On this day, Sept. 19 ...

1982: The smiley emoticon is invented by Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman, who suggested punctuating humorously intended computer messages with a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis as a horizontal "smiley face." :-)

Also on this day:


  • 1881: James A. Garfield, 20th president of the United States, dies in New Jersey two and a half months after being shot in Washington by Charles Guiteau; Chester Alan Arthur becomes president.
  • 1934: Bruno Hauptmann is arrested in New York and charged with the kidnap-murder of 20-month-old Charles A. Lindbergh Jr.
  • 1955: President Juan Peron of Argentina is deposed and exiled after a military coup.
  • 1957: The United States conducts its first underground nuclear test in the Nevada desert.

Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper on the set of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." (Getty Images)

  • 1970: The "Mary Tyler Moore Show" premieres on CBS.
  • 1985: The Mexico City area is struck by a devastating earthquake that kills at least 9,500 people.
  • 1986: Federal health officials announce the experimental drug AZT will be made available to thousands of AIDS patients. 
  • 2001: The Pentagon orders combat aircraft to the Persian Gulf following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
  • 2008: The Bush administration lays out a bailout plan calling for a takeover of a half-trillion dollars or more in worthless mortgages and other bad debt held by tottering institutions. Relieved investors send stocks soaring on Wall Street and around the globe.
  • 2018: Wanda Barzee, who helped her then-husband kidnap Utah teen Elizabeth Smart in 2003, is released from prison.

2019: Gun manufacturer Colt announces it is suspending production of the AR-15 and other long rifles for civilian use following a series of mass shootings.