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1954 Feb 23
The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh. Jonas Salk created the Salk vaccine against polio. It used a killed virus to induce immunization. Poliomyelitis is a viral attack of the central nervous system and can cause paralysis and death by asphyxiation. [see Apr 26] In 2005 David M. Oshinsky authored “Polio: An American Story – The Crusade That Mobilized the Nation Against the 20th Century’s Most Feared Disease.”
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, Polio     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1955 Apr 12
The Salk Vaccine was declared safe and effective. Salk vaccine shots for polio began to be given out to school kids. The March of Dimes accomplished its mission within 20 years. Research led by Dr. Jonas Salk, of the Univ. of Pittsburgh, and supported by funds (those marching little dimes) raised annually by thousands of volunteers, resulted in the announcement that the Salk polio vaccine was "safe, potent and effective." The foundation also supported the research that led to the Sabin oral vaccine, another safe, effective polio preventative discovered by Dr. Albert B. Sabin. Following the victory over infantile paralysis, the March of Dimes turned its attention to conquering the largest killer and crippler of children: the mental and physical problems that are present at birth. Some 100 million people were given the vaccine during the 1950s and 1960s which was later found to be contaminated with the SV40 simian virus, a possible carcinogen.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Medical, Pharma, Polio     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1956
Dick Clark (27) joined the TV show "American Bandstand" in Philadelphia after one of the 2 original hosts was arrested fro drunk driving. He was replaced by David Hirsch for the last season in 1989.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, TV, Pop&Rock     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1957 Aug 5
"American Bandstand," a teenage dance show hosted by Dick Clark (1929-2012) in Philadelphia, made its network debut on ABC-TV.
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1957
Dr. Hilary Koprowski of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia developed an oral polio vaccine and tested it in Africa (Congo). The Wister polio vaccine was given to some 300,000 people in the Belgian Congo from 1957-1960. A later theory held that reuse of needles during the immunization program caused AIDS via “serial passage” that transformed the SIV virus into HIV. In 1999 Edward Hooper authored “The River,” a detailed hypothesis for the origin of AIDS in Africa. Hooper suspected that the Wister polio vaccine, produced from monkey kidney cells, contained SIV virus. In 2000 a computerized study indicated that the AIDS virus was introduced to humans about 1930.
Links: USA, Microbiology, Pennsylvania, Medical, AIDS, CongoDRC, Polio, Primates     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1957
Bill and Daisy Myers became the first Black couple to buy a house in Levittown (Willingboro), Pa. State police were required to protect them. They lived there until 1961. In 1999 Daisy was given a reception and an apology from the Bristol Township Mayor Sam Fenton. Levittown was created by William Levitt, who kept costs down by bringing in ready made walls and buying appliances directly from manufacturers. In 2009 David Kushner authored “Levittown: Two Families, One Tycoon, and the Fight for Civil Rights in America’s Legendary Suburb.”
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Black History, Architect     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1959
The Rev. Willie James launched a lawsuit that led to the desegregation of Willingboro (Levittown), Pa.
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1961 Apr 29
The diesel-powered aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk was commissioned at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. In 1976 the ship was drydocked in Bremerton, Wa., for a year-long overhaul.
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1962 Mar 5
The US Supreme Court in Griggs v. Allegheny County ruled that airports must compensate people living in the near vicinity for noise and vibrations.
Links: Pennsylvania, Aviation, Supreme Court     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1962
A fire broke out in a garbage dump above an abandoned coal mine in Centralia, Pen. The property had been deeded to the town in 1954 for $1. The fire spread and burned for years. In 1983 US Congress approved $42 million to help the residents move, and by 2005 only about a dozen residents remained. In 2007 Joan Quigley authored “The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy.”
Links: USA, Environment, Pennsylvania, Fire     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1964
Roger Abrahams (1933-2017), American folklorist, authored “Deep Down in the Jungle: Negro Narrative Folklore from the Streets of Philadelphia.”
