- Cuban President Batista resigns and flees (Jan. 1). Fidel Castro assumes power (Feb. 16).
- Tibet’s Dalai Lama escapes to India (Mar. 31).
- Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev tours the United States, meeting with Eisenhower at Camp David.
- Britain recognizes the independence of Cyprus.
- World Statistics
Population: 2.997 billion
Nobel Peace Prize:
Philip John Noel-Baker (UK)
- Alaska (Jan. 3) and Hawaii (Aug. 21) become the 49th and 50th states.
- St. Lawrence Seaway opens, allowing ocean ships to reach Midwest (April 25).
- U.S. Statistics
President: Dwight D. Eisenhower
Vice President: Richard M. Nixon
Life expectancy: 69.9 years
Homicide Rate (per 100,000): 4.6
US GDP (1998 dollars): $507.2 billion
Federal spending: $92.10 billion
Federal debt: $287.5 billion
Consumer Price Index: 29.1
Cost of a first-class stamp: $0.04
LA Dodgers d. Chicago White Sox (4-2)
Boston d. Minneapolis Lakers (4-0)
Montreal d. Toronto (4-1)
Women: Maria Bueno d. D. Hard (6-4 6-3)
Men: Alex Olmedo d. R. Laver (6-4 6-3 6-4)
Kentucky Derby Champion
NCAA Basketball Championship
California d. West Virginia (71-70)
NCAA Football Champions
- The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences sponsors the first Grammy Award ceremony for music recorded in 1958.
- Frank Sinatra wins his first Grammy Award — Best Album for Come Dance with Me.
- Rumors of cheating on quiz shows erupt into a national scandal.
- Some Like It Hot, North by Northwest, Ben-Hur, Anatomy of a Murder, Room at the Top
- William Burroughs, Naked Lunch
- D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
- Robert Lowell, Life Studies
- Norman Mailer, Advertisements for Myself
- James A. Michener, Hawaii
- Grace Paley, The Little Disturbances of Man
- Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago
- Philip Roth, Goodbye Columbus and Five Short Stories
Fiction: The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, Robert Lewis Taylor
Music: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, John La Montaine
Drama: J. B. Archibald MacLeish
Oscars awarded in 1959
Academy Award, Best Picture: Gigi, Arthur Freed, producer (MGM)
Nobel Prize for Literature: Salvatore Quasimodo (Italy)
Grammys awarded in 1959
Record of the Year: “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu” (Volare), Domenico Modugno
Album of the Year: The Music From Peter Gunn, Henry Mancini (RCA)
Song of the Year: “Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu,” Domenico Modugno, songwriter
Miss America: Mary Ann Mobley (MS)
- Jack S. Kilby of Texas Instruments (US) supervises the development of the first integrated circuit. Background:
- The US Navy launches the Vanguard satellite.
- The Lunik II probe (USSR) reaches the moon; Lunik III photographs the dark side of the moon for the first time. Background:
Nobel Prizes in Science
Chemistry: Jaroslav Heyrovsky (Czechoslovakia), for development of polarography, an electrochemical method of analysis
Physics: Emilio Segre and Owen Chamberlain (both US), for demonstrating the existence of the anti-proton
Physiology or Medicine: Severo Ochoa and Arthur Kornberg (both US), for discoveries related to compounds within chromosomes that play a vital role in heredity
- Lou Costello
- Cecil B. De Mille
- Mel Ott
- Frank Lloyd Wright