June 1959

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June 8, 1959: 3,000 letters sent by U.S. missile
Johannson of Sweden KO's heavyweight champion Patterson
June 9, 1959: USS George Washington, first ballistic missile sub, is launched
June 3, 1959: The original Air Force Academy class graduates

The following events occurred in June 1959:

June 1, 1959 (Monday)[edit]

  • Four days after her flight into space, Miss Able, a rhesus monkey, died of a reaction to anesthesia during surgery to remove electrodes.[1]
  • Two small groups of Nicaraguan exiles crossed invaded from Costa Rica, landing airplanes at two locations, on in an attempt to overthrow President Luis Somoza. The invasion, which Somoza believed to have been instigated by Cuba's Fidel Castro, was crushed on June 11.[2]
  • Died: Sax Rohmer (pen name for Arthur Henry Ward, 76, British novelist and the creator of Fu Manchu died from complications of Asiatic flu.[3]

June 2, 1959 (Tuesday)[edit]

June 3, 1959 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • The army of Ecuador brutally suppressed rioting in Guayaquil, killing more than 500 people.[6]
  • The United States Air Force Academy graduated its first class, with 207 students commissioned as officers.[7]
  • The United States attempted to launch four mice into orbit aboard the satellite Discoverer III, but the mission failed when the rockets fired the vehicle downward rather than horizontally; the satellite burned up on re-entry.[8]

June 4, 1959 (Thursday)[edit]

June 5, 1959 (Friday)[edit]

  • Singapore was made a self-governing state within the British Empire, with Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister, and Sir William Goode serving as Governor-General for the first six months. Singapore achieved full independence in 1965.[10]
  • Nikolay Artamonov, commander of a Soviet Navy destroyer, defected to the United States, with his fiancee Eva, after escaping in a motor boat to Oland Island in Sweden. As Nicholas Shadrin, Artamonov, worked for the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency until the Soviets recaptured him in 1975[11]

June 6, 1959 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The first satellite communication was made when a radio message from U.S. President Eisenhower was bounced off of the Moon to Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, who was dedicating the new Prince Albert Radio Laboratory (PARL).[12]
  • Born: Marwan Barghouti, Jordanian-born Palestinian leader instrumental in launching the 1988 intifada; in Kobar on the West Bank

June 7, 1959 (Sunday)[edit]

June 8, 1959 (Monday)[edit]

  • An experiment with "missile mail" proved successful, if not practical. At 10:10 am. the USS Barbero launched a Regulus I rocket, containing 3,000 letters, from a point 100 miles offshore from Norfolk, Virginia. The "wheeled missile" was guided to the naval air station at Mayport, Florida, a parachute deployed, and it landed 22 minutes after firing.[14] Postmaster General Arthur E. Summerfield predicted that deliveries of mail by missile would become a regular practice.[15]

June 9, 1959 (Tuesday)[edit]

June 10, 1959 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Harold Geneen became President of International Telephone & Telegraph (ITT). Over a 28-year period, Geneen built the company into a gigantic conglomerate, increasing revenues from $765 million in 1959 to $22 billion at the time of his retirement on January 1, 1978.[20]
  • A month after withdrawing a six-month ultimatum for the Western powers to withdraw from Berlin, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev issued a new deadline when talks broke down in Geneva. Khrushchev demanded that the U.S., Britain, and France withdraw their armies from West Berlin by June 10, 1960. The ultimatum was withdrawn on September 27 when Khrushchev met with President Eisenhower at Camp David.[21]
  • Rocky Colavito of the Cleveland Indians hit four home runs in four consecutive appearances at bat for an 11–8 win over the Baltimore Orioles.[22]
  • Born: Eliot Spitzer, American politician and Governor of New York for 14 months (2007 to 2008) before resigning in the wake of a scandal; in the Bronx

June 11, 1959 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence, was barred from distribution in the United States by order of the Postmaster General. Grove Press had announced, in April, publication of the "unexpurgated edition" of Lawrence's novel, and the Postmaster barred it under section 1461 of Title 18 of the United States Code as "obscene and un-mailable".[23]
  • The first large hovercraft, the Saunders-Roe Nautical One SR-N1, made its maiden voyage on the English Channel.[24]
  • Born: Hugh Laurie, British actor (Dr. Gregory House in House), in Oxford

