Today in History
1303 The War of Vespers in Sicily ends with an agreement between Charles of Valois, who invaded the country, and Frederick, the ruler of Sicily.
1756 The British at Fort William Henry, New York, surrender to Louis Montcalm of France.
1802 Captain Merriwether Lewis leaves Pittsburgh to meet up with Captain William Clark and begin their trek to the Pacific Ocean.
1864 At the Democratic convention in Chicago, General George B. McClellan is nominated for president.
1919 The Communist Labor Party is founded in Chicago, with the motto, "Workers of the world unite!"
1928 Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera opens in Berlin.
1940 Joseph Avenol steps down as Secretary-General of the League of Nations.
1942 The British army under General Bernard Law Montgomery defeats Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps in the Battle of Alam Halfa in Egypt.
1944 The British Eighth Army penetrates the German Gothic Line in Italy.
1949 Six of the 16 surviving Union veterans of the Civil War attend the last-ever encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic, held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
1951 The 1st Marine Division begins its attack on Bloody Ridge in Korea. The four-day battle results in 2,700 Marine casualties.
1961 A concrete wall replaces the barbed wire fence that separates East and West Germany, it will be called the Berlin wall.
1994 The Irish Republican Army (IRA) announces a "complete cessation of military operations," opening the way to a political settlement in Ireland for the first time in a quarter of a century.
Born on August 31
1811 Théophile Gautier, French poet, novelist and author of Art for Art's Sake.
1870 Maria Montessori, educator and founder of the Montessori schools.
1885 Duboise Heyward, novelist, poet and dramatist best know for Porgy which was the basis for the opera Porgy and Bess.
1899 Lynn Riggs, writer, her book Green Grow the Lilacs was adapted by Rodgers and Hammerstein to become Oklahoma.
1903 Arthur Godfrey, radio and television personality.
1905 Sanford Meisner, influential acting teacher.
1907 Wiliam Shawn, longtime editor of The New Yorker.
1908 Wiliam Saroyan, author and playwright (The Human Comedy).
1918 Alan Jay Lerner, playwright and lyricist (Brigadoon, Camelot).
1918 Daniel Schorr, journalist.
1935 Eldridge Cleaver, political activist and author of Soul on Fire.
1936 Marva Collins, innovative educator who started Chicago's one-room school, Westside Preparatory.
1945 Van Morrison, Irish singer, songwriter.
1945 Itzhak Perlman, violinist.
Good bye August, the only long month so far this year.