Today's History Trivia for May 26
1647 Death to Jesuit Priests Roman Catholic Jesuit priests are forbidden by law from entering Massachusetts territory under Puritan jurisdiction. This was punishable by banishment, and by death for a second offense. However, no priests were ever actually executed by this law. The English Puritans believed the Pope was the Antichrist and his followers were in league with the Devil. They were also concerned that Jesuit missionaries had converted large numbers of Indians in Canada to Catholicism, making the Indian converts potential allies of France and enemies of the English. Ironically, the Catholic population would grow in Massachusetts due largely to Irish immigration starting in the 1800s. John F. Kennedy, a Massachusetts citizen and descendent of these immigrants, would become the first Roman Catholic president of the U.S.
2005 Tom Cruise Criticizes Brooke Shields Cruise criticizes Shields' use of Paxil to treat her postpartum depression. He would later personally apologize to her.
1997 Taliban The Saudi government becomes the first country to formally recognize the Taliban government of Afghanistan. Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates will follow suit, making them the only countries to officially recognize the Taliban as of September 11, 2001.
1992 Genetically-Altered Food The U.S. announces it will allow the sale of many genetically altered foods without government testing and the first genetically altered wheat is announced (by professor Indra Vasil of the Univ. of Florida).
1992 Dodge Viper The first production models roll off the assembly line; they are capable of 165 mph.
1952 Peace contract signed by West Germany, U.S., France, and Great Britain.
1868 Presidential Impeachment President Andrew Johnson avoids impeachment by one vote. The Senate voted 35-19 in favor of impeachment, one vote short of the necessary two-thirds majority.
1819 First steamboat to cross the Atlantic The Savannah leaves Georgia arriving 25 days later in Liverpool, England.
1637 First battle of the Pequot War (the first war between the settlers and Indians), near present-day New Haven, Conn.
Today's Birthdays for May 26
1877 Isadora Duncan d. 1927 (Dora Angela Duncan), American dancer, pioneer of interpretative dance. Her emphasis on "free dance" made her a precursor of modern dance. She died when her scarf got caught in the spokes of the automobile she was riding in and broke her neck.
1748 William Barton d. 1831 American Revolutionary officer. Famous for his capture of the British general Robert Prescott in 1777. He also helped design the Great Seal of the U.S. It bore a spread eagle with the motto "E Pluribus Unum" (Out of many, one).
1951 Sally Kristen Ride d. 2012 American astronaut. First U.S. woman in space (1983).
1949 Philip Michael Thomas American actor. TV: Miami Vice (Det. Tubbs).
1949 Hank Williams, Jr American Grammy-Emmy-winning, country singer. Music: Long Gone Lonesome Blues (1964), Eleven Roses (1972, #1), and Dixie on My Mind (1981, #1),
1948 Stevie Nicks American singer, with Fleetwood Mac. Music: Rumours (1977) and Bella Donna (1982).
1923 James Arness d. 2011 (James Aurness), American 6′ 7″ (2.01 m) tall actor. He received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart during WWII. TV: Gunsmoke (1955-75, Marshal Matt Dillon). Film: The Thing from Another World (1951, The Thing).
1920 Peggy Lee d. 2002 (Norma Egstrom), American singer, actress. Music: Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (1942, #1). Film: Pete Kelly's Blues (1955).
1913 Peter Cushing d. 1994 English-born American actor. Film: Star Wars (Grand Moff Tarkin) and numerous portrayals of Baron Frankenstein and Dracula.
1911 Ben Alexander d. 1969 American actor. TV: Dragnet (the second Frank Smith).
1907 John Wayne d. 1979 (Marion Michael Morrison), American Oscar-winning actor. Film: True Grit (1969), The Shootist (1976). Some attribute his death to radiation exposure received from an A-bomb test near the filming of a movie in 1953.
1886 Al Jolson d. 1950 (Asa Yoelson), American jazz singer.
1814 Heinrich Geissler d. 1879 German inventor. He invented an electric light in 1858 - 21 years before Edison's incandescent bulb. Now known as the Geissler tube, it consisted of a gas-filled vacuum tube which would light up when electricity was applied.
1623 William Petty d. 1687 English statistician. He co-wrote the first book of statistics.
1478 Clement VII d. 1534 Italian religious leader, 219th Pope (1523-34). He was the illegitimate son of Giuliano de Medici. Just days before his death, he commissioned Michelangelo's painting of The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.
Deaths for May 26
2010 Art Linkletter b. 1912 (Gordon Arthur Kelly), Canadian-born American Emmy-winning TV personality. His picture is on the $100,000 bill in Milton Bradley's Game of Life. TV: House Party (1952-69) and People are Funny (1954-60).
2008 Sydney Pollack b. 1934 American Oscar-winning director. Film: Three Days of the Condor (1975) and Out of Africa (1985, Oscar)
2005 Eddie Albert b. 1906 (Edward Albert Heimberger), American actor. TV: Green Acres (Oliver Wendell Douglas).
2003 Gerald S. Hawkins b. 1928 English astronomer and mathematician. He showed that Stonehenge was an ancient astronomical observatory (1963).
1995 Isadore "Friz" Freling b. 1906 Oscar-Emmy winning animator. His works include Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Pink Panther, Sylvester and Tweety Bird, Speedy Gonzales, Yosemite Sam, and Krazy Kat.
1994 George Ball b. 1909 American lawyer, economist, presidential advisor. In 1961, as U.S. Pres. Kennedy's undersecretary of state, he advised that if 15,000 troops were sent to Vietnam, it would take another 300,000 to bring them back home.
1989 Phineas Newborn Jr b. 1931 American jazz pianist.
1954 Lionel Conacher b. 1900 Canadian athlete. Considered Canada's greatest all-around athlete. He excelled in: hockey (2 Stanley Cups, Hockey Hall of Fame), CFL Football (Grey Cup, Canadian Football Hall of Fame), Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, minor-league baseball, soccer, track, and amateur boxing champion. He was also a member of Parliament (1949-54).
1951 Lincoln Ellsworth b. 1880 American explorer. He led the first trans-arctic flights (1926) and the first trans-antarctic flights (1935).
1939 Charles Horace Mayo b. 1865 American surgeon. He and his brother, William James Mayo, co-founded the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (1915).
1938 John Jacob Abel b. 1857 American physiological chemist. He was the first to produce insulin in its crystalline form, and the first to isolate (1926) the pituitary hormone.