The History Channel
* On May 24, 1844, in a demonstration witnessed by members of Congress, American inventor Samuel F.B. Morse dispatches a telegraph message from the U.S. Capitol to a railroad station in Baltimore. The message — “What Hath God Wrought?” — was telegraphed back to the Capitol a moment later.
* On May 22, 1859, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, is born in Scotland. His first Sherlock Holmes story, “A Study in Scarlet,” was published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887.
* On May 25, 1927, Robert Ludlum, author of 25 thrillers, is born in New York City. Although he never earned a reputation as a masterful prose stylist, his suspenseful stories such as “The Bourne Identity” gripped a wide readership. As a critic for The Washington Post noted about one Ludlum novel: “It’s a lousy book. So I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish it.”
* On May 23, 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car near Sailes, La. All told, the Barrow Gang was believed responsible for the deaths of 13 people, including nine police officers.
* On May 26, 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt makes a radio appeal for the support of the Red Cross. Belgian and French civilians were “running from their homes to escape bombs and shells and machine gunning, without shelter, and almost wholly without food,” broadcast FDR.
* On May 20, 1956, the United States conducts the first airborne test of an improved hydrogen bomb, dropping it from a plane over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Observers said that the fireball caused by the explosion measured at least 4 miles in diameter and was brighter than the light from 500 suns.
* On May 21, 1978, 21-year-old rookie golfer Nancy Lopez defeats her childhood hero, JoAnne Carner, on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the Coca-Cola-Classic in Jamesburg, N.J. The next year Lopez beat out 44-year-old Mickey Wright, to repeat as Coca-Cola champion.