1454 – Amerigo Vespucci – for whom the Americas were named – was born in Florence, Italy.
1832 – Abraham Lincoln of New Salem, IL announced that he would run for political office for the first time. He unsuccessfully sought a seat in the Illinois state legislature.
1841 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 – 1 that the African slaves who seized control of the Amistad slave ship had been illegally forced into slavery and are thus free under American law.
1858 – Albert Potts of Philadelphia, PA received a patent for the letter box.
1859 – The National Association of Baseball Players adopted a rule that limited the size of bats to no more than 2-1/2 inches in diameter.
1913 – Virginia Woolf delivered the manuscript for her first novel, The Voyage Out, to her publisher.
1916 – Pancho Villa attacked the border town of Columbus, New México, in retaliation to American support of his rivals for control of México.
1916 – Germany declares war on Portugal, which had honored its alliance with Great Britain earlier that year by seizing German ships anchored in Lisbon’s harbor.
1929 – Eric Krenz of Palo Alto, CA became the first athlete to toss the discus over 160 feet. He bettered the old mark by 8-3/4 inches.
1949 – The first all-electric dining car was placed in service on the Illinois Central Railroad. Passengers enjoyed all-electric cooking between Chicago and St. Louis.
1954 – WNBT-TV (now WNBC-TV), New York, broadcast the first local color television commercials for Castro Decorators of New York City.
1959 – The first Barbie doll went on display at the American Toy Fair in new York City.
1985 – Gone With The Wind went on sale in video stores across the U.S. for the first time. The tape cost buyers $89.95.