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May 15, 2013

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, May 15, the 135th day of 2013. There are 230 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On May 15, 1863, Edouard Manet’s painting “Le dejeuner sur l’herbe” (The Lunch on the Grass) went on display in Paris, scandalizing viewers with its depiction of a nude woman seated on the ground with two fully dressed men at a picnic in a wooded area.

On this date:

In 1602, English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold and his ship, the Concord, arrived at present-day Cape Cod, which he’s credited with naming.

In 1776, Virginia endorsed American independence from Britain.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act establishing the Department of Agriculture. Austrian author and playwright Arthur Schnitzler was born in Vienna.

In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil Co. was a monopoly in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and ordered its breakup.

In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport (a forerunner of United Airlines).

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, whose members came to be known as WACs. Wartime gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 Eastern states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles.

In 1963, astronaut L. Gordon Cooper blasted off aboard Faith 7 on the final mission of the Project Mercury space program. Weight Watchers was incorporated in New York.

In 1970, just after midnight, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, were killed as police opened fire during student protests.

In 1972, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed by Arthur H. Bremer while campaigning in Laurel, Md., for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Bremer served 35 years of a 53-year sentence for attempted murder.)

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