This Day in History: Feb. 3

On this day, Feb. 3 …

1959: “The Day the Music Died” - Rock-and-roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson die in a small plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa.

Also on this day:

  • 1690: The first paper money in America is issued by the Massachusetts Bay Colony to finance a military expedition to Canada.
  • 1913: The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing for a federal income tax, is ratified.
  • 1930: William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States, resigns as chief justice for health reasons. (He would die just over a month later.)
  • 1943: During World War II, the U.S. transport ship SS Dorchester, which is carrying troops to Greenland, sinks after being hit by a German torpedo in the Labrador Sea; of the more than 900 men aboard, only some 230 survive.
  • 1966: The Soviet probe Luna 9 becomes the first manmade object to make a soft landing on the moon.
  • 1988: The U.S. House of Representatives hands President Ronald Reagan a major defeat, rejecting his request for $36.2 million in new aid to the Nicaraguan Contras by a vote of 219-211.
  • 1994: The space shuttle Discovery lifts off, carrying Sergei Krikalev, the first Russian cosmonaut to fly aboard a U.S. spacecraft.
  • 1995: Discovery blasts off with a woman, Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Eileen Collins, in the pilot’s seat for the first time in NASA history.
Karla Faye Tucker, shown in this undated photo, in Gatesville, Texas, lost an appeal Monday, Dec. 8, 1997, before the U.S. Supreme Court, clearing the way for the first execution of a woman in Texas since 1863. Tucker was convicted of the 1983 killing of a Houston man with a pickax. (AP Photo)

Karla Faye Tucker, shown in this undated photo, in Gatesville, Texas, lost an appeal Monday, Dec. 8, 1997, before the U.S. Supreme Court, clearing the way for the first execution of a woman in Texas since 1863. Tucker was convicted of the 1983 killing of a Houston man with a pickax. (AP Photo)

  • 1998: Texas executes Karla Faye Tucker, 38, for the pickax killings of two people in 1983; she is the first woman executed in the United States since 1984. 
  • 2002: Super Bowl XXXVI: The New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
  • 2008: Super Bowl XLII: The New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 17-14 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
  • 2009: Eric Holder becomes the first black U.S. attorney general as he is sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden. 
  • 2013: Super Bowl XLVII: The Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in New Orleans.
  • 2019: Super Bowl LIII: The New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.