Dec 17, 1843. This holiday classic by Charles Dickens was published in a print run of 6,000 copies that sold out in one week. By Jan 6,1844, another 2,000 were sold. The reformation of Ebenezer Scrooge ( Bah humbug!) has remained immensely popular.
Dec 17, 1903. Orville and Wilbur Wright, brothers, bicycle-shop operators, inventors and aviation pioneers, after three years of experimentation with kites and gliders, achieved the first documented successful powered and controlled flights of an airplane. The flights, near Kitty Hawk, NC, piloted first by Orville and then by Wilbur Wright, were sustained for less than one minute but represented mans first powered airplane flight and the beginning of a new form of transportation. Orville Wright was born at Dayton, OH, Aug 19, 1871, and died there Jan 30, 1948. Wilbur Wright was born at Millville, IN, Apr 16, 1867, and died at Dayton, OH, May 30, 1912.
he was the first African American to graduate from West Point in the 20th century; he led the first all-black air unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron (the Tuskegee Airmen), in WWII; he helped plan the integration of the US Air Force in 194849 and he was the Air Forces first black general (1954). He died at Washington, DC, on July 4, 2002.
Dec 18, 1886. One of the all-time-great baseball players. Bornat Narrows, GA, Cobb had a lifetime batting average of .367 compiled over 24 years, during which he played in more than 3,000 games mostly for the Detroit Tigers. His runs scored record was not broken until 2001, and his stolen bases record stood until 1979. Cobb was among the first five players inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. A savvy businessman who quickly realized the value of using his celebrity for marketing, Cobb died at Atlanta, GA, on July 17, 1961.
On the Monday following the second Wednesday in December in presidential election years, the Electors formally cast their ballots for president and vice president of the US, meeting in their respective state capitals. The Electors ballots will be transmitted to the Seat of Governmentof the United States, directed to the President of the Senate, who in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, at 1 pm on Jan 6following the election, officially counts the electoral votes and announces the result, legally completing the election process if any candidate has received a majority of the electoral votes.
Dec 20, 1860. South Carolinas legislature voted to secede from the US, the first state to do so. Within six weeks, five more states seceded. On Feb 4, 1861, representatives from the six states met at Montgomery, AL, to establish a government and on Feb 9 Jefferson Davis was elected president of the Confederate States of America. By June 1861, 11 stateshad seceded.
Dec 20, 1606. Three small ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, commanded by Captain Christopher Newport, departed London, England, bound for America, where the royally chartered Virginia Companys approximately 120 persons established the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States at Jamestown, VA, May 14, 1607.
Dec 21, 1913. The first crossword puzzle was compiled by Arthur Wynne and published in a supplement to the New York World.
Dec 21, 1988. Pan Am World Airways Flight 103 exploded in midair and crashed into the heart of Lockerbie, Scotland, the result of a terrorist bombing. The 259 passengers and crew members and 11 persons on the ground were killed in the disaster. The tragedy raised questions about security and the notification of passengers in the event of threatened flights. In the resultant investigation it was revealed that government agencies andthe airline had known that the flight was possibly the target of a terrorist attack.
On 21 December 1620, the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, present-day Massachusetts, aboard the Mayflower.
Dec 21 Mar 20, 2017. In the Northern Hemisphere winter beginstoday with the winter solstice, at 5:44 AM, EST. Note that in the Southern Hemisphere today is the beginning of summer. Between the equator and Arctic Circle the sunrise and sunset points on the horizon are farthest south for the year and daylight length is minimum (ranging from 12 hours, 8 minutes, at the equator to zero at the Arctic Circle).
Dec 22, 1952. Named by a three-year-old after watching a test broadcast of the opening sequence (a hand ringing a bell), Ding Dong School was one of the first childrens educational series. Miss Frances (Dr. Frances Horwich, head of Roosevelt Colleges education department at Chicago) was the host of this weekday show.
Dec 22, 1858. Italian composer of such operas as La Boheme, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Born at Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, he died Nov 29, 1924, at Brussels, Belgium.
On 23 Dec 23, 1913. Established pursuant to authority contained in the United States Federal Reserve Act of Dec 23, 1913, the system serves as the nation’s central bank, with the responsibility for execution of monetary policy. It contributes to the strength and vitality of the US economy, in part by influencing the lending and investing activities of commercial banks and the cost and availability of money and credit.
The Christmas-time non holiday” of Festivus
Dec 23, 1805. The founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was born at Sharon, VT. He was assassinated by an armed mob on June 27, 1844, at Carthage, IL.
Dec 23, 1975. The Congress of the US passed Public Law 94 168, known as the Metric Conversion Act of 1975. This act declares that the SI (International System of Units) will be this countrys basic system of measurement and establishes the United States Metric Board, which is responsible for the planning, coordination and implementation of the nations voluntary conversion to SI. (Congress had authorized the metric system as a legal system of measurement in the US by an act passed July 28, 1866. In 1875, the US became one of the original signers of the Treaty of the Metre, which established an international metric system.)
Dec 23, 1947. John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley of Bell Laboratories shared the 1956 Nobel Prize for their invention ofthe transistor, which led to a revolution in communications and electronics. It was smaller, lighter, more durable and more reliable and generatedless heat than the vacuum tube that had been used up to that time.
Dec 25. Christian festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Most popular of Christian observances, Christmas as a Feast of the Nativity dates from the fourth century. Although Jesuss birth date is not known, the Western church selected Dec 25 for the feast, possibly to counteract the non-Christian festivals of that approximate date. Many customs from non-Christian festivals (Roman Saturnalia, Mithraic suns birthday, Teutonic yule, Druidic and other winter solstice rites) have been adopted as part of the Christmas celebration (lights, mistletoe, holly and ivy, holiday tree, wassailing and gift giving, for example). Some Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas Jan 7 based on the old calendar (Julian). Theophany (recognition of the divinity of Jesus) is observed on this date and also on Jan 6, especially by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Dec 25, 1821. Clarissa Harlowe Barton, American nurse and philanthropist, founder of the American Red Cross, was born at Oxford, MA. In 1881, she became first president of the American Red Cross (founded May21, 1881). She died at Glen Echo, MD, Apr 12, 1912.
Dec 25, 1776. One of the most famous events of the American Revolution happened on a bleak Christmas night, during driving snow. GeneralGeorge Washington led 2,400 men across the Delaware River at McConkeys Ferry, Bucks County, PA, to conduct a surprise attack on Hessian troops at Trenton, NJ. Local fishermen conducted the troops across the river, finally assembling at 3: 00 AM on the other side. Washington achieved victory at Trenton, a key event that changed the course of the war to the rebelling colonists favor.
Dec 26. Ordinarily observed on the first day after Christmas. Alegal holiday in Canada, the United Kingdom and many other countries. Formerly (according to Robert Chambers) a day when Christmas gift boxes were regularly expected by a postman, the lamplighter, the dustman and generally by all those functionaries who render services to the public at large, without receiving payment therefore from any individual. When Boxing Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the Monday or Tuesday immediately following may be proclaimed or observed as a bank or public holiday.
Dec 26, 1792. English mathematician, born at Teignmouth, England. He developed the principles on which modern computers are designed. Babbage died at London, England, Oct 18, 1871.