On Jan. 22, 1953, the Arthur Miller drama “The Crucible” opened on Broadway. (Baltimore Sun files)

Jan. 22, 1901: Britain's Queen Victoria died at age 81 after a reign of 63 years; she was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII.

Jan. 22, 1917: President Woodrow Wilson pleaded for an end to war in Europe, calling for “peace without victory.” (By April, however, America also was at war.)

Jan. 22, 1938: Thornton Wilder's play “Our Town” was performed publicly for the first time in Princeton, New Jersey.

Jan. 22, 1970: The first regularly scheduled commercial flight of the Boeing 747 began in New York and ended in London some 6 1/2 hours later.

Jan. 23, 1845: Congress decided all national elections would be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Jan. 23, 1973: President Richard Nixon announced an accord had been reached to end the Vietnam War, and would be formally signed four days later in Paris.

Jan. 24, 1848: James W. Marshall discovered a gold nugget at Sutter's Mill in northern California, a discovery that led to the gold rush of '49.

Jan. 24, 1985: The space shuttle Discovery was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on the first secret, all-military shuttle mission.

Jan. 24, 2004: The Voyager II space probe swept past Uranus, coming within 50,679 miles of the seventh planet of the solar system.

Jan. 24, 2004: NASA's Opportunity rover landed on Mars, arriving at the Red Planet exactly three weeks after its identical twin's landing.

Jan. 25, 1890: Reporter Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) of the New York World completed a round-the-world journey in 72 days, 6 hours and 11 minutes.

Jan. 25, 1915: America's first official transcontinental telephone call took place as Alexander Graham Bell, who was in New York, spoke to his former assistant, Thomas Watson, who was in San Francisco, over a line set up by American Telephone & Telegraph.

Jan. 25, 1945: The World War II Battle of the Bulge ended as German forces were pushed back to their original positions.

Jan. 25, 1945: Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first community to add fluoride to its public water supply.

Jan. 25, 1961: President John F. Kennedy held the first presidential news conference to be carried live on radio and television.

Jan. 25, 1981: The 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days arrived in the United States.

Jan. 26, 1784: In a letter to his daughter Sarah, Benjamin Franklin expressed unhappiness over the choice of the bald eagle as the symbol of America, and stated his own preference: the turkey.

Jan. 26, 1788: The first European settlers in Australia, led by Capt. Arthur Phillip, landed in present-day Sydney.

Jan. 27, 1756: Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria.

Jan. 27, 1880: Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.

Jan. 27, 1945: During World War II, Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland.

Jan. 27, 1951: An era of atomic testing in the Nevada desert began as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flat.

Jan. 28, 1813: The novel “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen was first published anonymously in London.

Jan. 28, 1986: The space shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, killing all seven crew members, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe.

Compiled by Lori Sears and Paul McCardell.