• On July 19, 1799, a French soldier in Egypt discovers the Rosetta Stone, a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writing in Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. The artifact held the key to solving the riddle of hieroglyphics, a written language that had been “dead” for nearly 2,000 years.
• On July 20, 1869, Mark Twain’s book “The Innocents Abroad” is published. Samuel Langhorne Clemens adopted the pseudonym “Mark Twain,” a boatman’s call noting that the river was only 2 fathoms deep, the minimum depth for safe navigation.
• On July 14, 1912, folksinger-songwriter Woody Guthrie is born in Okemah, Okla. During the Depression, Guthrie traveled the country as a wandering musician, writing songs about what he saw on his journey. Many of his songs were political and liberal, supporting migrant workers and pacifists.
• On July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m., the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive end as the first atom bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, N.M. The first mushroom cloud of searing light rose 40,000 feet into the air and generated the destructive power of 15,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT.
(c) 2008 King Features Synd., Inc.