The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded. (1866) The ASPCA was founded by diplomat Henry Bergh, who had worked in Russia for the Lincoln administration. His organization raided slaughterhouses and rat-fighting pits, and even helped start an ambulance service for horses. Many early child cruelty prevention movements were actually modeled on the ASPCA.
The US table tennis team visited China. (1971) The visit was a major step forwards in relations between the two countries, and gave rise to the term "ping-pong diplomacy."
The Titanic set off on its first and only voyage. (1912) The massive luxury liner left Southampton, England, on this day, and it only sailed for four days before the infamous crash.
The first 3D color film opened. (1953) Horror classic The House of Wax opened on this day, and was the first film shot on stereoscopic, or 3D film. Though 3D movies were phenomenally popular for a few years afterwards, they fell out of fashion for a long time mostly because of the quality of the films.
Paul McCartney announced that the Beatles were breaking up. (1970) Many were devastated when the legendary band announced that members were going their separate ways after more than 20 years of working together. The breakup itself took over three years to become official because of numerous legal snafus.
Charlie Chaplin received an Oscar. (1970) Chaplin made a special visit to America — which he had left over 20 years ago after being accused of being a Communist — to accept the award. It was his second academy award; the first he got in 1929 for The Circus.
The original Big Ben bell was cast. (1858) The original bell of the iconic Big Ben clock tower in London weighed almost 15 tons, but it unfortunately cracked under testing. It was then recast into a smaller bell, which remained in use into the 21st century.
The Great Gatsby was published. (1925) Jazz age legend F. Scott Fitzgerald's best known novel, The Great Gatsby is considered one of the best examples of the "Great American Novel" and remains a striking critique of the American dream.
Arbor Day was first celebrated. (1872) The first Arbor Day was celebrated in Nebraska City, and about 1 million trees were planted. The holiday was actually founded by an editor and agriculturalist from Nebraska City, J. Sterling Morton, who also served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture.
Joseph Pulitzer was born. (1847) Pulitzer was born in Hungary, but he made his name as a major publisher in New York. Besides setting up the Pulitzer prizes, Pulitzer also provided the money for the world's first journalism school.