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This Day in History: February 14


1778 – The United States flag is formally recognized by a foreign naval vessel for the first time, when French Admiral Toussaint-Guillaume Picquet de la Motte renders a nine gun salute to USS Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones.

1779 – American Revolutionary War: The Battle of Kettle Creek is fought in Georgia.

1779 – James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.

1835 – The original Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in the Latter Day Saint movement, is formed in Kirtland, Ohio.

1849 – In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.

1855 – Texas is linked by telegraph to the rest of the United States, with the completion of a connection between New Orleans and Marshall, Texas.

1859 – Oregon is admitted as the 33rd U.S. state.

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray.

1899 – Voting machines are approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.

1903 – The United States Department of Commerce and Labor is established (later split into the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor).

1912 – Arizona is admitted as the 48th U.S. state.

1912 – In Groton, Connecticut, the first diesel-powered submarine is commissioned.

1920 – The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago.

1924 – The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company changes its name to International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

1945 – World War II: On the first day of the bombing of Dresden, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces begin fire-bombing Dresden.

1945 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt meets with King Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia aboard the USS Quincy, officially beginning U.S.-Saudi diplomatic relations.

1962 – First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy takes television viewers on a tour of the White House.

1983 – United American Bank of Knoxville, Tennessee collapses. Its president, Jake Butcher, is later convicted of fraud.

1990 – The Voyager 1 spacecraft takes the photograph of planet Earth later become famous as Pale Blue Dot.

2005 – YouTube is launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos.

2008 – Northern Illinois University shooting: A gunman opened fire in a lecture hall of the DeKalb County, Illinois university resulting in six fatalities (including gunman) and 21 injuries.


1819 – Christopher Latham Sholes, American journalist and politician, invented the typewriter (d. 1890)

1824 – Winfield Scott Hancock, American general and politician (d. 1886)

1859 – George Washington Gale Ferris Jr., American engineer, inventor of the Ferris wheel (d. 1896)

1882 – John Barrymore, American actor (d. 1942)

1894 – Jack Benny, American actor, singer, and producer (d. 1974)

1913 – Mel Allen, American sportscaster (d. 1996)

1913 – Woody Hayes, American football player and coach (d. 1987)

1913 – Jimmy Hoffa, American trade union leader (d. 1975)

1944 – Carl Bernstein, American journalist and author

1946 – Gregory Hines, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 2003)


1808 – John Dickinson, American lawyer and politician (b. 1732)

1884 – Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt, American wife of Theodore Roosevelt (b. 1861)

1891 – William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (b. 1820)

1948 – Mordecai Brown, American baseball player and manager (b. 1876)