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Black History, Books     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1965 Jan 13
The SF Warriors traded Wilt Chamberlain (1936-1999) to the Philadelphia 76ers for three players and $150,000 cash. The 76ers assumed Wilt’s $65,000 annual salary.
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1965
The American Conservatory Theater was founded by William Ball in 1965 in Pittsburgh. ACT moved west and settled in at the Geary Theater in SF in 1967.
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1965
Richard Scaife (1932-2014) of Pittsburgh, heir to the Mellon banking fortune, inherited $500 million. With more family bequests, income from trust funds and investments he nearly tripled his net worth over his lifetime.
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1968 Feb 1
The Pennsylvania Railroad and NYC Central merged into Penn Central.
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1968 Sep
The Big Mac was created by McDonald’s franchisee Jim Delligatti in Pittsburgh. It sold for 49 cents.
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1968 Oct 1
The cult horror movie "Night of the Living Dead" had its world premiere in Pittsburgh.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Film     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1968
The Delfonics soul singing group of Philadelphia recorded their hit "La-la Means I Love You."
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1968
The International Comparison Program (ICP) was established to compare the economic outputs of countries. The ICP was established as a joint venture of the UN Statistical Division (UNSD) and the International Comparisons Unit of the University of Pennsylvania with financial contributions from the Ford Foundation and the World Bank.
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1969 Jul 21
Riots in York, Pa., left 2 people dead, Lillie Belle Allen (27) along with rookie officer Henry Schaad (22). Schaad was mortally wounded 3 days before Allen was killed. Over 60 people were arrested as one city block burned. In 2001 Arthur (47) and Robert Messersmith (52) were arrested for the slaying of Allen. In 2001 Rick Lynn Knouse (48) and Gregory Henry Neff (53), former members of the Girarders white street gang, were also charged in the murders. In 2001 York Mayor Charles Robertson was arrested on homicide charges for allegedly handing out ammunition to white gang members and exhorting them to "Kill as many niggers as you can." In 2001 Thomas P. Smith was accused in the ambush shooting of Allen. In 2001 Stephen Freeland (49) and Leon Wright (53) were charged in the murder of officer Schaad. Robertson was acquitted in 2002. Messersmith and Neff were found guilty of 2nd degree murder. 6 white men were sentenced up to 3 years in prison. Wright's brother Michael implicated himself in 2003 and was charged for the murder of Schaad. In 2005 York city officials announced a $2 million settlement with the children and sisters of Lillie Belle Allen.
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1969 Dec 31
In Clarksville, Pa., Joseph Yablonski was murdered with his wife and daughter. Yablonski had lost an election for the presidency of the United Mine Workers 3 weeks earlier [see Jan 5, 1970].
Links: USA, Labor, Pennsylvania, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1969
Leonard Tose (1915-2003) and several others bought the Philadelphia Eagles pro football team for $15.155 million. Tose bought out his partners in 1977. He sold the team in 1985 to Norman Braman of south Florida for $65 million.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Football     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1969
Philadelphia initiated a program of “career academies,” which combined academic and technical curriculums and gave students work experience.
Links: USA, Labor, Pennsylvania, Education     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1970 Jan 5
Joseph A. Yablonski, an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of the United Mine Workers, was found murdered with his wife and daughter at their Clarksville, Pa., home. Nine people were later charged in the killing including UMW Pres. W.A. Boyle.
Links: USA, Labor, Pennsylvania, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1970 Apr 22
The first Earth Day and Earth Week was celebrated and millions protested pollution on Earth and their concern for the environment. The event was organized by a 33-member committee in Philadelphia. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson suggested Earth Day as a means to focus national attention on ecological issues. Gaylord selected Pete McCloskey as co-chairman. Organizers later identified 12 anti-environment members of the US House and Senate, 7 of whom soon lost their seats.
