Today in 1836, President Andrew Jackson announced to Congress the bequest by James Smithson of 100,000 gold sovereigns to found an institution in Washington. We now know it as the Smithsonian Institute.
Today in 1847, the first adhesive postage stamps were issued in the U.S.
Today in 1941, the first TV commercial was aired. It was for the Bulova Watch Company.
Today in 1946, the United States exploded a 20-kiloton atomic bomb near Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
Today in 1979, the Sony Walkman first went on sale.
Today in 1979, Susan B. Anthony, an activist for the cause of women's suffrage, was commemorated on a U.S. coin, the Susan B. Anthony dollar. The coin was often confused with a quarter, so the U.S. Treasury Department eventually stopped producing them. They took as many as possible out of circulation…but they still exist!
Today in 1986,the movie rating PG-13 was introduced to denote a film with sex and/or violence that previously fell in that gray area between PG and R.
Today in 1987, eleven-year old John Kevin Hill landed at National Airport in Washington, D.C. and became the youngest aviator to fly across the United States.
Today in 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated federal appeals court judge Robert H. Bork to the Supreme Court, setting off a tempestuous confirmation process that ended with Bork’s rejection by the Senate
Today in 1988,after three guards were suspended for off-duty cocaine use, President Reagan instituted random drug testing for all White House employees.
Today in 1991, Court TV (Courtroom Television Network) was born. The cable TV network broadcast entire trials, both famous and low profile. In 2008, the channel transitioned to truTV.
Today in 1991, President George H.W. Bush nominated federal appeals court judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, beginning an ultimately successful confirmation process marked by allegations of sexual harassment.
Today in 2000, in ceremonies simple and elaborate, gay couples around Vermont stood before justices of the peace and clergy to be legally joined as spouses. It wasn't quite marriage, but Vermont's new civil unions law, which took effect this day, granted them all the rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage in the state. Though not on a federal level.
Today in 2000, South Carolina lowered the Confederate flag, widely considered a symbol of racism against Blacks in the United States, from its Capitol dome amid a chorus of protests. At a midday ceremony, state officials lowered the flag from the Statehouse. They then raised a Confederate battle flag on a 30-foot pole at the Confederate Soldier Monument directly in front of the Capitol.
Today in 2000, one person was killed and at least 75 people were injured at the Lonz Winery when the terrace floor gave way, dropping victims and rubble 20 feet into an old wine cellar. The winery is located on Middle Bass Island, Ohio, in Lake Erie.
Today in 2002, the International Criminal Court was established to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.
Today in 2008, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver agreed to pay $5.5-million to settle 18 more claims by people who said they’d been sexually abused by priests when they were children.
Today in 2013, President Barack Obama, during a visit to Tanzania, brushed aside sharp European criticism, suggesting that all nations spy on each other as the French and Germans expressed outrage over allegations of U.S. eavesdropping on European Union diplomats.
Today in 2015, the United States and Cuba announced an agreement to re-open embassies and establish full diplomatic ties.
Today in 2018, there were massive protests nationwide over Trump administration immigration policies.