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This Day in History: December 23


1783 – George Washington resigns as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army at the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland.

1823 – A Visit from St. Nicholas, also known as The Night Before Christmas, is published anonymously.

1913 – The Federal Reserve Act is signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, creating the Federal Reserve System.

1941 – World War II: After 15 days of fighting, the Imperial Japanese Army occupies Wake Island.

1947 – The transistor is first demonstrated at Bell Laboratories.

1948 – Seven Japanese convicted of war crimes by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East are executed at Sugamo Prison in Tokyo, Japan.

1968 – The 82 sailors from the USS Pueblo are released after eleven months of internment in North Korea.

1970 – The North Tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, New York is topped out at 1,368 feet (417 m), making it the tallest building in the world.

1982 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency announces it has identified dangerous levels of dioxin in the soil of Times Beach, Missouri.

1986 – Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California becoming the first aircraft to fly non-stop around the world without aerial or ground refueling.


1758 – Nathan Wilson, American soldier and politician (d. 1834)

1805 – Joseph Smith, American religious leader, 1st President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (d. 1844)

1867 – Madam C. J. Walker, American businesswoman and philanthropist, founded the Madame C.J. Walker Manufacturing Company (d. 1919)

1907 – James Roosevelt, American general and politician (d. 1991)

1926 – Robert Bly, American poet and author

1929 – Dick Weber, American bowler (d. 2005)

1944 – Wesley Clark, American general

1946 – Susan Lucci, American actress


1982 – Jack Webb, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1920)

2000 – Billy Barty, American actor (b. 1924)