Henry IV, future King of England, was born.
Johann Gutenberg’s movable type technique was first used on this date. It could
make the production of manuscripts affordable for everyone.
General George Washington became Doctor Washington on this day when Harvard
University bestowed on him the honorary degree of “Doctor of Laws, the Law of
Nature and Nations and the Civil Law.”
Pierre-Fidele Bretonneau, an epidemiologist, was born in Tours, France. In 1825,
he was the first to successfully perform a tracheotomy. Pierre was the first
person who distinguished typhus from typhoid and was also the first to
clinically describe and name diphtheria.
Historian, diplomat, and storyteller, Washington Irving born in New York, New
One of America’s first oceanographers, Charles Wilkes was born on this day in
New York City. He led the first major U.S. oceanographic expedition from
1838-1842, which circled the globe and determined that Antartica (which was
named by Wilkes) is a continent.
The Pony Express made its first run, from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento,
California. The distance took the riders eight days.
Czar Alexander II liberated the serfs in Russia while in what is now the United
States of America Confederate states prepared to fight against the Union to
Union forces occupied Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy. Six
days later this brought about the surrender of the entire Confederate Army by
General Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House,
Virginia, ending the Civil War.
A native Hawaiian by the name of Holua made surfing history by successfully
riding a tidal wave.
James Carrington patented the coffee mill on this day.
Robert Ford shot the famed outlaw Jesse James dead in St. Joseph, Missouri. Ford
was a member of James’ own gang who decided he wanted to collect the reward
Thomas F. Bayard becomes the first American with the title of ambassador to a
foreign country when he was named Ambassador to Great Britain on this day.
The musician and piano player “Dooley” Wilson was born.
Time-Life publisher Henry R. Luce was born.
On this day the U.S. Army successfully tested an ingenious method for
transmitting messages between fortifications in Puerto Rico that were out of
sight of each other. They ran signal flags up ropes holding huge kits. As many
as 20 words could be sent at once. For longer messages, two kites were sent
aloft with a cable strung between them. Experiments were also conducted in
photographing enemy installations using the same method.
The Automobile Club of America, in one of its earliest meetings, proposed
building a system of transcontinental highways. The purpose of this was to
accommodate the increasing amount of motor cars in the country. The earliest
phase was roads from St. Augustine, Florida to Portland, Maine, as well as from
New York, New York, to San Francisco, California.
Queen Victoria departed London for her train trip to Ireland. Prior to her
departure the tracks and equipment were thoroughly inspected. The main engine
that pulled the private
train was called the "Prince of Wales". This was one of the two engines that
train. The trip was a slow one, since Queen Victoria did not like to travel at a
pace. The trip took over 11 hours to reach Holyhead, which at normal speeds
would have only taken 6 hours. Queen Victoria, at 80 years old, held the longest
reign in British
history. It began in 1837 and ended with her death in January of 1901.
On this day the Vanderbilt family acquired control of the Reading, Lehigh Valley, and the Erie railroad systems, under the guidance of William K. Vanderbilt, then unifying the production and transport of anthracite coal.
A painting called The Holy Family by the Flemish painter named Peter Paul Rubens
sold at an auction for $50,000
During a nine-week, 14,000 mile tour of the West, President Theodore Roosevelt
made a speech during a stopover in Milwaukee. He commended the recent passage of
anti-trust acts by the U.S. Congress.
Russia’s Czar Nicholas II narrowly averted a suicide-assassination plot against
him. A man disguised as a Cossack colonel entered the Imperial Palace. Two bombs
were discovered hidden under his coat just before the Czar came to review the
officers on duty for this week.
A bill was introduced in the statehouse in New Jersey that taxed facial hair.
Five dollars for ordinary whiskers, eight dollars for side whiskers, ten dollars
for a Van Dyke beard, fifteen dollars for mutton chops, and a whopping fifty
dollars for billygoat style.
