On Feb. 5, 1940, Glenn Miller and his orchestra recorded “Tuxedo Junction” for RCA Victor's Bluebird label. (Baltimore Sun files)

Feb. 5, 1887: Verdi's opera “Otello” premiered at La Scala.

Feb. 5, 1971: Apollo 14 astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell stepped onto the surface of the moon in the first of two lunar excursions.

Feb. 6, 1778: The United States won official recognition from France with the signing of a Treaty of Alliance in Paris.

Feb. 6, 1911: Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, was born in Tampico, Ill.

Feb. 6, 1933: The 20th Amendment to the Constitution, the so-called “lame duck” amendment, was proclaimed in effect by Secretary of State Henry Stimson.

Feb. 6, 1959: The United States successfully test-fired for the first time a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral.

Feb. 7, 1943: The government announced the start of shoe rationing, limiting consumers to buying three pairs per person for the remainder of the year.

Feb. 7, 1964: The Beatles began their first American tour as they arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Feb. 7, 1984: Space shuttle astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert Stewart went on the first untethered space walk.

Feb. 8, 1910: The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated.

Feb. 8, 1915: D.W. Griffith's groundbreaking as well as controversial silent movie epic about the Civil War, “The Birth of a Nation,” premiered in Los Angeles under its original title, “The Clansman.”

Feb. 8, 1966: During the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson and South Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Cao Ky concluded their meetings in Hawaii by issuing the “Declaration of Honolulu,” which asserted the resolve of their countries to defeat the Communists.

Feb. 8, 1976: Martin Scorsese's graphic urban drama “Taxi Driver,” starring Robert De Niro, was released by Columbia Pictures.

Feb. 9, 1861: Jefferson Davis was elected provisional president of the Confederate States of America at a congress held in Montgomery, Alabama.

Feb. 9, 1870: The U.S. Weather Bureau was established.

Feb. 9, 1942: Daylight-saving “War Time” went into effect in the United States, with clocks turned one hour forward.

Feb. 9, 1964: The Beatles made their first live American television appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” broadcast from New York by CBS.

Feb. 9, 1971: The crew of Apollo 14 returned to Earth after man's third landing on the moon.

Feb. 9, 1986: During its latest visit to the solar system, Halley's Comet came closest to the sun (its next return will be in 2061).

Feb. 10, 1763: Britain, Spain and France signed the Treaty of Paris, ending the Seven Years' War (also known as the French and Indian War in North America).

Feb. 10, 1949: Arthur Miller's play “Death of a Salesman” opened at Broadway's Morosco Theater with Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman.

Feb. 10, 1966: The Jacqueline Susann novel “Valley of the Dolls” was published by Bernard Geis Associates.

Feb. 10, 1967: The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, dealing with presidential disability and succession, was ratified as Minnesota and Nevada adopted it.

Feb. 10, 2005: Playwright Arthur Miller died in Roxbury, Connecticut, at age 89 on the 56th anniversary of the Broadway opening of “Death of a Salesman.”

Feb. 11, 1812: Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law favoring his Democratic-Republican Party — giving rise to the term “gerrymandering.”

Feb. 11, 1945: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin signed the Yalta Agreement, in which Stalin agreed to declare war against Imperial Japan following Nazi Germany's capitulation.

Feb. 11, 1990: South African black activist Nelson Mandela was freed after 27 years in captivity.

Compiled by Lori Sears and Paul McCardell.