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This Day in History: November 14


1851 – Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville is published in the USA.

1862 – American Civil War: President Abraham Lincoln approves General Ambrose Burnside's plan to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia, leading to the Battle of Fredericksburg.

1889 – Pioneering female journalist Nellie Bly (aka Elizabeth Cochrane) begins a successful attempt to travel around the world in less than 80 days. She completes the trip in 72 days.

1910 – Aviator Eugene Burton Ely performs the first takeoff from a ship in Hampton Roads, Virginia. He took off from a makeshift deck on the USS Birmingham in a Curtiss pusher.

1957 – The Apalachin Meeting outside Binghamton, New York is raided by law enforcement, and many high level Mafia figures are arrested.

1960 – Ruby Bridges becomes the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana.

1965 – Vietnam War: The Battle of Ia Drang begins – the first major engagement between regular American and North Vietnamese forces.

1967 – American physicist Theodore Maiman is given a patent for his ruby laser systems, the world's first laser.

1969 – Apollo program: NASA launches Apollo 12, the second crewed mission to the surface of the Moon.

1970 – Southern Airways Flight 932 crashes in the mountains near Huntington, West Virginia, killing 75, including members of the Marshall University football team.

1971 – Mariner 9 enters orbit around Mars.

1979 – Iran hostage crisis: US President Jimmy Carter issues Executive order 12170, freezing all Iranian assets in the United States in response to the hostage crisis.

1990 – After German reunification, the Federal Republic of Germany and Poland sign a treaty confirming the Oder–Neisse line as the border between Germany and Poland.

1991 – American and British authorities announce indictments against two Libyan intelligence officials in connection with the downing of the Pan Am Flight 103.

1991 – In Royal Oak, Michigan, a fired United States Postal Service employee goes on a shooting rampage, killing four and wounding five before committing suicide.

1995 – A budget standoff between Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress forces the federal government to temporarily close national parks and museums and to run most government offices with skeleton staffs.

2008 – The first G-20 economic summit opens in Washington, D.C.


1765 – Robert Fulton, American engineer, invented the steamboat (d. 1815)

1828 – James B. McPherson, American general (d. 1864)

1896 – Mamie Eisenhower, American wife of Dwight D. Eisenhower, 36th First Lady of the United States (d. 1979)

1897 – John Steuart Curry, American painter and academic (d. 1946)

1900 – Aaron Copland, American composer, conductor, and educator (d. 1990)

1908 – Joseph McCarthy, American captain, lawyer, and politician (d. 1957)

1912 – Barbara Hutton, American philanthropist (d. 1979)

1916 – Sherwood Schwartz, American screenwriter and producer (d. 2011)

1925 – Stirling Colgate, American physicist and academic (d. 2013)

1930 – Edward Higgins White, American colonel, engineer, and astronaut (d. 1967)

1933 – Fred Haise, American pilot, engineer, and astronaut

1947 – Buckwheat Zydeco, American accordion player

1954 – Condoleezza Rice, American political scientist, academic, and politician, 66th United States Secretary of State


1915 – Booker T. Washington, American educator, essayist and historian (b. 1856)

2015 – Nick Bockwinkel, American wrestler, sportscaster, and actor (b. 1934)