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What Happened on July 7?

  • Sliced bread was sold in the US for the first time. (1928) The Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri, came up with the idea. It was described as the best thing since "wrapped bread" — as in packaged bread. The first one-loaf-at-a-time bread slicer was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder in Iowa, in 1912, but the machine wasn't ready for production until 1928.

  • The first woman was executed by the United States federal government. (1865) Mary Surratt was executed by hanging for her role in the assassination of US President Lincoln. Her boarding house was used by John Wilkes Booth and his conspirators to plan the assassination. She also delivered the package containing the firearms used to commit the murder. Three other conspirators, David Herold and George Atzerodt and Lewis Powell, also were hanged on this day.

  • The first American saint was canonized. (1946) Frances Xavier Cabrini became a naturalized US citizen in 1909. She was canonized by Pope Pius XII as the patron saint of immigrants.

  • The first female justice for the US Supreme Court was nominated. (1981) US President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor, a judge from Arizona. Her nomination was unanimously approved by the US Senate, and she was sworn in on September 25th. She retired from the court in 2006.

  • Construction began on the Boulder Dam, known today as the Hoover Dam. (1930) At the time, the dam was the world's largest concrete structure and the biggest generator of hydroelectric power. The dam was renamed after Herbert Hoover, who was the Secretary of Commerce at the time and later served as the 31st President of the United States.

  • Elvis Presley's first recorded song hit the radio. (1954) Presley recorded the song, That's All Right (Mama), just two days before, on July 5.

  • Martina Navratilova set a new Wimbledon record of nine single's titles. (1990) In her career, Navratilova won an all-time record of 31 Grand Slam titles in women's doubles and shares the record of 20 Wimbledon titles with Billy Jean King.

  • Joan of Arc was acquitted of heresy — 25 years after her execution. (1456) Her execution was ordered by Bishop Pierre Cauchon. She was executed by being burned at the stake. Inquisitor-General Jean Brehal conducted the investigation during the retrial and declared her a matyr; he also convicted Cauchon, who was already dead, of heresy for convicting an innocent woman.

  • Canada adopted two official languages — English and French. (1969) The Canadian Parliament adopted the Official Language Act, which gave French and English equal status in the government.

  • The Western Black Rhinoceros was hunted to extinction. (2006) It was the rarest of the Black Rhinoceros species. Its extinction is attributed to illegal poaching. One group, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), continues to list it as "Critically Endangered" in the hopes that someone will discover a small isolated population somewhere.

  • Ringo Starr was born. (1940) The famous Beatles drummer was born as Richard Starkey in Liverpool, England. He joined The Beatles in 1962, replacing drummer Pete Best.

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