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100 Years Ago: Historical Events From August 1923

The month of August has been home to many historical events over the years. Here’s a look at some that helped to shape the world in August 1923.

United States President Warren G. Harding dies suddenly in San Francisco on August 2. President Harding was conversing with relatives when he passed away from what was then suspected to be a stroke but is now believed to have been heart failure. President Harding was 57 years old.

Henry Sullivan becomes the first American to swim the English Channel when he completes the feat on August 6. Sullivan needed a little more than a full day to make his mark on history, swimming the channel in 27 hours and 25 minutes.

Many businesses close and owners go on strike in Berlin on August 9. The protest is an attempt to force German Chancellor Wilhelm Cuno from office. Opposition to Cuno hardened over the next several days, ultimately prompting him and his cabinet to resign on August 12.

An expedition by the American Museum of Natural History to the Flaming Cliffs in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert leads to the discovery of the first velociraptor fossil on August 11.

A series of tidal waves strike the western coast of Korea on August 15. At least 346 people are killed and an additional 1,000 are considered missing after 25,000 homes are submerged in waves and flooding.

Thousands of Canadians lose their savings when the Home Bank of Canada closes its doors on August 17.

Ada Delutuk Blackjack is rescued on August 19 after being marooned on Wrangel Island above the Arctic Circle. Blackjack, an Alaskan native hired as a cook for a Canadian expedition to claim the island for Canada, had been marooned since September 15, 1921. Blackjack was the last survivor among the five-person expedition team.

On August 20, a train is robbed near Okemah, Oklahoma, and bandits take off with $20,000 in cash and bonds. The incident marks one of the last train robberies in the United States.

Lawmakers in Kalamazoo, Michigan, pass an ordinance on August 21 that forbids dancers to stare into their partners’ eyes.

Four-year-old child actress Peggy-Jean Montgomery signs a three-year, $1 million contract on August 26. Known as “Baby Peggy,” Montgomery would make more than 150 short films and receive millions of fan letters in the 1920s. However, Montgomery’s parents mismanaged her earnings and she was forced to work as an extra by the 1930s.

The first parliamentary election since the founding of the Irish Free State is held on August 27.

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame” starring Lon Chaney premieres at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on August 30. The silent film is the most expensive Universal Pictures production up to that time.