Today in History

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Posted: Jan 12, 2017 12:01 AM

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Jan. 12, the 12th day of 2017. There are 353 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 12, 1910, at a White House dinner hosted by President William Howard Taft, Baroness Rosen, wife of the Russian ambassador, caused a stir by requesting and smoking a cigarette — it was, apparently, the first time a woman had smoked openly during a public function in the executive mansion. (Some of the other women present who had brought their own cigarettes began lighting up in turn.)

On this date:

In 1773, the first public museum in America was organized in Charleston, South Carolina.

In 1828, the United States and Mexico signed a Treaty of Limits defining the boundary between the two countries to be the same as the one established by an 1819 treaty between the U.S. and Spain.

In 1915, the U.S. House of Representatives rejected, 204-174, a proposed constitutional amendment to give women nationwide the right to vote. The silent film drama "A Fool There Was," which propelled Theda Bara to stardom with her portrayal of a predatory vamp, premiered in New York.

In 1932, Hattie W. Caraway became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate after initially being appointed to serve out the remainder of the term of her late husband, Thaddeus.

In 1945, during World War II, Soviet forces began a major, successful offensive against the Germans in Eastern Europe. Aircraft from U.S. Task Force 38 sank about 40 Japanese ships off Indochina.

In 1959, Berry Gordy Jr. founded Motown Records (originally Tamla Records) in Detroit.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson said in his State of the Union address that the U.S. military should stay in Vietnam until Communist aggression there was stopped. The TV series "Batman," starring Adam West and Burt Ward as the Dynamic Duo, premiered on ABC, airing twice a week on consecutive nights.

In 1971, the groundbreaking situation comedy "All in the Family" premiered on CBS television.

In 1976, mystery writer Dame Agatha Christie died in Wallingford, England, at age 85.

In 1986, the shuttle Columbia blasted off with a crew that included the first Hispanic-American in space, Dr. Franklin R. Chang-Diaz.

In 1987, Anglican Church envoy Terry Waite arrived in Lebanon on his latest mission to win the release of Western hostages; however, Waite ended up being taken captive himself, and wasn't released until 1991.

In 1998, Linda Tripp provided Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's office with taped conversations between herself and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Ten years ago: Two kidnapped boys, Ben Ownby and Shawn Hornbeck, were found alive in the same suburban St. Louis apartment — four days after Ben vanished and 4 1/2 years after Shawn disappeared. (The boys' abductor, Michael Devlin, is serving multiple life terms for kidnapping and sexual assault.) Durham County, North Carolina, District Attorney Mike Nifong, facing ethics charges, asked to be removed from the Duke lacrosse rape investigation. (State prosecutors later exonerated three suspects; Nifong ended up being disbarred.) Larry Stewart, the anonymous Missouri philanthropist known as "Secret Santa," died at age 58.

Five years ago: Pentagon leaders scrambled to contain damage from an Internet video purporting to show four Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. (The Marine Corps announced in Aug. 2012 that three Marines had received administrative punishments in connection with this incident.) Former South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow, a Republican who dominated the state's political landscape for more than 25 years, died in Sioux Falls at age 72.

One year ago: In his final State of the Union address, President Barack Obama urged Americans to rekindle their belief in the promise of change that first carried him to the White House, declaring that the country must not allow election-year fear and division to put economic and security progress at risk. Iran detained 10 American sailors and their two small Navy boats after the boats drifted into Iranian waters; the sailors and their vessels were released the following day. The St. Louis Rams' move back to Los Angeles was approved by 30 of 32 NFL owners. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch announced his engagement to ex-supermodel Jerry Hall (they married the following March).

Today's Birthdays: Actress Katherine MacGregor (TV: "Little House on the Prairie") is 92. The Amazing Kreskin is 82. Country singer William Lee Golden (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 78. Actor Anthony Andrews is 69. Movie director Wayne Wang is 68. Actress Kirstie Alley is 66. Radio commentator Rush Limbaugh is 66. Legal affairs blogger Ann Althouse is 66. Writer Walter Mosley is 65. Country singer Ricky Van Shelton is 65. Radio-TV personality Howard Stern is 63. Writer-producer-director John Lasseter is 60. Broadcast journalist Christiane Amanpour is 59. Rock musician Charlie Gillingham (Counting Crows) is 57. Actor Oliver Platt is 57. Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins is 57. Entrepreneur Jeff Bezos is 53. Rock singer Rob Zombie is 52. Actor Olivier Martinez is 51. Rapper TBird (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 50. Model Vendela is 50. Actress Farrah Forke is 49. Actress Rachael Harris is 49. Rock singer Zack de la Rocha is 47. Rapper Raekwon (Wu Tang Clan) is 47. Singer Dan Haseltine (Jars of Clay) is 44. Rock musician Matt Wong (Reel Big Fish) is 44. Singer Melanie Chisholm (Spice Girls) is 43. Contemporary Christian singer Jeremy Camp is 39. Actress Cynthia Addai-Robinson is 37. Rhythm-and-blues singer Amerie is 37. Actress Issa Rae is 32. Actress Naya Rivera is 30. Actor Will Rothhaar is 30. Actor Andrew Lawrence is 29. Rock singer ZAYN is 24. Pop/soul singer Ella Henderson (TV: "The X Factor") is 21.

Thought for Today: "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts." — Daniel Patrick Moynihan, U.S. politician and diplomat (1927-2003).