Today in History: Oct. 15

  • Sunday, October 15, 2017 1:30am
  • Life

Today is Sunday, Oct. 15, the 288th day of 2017. There are 77 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight: On Oct. 15, 1917, Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari (Margaretha ZelleGeertruida MacLeod), 41, convicted by a French military court of spying for the Germans, was executed by a firing squad outside Paris. (Maintaining her innocence to the end, Mata Hari refused a blindfold and blew a kiss to her executioners.)

On this date:

In 1783, the first manned balloon flight took place in Paris as Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier ascended in a basket attached to a tethered Montgolfier hot-air balloon, rising to about 75 feet.

In 1905, Claude Debussy’s “La Mer” (The Sea), a trio of symphonic sketches, premiered in Paris.

In 1914, the Clayton Antitrust Act, which expanded on the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson.

In 1937, the Ernest Hemingway novel “To Have and Have Not” was first published by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

In 1945, the former premier of Vichy France, Pierre Laval, was executed for treason.

In 1946, Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering fatally poisoned himself hours before he was to have been executed.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill creating the U.S. Department of Transportation. The revolutionary Black Panther Party was founded by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California.

In 1976, in the first debate of its kind between vice-presidential nominees, Democrat Walter F. Mondale and Republican Bob Dole faced off in Houston.

In 1989, South African officials released eight prominent political prisoners, including Walter Sisulu.

In 1991, despite sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, the Senate narrowly confirmed the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, 52-48.

Today’s birthdays: Former auto executive Lee Iacocca is 93. Singer Barry McGuire is 82. Actress Linda Lavin is 80. Rock musician Don Stevenson (Moby Grape) is 75. Actress-director Penny Marshall is 74. Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer is 72. Singer-musician Richard Carpenter is 71. Actress Tanya Roberts is 62. Movie director Mira Nair is 60. Britain’s Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, is 58. Chef Emeril Lagasse is 58. Singer-actress-TV host Paige Davis is 48. Country singer Kimberly Schlapman (Little Big Town) is 48. Actor Dominic West is 48. Actress Bailee Madison is 18.

Thought for today: “We used to do things for posterity, now we do things for ourselves and leave the bill to posterity.” — Author unknown.

Associated Press

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