• On Aug. 20, 1804, Sgt. Charles Floyd dies three months into the voyage of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, becoming the only member of the Corps of Discovery to die during the journey. Based on the symptoms described by Lewis and Clark, modern physicians have concluded that Floyd was probably suffering from acute appendicitis.
• On Aug. 21, 1911, theft of the Mona Lisa is discovered. Investigators and detectives searched for the painting for more than two years without finding any decent leads. In 1913, former employee Vincenzo Perugia was captured attempting to collect a ransom.
• On Aug. 22, 1933, the notorious Barker gang robs a Federal Reserve mail truck in Chicago and kills Officer Miles Cunningham. Netting only a bunch of worthless checks, the Barkers soon returned to a crime with which they had more success — kidnapping. Their first victim, William Hamm, had earned the gang $100,000 in ransom.
• On Aug. 18, 1958, Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel “Lolita” is published in the U.S. The novel, about a man’s obsession with a 12-year-old girl, had been rejected by four publishers before G.P. Putnam’s Sons accepted it.
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