Today in History – February 16

600 – Pope Gregory the Great decreed that saying “God bless You” is the correct response to a sneeze.

1659 – The first known check was written (£400). It is now on display at Westminster Abbey.

1741 – Benjamin Franklin’s began publishing his General Magazine.

1804 – First Barbary War: Stephen Decatur led a raid to burn the pirate-held frigate USS Philadelphia.

1838 – Kentucky passed a law which permitted women to attend school under certain conditions.

1852 – The Studebaker Brothers wagon company was established.  It was the precursor of the automobile manufacturer.

1859 – The French Government passed a law which set the A-note above middle C to a frequency of 435 Hz, in an attempt to standardize the pitch.

1861 – Abraham Lincoln stopped his train at Westfield on his way to Washington to thank 11-year old Grace Bedell in person for her advice to grow a beard to gain more votes.

1883 – The “Ladies Home Journal” began publishing.

1914 – The first airplane flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

1923 – Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

1932 – The first patent for a tree was issued to James Markham for a peach tree.

1937 – Wallace H. Carothers received a United States patent for nylon.

1938 – “Bringing Up Baby”, a film directed by Howard Hawks, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, was released.

1945 – The Alaska Equal Rights Act of 1945, the first anti-discrimination law in the United States, was signed into law.

1950 – The game show “What’s My Line” debuted on CBS.

1959 – Fidel Castro became Premier of Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1.

1960 – The U.S. Navy submarine USS Triton began Operation Sandblast and set sail from New London, Connecticut in what was the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe.

1964 – The Beatles’ 2nd appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, from Deauville Hotel in Miami, Florida.

1968 – In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system went into service.

1968 – Elvis Presley received a gold record for “How Great Thou Art”.

1968 – Beatles George Harrison, John Lennon and their wives fly to India for transcendental meditation study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

1996 – A Chicago-bound Amtrak train, the Capitol Limited, collided with a MARC commuter train bound for Washington, D.C., and killed 11 people.

1999 – O.J. Simpson’s 1968 Heisman Trophy was sold for $230,000 to help settle a $33.5 million civil judgement against Simpson for the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend.

2006 – The last Mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) was decommissioned by the United States Army.

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