On This Day

What Happened in August 1959

Historical Events


BeatificationCatholic Encyclical

Aug 1 Pope John XXIII publishes encyclical Sacerdotii nostri primordia

  • Aug 1 WAAY TV channel 31 in Huntsville, AL (ABC/NBC) begins broadcasting
  • Aug 2 PGA Championship Men's Golf, Minneapolis GC: Bob Rosburg wins by 1 stroke from Jerry Barber and Doug Sanders
  • Aug 2 Milwaukee Braves outfielder Bill Bruton hits 3 triples in 11-5 win v St. Louis Cardinals; 2 of them bases loaded, first time in 20th Century

Sports record brokenBaseball Record

Aug 2 Future Hall of Fame 1st baseman Willie McCovey hits 1st of his 521 MLB home runs in SF Giants 5-3 win v Pittsburgh Pirates

Baseball Hall of Fame 1st Baseman Willie McCovey
Baseball Hall of Fame 1st Baseman
Willie McCovey
  • Aug 3 27th All Star Baseball Game: AL wins 5-3 at Memorial Coliseum, LA
  • Aug 3 50 killed in uprising in Guinea-Bissau
  • Aug 3 AL beats NL 5-3 in Game 2 of All Star Baseball doubleheader (to boost player pension fund) at LA Memorial Coliseum
  • Aug 4 "Billy Barnes Revue" opens at John Golden Theater NYC for 87 performances
  • Aug 5 42.4 cm rainfall in Decatur Co, Iowa (state record)
  • Aug 5 Chicago Cardinals (NFL) beat Toronto Argonauts (CFL), 55-26 in a pre-season exhibition at CNE Stadium in Toronto
  • Aug 7 Explorer 6 transmits 1st TV photo of Earth from space
  • Aug 12 1st ship firing of a Polaris missile, Observation Island
  • Aug 12 Progressive Party under John Steytler forms in South Africa
  • Aug 13 US Military satellite Discoverer 5 launched (into polar orbit)
  • Aug 14 26th NFL Chicago All-Star Game: Baltimore 29, All-Stars 0 (70,000)

  • Aug 14 First (American Football League) meeting is held in Chicago; charter memberships handed to Dallas, NY, Houston, Denver, LA and Minneapolis-Saint Paul; 'AFL' named following week
  • Aug 16 LPGA Western Open Women's Golf, Ranier G&CC: Betsy Rawls wins her second WO by 6 strokes from JoAnne Gunderson and Patty Berg
  • Aug 16 USSR introduces installment buying
  • Aug 17 7.1 quake strikes Yellowstone National Park
  • Aug 17 USSR & Iraq signs contract for building Iraqi nuclear reactor

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Aug 18 Branch Rickey resigns as Pirates' CEO to be President of Continental League

Baseball Player and Sports Executive Branch Rickey
Baseball Player and Sports Executive
Branch Rickey
  • Aug 19 Doctor X beats Wilber Snyder in Omaha, to become NWA wrestling champ
  • Aug 19 Honolulu seeks a franchise in Continental League
  • Aug 19 Satellite Discoverer 6 launched into polar orbit
  • Aug 20 Belgium shortens military conscription to 12 months
  • Aug 21 Hawaii becomes the 50th US state

Sports record brokenBaseball Record

Aug 22 Cincinnati Reds future Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson hits 3 consecutive HRs (6 RBIs) in 11-4 win over St. Louis Cardinals at Crosley Field

MLB Hall of Fame Outfielder and Manager Frank Robinson
MLB Hall of Fame Outfielder and Manager
Frank Robinson
  • Aug 22 American Football League officially named at a meeting in Dallas, Texas; charter members Dallas, NY, Houston, Denver, LA and Minneapolis-Saint Paul

Film tv awardsFilm Awards

Aug 23 20th Venice Film Festival: "The Great War" directed by Mario Monicelli and "General della Rovere" directed by Roberto Rossellini jointly awarded Golden Lion

Film Director Roberto Rossellini
Film Director
Roberto Rossellini
  • Aug 24 England complete 5-0 series drubbing of India
  • Aug 24 Hiram L Fong sworn in as 1st Chinese-American senator while Daniel K Inouye sworn in as 1st Japanese-American Rep (Both from Hawaii)

Historic InventionMorris Mini-Minor

Aug 26 British Motor Corporation introduces the Morris Mini-Minor, designed by Alec Issigonis, it was only 10 ft long but seated 4 passengers

Learn More
The 1959 Mini
The 1959 Mini
Learn More
  • Aug 31 48th Davis Cup: Australia beats USA in New York (3-2)

