Today is Saturday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2012. There are 345 days left in the year.
On Jan. 21, 1908, New York City’s Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance prohibiting women from smoking in public. (Although the measure was vetoed two weeks later by Mayor George McClellan, at least one woman, Katie Mulcahey, was arrested and spent a night in jail after being unable to pay a $5 fine.)
On this date:
In 1648, Margaret Brent went before the Maryland colonial assembly to seek two votes in that body, one for herself as a landowner, the other as the legal representative of the absent Lord Baltimore; the assembly turned her down.
In 1793, during the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed on the guillotine.
In 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and four other Southerners whose states had seceded from the Union resigned from the U.S. Senate.
In 1910, the Great Paris Flood began as the rain-swollen Seine River burst its banks, sending water into the French capital.
In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at age 53.
In 1937, Count Basie and his band recorded “One O’Clock Jump” for Decca Records (on this date in 1942, they re-recorded the song for Okeh Records).
In 1950, former State Department official Alger Hiss, accused of being part of a Communist spy ring, was found guilty in New York of lying to a grand jury. (Hiss, who proclaimed his innocence, served less than four years in prison.) George Orwell (Eric Blair), author of “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” died in London at age 46.
In 1954, the first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched at Groton, Conn. (However, the Nautilus did not make its first nuclear-powered run until nearly a year later.)
In 1968, the Battle of Khe Sanh began during the Vietnam War as North Vietnamese forces attacked a U.S. Marine base; the Americans were able to hold their position until the siege was lifted 2½ months later. An American B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed in Greenland, killing one crew member and scattering radioactive material.
In 1977, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.
In 1982, convict-turned-author Jack Henry Abbott was found guilty in New York of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of waiter Richard Adan in 1981. (Abbott was later sentenced to 15 years to life in prison; he committed suicide in 2002.)
In 1997, Speaker Newt Gingrich was reprimanded and fined as the House voted for the first time in history to discipline its leader for ethical misconduct.