December 23, 2004
Today in history—December 23
1116: St. Ivo of Chartres, the most important Western canon lawyer before Gratianus, dies
1776: The Continental Congress borrows $181,500 from France.
1823: The Troy (N.Y.) Record publishes an anonymous poem, Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas, written by a professor of classics at General Theological Seminary in New York. As The Night Before Christmas, it will become Professor Clement Clarke Moore’s best-selling work, easily surpassing his two-volume Compendious Lexicon of the Hebrew Language.
1867: Sarah Breedlove Walker (Left), daughter of two ex-slaves, is born at Delta, Louisiana. After working days as a washerwoman and going to school at night, she will in 1905 invent a hair-straightening process that will maker her, as "Madame C.J. Walker," a millionaire; she will do much to spark the Harlem Renaissance and will leave most of her fortune to charitable organizations.
1899: Germany and the Ottoman Empire agree to a treaty to build the Baghdad Railway, linking Anatolia and Iraq.
1913: President Wilson signs into law the bill creating the Federal Reserve bank system.
1928: The National Broadcasting Company sets up the first permanent coast-to-coast radio network. Stars include Amos & Andy, Ed Wynn, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, and Jack Benny.
1947: The modern electronics revolution begins with the invention of the transistor. John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley will later share the Nobel Prize for their invention.
1961: Fidel Castro offers to trade survivors of the Bay of Pigs fiasco for $62 million in food and medical supplies.
1963: Surf music hits America as the Beach Boys appear on the television program Shindig.
1975: An arbitrator rules that pitcher Andy Messersmith is a free agent. He will go on to become on of Ted Turner’s rare bad deals; after winning 39 games in his last two years with the Dodgers, Turner’s Atlanta Braves give him a huge contract and he promptly flops, winning only 16 games in his two years with the Braves.
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