1851 – Northwestern University becomes the first chartered university in Illinois.
1878 – Yale Daily News becomes the first daily college newspaper in the United States.
1887 – In a snowstorm at Fort Keogh, Montana, the world's largest snowflakes are reported, 15 inches (38 cm) wide and 8 inches (20 cm) thick.
1902 – The Carnegie Institution of Washington is founded in Washington, D.C. with a $10 million gift from Andrew Carnegie.
1909 – United States troops leave Cuba with the exception of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base after being there since the Spanish–American War.
1915 – An act of the U.S. Congress creates the United States Coast Guard as a branch of the United States Armed Forces.
1922 – Knickerbocker Storm, Washington D.C.'s biggest snowfall, causes the city's greatest loss of life when the roof of the Knickerbocker Theatre collapses.
1934 – The first ski tow in the United States begins operation in Vermont.
1945 – World War II: Supplies begin to reach the Republic of China over the newly reopened Burma Road.
1956 – Elvis Presley makes his first US television appearance
1958 – The Lego company patents the design of its Lego bricks, still compatible with bricks produced today.
1960 – The National Football League announced expansion teams for Dallas to start in the 1960 NFL season and Minneapolis-St. Paul for 1961 NFL season.
1977 – The first day of the Great Lakes Blizzard of 1977 which dumps 10 feet (3.0 m) of snow in one day in Upstate New York, with Buffalo, Syracuse, Watertown, and surrounding areas most affected.
1979 – CBS News Sunday Morning debuts with original host and cocreator Charles Kuralt.
1980 – USCGC Blackthorn collides with the tanker Capricorn while leaving Tampa, Florida and capsizes, killing 23 Coast Guard crewmembers.
1981 – Ronald Reagan lifts remaining domestic petroleum price and allocation controls in the United States helping to end the 1979 energy crisis and begin the 1980s oil glut.
1982 – US Army general James L. Dozier is rescued by Italian anti-terrorism forces from captivity by the Red Brigades.
1985 – Supergroup USA for Africa (United Support of Artists for Africa) records the hit single We Are the World, to help raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief.
1986 – Space Shuttle program: STS-51-L mission: Space Shuttle Challenger explodes after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts on board.
1864 – Charles Williams Nash, American businessman, founded Nash Motors (d. 1948)
1887 – Arthur Rubinstein, Polish-American pianist and educator (d. 1982)
1912 – Jackson Pollock, American painter (d. 1956)
1960 – Zora Neale Hurston, American anthropologist and author (b. 1891)
1978 – Ward Moore, American author (b. 1903)
1986 – crew of Space Shuttle Challenger
– Gregory Jarvis, American captain, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1944)
– Christa McAuliffe, American educator and astronaut (b. 1948)
– Ronald McNair, American physicist and astronaut (b. 1950)
– Ellison Onizuka, American engineer and astronaut (b. 1946)
– Judith Resnik, American colonel, engineer, and astronaut (b. 1949)
– Dick Scobee, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1939)
– Michael J. Smith, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1945)
1996 – Jerry Siegel, American author and illustrator, co-created Superman (b. 1914)
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