Sports record brokenBaseball Record

Aug 31 Sandy Koufax breaks Dizzy Dean's NL mark of 18 strikeouts in a game

Baseball Pitcher Sandy Koufax
Baseball Pitcher
Sandy Koufax

Famous Birthdays

  • Aug 1 Joe Elliott, English heavy metal vocalist (Def Leppard-Hysteria, Rock of Ages), born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire
  • Aug 1 Otomo Yoshihide, Japanese musician (Ground Zero), born in Yokohama, Japan
  • Aug 2 Britt Helfer, American actress (Lily-Loving, Alley Cat), born in Clearfield, Utah
  • Aug 2 Victoria Jackson, comedian and actress (Casual Sex, Saturday Night Live), born in Miami, Florida
  • Aug 3 Martin Atkins, English drummer (Nine Inch Nails), born in Coventry
  • Aug 3 Koichi Tanaka, Japanese scientist (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2002), born in Toyama, Japan
  • Aug 4 John Gormley, Irish politician, Leader of the Green Party, Mayor of Dublin (1994-95), born in Dublin, Ireland
  • Aug 4 Laurence Anholt, British children's author, born in London, England
  • Aug 4 Kim Reynolds, American politician, 1st female Governor of Iowa (2017-), born in St. Charles, Iowa
  • Aug 5 Pete Burns, English singer (Dead or Alive, "Spin Me Round"), born in Bebington (d. 2016)
  • Aug 6 Grant Aleksander, actor (Guiding Light, All My Children), born in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Aug 6 Joyce Sims, rocker (All & All)
  • Aug 7 Ali Shah, Zimbabwean cricketer (Zimbabwe all-rounder in two Tests 1992), born in Salisbury, Rhodesia
  • Aug 8 Ronald Weigel, German race walker (Olympic silver 20k, 50k 1988; bronze 50k 1992; World C'ship gold 50k 1983), born in Hildburghausen, Germany
  • Aug 9 Diane Williams, American country singer (Girls Next Door - "Slow Boat to China"), born at Hahn Air Force Base, near Kirchberg Germany
  • Aug 9 Kurtis Blow [Walker], American rapper (Krushgroove - "The Breaks"), born in NYC, New York
  • Aug 9 Michael Kors, American fashion designer and Project Runway judge, born in Long Island, New York
  • Aug 10 Mark Price, bass/vocals (All About Eve, Tin Huey-Contents Dislodged)

Person of interestRosanna Arquette

Aug 10 Rosanna Arquette, actress (Desperately Seeking Susan, After Hours), born in NYC, New York

  • Aug 10 Florent Vollant, Innu-Canadian musician (Kashtin)
  • Aug 11 Yoshiaki Murakami, Japanese investor
  • Aug 11 Gustavo Cerati, Argentinian musician (Soda Stereo)
  • Aug 12 Lynette Woodard, (Olympic gold 1984, Harlem Globetrotter), born in Wichita, Kansas
  • Aug 13 Bruce French, English cricketer (England wicketkeeper in 16 Tests 1986-88), born in Market Warsop, Nottinghamshire, England
  • Aug 13 Danny Bonaduce, American actor (Danny-Partridge Family), born in Broomall, Pennsylvania
  • Aug 13 Mark Nevin, British rocker (Fairground Attraction-Find My Love), born in Ebbw Vale, Wales
  • Aug 13 Tom Niedenfuer, American baseball player (Los Angeles Dodgers), born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota

Person of interestMagic Johnson

Aug 14 Earvin "Magic" Johnson, American Basketball Hall of Fame point guard, executive (5-time NBA champion, 3-time NBA Finals MVP, Olympic gold 1992), born in Lansing, Michigan