June 12, 1959 (Friday)[edit]

  • Construction began on HMS Dreadnought (S101), the first British nuclear submarine. Prince Philip laid down the first steel at the Vickers-Armstrongs shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness. The sub was launched in 1960 and served until 1980.[25]
  • Singer Billie Holiday was arrested for heroin possession while in her room at New York's Metropolitan Hospital, where she had been since collapsing on May 31. Because she couldn't be moved, NYPD detectives fingerprinted her and took mug shots while she lay in bed, to face charges upon release. She would die, without regaining consciousness, on July 17.[26]

June 13, 1959 (Saturday)[edit]

June 14, 1959 (Sunday)[edit]

  • Dominican exiles, aided by Fidel Castro, invaded the Dominican Republic on three fronts, with the objective of overthrowing dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. At Estero Hondo and at Maimon, the rebels rowed in from ships stationed offshore, while a smaller group landed a C-46 transport at Constanza. Alerted to the invasion by its own spies, the Dominican armed forces stopped the invasion by sea. In Constanza, where inaccurate bombing ended up killing more civilians than guerillas, most of the rebels were captured or killed by Dominican peasants in return for a cash bounty.[28]
  • At Disneyland, the first passenger-carrying monorail was dedicated by U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon. When Walt Disney took the Nixon family along for a test ride before the ceremony, the Secret Service detail was inadvertently left behind and the Vice President accidentally "kidnapped".[29]
  • As beachgoers in La Jolla, California, watched, 33-year-old Robert Pamperin was attacked and devoured by a 20-foot (6.1 m) great white shark, while skindiving 50 yards from shore. No trace of Pamperin was found, and it was speculated that the shark had swallowed him whole.[30]

June 15, 1959 (Monday)[edit]

June 16, 1959 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • François Tombalbaye became Prime Minister of Chad, which was scheduled to become independent of French Equatorial Africa. On August 10, 1960, Tombalbaye would become the new Republic of Chad's first President, serving until his death in a 1975 coup.[32]
  • The essay "Hai Rui Scolds the Emperor" appeared in the Chinese Communist paper People's Daily (Renmin Ribao), written by historian and Beijing vice-mayor Wu Han. Ostensibly about the criticism (in 1566) of a Ming dynasty Emperor, the article, and other Hai Rui essays that followed, was viewed as a veiled criticism of Chinese leader Mao Zedong and considered a factor in the backlash from the 1966 Cultural Revolution.[33]
  • In a White House meeting, President Eisenhower expressed his reservations about the placement of American medium range nuclear missiles in Turkey, noting that "if Mexico or Cuba had been penetrated by the Communists, and then began getting arms and missiles from them ... it would be imperative for us to take positive action, even offensive military action." The presence of the Jupiter missiles in Turkey was later believed to be one of the factors in the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba, which precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.[34]
  • Died: Actor George Reeves, who played the title role on the television program The Adventures of Superman, was found dead, in his Beverly Hills home, from a single gunshot to his head.[35] Because the gun was wiped clean of fingerprints, and there were no powder burns on his hand, the conclusion that he had killed himself has been disputed.[36]

June 17, 1959 (Wednesday)[edit]

June 18, 1959 (Thursday)[edit]

June 19, 1959 (Friday)[edit]

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Neil H. McElroy approved the DOD's air defense master plan, providing for procurement of KC-135 tankers, and B-52G, B-58, and B-70 bombers, and increased deployment of Atlas, Tian and Minuteman missiles.[43]

June 20, 1959 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The Soviet Union reversed plans to provide China with a prototype atomic bomb, and secretly informed the Beijing government that it would not supply technical data for constructing more nuclear weapons, unilaterally cancelling an accord reached on October 15, 1957.[44] Nikita Khrushchev noted later in his memoirs that the working bomb and its blueprints had been packed and ready for shipment, but that the Soviets then decided against sharing their secrets.[45]

June 21, 1959 (Sunday)[edit]

