Year
1906

The Gift of the Magi is published

O. Henry’s second short story collection, The Four Million, is published. The collection includes one of his most beloved stories, The Gift of the Magi, about a poor but devoted couple who each sacrifice their most valuable possession to buy a gift for the other.

O. Henry was the pen name adopted by William Sydney Porter. Porter began writing in the late 1880s but applied himself to it seriously in 1898, when he was jailed for embezzling from a bank in Austin, Texas. Porter, who came from a poor family in Texas, was married and had a daughter. He fled to Honduras to avoid imprisonment but returned to the U.S. when his wife was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He spent three years in jail and wrote tales of adventure, some set in Honduras, to support his daughter, Margaret. After his release, he moved to New York and was hired by New York World to write one story a week. He kept the job from 1903 to 1906. In 1904, his first story collection, Cabbages and Kings, was published. Additional collections appeared in 1906 and 1907, and two collections a year were published from 1908 until his death, in 1910. He specialized in closely observed tales of everyday people, often ending with an unexpected twist. Despite the enormous popularity of the nearly 300 stories he published, he led a difficult life, struggling with financial problems and alcoholism until his death.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Zapata assassinated in Mexico

Emiliano Zapata, a leader of peasants and indigenous people during the Mexican Revolution, is ambushed and shot to death in Morelos by government forces.Born a peasant in 1879, Zapata was forced into the Mexican army in 1908 following his attempt to recover village lands taken ...read more

Bataan Death March begins

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Chaplin receives Oscar

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Hertz rental car founder born

On this day in 1879, Sandor Herz—the future John Hertz, the man behind what will one day be the world’s largest car-rental company—is born in present-day Slovakia.Hertz immigrated to America with his family as a child and grew up in Chicago. In 1915, he founded the Yellow Cab ...read more

ASPCA is founded

On April 10, 1866, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is founded in New York City by philanthropist and diplomat Henry Bergh, 54.In 1863, Bergh had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to a diplomatic post at the Russian court of Czar ...read more

B-52s begin bombing North Vietnam

Although the U.S. command refuses to confirm publicly the location of targets, U.S. B-52 bombers reportedly begin bombing North Vietnam for the first time since November 1967. The bombers struck in the vicinity of Vinh, 145 miles north of the Demilitarized Zone. It was later ...read more

Tiger Woods wins fourth Masters

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FDR creates Civilian Conservation Corps

On this day in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), an innovative federally funded organization that put thousands of Americans to work during the Great Depression on projects with environmental benefits.In 1932, FDR took ...read more

Civilian Conservation Corps created

The Civilian Conservation Corps, a tool for employing young men and improving the government’s vast holdings of western land, is created in Washington, D.C.One of the dozens of New Deal programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to fight the Great Depression, the ...read more

First color 3-D film opens

On this day in 1953, the horror film The House of Wax, starring Vincent Price, opens at New York’s Paramount Theater. Released by Warner Brothers, it was the first movie from a major motion-picture studio to be shot using the three-dimensional, or stereoscopic, film process and ...read more

Atomic submarine sinks in Atlantic

On this day in 1963, the USS Thresher, an atomic submarine, sinks in the Atlantic Ocean, killing the entire crew. One hundred and twenty-nine sailors and civilians were lost when the sub unexpectedly plunged to the sea floor 300 miles off the coast of New England.The Thresher ...read more

A torture chamber is uncovered by arson

On this day in 1834, a fire at the LaLaurie mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana, leads to the discovery of a torture chamber where slaves are routinely brutalized by Delphine LaLaurie. Rescuers found a 70-year-old black woman trapped in the kitchen during the fire because she was ...read more

U.S. table tennis team visits communist China

The U.S. table tennis team begins a weeklong visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) at the invitation of China’s communist government. The well-publicized trip was part of the PRC’s attempt to build closer diplomatic relations with the United States, and was the beginning ...read more

General Lee gives final address to troops

One day after surrendering to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, Confederate General Robert E. Lee addresses his army for the last time.“After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to ...read more