NBA Legend Magic Johnson
NBA Legend
Magic Johnson
  • Aug 14 Frank Brickowski, American NBA player (Seattle Supersonics), born in Bayville, New York
  • Aug 14 Marcia Gay Harden, American actress, born in La Jolla, California
  • Aug 15 Scott D Altman, American Naval officer and astronaut (sk: STS 90), born in Lincoln, Illinois
  • Aug 16 Marc Sergeant, Belgian cyclist
  • Aug 17 David Koresh, American cult leader (Branch Davidians sect), born in Houston, Texas (d. 1993)
  • Aug 17 Jonathan Franzen, American author (The Corrections), born in Western Springs, Illinois
  • Aug 18 Tom Prichard, American wrestler, born in Pasadena, Texas
  • Aug 19 Ricky Pierce, NBA guard/forward (Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks)
  • Aug 19 Steve Grimmett, British heavy metal singer (Grim Reaper), born in Swindon, England
  • Aug 19 Susan Cummings, Monegasque-born American heiress and convicted murderer
  • Aug 21 Anne Hobbs, English tennis star, born in Nottingham, England
  • Aug 21 Bud Schultz, American tennis star, born in Meriden, Connecticut
  • Aug 21 Jim McMahon, NFL quarterback (Chicago Bears, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Aug 22 Denise Curry, American basketball forward (Olympic gold 1984; World C'ship gold 1979, 83), born in Fort Benton, Montana
  • Aug 22 Juan Croucier, Cuban-born American heavy metal rocker (Ratt-Round & Round), born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
  • Aug 22 Pia Gjellerup, Danish Social Democrat politician, born in Frederiksberg, Denmark
  • Aug 24 Adrian Kuiper, South African cricketer (South African all-rounder), born in Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa
  • Aug 24 Michel Valke, Dutch soccer player (Sparta, Dordrecht '90), born in Zwijndrecht, Netherlands
  • Aug 26 Joanne Gail Abbott, executive (MTV)
  • Aug 26 Kathryn P Hire, Lt Cmdr USN/astronaut (sk: STS 90), born in Mobile, Alabama
  • Aug 27 Gerhard Berger, formula-1 racer (Italian Grand Prix-1988)
  • Aug 27 Juan Fernando Cobo, Colombian artist
  • Aug 27 Leila de Lima, Filipino lawyer, Senator, Chair of the Philippine Senate Electoral Reforms and People's Participation Committee, born in Iriga, Philippines
  • Aug 29 Tony Johnson, New Zealand rugby commentator and presenter (Newstalk ZB; TV3; SKY Television), born in Picton, New Zealand
  • Aug 29 Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut (STS 74, sk: 99), born in Sarnia, Ontario
  • Aug 29 Sadenia "Eddi" Reader, Scottish singer-songwriter (Fairground Attraction - "Find My Love"), born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • Aug 29 Ernesto Rodrigues, Portuguese violinist and composer, born in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Aug 29 Akkineni Nagarjuna, Indian Telugu actor and producer (Ninne Pelladata), born in Madras, India
  • Aug 29 Timothy Perry Shriver, Chairman of Special Olympics and member of the Kennedy Family, born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Aug 29 Rebecca De Mornay, American actress (Hand that Rocks Cradle), born in Santa Rosa, California
  • Aug 30 Mark Jackson, Australian rules footballer and actor, born in Melbourne, Australia
  • Aug 31 Rachel Dennison, actress (Doralee Rhodes-9 to 5), born in Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Aug 31 Tony DeFranco, Canadian pop singer (The DeFranco Family - "Heartbeat - It's a Lovebeat"), born in Port Colborne, Ontario

Famous Deaths

  • Aug 2 Prospero Bisquertt, Chilean composer, dies at 78
  • Aug 5 Edgar Albert Guest, American poet and newspaperman, dies at 77
  • Aug 6 Preston Sturges [Edmund Biden], American director and screenwriter (Sullivan's Travels), dies at 60
  • Aug 7 Armas Launis, Finnish composer, dies at 75
  • Aug 9 Emil František Burian, Czech author and composer, dies at 55
  • Aug 12 Mike O'Neill, Irish-American baseball player, dies at 81 (b. 1877)
  • Aug 13 Henri Garat, French actor and singer (Les dieux s'amusent, Congress Dances), dies at 57
  • Aug 15 Blind Willie McTell, American ragtime singer and guitarist, dies at 61
  • Aug 16 Pedro Humberto Allende Saron, Chilean composer (Tonados), dies at 74
  • Aug 16 William Halsey Jr., US vice-admiral (WW II Pacific), dies at 76
  • Aug 16 Wanda Landowska, Polish-French harpsichordist (Musique Ancienne), dies at 80
  • Aug 19 Jacob Epstein, American-English sculptor (Adam, Jacob & the Angel), dies at 78

Person of interestClaude Grahame-White

Aug 19 Claude Grahame-White, English aviation pioneer who was the 1st to make a night flight, dies at 79

Aviation Pioneer Claude Grahame-White
Aviation Pioneer
Claude Grahame-White
  • Aug 20 Alfred Kubin, Austrian writer and illustrator, dies at 82
  • Aug 28 Bohuslav Martinů, Czech composer (Hry o Marti), dies at 68
  • Aug 31 Charles Delaney, American actor (Air Police, Lonesome Trail), dies at 67