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This Day in History: August 2


1610 – Henry Hudson sails into what is now known as Hudson Bay thinking he had made it through the Northwest Passage and reached the Pacific Ocean.

1776 – The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence took place.

1790 – The first United States Census is conducted.

1873 – The Clay Street Hill Railroad begins operating the first cable car in San Francisco's famous cable car system.

1923 – Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes U.S. President upon the death of President Warren G. Harding.

1934 – Gleichschaltung: Adolf Hitler becomes Führer of Germany following the death of President Paul von Hindenburg.

1937 – The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is passed in America, the effect of which is to render marijuana and all its by-products illegal.

1939 – Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard write a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon.

1943 – Jewish prisoners stage a revolt at Treblinka, one of the deadliest of Nazi death camps where approximately 900,000 persons were murdered in less than 18 months.

1943 – World War II: The Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 is rammed by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri and sinks. Lt. John F. Kennedy, future U.S. President, saves all but two of his crew.

1944 – World War II: The largest trade convoy of the world wars arrives safely in the Western Approaches.

1945 – World War II: End of the Potsdam Conference.

1964 – Vietnam War: Gulf of Tonkin incident: North Vietnamese gunboats allegedly fire on the U.S. destroyer USS Maddox.

1985 – Delta Air Lines Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, crashes at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport killing 137.


1754 – Pierre Charles L'Enfant, French-American architect and engineer, designed Washington, D.C. (d. 1825)

1834 – Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, French sculptor, designed the Statue of Liberty (d. 1904)

1835 – Elisha Gray, American businessman, co-founded Western Electric (d. 1901)

1892 – Jack L. Warner, Canadian-born American production manager and producer, co-founded Warner Bros. (d. 1978)

1922 – Betsy Bloomingdale, American philanthropist and socialite

1924 – James Baldwin, American novelist, poet, and critic (d. 1987)

1932 – Lamar Hunt, American businessman, co-founded the American Football League and World Championship Tennis (d. 2006)

1939 – Wes Craven, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2015)

1950 – Lance Ito, American lawyer and judge

1953 – Butch Patrick, American actor and singer

1960 – Linda Fratianne, American figure skater 


1859 – Horace Mann, American educator and politician (b. 1796)

1876 – Wild Bill Hickok, American sheriff (b. 1837)

1922 – Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-Canadian engineer, invented the telephone (b. 1847)

1923 – Warren G. Harding, American journalist and politician, 29th President of the United States (b. 1865)

1986 – Roy Cohn, American lawyer and politician (b. 1927)

1997 – William S. Burroughs, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1914)

1998 – Shari Lewis, American television host and puppeteer (b. 1933)