Harman Patil (Editor)

1959 in the United States

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1959 in the United States

Events from the year 1959 in the United States. With the admittance of Alaska and Hawaii, this is the last year in which states are added to the union.


Federal Government

  • President: Dwight D. Eisenhower (R-Kansas/New York)
  • Vice President: Richard Nixon (R-California)
  • Chief Justice: Earl Warren (California)
  • Speaker of the House of Representatives: Sam Rayburn (D-Texas)
  • Senate Majority Leader: Lyndon B. Johnson (D-Texas)
  • Congress: 85th (until January 3), 86th (starting January 3)
  • January–March

  • January 2 – CBS Radio cuts four soap operas: Backstage Wife, Our Gal Sunday, The Road of Life, and This is Nora Drake.
  • January 3 – Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. state (see History of Alaska).
  • January 7 – The United States recognizes the new Cuban government of Fidel Castro.
  • January 22 – Knox Mine Disaster: Water breaches the River Slope Mine near Pittston City, Pennsylvania in Port Griffith; 12 miners are killed.
  • January 29 – Walt Disney releases his 16th animated film, Sleeping Beauty in Beverly Hills.
  • February 3 – A chartered plane transporting musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper goes down dfg in foggy conditions near Clear Lake, Iowa, killing all 4 occupants on board, including pilot Roger Peterson. The tragedy is later termed "The Day the Music Died", popularized in Don McLean's 1972 song "American Pie".
  • February 6 – At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile is accomplished.
  • February 17 – The United States launches the Vanguard II weather satellite.
  • February 29 – Lee Petty wins the first Daytona 500.
  • March 1 – The USS Tuscaloosa, USS New Orleans, USS Tennessee and USS West Virginia are struck from the Naval Vessel Register.
  • March 11 – A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry opens on Broadway in New York City.
  • March 18 – American President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a bill allowing for Hawaiian statehood.
  • March 31 – Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida is dedicated and opens its gates.
  • April–June

  • April 6 – The 31st Academy Awards ceremony is held.
  • April 9 – NASA announces its selection of the "Mercury Seven", seven military pilots to become the first U.S. astronauts.
  • April 25 – The St. Lawrence Seaway linking the North American Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean officially opens to shipping.
  • June 8 – The USS Barbero and United States Postal Service attempt the delivery of mail via Missile Mail.
  • June 9 – The USS George Washington is launched as the first submarine to carry ballistic missiles.
  • June 23 – Convicted Manhattan Project spy Klaus Fuchs is released after only 9 years in a British prison and allowed to emigrate to Dresden, East Germany (where he resumes a scientific career).
  • June 26
  • Queen Elizabeth II and U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower open the Saint Lawrence Seaway.
  • Darby O'Gill and the Little People, a film based on H. T. Kavanagh's short stories, is released in the U.S. by Walt Disney, two days after its world premiere in Ireland.
  • July–September

  • July 24 – With the admission of Alaska as the 49th U.S. state earlier in the year, the 49-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • July 8 – Charles Ovnand and Dale R. Buis become the first Americans killed in action in Vietnam.
  • July 15 – Steel strike of 1959: Labor union strike in the U.S. steel industry.
  • July 24 – At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and USSR Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a "kitchen debate."
  • August 7
  • Explorers program: Launch of Explorer 6 from the Atlantic Missile Range in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • The Roseburg Oregon Blast kills 14 and causes $12 million worth of damage.
  • August 17
  • The 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake in southwest Montana kills 28.
  • Miles Davis' influential jazz album Kind of Blue is released.
  • August 21 – Hawaii is admitted as the 50th and last U.S. state (see History of Hawaii).
  • October–December

  • October 2 – Rod Serling's classic anthology series The Twilight Zone premieres on CBS.
  • October 13 – Launch of Explorer 7.
  • October 21 – In New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) opens to the public.
  • November 15 – The Clutter family of Holcomb, Kansas is brutally murdered.
  • November 18 – MGM's widescreen, multimillion-dollar, Technicolor version of Ben-Hur, starring Charlton Heston, is released and becomes the studio's greatest hit up to that time. It is critically acclaimed and eventually wins 11 Academy Awards – a record held until 1998, when 1997's Titanic becomes the first film to equal the record.
  • December 1 – Cold War – Antarctic Treaty: 12 countries, including the United States and the Soviet Union, sign a landmark treaty, which sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on that continent (the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War).
  • December 13 – Three years after its first telecast, MGM's The Wizard of Oz is shown on television for only the second time, but it gains an even larger viewing audience than its first television outing, spurring CBS to make it an annual tradition.
  • Undated

  • The Henney Kilowatt goes on sale in the United States, becoming the first mass-produced electric car in almost three decades.
  • Ongoing

  • Cold War (1945–1991)
  • Space Race (1957–1975)
  • References

    1959 in the United States Wikipedia

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