May 26, 2005
Today in history—May 26
1328: William of Ockham departs from the Papal court at Avignon in some haste after he calls Pope John XXII a heretic.
1538: John Calvin is expelled from Geneva after the City Council refuses his demand to adopt the new creed he has drawn up. He'll be invited back in 1541, and will rule the city until his death.
1830: The U.S. Congress passes the Indian Removal Act, which gives authority to President Jackson to negotiate for the removal of Native American tribes to lands west of the Mississippi. Tennessee Congressman David Crockett is a vocal opponent of the bill.
1885: Asa Yoelson is born in Seredzius, Lithuania, the son of a cantor. As Al Jolson, he'll be the first singer to sell one million records and will become the most popular entertainer in the first half of the 20th century.
1896: Charles Henry Dow issues the first Dow Jones Industrial Average. Only one company on the original list is still there: General Electric.
1897: A novel by an unknown author goes on sale in London to decidedly mixed reviews. Word of mouth will soon make Bram Stoker's Dracula a best-seller.
1907: American icon John Wayne is born Marion Michael Morrison in Winterset, Iowa. His first job in show business comes when he swaps Southern Cal football tickets to Tom Mix in exchange for a summer job in a studio prop department.
1908: The first commercially successful oil strike in the Middle East is made at Masjid-al-Salaman in Iran.
1933: The "Singing Brakeman," James Charles "Jimmie" Rodgers, dies of tuberculosis at the Taft Hotel in New York City. His career began in 1927 when he answered a newspaper ad seeking performers for the Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, New Jersey.
1938: The House Un-American Activities Committee holds its first session. Under Chairman Martin Dies, it will lead witch hunts after Nazi sympathizers and suspected Klansmen.
1978: Casino gambling comes to the East Coast, as the Resorts International casino opens in Atlantic City.
1986: The European Community adopts a new flag, which critics say looks rather like an airline logo.
2002: The Mars Odyssey probe finds water on Mars, which would be more useful if there were air, too.
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