  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, became the first city in North America to adopt the 999 number for emergency services. The first 9-1-1 service in the United States did not occur until February 16, 1968, when inaugurated in Haleyville, Alabama.[46]
  • Hank Aaron hit 755 home runs in his major league baseball career, but had only one game with more than two home runs. He hit three home runs, for six RBIs, in the Braves' win over the Giants in San Francisco.[47]
  • Minnesota's Lake of the Woods, which bills itself as the "Walleye Capital of the World", erected its 40-foot-long (12 m) statue of "Willie Walleye".[48]
  • Born: Kathy Mattea, American country singer, in South Charleston, West Virginia

June 22, 1959 (Monday)[edit]

  • The first multinational treaty on nuclear security came into force. The OECD Convention on the Establishment of a Security Control in the Field of Nuclear Energy had been signed by the nations of Western Europe, along with the United States and Canada, on December 20, 1957.[49]
  • Born: Ed Viesturs, American mountaineer, in Rockford, Illinois

June 23, 1959 (Tuesday)[edit]

June 24, 1959 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Klaus Fuchs, who had given America's atomic bomb and hydrogen bomb secrets to the Soviet Union, was quietly released from a British prison after serving nine years of a 14-year sentence for espionage. He traveled as "Mr. Strauss" on a LOT Airlines flight from London to East Berlin, where he lived until his death in 1988.[53]
  • Porgy and Bess, the widescreen Technicolor film of the classic Gershwin opera, was released to mixed reviews and poor box office. Its two leads, Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge, as well as Diahann Carroll, had their singing voices dubbed by others, while Sammy Davis, Jr., Pearl Bailey, and Brock Peters did their own singing. The work was changed from being a full-fledged opera to an operetta simply by removing about a third of the music, and having the words to many of the operatic portions spoken instead of sung. A more critically acclaimed, more faithful, and more complete version of Porgy and Bess was telecast by PBS in 1993.

June 25, 1959 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Spree killer Charles Starkweather, who had murdered 11 people in 1958, was executed in the electric chair at the Nebraska State Penitentiary.
  • Taking advantage of a clause in the new U.S. copyright law, cartoonist Max Fleischer exercised an exclusive right to renew the soon-to-expire copyright on Betty Boop. Max's son Richard would later recount that attorney Stanley Handman had happened to read, in the Wall Street Journal, "the article that would change our lives forever", with merchandising rights to the popular 1940s cartoon.[54]

June 26, 1959 (Friday)[edit]

June 27, 1959 (Saturday)[edit]

  • Voters in Hawaii went to the polls on the question of whether to become the 50th state of the United States of America. The result was 132,938 in favor, and 7,854 not. Only one of the 240 precincts went against statehood, with voters on the island of Niihau 70–18 against.[59]

June 28, 1959 (Sunday)[edit]

  • The Ethiopian Orthodox Church was created as a separate entity from Egypt's Coptic Christian church. Egypt's Pope Cyril VI appointed Bishop Abuna Basilios as the patriarch of the church, with authority to consecrate his bishops within the Ethiopian church.[60]
  • At Meldrim, Georgia, seventeen people were burned to death while swimming in the Ogeechee River. The beach area was beneath a 30-foot (9.1 m) railroad trestle, and as the train moved over the bridge, two tanker cars exploded, sending a blanket of flames onto a crowd of 175 people below.[61]

June 29, 1959 (Monday)[edit]

  • Pope John XXIII issued his first encyclical, Ad Petri Cathedram, prior to the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The papal letter emphasized that a renewal of the Roman Catholic Church would precede a reunion with other Christian denominations.[62]

June 30, 1959 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • Twenty-one students were killed and more than 100 were injured when an American F-100 plane crashed into Miamori Elementary School at Ishikawa, Japan, on the island of Okinawa. The pilot had ejected after the plane malfunctioned and struck the school.[63]
  • One of the oddest incidents in MLB history happened when two baseballs were in play at the same time during the Cardinals-Cubs game. Umpire Vic Delmore had handed a new baseball to Cubs' pitcher Bob Anderson while Cubs' third baseman Alvin Dark had retrieved a ball that was still in play. As the Cards' Stan Musial reached second base, both Anderson and Dark threw a baseball his way. Musial ran for third when he saw Anderson's throw sail past him, and was tagged out by Ernie Banks, who had caught the ball thrown by Dark. After ten minutes, the umpires ruled that Musial was out. The Cardinals won anyway, 4–1, so no protest was lodged.[64]
  • Born: Vincent D'Onofrio, American actor, in Brooklyn


