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Moments in time

 

 

• On Aug. 2, 1776, members of Congress affix their signatures to an enlarged copy of the Declaration of Independence. Fifty-six congressional delegates in total signed the document. John Dickinson of Pennsylvania and James Duane, Robert Livingston and John Jay of New York refused to sign.

• On Aug. 3, 1861, the last entry of Charles Dickens’ serialized novel “Great Expectations” is published in his literary circular, “All the Year Round.” The novel tells the story of young Pip, a poor orphan who believes he will inherit a fortune.

• On Aug. 6, 1890, at Auburn Prison in New York, the first execution by electrocution in history is carried out against murderer William Kemmler. When the current failed after 17 seconds, a second charge was required for two minutes before Kemmler was declared deceased.

• On Aug. 5, 1914, the world’s first electric traffic signal is installed, in Cleveland, Ohio. It consisted of four pairs of red and green lights on corner posts. A gas traffic light, in 1860 in the U.K., exploded after being used for a month.

• On Aug. 4, 1936, American Jesse Owens wins gold in the long jump at the Summer Olympics in Germany. It was the second of four gold medals Owens won in Berlin. Owens would win his third gold medal in the 200 meters the next day.

• On Aug. 8, 1942, six German saboteurs who secretly entered the United States on a mission to attack its infrastructure are executed for spying. On June 12, the German team had buried explosives on Long Island to use later. On July 18, a second team had successfully landed in Florida.

• On Aug. 7, 1987, Lynne Cox braves the freezing waters of the Bering Strait to make the first recorded swim from the U.S. to the Soviet Union. Her swim took 2 hours and 16 minutes.

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