Today in History – May 1, 1931: Empire State Building is opened

May 1, 2013

Photo credit: Boston College

Watch a short documentary on the construction of the Empire State Building, “Making a Skyscraper: Empire State Building,” available through American History in Video.

Learn how Herbert Hoover played a role in opening the building without leaving Washington, D.C., in a New York Times article from the next day, “Empire State Tower, Tallest in World, is opened by Hoover,” available through Proquest’s Historical Newspapers.

Read about the ongoing battle for the ownership of the Empire State Building as covered this week by the New York Times in “A Nasty, Epic Real Estate Battle With Stakes 102 Stories High,” available through LexisNexis Academic Universe.


Today in History: April 11th, 1970

April 11, 2013

Apollo 13
Photo Credit: NASA

Apr. 11, 1970: Apollo 13 launched into space!

Watch historical footage of the astronauts and control center in the short documentary Apollo 13: Houston, We’ve Got a Problem, in NASA: Years of Glory, available through American History in Video.

Read a New York Times account on April 19th, 1970 of the “most hair-raising mission in the short history of space flight” in “Three Came Back as the World Held Its Breath,” available in ProQuest Historical Newspapers.

This Day in History: April 4th

April 4, 2013

Apr. 4, 1841: William Henry Harrison, the shortest serving US President, died one month after his inauguration of pneumonia.

Read the full text of Harrison’s more than 8,000-word inaugural speech in Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States From George Washington to Bill Clinton, an e-book available through EBSCO eBook collection.

See the sheet music and all twenty verses of his1840 campaign song Tippecanoe and Tyler Too! A Comic Glee through the Library of Congress’s American Memory collection.

Today in History: March 5th, 1770

March 5, 2013

On March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into a mob in Boston, killing five, in what has come to be known as the Boston Massacre.

Read a detailed description of the Boston Massacre and the events that preceded it in  Richard Archer’s monograph As If an Enemy’s Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution, part of the Pivotal Moments in American History series from Oxford University Press, available through ebrary, Inc.  See especially chapter 11, “The Massacre on King Street.”

Learn about John Adams’ defense of the British soldiers involved in the massacre and see facsimiles of accounts of the trial from the Law Library of Congress.

Learn about the participants and victims, view reproductions of relevant documents, and more at the website of the Boston Massacre Historical Society.

Today in History: February 28th, 1906

February 28, 2013

On February 28, 1906, gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was born in Brooklyn, New York.

Read a biography of Siegel in World of Criminal Justice, available through Gale Biography in Context.

See the original newspaper articles reporting Siegel’s murder in 1947 in ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers database. Using the Advanced Search feature, search for Benjamin Siegel, limit the date to after June 20, 1947, and sort by Publication date (oldest first).


Today in History: February 7th, 1964

February 7, 2013

On February 7th, 1964, the Beatles arrived at the newly renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport for their first U.S. tour.

Watch a newsreel from February 10, 1964, that includes coverage of the Beatles visit, which the commentator describes as “Britain’s revenge for the Boston Tea Party.” The newsreel is available through American History in Video.

Read the accounts of those who experienced the Beatles’ first U.S. visit in “We’re going to see the Beatles!” An Oral History of Beatlemania as Told by the Fans Who Were There by Gary Berman, an E-Book available through ebrary, Inc. See chapter 4, “The 1964 Tour.”

Today in History: January 25th, 1959

January 25, 2013

On January 25th, 1959, Pope John XXIII announced the establishment of the Second Vatican Council.

Read about the council in an article from the New Catholic Encyclopedia, available through the Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Read original newspaper reports of the announcement in ProQuest’s Historical Newspapers database. Use the Advanced Search feature to search for “Ecumenical Council”.  Limit the date to after January 25, 1959 and sort by Publication date (oldest first).

Watch a newsreel containing footage from the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962, through American History in Video.