On this day 218 years ago, the Library of Congress was established by the US Congress, providing $5,000 for the purchase of books and maps. After most of the original collection in Washington, DC was destroyed by the British in the War of 1812, Thomas Jefferson restored its shelves, selling to the Library his entire personal collection of 6,487 books. (1800) Click to enlarge this photo of the Great Hall

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • The first newspaper in the United States, the New-Letter, was published in Boston, Massachusetts (1704)
  • The first reporter, William Price from the Washington Star, was assigned to cover the White House (1897)
  • Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II (1953)
  • A television signal was bounced off a satellite for the first time at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1962)
  • Paul McCartney said there was no truth to the rumors he is dead (1969)
  • The Hubble Space Telescope was launched by the Space Shuttle Discovery (1990)
  • The Palestine Liberation Organization assembly voted to revoke its pledge that called for an armed struggle to destroy Israel (1996)
  • Bill Shoemaker won his 8,000th horse race—2000 more than any other jockey (1981)
  • The United States lifts economic sanctions on Libya after 18 years, following its cooperation in eliminating weapons of mass destruction (2004)

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And, Happy Birthday to Shirley MacLaine, who turns 84, and Barbra Streisand, who turns 76.