This Day in History: Jan. 2

On this day, Jan. 2 …

1935: Bruno Hauptmann goes on trial in Flemington, N.J., on charges of kidnapping and murdering the 20-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann would be found guilty and executed.)

Also on this day:

  • 1792: The first classes begin at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
  • 1900: U.S. Secretary of State John Hay announces an “Open Door Policy” to facilitate trade with China.
  • 1929: The United States and Canada reach an agreement on joint action to preserve Niagara Falls.
  • 1942: The Philippines capital of Manila is captured by Japanese forces during World War II.
  • 1960: Sen. John F. Kennedy, D-Mass., launches his presidential campaign.
  • 1967: Ronald Reagan takes the oath of office as the new governor of California in a ceremony that takes place in Sacramento shortly after midnight.
  • 1974: President Richard Nixon signs legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 miles per hour as a way of conserving gasoline in the face of an OPEC oil embargo. (The 55 mph limit would be effectively phased out in 1987; federal speed limits would be abolished in 1995.)
  • 1983: The original Broadway production of the musical “Annie” closes after a run of 2,377 performances.
  • 1986: Former baseball owner Bill Veeck, remembered for his well-publicized stunts and promotional gimmicks, including an exploding scoreboard and a little person pinch-hitter, dies in Chicago at age 71.
  • 2000: Retired Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr., known early in his career for modernizing the Navy and later for ordering the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam, dies in Durham, N.C., at age 79.
  • 2008: John Travolta’s 16-year-old son, Jett, dies at the family’s vacation home in the Bahamas. 
  • 2008: Peyton Manning wins a record-tying third Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player award.
  • 2013: Fifty-two passengers trapped for more than a week on an icebound Russian research ship in the Antarctic are rescued when a Chinese helicopter swoops in and plucks them from the ice a dozen at a time. 
  • 2017: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., formally resigns from the Senate a month after he announced his plan to leave Congress amid a series of sexual misconduct allegations. 
  • 2017: NBC News announces Hoda Kotb will be the co-anchor of the first two hours of the “Today” show, replacing Matt Lauer following his firing due to sexual misconduct allegations.