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  2. ^ Michael Brecher and Jonathan Wilkenfeld, A Study of Crisis (University of Michigan Press, 1997) p. 505;
  3. ^ Darrell Y. Hamamoto, Monitored peril: Asian Americans and the politics of TV representation (U of Minnesota Press, 1994), p. 112
  4. ^ Neil R. Gazel, Beatrice: From Buildup Through Breakup (University of Illinois Press, 1990) pp. 30–32
  5. ^ "Gas Truck Blast Kills 12, Hurts 15", Oakland Tribune, June 2, 1959, p. 1
  6. ^ Erik Swyngedouw, Social Power and the Urbanization of Water: Flows of Power (Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 106–107
  7. ^ Adrian A. Paradis, Opportunities in Military Careers (McGraw-Hill Professional, 1999), p. 110
  8. ^ David L. Hancock, Corona: America's First Satellite Program (Morgan James Publishing, LLC, 2005), pp. 17–18
  9. ^ movies.nytimes.com; Jon Solomon, The Complete Three Stooges: The Official Filmography and Three Stooges Companion (Comedy III Productions, 2002), p. 209
  10. ^ Edwin Lee and Siew Cheng, Singapore: The Unexpected Nation (Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2008), p165
  11. ^ Vladislav Krasnov, Soviet Defectors: The KGB Wanted List (Hoover Press, 1986), pp. 149, 215
  12. ^ John N. Vardalas, The Computer Revolution in Canada: Building National Technological Competence (MIT Press, 2001), p. 101
  13. ^ Chia-Jui Cheng, ed., Basic Documents on International Trade Law (BRILL, 1990), pp. 840–841
  14. ^ AlisoNews, July 3, 1959, in Allison: The People and the Power by Joan Everling Zigmunt (Turner Publishing Company, 1997)
  15. ^ "U.S. Delivers First Mail Via Missile", Oakland Tribune, June 8, 1959, p. 1
  16. ^ "U.S. Launches First Missile Firing A-Sub", Oakland Tribune, June 9, 1959, p. 1
  17. ^ Joel Levitt, Managing Maintenance Shutdowns and Outages (Industrial Press Inc., 2004), p. 108
  18. ^ Christian L. Wiktor, Multilateral Treaty Calendar (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1998), p. 995
  19. ^ Mike Gruntman, Blazing the Trail: The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry (AIAA, 2004), p322
  20. ^ Morgen Witzel, The Encyclopedia of the History of American Management (Continuum International, 2005), pp. 203–204
  21. ^ Eric Herring, Danger and Opportunity: Explaining International Crisis Outcomes (Manchester University Press ND, 1995), p. 135
  22. ^ Curt Smith, Storied Stadiums: Baseball's History Through Its Ballparks (Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003), p241
  23. ^ John McCormick and Mairi MacInnes, Versions of Censorship (Aldine Transaction, 2006), p. 234
  24. ^ Steve Parker, The LCAC Military Hovercraft (Capstone Press, 2008), p. 6
  25. ^ Patrick Boniface, Dreadnought: Britain's First Nuclear Powered Submarine (Periscope Publishing Ltd., 2003), pp. 17–18
  26. ^ Bud Kliment, Billie Holiday (Holloway House Publishing, 1990), pp. 148
  27. ^ "Observing 50 Years of EMS Government's Fall in Kerala", DNA Media website, July 29, 2009
  28. ^ "Dominican Republic", Encyclopedia of the Cold War, (Ruud van Dijk, ed., Taylor & Francis, 2008), p. 266
  29. ^ Pat Williams, with Jim Denney, How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Magic Every Day of Your Life (HCI, 2004), pp. 225–226
  30. ^ "Bathers See Shark Kill Skindiver", The Post-Standard (Syracuse), June 15, 1959, p. 1
  31. ^ "Incident in Death Alley", TIME Magazine, June 29, 1959; "Red Jet Fires on U.S. Patrol Plane", San Antonio Light, June 16, 1959, p. 1
  32. ^ Mario Joaquim Azevedo, Roots of Violence: A History of War in Chad (Taylor & Francis, 1998), p. 90
  33. ^ Zhengyuan Fu, Autocratic Tradition and Chinese Politics (Cambridge University Press, 1993), p. 309
  34. ^ James A. Nathan, The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited (Palgrave Macmillan, 1992), p. 140
  35. ^ "'Superman' Uses Pistol To Kill Self", Oakland Tribune, June 16, 1959, p1
  36. ^ Jake Rossen, Superman Vs. Hollywood: How Fiendish Producers, Devious Directors, and Warring Writers Grounded an American Icon (Chicago Review Press, 2008), pp. 37–38
  37. ^ Joseph Lee, Ireland, 1912–1985: Politics and Society (Cambridge University Press, 1989) pp. 330–331
  38. ^ "Jury Awards $22,400 to Liberace", Oakland Tribune, June 17, 1959, p. 1
  39. ^ Jack Jackson, Trekking Atlas of the World (New Holland Publishers, 2006), p. 129
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  41. ^ Phillip Buckner, Canada and the End of Empire (UBC Press, 2005), p. 66
    • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an Arkansas law, that had closed public schools at the beginning of the 1958–59 academic year, was unconstitutional. Following the 1957 integration of Central High School in Little Rock, the Arkansas Legislature had closed the schools. Arkansas: A Narrative History (University of Arkansas Press, 2002), p. 362
  42. ^ David G. Surdam, The Postwar Yankees: Baseball's Golden Age Revisited (U of Nebraska Press, 2008), p. 226
  43. ^ Robert Frank Futrell, Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: Basic Thinking in the United States Air Force 1907–1960 (DIANE Publishing, 1989), p. 537
  44. ^ Mercy Kuo, Contending with Contradictions: China's Policy Toward Soviet Eastern Europe and the Origins of the Sino-Soviet Split, 1953–1960 (Lexington Books, 2001), p. 137
  45. ^ Khruschev Remembers: The Last Testament (Little, Brown, 1970), p169, quoted in China and the Major Powers in East Asia, by A. Doak Barnett (Brookings Institution Press, 1977), p. 344
  46. ^ Winnipeggers call 999 for help
  47. ^ ESPN Classic site
  48. ^ Lake of the Woods Guide
  49. ^ Fabrizio Nocera, The Legal Regime of Nuclear Energy: A Comprehensive Guide to International and European Union Law (Intersentia nv, 2005), p. 539
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  52. ^ Martin Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd (Taylor & Francis, 1980), p. 241
  53. ^ Jeremy Bernstein, Nuclear Weapons: What You Need to Know (Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 251
  54. ^ Richard Fleischer, Out of the Inkwell: Max Fleischer and the Animation Revolution (University Press of Kentucky, 2005), pp. 163–164
  55. ^ Peter Heller, "In this corner-- !": Forty-two World Champions Tell Their Stories (Da Capo Press, 1994), pp. 337–38
  56. ^ TWA Plane, 68 aboard, Crashes Near Milan", Lewiston (ME) Evening Journal, June 21, 1959, p1
  57. ^ AviationSafetyNetwork
  58. ^ Allen Guttmann and Lee Thompson, Japanese Sports: A History (University of Hawaii Press, 2001), p. 174
  59. ^ Maenette Kapeʻahiokalani Padeken Ah Nee-Benham and Ronald H. Heck, Culture and Educational Policy in Hawai'i: The Silencing of Native Voices (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998), p. 143
  60. ^ "Basilios, Abuna", Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia by David H. Shinn and Thomas P. Ofcansky, (Scarecrow Press, 2004), p62
  61. ^ "17 Die, More Hunted in Butane Blast", Oakland Tribune, June 29, 1959, p. 1
  62. ^ Thomas E. FitzGerald, The Ecumenical Movement: An Introductory History (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004), p. 134
  63. ^ "21 Die as Jet Hits School On Okinawa", Oakland Tribune, June 30, 1959, p1
  64. ^ David Nemec, The Official Rules of Baseball Illustrated (Globe Pequot, 2006), pp. 67–68