March 26, 1953
Dr. Jonas Salk announces he has discovered and successfully tested a polio vaccine on 90 adults and children. It was the first successful vaccine for the dreaded disease.
Before the vaccine, there were about 15,000 cases of paralysis and 1,900 deaths annually from polio in the U.S.
Salk chose to not patent the vaccine in order to maximize its distribution. When asked who owns this patent, Salk replied, “Well, the people I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” It is estimated the patent would have been worth billions had it been patented.
North America’s Largest Recorded Earthquake
March 27, 1964
A quake measuring 9.2 on the Richter scale hits near Prince William Sound, Alaska destroying property and causing about 139 deaths. An ensuing 27-foot (8.2 m) tsunami destroyed the village of Chenega, killing 23 of the 68 people who lived there. In all, 15 people died as a result of the earthquake itself, 106 died from the subsequent tsunami in Alaska, five died from the tsunami in Oregon, and 13 died from the tsunami in California.
It is also the second most powerful earthquake recorded in world history.
Barnum & Bailey’s Circus
March 28, 1881
The Barnum & Bailey Circus is formed when P.T. Barnum combines his circus with the Cooper and Bailey Circus. It was initially named “P.T. Barnum’s Greatest Show On Earth”, later changing the name to “Barnum & Bailey’s Circus”. The following year, they acquired Jumbo, billed as the “World’s Largest Elephant.” When Barnum died 10 years later, James Anthony Bailey bought out the circus from his widow.