1731: The Library Company of Philadelphia, the first lending library in the United States, hires its first librarian and opens officially. The organization, which still exists today, was founded by Benjamin Franklin and other subscribers who invested 40 shillings each and promised to pay 10 shillings a year thereafter to buy books and maintain a shareholder's library.
1840: Painter Claude Monet, the founder of French impressionist painting, is born in Paris, France.
1851: Herman Melville's novel "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale" is first published in the United States by New York City publisher Harper and Brothers.
1864: After ordering the city evacuated of all citizens, Union Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's army burns most of Atlanta, Ga., to the ground. The troops burn all but about 400 buildings, including homes and businesses, with estimates of the total number of buildings destroyed ranging from 3,200 to 5,000. The next day, Sherman's army would begin their march toward the port of Savannah, which would become known as Sherman's March to the Sea. Pictured are ruins of the Atlanta Union Depot after it was burned by Sherman's troops.
1896: Mamie Eisenhower, the first lady of the United States from 1953 to 1961 as the wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is born under the birth name Mamie Geneva Doud in Boone, Iowa.
1907: Author Astrid Lindgren, best known for the "Pippi Longstocking" book series, is born under the birth name Astrid Anna Emilia Ericsson in Vimmerby, Smaland, Sweden.
1908: Politician Joseph McCarthy, noted for making claims in the 1950s that there were large numbers of Communists and sympathizers inside the federal government and elsewhere, is born in Grand Chute, Wis. The term "McCarthyism" was originally coined to criticize the actions of McCarthy, who served as a Republican U.S. senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957.
1910: Aviator Eugene Ely performs the first take off from a ship in Hampton Roads, Va., taking off from a makeshift deck on the USS Birmingham in a Curtiss pusher aircraft.
1915: Educator and activist Booker T. Washington, who was the dominant leader in the black community in the United States from 1890 to 1915, dies of hypertension at age 59 in Tuskegee, Ala.
1916: TV writer Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of "Gilligan's Island" and "The Brady Bunch," is born in Passaic, N.J.
1919: Actress Veronica Lake, known for her roles in movies such as "Sullivan's Travels," "This Gun for Hire" and "The Glass Key," is born under the birth name Constance Frances Marie Ockelman in Brooklyn, N.Y.
1922: The BBC begins radio service in the United Kingdom.
1927: Actor McLean Stevenson, best known for his role as Lt. Colonel Henry Blake on the TV sitcom "M*A*S*H," is born in Normal, Ill.
1948: Charles, Prince of Wales, is born at Buckingham Palace in London, England.
1954: Political scientist and diplomat Condoleezza Rice, who would serve as the 66th secretary of state of the United States from 2005 to 2009, is born in Birmingham, Ala. Rice, who was also President George W. Bush's national security advisor during his first term, was a professor of political science at Stanford University before joining the Bush administration.
1954: Musician and composer Yanni, who has blended jazz, classical, soft rock and world music to create predominantly instrumental works, is born Yiannis Hryssomallis in Kalamata, Greece. Yanni achieved international recognition by producing concerts at historic monuments and by producing videos that were broadcast on public television, including his breakthrough concert, 1993's "Yanni Live at the Acropolis."
1965: The Battle of the Ia Drang, the first major engagement between regular American and North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War, begins.
1966: Baseball player Curt Schilling, who won World Series championships in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and in 2004 and 2007 with the Boston Red Sox, is born in Anchorage, Alaska.
1967: American physicist Theodore Maiman is given a patent for his ruby laser systems, the world's first laser.
1969: 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, W.Va., killing all 75 people on the plane, including members of the Marshall University football team, who were returning home after a 17–14 loss to the East Carolina Pirates in Greenville, N.C. Among those killed in the crash were 37 football players, eight coaches, including head coach Rick Tolley, and 25 school boosters. The crash almost led to the discontinuation of the university's football program, but a group of players who were on the junior varsity football team during the 1970 season, as well as students and athletes from other sports, were recruited to form a 1971 football team.
1970: Santana's "Black Magic Woman" is released. The song, which was previously recorded by Fleetwood Mac in 1968, would reach No. 4 on the U.S. and Canadian charts for the band and become more closely associated with Santana than Fleetwood Mac.
1971: The U.S. spacecraft Mariner 9 becomes the first spacecraft to orbit another planet when it reaches Mars.
1972: Actor Josh Duhamel, best known for his roles in the "Transformers" film series and movies like "When in Rome," "Life as We Know It," "New Year's Eve" and "Safe Haven," is born in Minot, N.D. Duhamel also starred in on the soap opera "All My Children" and the TV series "Las Vegas."
1973: Britain's Princess Anne marries a commoner, Mark Phillips, then a lieutenant in the 1st Queen's Dragoon Guards, in London's Westminster Abbey. An estimated 500 million television viewers from around the world watched them marry. They would divorce in 1992, with Princess Anne re-marrying that same year.
1986: The basketball drama "Hoosiers," starring Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Sheb Wooley and Dennis Hopper, premieres in theaters. The film, about a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship, is often named as one of the best sports movies ever made and would earn Academy Award nominations for Hopper and Best Original Score.
1991: Thomas McIlvane kills four people with a Ruger 10/22 rifle in the Royal Oak, Mich., post office after being fired from the Postal Service for "insubordination." He then shot and killed himself. The shooting was one in a series of incidents from 1983 onward in which U.S. Postal Service workers went on a shooting rampage, giving birth to the term "going postal." McIlvane is seen here in an earlier mug shot from when he was charged with making threats over the telephone.
1991: English film director Tony Richardson, whose five-decade film career included "Look Back in Anger," "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner," "Ned Kelly," "The Loved One," "The Charge of the Light Brigade" and "Tom Jones," dies of complications from AIDS at the age of 63 in Los Angeles, Calif. Richardson, whose five-year marriage to actress Vanessa Redgrave produced daughters Natasha Richardson and Joely Richardson, both actors, won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director for "Tom Jones."
1991: Michael Jackson's music video "Black or White" premieres on MTV, BET, VH-1 and Fox. Along with Jackson, it featured Macaulay Culkin, Tess Harper and George Wendt. The video, which was directed by John Landis, who previously directed "Thriller," was shown simultaneously in 27 countries with an audience of 500 million, the most to ever watch a music video. The last four minutes of the video, which featured Jackson performing sexually suggestive dance moves, smashing windows, destroying a car and making an inn explode, generated some controversy and led to an apology from the singer and an altered version in which Jackson is destroying racial graffiti messages on windows.
1993: Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula becomes the winningest coach in NFL history with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles, giving him 325 for his career, one more than legendary coach George Halas. Shula would raise his career win total to 347 before retiring following the 1995 season, setting a record that remains to this day.
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. The shutdown would last through Nov. 19 before ending, with another shutdown taking place Dec. 16, 1995, to Jan. 6, 1996, for a total of 28 days.
1995: Author Jack Finney, whose best-known works were science fiction and thrillers, including "The Body Snatchers" and "Time and Again," dies at the age of 84 in Greenbrae, Calif.
1995: The crime drama "Casino," starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci and James Woods, and directed by Martin Scorsese, premieres in New York City. The movie would earn Sharon Stone a Golden Globe for Best Actress and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
2006: The James Bond movie "Casino Royale," featuring Daniel Craig in his debut as the spy, premieres in three theaters in London. The movie proved to be a huge box office success, earning more than $594 million to become the fourth highest-grossing film of 2006, and the highest-grossing installment of the James Bond series.