25 YEARS AGO
April 9, 1979 Post-Vietnam syndrome dominates the fifty-first Oscars as The Deer Hunter wins for best picture and best supporting actor, while Jon Voight and Jane Fonda win best actor and actress awards for their roles in Coming Home .
50 YEARS AGO
May 3, 1954 Bruce Catton is awarded the Pulitzer Prize in history for A Stillness at Appomattox . Later in the year the first issue
of American Heritage , with Catton as editor, will be published.
May 7, 1954 French forces suffer a devastating defeat by Chinese-backed Communist rebels at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam, marking the end of France’s efforts to maintain its colonial rule. On May 11, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles announces plans for limited military support of anti-Communist forces to prevent a “falling domino” effect throughout Southeast Asia.
150 YEARS AGO
May 26, 1854 Congress passes the Kansas-Nebraska Act, under which the slavery status of those two territories will be chosen by their settlers. President Franklin Pierce signs it on May 30.
200 YEARS AGO
May 14, 1804 The U.S. Corps of Discovery, led by William Clark, leaves its camp north of St. Louis and starts up the Missouri River. Meriwether Lewis joins the corps a few days later in St. Charles.
250 YEARS AGO
May 9, 1754 The first recorded American political cartoon, a cut-up snake with the caption “JOIN, or DIE,” is published in the Pennsylvania Gazette .
300 YEARS AGO
April 24, 1704 The colonies’ first regularly published newspaper, the Boston News-Letter , makes its debut.