Frequently Asked Reference Questions

Today In History

Example Questions That Can Be Answered Using This FAQ

  • What happened on the day I was born?
  • I need events of the 1960s.

Many patrons ask us about sites that provide historical information based on the date on which historical events occurred. Here is a short guide to online and other resources that provide this kind of information.

Online Resources for Specific Dates

ANYDAY Today-in-History, from Scope Systems (an industrial electronics repair company), offers simple menus that allow you to select a specific month and day. Results include lists of significant births and deaths, historical events, and more.

The British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC’s) On This Day page shows historical events that happened on today’s date, but you can also search by other dates. It offers an RSS feed as well.

Deutsche Welle, a German public broadcaster, offers the Today in History page, which shows topics, events, and famous birthdays that occurred in history on this day. It also includes a monthly calendar on which you can select a different date.

The History Channel’s This Day in History (TDIH) offers a smorgasbord of subject- and date-categorized information related to today, this week, or any day of the year. For “This Week in History,” see the links at the bottom of the page. Get TDIH updates via an RSS feed or sign up for the email newsletter.

HistoryNet’s Today in History is similar, but also includes some hypertext links to longer articles about the historical events mentioned.

This Day in History from infoplease is another source for information about historical events that happened on today’s date. It lets you search for events by year and day. You can also look up famous birthdays.

The Today in History Archive from the Library of Congress American Memory project is another place that you can search or browse for specific dates. It will highlight only one or two events for a particular day, but the accompanying text, photos, and links make it a great resource.

dMarie Time Capsule lets you enter in a specific day in history from 1800 to 2002. Once you do that, you get information on the top news headlines from that day and week, and other information about that year, like top songs, prices, and entertainment news. Take note that most of the information is about the year, not the specific day.

Online Resources for Years and Decades

If you’re looking for events that happened during a particular year or decade, some of the sites above can help you, but you also may want to check the following sites:

infoplease’s World History section provides timelines from ancient history to the present. This site is especially useful for getting a list of world events that happened during a particular year.

Alternately, try infoplease’s Year by Year. Here, you will find "Year by Year" and "Decade by Decade" chronologies of the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as timelines on many subjects.

For historical entertainment or sports related events, like who won the Best Actor Oscar in 1986, check out infoplease’s Arts & Entertainment Almanac and Sports Almanac.

Other Resources

You can also research particular days in (fairly recent) history by searching the newspaper collection at your local public library. If you are interested in getting events from a particular decade, you may want to see if your library owns the American Decades series from Gale Research, which describes events in business, sports, and politics. Once you find a particular event that happened on the day in which you are interested, you can do further research on it. Ask your librarian for assistance.

Not sure how to find your library? Go to our Library Locator page where we’ve listed resources to help you find the nearest physical library to you.

This FAQ updated by Kara Larson in 2012.