This Week in History: December 20th – 26th

Welcome to this week’s edition of the staff blog’s ‘This Week in History!’ You will find historical facts, happenings, and associated books; #1 box office movies; and #1 NY Times best sellers from years gone by, all with book recommendations included based on each topic. This will be a weekly feature, so make sure to check out each week’s posting! NOTE: Click on any of the below book/movie titles to be taken to them in our online Café catalog!


NY Times Fiction Bestsellers


#1 Box Office Movies

This Week in History

  • December 20th
    • 1860- South Carolina becomes the first U.S. state to secede from the Union, the action that triggers the start of the U.S. Civil War. (United States)
    • 1946- Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life premieres for the very first time in American theaters. (United States)
    • 1957- Elvis Presley is drafted into the U.S. Army at the peak of his career. (United States)
  • December 21st
    • 1913- The New York World publishes the first modern crossword puzzle. (United States/World)
    • 1945- U.S. General George Patton dies following an automobile accident in Germany. (United States/World)
    • 1988- Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland because of a terrorist bombing.
    • 2012- The music video for South Korean singer Psy’s humorous pop song ‘Gangnam Style’ becomes the first video on YouTube to reach one billion views. (World)
  • December 22nd
    • 1978- John Wayne Gacy confesses to dozens of murders. (United States)
    • 1984- Bernhard Goetz shoots four youths on the subway in New York City, triggering one of the most infamous criminal cases in America. (United States)
    • 2010- U.S. President Barack Obama signs legislation to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ the police regarding the service of homosexuals in the U.S. military. (United States)
  • December 23rd
    • 1620- Construction of Plymouth settlement, the first permanent European settles in New England, begins. (United States)
    • 1783- George Washington resigns as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retires to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia. (United States)
    • 1888- Vincent Van Gogh chops off his ear. (World)
  • December 24th
    • 1814- The War of 1812 formally ends as the Treaty of Ghent is signed between the US and Britain. (United States/World)
    • 1857- The first graduating high school class in the state of Wisconsin graduates, consisting of ten students from Racine High School. (Wisconsin)
    • 1923- President Calvin Coolidge lights first national Christmas tree. (United States)
    • 1979- The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. (World)
  • December 25th
    • 1776- General George Washington and his army cross the Delaware River deep into the night and surprises the British at Trenton, New Jersey, ultimately winning what will become known as the Battle of Trenton. (United States)
    • 1941- Bing Crosby introduces “White Christmas” to the American public for the very first time. (United States)
    • 2006- American singer and songwriter James Brown dies at the age of 73. (United States)
  • December 26th
    • 1963- The Beatles release their single ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ with ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ on the B-side in the United States. It is largely credited with launching Beatlemania in the United States. (United States/World)
    • 1966- Kwanzaa is celebrated for the first time throughout the United States. (United States)
    • 2004- A large earthquake shook the Indian Ocean floor west of the island of Sumatra, triggering an enormous tsunami that swamped coastal areas from Thailand to Africa and killed more than 200,000 people. (World)

Recommended Reading Related to Movies/Historical Happenings: