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• On Aug. 4, 1753, 21-yearold George Washington is declared a Master Mason in a Masonic ritual performed by his fellow Freemasons during a secret ceremony. Washington had been initiated into the Masons in 1752.

• On Aug. 5, 1861, the government hands down the first Income Tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861. The tax, which was levied on incomes over $800, was designed to help fund the Civil War. However, the measure was short-lived, as the government rescinded it in 1872.

• On Aug. 1, 1903, the first cross-country automobile trip, from New York City to San Francisco, is completed. The trail was blazed by a Packard, which finished in a mere 52 days.

• On July 31, 1916, Louise Smith, NASCAR’s first female act, is born. Known as racing’s “Good Ol’ Gal,” she competed in stock-car racing during its decidedly “good ol’ boy” years. A native of Greenville, S.C., Smith raced various Modified, Sportsman and Grand National series events between 1946 and 1956, winning 38 races.

• On Aug. 3, 1926, singer Tony Bennett is born Antonio Dominick Benedetto in Queens, N.Y. By 1964, he had 24 top-40 hits under his belt. Bennett continued releasing material throughout the ’90s, and in February 2001 he won a lifetime achievement Grammy.

• On Aug. 2, 1955, “To Catch a Thief,” directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, debuts. The movie, featuring Grant as a former cat burglar suspected of a rash of jewelry thefts and Kelly as a spoiled heiress, won an Oscar for Best Photography.

(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc.

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