Links: USA, Environment, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, World     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1970 Jun 21
Penn Central was forced into bankruptcy. The default caught the market by surprise, largely because commercial paper ratings were in their infancy. Fed chairman Arthur Burns reacted by making discount window loans to banks that lent to CP issuers.
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1970 Sep 26
The President’s Commission on Campus Unrest, also referred to as the Scranton Commission, investigated the Kent killings and found "The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable." The commission, directed by former Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton, was appointed by President Richard Nixon shortly after the Kent State shootings and relied heavily on a massive FBI investigation. The Scranton report also found student conduct prior to the shootings partly responsible.
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1970
The Shostakovich (1906-1975) 13th symphony "Babi Yar," smuggled on microfilm to the US, was premiered in the US by the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Links: Russia, USA, Pennsylvania, USSR, Classical Music     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1971 Jan 25
The Philadelphia mint made its 1st trial strike of the Eisenhower dollar.
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1971 Jan
Fred Speaker (1930-1996), attorney general of Pennsylvania, ordered the dismantling of the electric chair at the Rockview Correctional Institution on his last day in office.
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1971 Mar 8
Catholic radicals in Media, Pa., broke into the local FBI offices and stole documents that revealed the agency’s illegal activities against radical groups and leaked them to the media. In 2014 Betty Medsger authored “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI.” Prof. John Raines (1933-2017) and his wife Bonnie were among the eight antiwar activists who took part in the burglary.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, FBI, Books, Robbery     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1971
Sister Jogues Egan (d.1998 at 79) was charged as a unindicted co-conspirator with the Harrisburg Six, in the so-called Kissinger plot that included Phillip Berrigan and other Catholic peace protestors. They were charged by the government to have conspired to blow up federal property and to kidnap Henry Kissinger. The case ended in a mistrial in April, 1972.
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1971
Rev. Leon Sullivan (1922-2001), a noted Philadelphia minister, became GM’s 1st black board member. In 1998 Sullivan authored “Moving Mountains.”
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1972 Apr 5
The Harrisburg 7 trial ended in mistrial after 11 weeks. Philip Berrigan & Sister Elizabeth McAllister were declared guilty, but only of smuggling letters in & out of prison. Librarian Zoia Horn (d.2014) had refused to testify at the trail, becoming the first US librarian to be jailed for refusing to testify. She was freed after 20 days when a jury deadlocked on conspiracy charges.
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1972
Home Box Office (HBO) began transmitting programs to cable TV subscribers in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The 1st cablecast was a National League Hockey game.
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1972
Jack Scott (d.2000 at 57) was hired as the athletic director at Oberlin College. He was the author of "The Athletic Revolution," which was initially called "Athletics for Athletes." In 1974 he assisted William and Emily Harris of the SLA from California to a hideout farm in Pennsylvania.
Links: USA, Ohio, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972
John J. Rigas incorporated Adelphia Communications in Pennsylvania. The name came from the Greek word for “brother.” He took the company public in 1986.
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1972
1975
Soul music peaked in Philadelphia. In 2004 John A. Jackson authored “A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul.”
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Pop&Rock     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1973
Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985) ended his direction of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
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1974 Feb 5
John Murtha (1932-2010), became Pennsylvania’s Democratic representative following a special House election. He became the first Vietnam veteran to serve in Congress.
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1974 Jul 29
The Episcopal Church ordained female priests in Philadelphia.
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1974
In Pennsylvania the firefly was decreed as the official insect.
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1975 Jan 12
The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Minnesota Vikings (16-6) in the Superbowl in New Orleans. Bob McCurry of Chrysler Corp. introduced the auto rebate in a 1975 Superbowl commercial.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Cars, Football, Advertising     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975 May 6
In hockey the Philadelphia Flyers won the semifinal series over Boston 4 games to 1.
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1975 May 16
The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup hockey finals in 4 games over the Philadelphia Flyers.
