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This Day in History: January 23


1789 – Georgetown College, the first Catholic university in the United States, is founded in Georgetown, Maryland (now a part of Washington, D.C.)

1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York, becoming the United States' first female doctor.

1855 – The first bridge over the Mississippi River opens in what is now Minneapolis, a crossing made today by the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.

1870 – In Montana, U.S. cavalrymen kill 173 Native Americans, mostly women and children, in what becomes known as the Marias Massacre.

1897 – Elva Zona Heaster is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The resulting murder trial of her husband is perhaps the only case in United States history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.

1941 – Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.

1943 – World War II: Australian and American forces defeat Japanese army and navy units in the bitterly-fought Battle of Buna–Gona.

1943 – Duke Ellington plays at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the first time.

1957 – American inventor Walter Frederick Morrison sells the rights to his flying disc to the Wham-O toy company, which later renames it the "Frisbee".

1960 – The bathyscaphe USS Trieste breaks a depth record by descending to 10,911 metres (35,797 ft) in the Pacific Ocean.

1964 – The 24th Amendment to the United States Constitution, prohibiting the use of poll taxes in national elections, is ratified.

1968 – North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo, claiming the ship had violated its territorial waters while spying.

1973 – United States President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam.

1986 – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.

1997 – Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.

2002 – "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh returns to the United States in FBI custody.

2002 – Reporter Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan and subsequently murdered.

2003 – The very weak signal from Pioneer 10 is detected for the last time, but no usable data can be extracted.


1737 – John Hancock, American general and politician (d. 1793)

1855 – John Browning, American weapons designer, founded the Browning Arms Company (d. 1926)

1913 – Wally Parks, American businessman, founded the National Hot Rod Association (d. 2007)

1915 – Potter Stewart, American lawyer and judge (d. 1985)

1920 – Walter Frederick Morrison, American businessman, invented the Frisbee (d. 2010)

1974 – Tiffani Thiessen, American actress, singer, and producer


1800 – Edward Rutledge, American captain and politician (b. 1749)

1943 – Alexander Woollcott, American actor, playwright, and critic (b. 1887)

1973 – Alexander Onassis, American-Greek businessman (b. 1948)

1973 – Kid Ory, American trombonist, composer, and bandleader (b. 1886)

1976 – Paul Robeson, American actor, singer, and activist (b. 1898)

1977 – Toots Shor, American businessman, founded Toots Shor's Restaurant (b. 1903)

1999 – Jay Pritzker, American businessman, co-founded the Hyatt Corporation (b. 1922)

2004 – Bob Keeshan, American actor and producer (b. 1927)

2005 – Johnny Carson, American talk show host and producer (b. 1925)

2007 – E. Howard Hunt, American CIA officer (b. 1918)

2011 – Jack LaLanne, American fitness instructor, author, and television host (b. 1914)

2012 – Maurice Meiner, American historian, author, and academic (b. 1931)

2015 – Ernie Banks, American baseball player and coach (b. 1931)