conjoined twins Daisy and Violet Hilton (died 1969).

1924: The Royal Greenwich Observatory began broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC pips.”

1937: President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a plan to enlarge the Supreme Court of the United States so he could pack it with justices who supported his policies. (The plan was defeated.)

1945: Gen. Douglas MacArthur honored his promise made two years earlier and returned to the Philippines.

1958 A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb was lost in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Savannah, Ga., by the U.S. Air Force and never recovered.

1976: The 1976 swine flu outbreak began at Fort Dix, N.J.

1985: Ugo Vetere, then-mayor of Rome, Italy, and Chedli Klibi, then-mayor of Carthage, Tunisia, met in Tunis to sign a treaty officially ending the Third Punic War, which lasted 2,131 years.


February 6


1843: The first minstrel show in the United States, The Virginia Minstrels, opened at Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City.

1952: Elizabeth II became queen regnant of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms upon the death of her father, George VI. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a treehouse at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.

1959: Jack Kilby (1923-2005) of Texas Instruments filed the first patent for an integrated circuit.

1978: The Blizzard of 1978, one of the worst Nor’easters in New England history, hit the region, with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall of four inches an hour.

1988: Michael Jordan made his first slam dunk from the free throw line, inspiring Air Jordan and the Jumpman logo.


February 7


1935: The board game Monopoly was invented.

1940: The second full-length animated Walt Disney film, Pinocchio, premiered.

1962: The United States banned all Cuban imports and exports.

1964: The Beatles first arrived in the United States. Their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show two days later marked the beginning of the British Invasion.

1979: Pluto moved inside Neptune’s orbit for the first time since either was discovered.

1990: The dissolution of the Soviet Union began as the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party agreed to give up its monopoly on power.

1992: The Maastricht Treaty was signed, leading to the creation of the European Union. (Maastricht is the oldest continually inhabited city in the Netherlands, founded by the Roman Empire in the 1st century A.D.)


February 8


1952: Elizabeth II was proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom.

1960: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom issued an Order-in-Council, stating that she and her family would be known as the House of Windsor, and that her descendants will take the name “Mountbatten-Windsor.” The first eight brass star plaques were installed in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1963: The first publicly advertised full-color television program in the world was broadcast in Mexico City by XHGC-TV, Channel 5, due to technical breakthrough advances made by Mexican Engineer Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena.

1971: The NASDAQ stock market index opened for the first time.

1978: The proceedings of the U.S. Senate were broadcast on radio for the first time.

1993: General Motors sued NBC after Dateline NBC allegedly rigged two crashes intended to demonstrate that some GM pickups can easily catch fire if hit in certain places. (NBC settled the lawsuit the next day.)

2013: A blizzard disrupted transportation and left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity in the Northeastern U.S. and parts of Canada.


February 9


1895: William G. Morgan created a game called Mintonette, which soon became referred to as volleyball.

1950: U.S. Sen. Joseph McCarthy accused the U.S. Department of State of being filled with communists.

1964: The Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show before a record TV audience of 73 million viewers.

1965: The first U.S. combat troops were sent to South Vietnam.


February 10


1940: The Soviet Union began mass deportations of Polish citizens from occupied eastern Poland to Siberia.

1942: Sixty-five days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. government shut down civilian automobile production in order to produce war munitions. The first gold record was presented to Glenn Miller for “Chattanooga Choo Choo.”

1954: President Dwight Eisenhower warned against    U.S. intervention in Vietnam.

1962: Captured American U2 spy-plane pilot Gary Powers (1929-1977) was exchanged for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (1903-1971). U.S. artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) opened his first solo exhibition; it included Look Mickey, which featured his first use of Ben-Day dots, speech balloons and comic book images, all of which he is known for now.

1989: Ronald Harmon “Ron” Brown (1941-1996) was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee, becoming the first African American to lead a major American political party.

1996: IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov (1963- ) in chess for the first time.

1998: Voters in Maine repealed a gay rights law passed in 1997 to become the first U.S. state to abandon such a law.


February 11


1938: BBC Television produced the world’s first science-fiction television program, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Čapek play R.U.R., that coined the term “robot.”

1939: A Lockheed P-38 Lightning flew from California to New York in seven hours two minutes, averaging about 428 mph.

1953: President Dwight D. Eisenhower refused a clemency appeal for convicted spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, American citizens who supplied the Soviet Union with classified information about the atomic bomb

1962: Born this day: U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis. (Wisconsin’s first female U.S. senator, and the first openly gay senator in U.S. history); and singer-songwriter and actress Sheryl Crow.

1967: A Pennsylvania Railroad employee and his companion fled in fear from a glowing object hovering a few feet above a creek bed near Milford, Ohio.

1978: China lifted its ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens.

1990: Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa, after 27 years as a political prisoner. In one of the largest upsets in sports history, Buster Douglas, a 40-1 underdog, knocked out Mike Tyson in 10 rounds in Tokyo to win the boxing world heavyweight title.

2001: A Dutch programmer launched the Anna Kournikova virus, infecting millions of emails via a trick photo of the tennis star.

2010: U.S. pennies with a new “union shield” design on the back were officially released at a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Ill.