Today is Saturday, July 26, the 207th day of 2014. There are 158 days left in the year.
On July 26, 1775, Benjamin Franklin became America’s first Postmaster-General.
On this date:
In 1788, New York became the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1882, the Richard Wagner opera “Parsifal” premiered in Bayreuth, Germany.
In 1908, U.S. Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte ordered creation of a force of special agents that was a forerunner of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In 1912, the Edison Studios production “What Happened to Mary,” one of the first, if not very first, movie serials, was released with Mary Fuller in the title role.
In 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act, which established the National Military Establishment (later renamed the Department of Defense).
In 1952, Argentina’s first lady, Eva Peron, died in Buenos Aires at age 33. King Farouk I of Egypt abdicated in the wake of a coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser.
In 1953, Fidel Castro began his revolt against Fulgencio Batista with an unsuccessful attack on an army barracks in eastern Cuba. (Castro ousted Batista in 1959.)
In 1956, the Italian liner Andrea Doria sank off New England, some 11 hours after colliding with the Swedish liner Stockholm; at least 51 people died. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.
In 1964, Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa was convicted in federal court in Chicago of fraud and conspiracy in the handling of a union pension fund; six co-defendants were found guilty of conspiracy. The Organization of American States enacted sanctions against Cuba.
In 1971, Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy on America’s fourth manned mission to the moon.
In 1989, Mark Wellman, a 29-year-old paraplegic, reached the summit of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park after hauling himself up the granite cliff six inches at a time over nine days.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ten years ago: The Democratic Party’s 44th national convention opened in Boston under extraordinarily tight security; a parade of speakers that included former President Bill Clinton castigated George W. Bush as a president who had mishandled the economy and bungled the war on terror. Mohammed Mamdouh Helmi Qutb, an Egyptian diplomat held hostage by militants in Iraq for three days, was released after successful negotiations.
Five years ago: Sarah Palin stepped down as governor of Alaska to write a book and build a right-of-center coalition, but left her long-term political plans unclear. Alberto Contador won the Tour de France for the second time in three years; Lance Armstrong placed third. Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame along with the late Joe Gordon. Choreographer and dancer Merce Cunningham died in New York at age 90.
One year ago: Ariel Castro, the man who’d imprisoned three women in his Cleveland home, subjecting them to a decade of rapes and beatings, pleaded guilty to 937 counts in a deal to avoid the death penalty. (Castro later committed suicide in prison.) A gunman went on a rampage at a Hialeah, Florida, apartment complex, killing six people before being shot dead by police. Billionaire Texas oilman George P. Mitchell, considered the father of fracking, died at his home in Galveston; he was 94. JJ Cale, 74, whose best songs like “After Midnight” and “Cocaine” were towering hits for other artists, died in La Jolla, California.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Marjorie Lord is 96. Actor James Best is 88. Actress-singer Darlene Love is 73. Singer Brenton Wood is 73. Rock star Mick Jagger is 71. Movie director Peter Hyams is 71. Actress Helen Mirren is 69. Rock musician Roger Taylor (Queen) is 65. Actress Susan George is 64. Olympic gold medal figure skater Dorothy Hamill is 58. Actor Kevin Spacey is 55. Rock singer Gary Cherone is 53. Actress Sandra Bullock is 50. Rock singer Jim Lindberg (Pennywise) is 49. Actor Jeremy Piven is 49. Rapper-reggae singer Wayne Wonder is 48. Actor Jason Statham is 47. Actor Cress Williams is 44. TV host Chris Harrison (“The Bachelor”; “The Bachelorette”) is 43. Actress Kate Beckinsale is 41. Rock musician Dan Konopka (OK Go) is 40. Gospel/Contemporary Christian singer Rebecca St. James is 37. Actress Francia Raisa is 26. Christian rock musician Jamie Sharpe (Rush of Fools) is 25.
Thought for Today: “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.” — George Bernard Shaw (born this date in 1856, died 1950).