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1975
In Pennsylvania a company called McAdoo Associates began operating to extract and recycle metals from chemical wastes. The company accepted hundred of thousands of gallons of paint sludge, waste oils, used solvents, PCBs, cyanide, pesticides and many other known or suspected carcinogens. In 1979, when the EPA stepped in, McAdoo Associates had stockpiled enough chemicals to nearly fill an Olympic-size swimming pool. The EPA placed it on the Superfund list and began a cleanup. The US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry began looking into polycythemia vera (PCV) in August 2006 after 97 cases in Schuylkill, Carbon and Luzerne counties were reported to the state cancer registry between 2001 and 2005.
Links: USA, Environment, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Apr 27
Jimmy Carter clinched the Democratic presidential nomination by beating Henry “Scoop” Jackson and Morris Udall in the Pennsylvania primary.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, CarterJ     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Jul 4
The nation held a 200th anniversary party across the land in celebration of America's 200 years of independence. President Ford made stops in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and New York, where more than 200 ships paraded up the Hudson River in Operation Sail.
Links: USA, NYC, Pennsylvania, FordG     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Jul 4
The National Museum of American Jewish History opened in Philadelphia. It was established to tell the story of the American Jewish experience.
Links: USA, Jews, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Jul 21
"Legionnaire's Disease" struck in Philadelphia, Pa. 29 people died from the disease. The disease was first identified after an outbreak at the Bellevue Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia. It was identified as Legionella pneumophila and found to infest water systems in general and the hotel ventilation system in this case.
Links: USA, Microbiology, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1976 Jul 27
Air Force veteran Ray Brennan became the first person to die of so-called "Legionnaire’s Disease" following an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
Links: USA, Microbiology, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976
A 45-foot-tall, giant steel "Clothespin" was constructed at the Plaza of the City Hall of Philadelphia by Claes Oldenburg. He made his graphic "Soft Screw in Waterfall."
Links: Artist, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976
J. Howard Marshall II (d.1995), Texas oil tycoon and alumnus of Haverford College, Pa., pledged $4 million to Haverford. In 1994 Marshall married Playboy Playmate Anna Nicole Smith (26) and by his death had donated less than $2 million to the college.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Donation, Texas     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1977 Jun 19
Pope Paul VI proclaimed a 19th-century Philadelphia bishop, John Neumann, the first male US saint.
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1977 Jul 20
A flash flood hit Johnstown, Pa., killing more than 80 people and causing $350 million worth of damage.
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1977 Sep
In Philadelphia Helen "Holly" Maddux, a Bryn Mawr College graduate from Tyler, Texas, was murdered and stuffed into a steamer trunk for 18 months until her body was discovered. Ira Einhorn, "hippie guru" was arrested for the murder in 1979 but released on bail. He fled to hide in France. Fred Maddux, Holly's father, committed suicide in 1988. Einhorn was convicted in absentia in 1993. In June,1997, he was arrested in France. A French court ruled against extradition and released Einhorn. Einhorn was arrested in 1998 under a new extradition warrant. The events were broadcast as a TV crime story in 1999 titled "The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer." In 1999 The French Supreme Court ruled that Einhorn should be returned to the US. In 1999 a civil suit ordered Einhorn to pay $907 million to the Maddux family. Einhorn was extradited to the US in 2001. he was convicted of murder Oct 17, 2002.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Murder     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978 Aug 8
James Ramp (52), Philadelphia police officer, was killed during a standoff with MOVE. 9 members of MOVE, a Black group that espoused equality with animals and preached against technology, were convicted. Members of the group adopted the surname Africa.
Links: USA, Pennsylvania, Black History     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978 Dec 13
The Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which went into circulation the following July. This was the 1st US coin to honor a woman.
Links: USA, Money, Pennsylvania     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1978
Volkswagen began building the Rabbit in New Stanton, Pa.
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1979 Jan 21
The Pittsburgh Steelers became the first team to win three Super Bowls as they defeated the Dallas Cowboys 35-31 in Super Bowl 13.
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