William Howard Taft, who was Secretary of War at the time, was on an
inspection of the Panama Canal which was under construction at this time. Taft,
who could put a severe strain on any scale, surprised his hosts when he ordered
himself lowered in a bucket to the very bottom of the huge hole dug for the
center of Gatun Lock. The canal would open to commercial traffic 7 years later
on August 15, 1914.
An attempt by impresario Oscar Hammerstein to stage Richard Strauss’s 1905 opera
SALOME is banned by Boston because of its seductive dances.
The fourth Baron Gwydryr, Peter Robert died on this day. He was 99 years old.
He was the oldest person to serve in Britain’s House of Lords. He was present at
the coronation of Queen Victoria and three other monarchs.
In the Bahamas the largest sponge on record was taking off of Nassau. It was a
perfectly round natural sponge of the finest quality. It measured six feet in
circumference and two feet in diameter. It weighed 90 pounds when it was caught,
which reduced to 12 pounds when it dried out.
Two nights before the heavyweight championship fight was to take place, the
harbors around Havana became crowded with steamer ships filled to capacity with
fans who were struggling to make their way through the storms and rough waters
for a chance to watch the heavyweight fight. The heavyweight championship fight
was between Jess Willard, a 29 year old challenger from Kansas and Jack Johnson,
a 38 year old African-American (the first African-American to hold the title of
heavyweight champion). This fight was scheduled for 45 rounds. In the 26th
round, Jess Willard knocked out Jack Johnson. This was to be Johnson's last
fight as he retired after this battle.
The creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle arrived in the United
States on a mission to spread his belief in psychic phenomena and spiritualism.
Before this he visited mediums in England, France and Germany. These mediums
convinced him that psychic events do happen and form a scientific basis for
Singer and actress Doris Day was born.
Actor Marlon Brando was born.
The first edition of “The Raven,” which was Edgar Allan Poe’s own copy and had
his autograph on the cover was auctioned on this day by the family of a friend
of Poe whom he had given the copy to in the early 1840s. It sold for $7,500.
The first mobile lending library was started in Munich, Germany.
Montreal won the Stanley Cup on this day, taking four games straight from the
A little more than four years after the monsterous crime in which Charles A. Lindbergh’s
(the aviator hero) infant son was kidnapped and killed, Robert S. Elliot, the
official executioner, pulled the switch on Bruno Richard Hauptmann
at the state penitentiary in Trenton, New Jersey.
An act of Congress established Isle Royale, on Lake Superior as a National Park.
An island wilderness without roads and accessible only by boat and seaplane, the
park formed a “natural laboratory” which was later used in David Mech’s
important studies of wolves and their interactions with moose. These studies
showed wolves to be “prudent predators” and excellent parents, thus helping to
improve their public image.
Singer Wayne Newton was born.
The movie Stallion Road, staring the future President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, opened in theaters throughout the country.
“Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy was the
top box office hit.
On this day the German-American composer Kurt Weill, who was married to Lotte
Lenya, died in New York. He was best known for collaborating on satirical operas
with Bertolt Brecht.
David Sarnoff, a communications pioneer, chairman of the board of one of the
United States biggest corporation and holder of 21 honorary college degrees, was
awarded an honorary diploma from the high school he left in 1906 after
completing the eighth grade.
Actor and comedian Eddie Murphy was born.
The most winning jockey in the history of racing, Eddie Arcaro retired on this
date after a 31-year career and accumulating over $30 million in winnings.
The Beatles held the top five spots on the music charts.
Today marked the first launch of the first nuclear reactor in space, the “SNAP
10A”. It was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 1:25PM and started
generated power three and a half hours later. It stayed in operation for 43 days
and generated 500,000 watt-hours of electricity during that time.
The book The Source by James Michener was number 1 on the bestseller list.
Freddie Hart’s “My Hang-up Is You” was on the top of the country music charts.
The Baseball Player’s Association and the team owners agreed on this day to
expand the league championship series from the best of 5 to the best of 7 games.
Source: "Your Day: April 3"