Today In History Spotlights Feb. 2, 1925, Great Serum Run to Nome is Completed

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Today’s History Spotlight

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The Great Serum Run to Nome is completed. During the winter of 1925, a Diptheria outbreak occurred in the town of Nome, located in northwestern Alaska along the Bering Sea. Due to extreme weather conditions, airplanes were grounded and pack ice prevented the travel of ships. Likewise, there were no railroads connecting to Nome. The medicine could be transported from Seward to Nenana by train, and from there, it would be retrieved by a dog-sled team, which would begin a race against time. Several sled teams were responsible for hauling the medicine.

The final team, lead by Gunnar Kassan and his husky Balto, finished the race. The longest distance, however, was traveled by Leonard Seppala and his team lead by Togo. All participants received praise from President Coolidge and a statue of Balto was dedicated to all participants in New York City’s Central Park. In December 2019, a film was released to Disney Plus about the journey of Seppala and Togo, starring Willem Dafoe as Seppala.

What Happened On This Day – February 2

  • 1990 The South African Apartheid system of racial segregation begins to disintegrate. President de Klerk announced the unbanning of the African Nation Congress (ANC) and his intentions to release Nelson Mandela.
  • 1943 The Battle of Stalingrad comes to an end as the Axis Powers surrender. Germany’s defeat marked a turning point in World War II.
  • 1925 20 mushers embark on a journey to transport medicine to Nome, Alaska, inspiring the Iditarod Race. The Iditarod is the world’s longest and most challenging dog sled race.
  • 1922 “Ulysses” by James Joyce is published. The novel is considered one of the most important works of modernist literature.
  • 1852 The first public flushing toilet is opened in London. Using the “Public Waiting Room” at 95 Fleet Street cost 2 pence.

Births On This Day – February 2

  • 1977 Shakira – Colombian singer-songwriter, producer, actress
  • 1963 Eva Cassidy – American singer, guitarist
  • 1926 Valéry Giscard d’Estaing – French politician, 20th President of France
  • 1905 Ayn Rand – Russian/American author, philosopher
  • 1882 James Joyce – Irish author

Deaths On This Day – February 2

  • 1996 Gene Kelly – American dancer, actor
  • 1979 Sid Vicious – English singer, bass player
  • 1972 Natalie Clifford Barney – American poet, playwright
  • 1970 Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl Russell – English mathematician, historian, philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1945 Carl Friedrich Goerdeler – German politician

The sections “What Happened On This Day,” “Births On This Day,” and “Deaths On This Day” originally appeared at and is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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