Below please find a list of what I consider to be significant historical events that occurred during the month of November.
11/1 – All Hallows Day, aka All Saints Day. Many of us observe the day before this holiday as Halloween.
11/1/1848 – The first women’s medical school opened in Boston, MA. It was founded by a Mr. Samuel Gregory and “boasted” twelve students. In 1874 it became part of the Boston University School of Medicine, becoming one of the first co-ed medical schools. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, today, women comprise approximately 1/2 of all medical students.
11/1/1950 – President Harry S Truman, whom many historians consider to have been one of our greatest presidents, survived an assassination attempt by two members of a Puerto Rican nationalist movement.
11/2/1962 – President Kennedy announced that all Soviet missiles in Cuba were being dismantled and their installations destroyed, thus signaling the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. On 11/20 he announced that all missile sites had been dismantled. Unbeknownst to the general public, that crisis was probably the closest we ever came to nuclear war.
11/3/1948 – The Chicago Tribune published its famous, or infamous, headline “Dewey Defeats Truman,” arguably, the most embarrassing headline ever.
11/4/1862 – Richard Gatling patented his first rapid-firing machine gun, which utilized rotating barrels to load, fire and extract the spent cartridges. The gun bares his name.
11/4/1942 – In the battle generally considered to be one of the turning points of WWII (along with Stalingrad) the British defeated the Germans at El Alamein (North Africa).
11/7/1811 – General (and future president) William Henry Harrison defeated the Shawnee Indians in the Battle of Tippecanoe Creek, which was located in present-day Indiana. The battle gave rise to the chief slogan of Harrison’s presidential campaign – “Tippecanoe and Tyler too.”
11/7/1885 – Canada’s first transcontinental railroad was completed, opening up the western part of the country to settlement.
11/7/1962 – Former Vice President Richard Nixon, having lost the California gubernatorial election decisively to Edmund Brown (father of the current governor), gave his famous farewell speech to reporters, telling them they “wouldn’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen this is my last press conference.” As we know, Nixon made a comeback in 1968 narrowly defeating Hubert Humphrey for the presidency.
11/8/1895 – Wilhelm Roentgen discovered the electromagnetic ray, aka, X-rays.
11/8/1942 – The Allies landed successfully in North Africa (Operation Torch).
11/9&10/1938 – All over Germany Nazis terrorized Jews, burning, pillaging and vandalizing synagogues, homes and businesses in what became known infamously as Kristallnacht.
11/10/1775 – The Marine Corps established as part of the Navy.
11/10/1871 – Explorer Henry Stanley finds Dr. Livingston after a two-year search. There is doubt that he actually uttered the attributed phrase “Dr. Livingston, I presume.”
11/11/1973 – Egypt and Israel sign momentus cease-fire accord sponsored by the US.
11/13/1927 – The Holland Tunnel, the first underwater tunnel built in the US, which is named not for the country, but for Clifford Holland, the engineer who designed and led the construction of the project, opened connecting NYC and NJ.
11/13/1956 – The Supreme Court declared racial segregation on public buses to be unconstitutional.
11/15/1864 – Union soldiers, under the command of General William Sherman, burned much of the City of Atlanta.
11/17/1869 – The Suez Canal opened after taking 10+ years to complete.
11/19/1863 – President Abraham Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address.
11/20/1789 – NJ became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.
11/20/1945 – The Nuremberg War Crimes Trials began. Twenty-four former leaders of Nazi Germany were tried for various war crimes.
11/22/1963 – President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald who, in turn, was later assassinated by Jack Ruby. Hours later, Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president while on board Air Force One.
11/28/1520 – Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan rounded the southern tip of South America, passing through what is now the Strait of Magellan, crossing from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.
In addition, the following notables, who made significant contributions to society, were born during November:
Daniel Boone (frontiersman) – 11/2/1734; President James K. Polk (11th President) – 11/2/1795; Will Rogers (humorist) – 11/4/1879; Walter Cronkite (tv anchor/journalist) – 11/4/1916; John Philip Sousa (musical conductor) – 11/6/1854; James Naismith (inventor of basketball) – 11/6/1861; Marie Curie (chemist who discovered radium) – 11/7/1867; Billy Graham (evangelist) – 11/7/1918; Edmund Halley (astronomer/mathematician who discovered Halley’s Comet) – 11/8/1656; Christiaan Barnard (pioneer of heart transplant operations) – 11/8/1922; Richard Burton (actor) – 11/10/1925; George Patton (WWII General) – 11/11/1885; Auguste Rodin (sculptor of “The Thinker,” among others) – 11/12/1840; Elizabeth Cady Stanton (suffragist) – 11/12/1815; Grace Kelly (actress/princess) – 11/12/1929; Louis Brandeis (Supreme Court justice) – 11/13/1856; Robert Louis Stevenson (author) 11/13/1850; Robert Fulton (inventor of the steamboat) – 11/14/1765; Claude Monet (pioneered impressionist painting) – 11/14/1840; Jawaharlal Nehru (India’s first Prime Minister) – 11/14/1889; Louis Daguerre (invented daguerreotype process of developing photographs) – 11/18/1789; James A. Garfield (20th President) – 11/19/1831; Indira Gandhi (Indian Prime Minister) – 11/19/1917; Edwin Hubble (astronomer for whom the Hubble Space Telescope is named) – 11/20/1889; Robert Kennedy (JFK’s brother, Attorney General and US Senator from NY) – 11/20/1925; Charles De Gaulle (French WWII hero and president of France) – 11/22/1890; Franklyn Pierce (14th President) – 11/23/1804; William (Billy the Kid) Bonney (notorious outlaw) – 11/23/1859; William Henry Platt (aka Boris Karloff) (famed horror movie star) – 11/23/1887; Zachary Taylor (12th President) – 11/24/1784; Andrew Carnegie (financier and philanthropist) – 11/25/1835; John Harvard (founder of Harvard University in 1636) – 11/26/1607; Anders Celsius (invented Celsius, aka centigrade, temperature scale) – 11/27/1701; Chaim Weizmann (Israeli statesman) – 11/27/1874; Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, (author) – 11/30/1835; Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister during WWII) – 11/30/1874.
Well, there you have it. I tried to keep it succinct so as not to bore those of you who are ambivalent toward history.