June 20th in History

The first Great Seal of the United States, adopted by Congress on June 20, 1782: The first great seal, having the eagle and the Latin motto “E Pluribus Unum,” meaning “Many in One,”—or one nation made up of many states,—was adopted June 20, 1782. The spread eagle signifies strength; the thirteen stars above his head, and the thirteen stripes on the shield on his breast, represent the thirteen original states; the olive branch, held in the eagle’s right talon, shows that America seeks peace; while the bundle of arrows in his left talon shows that we are prepared for war. This seal is used in stamping agreements or treaties made by the United States with other nations, and also for other important papers.

Today in History

  • A British garrison is imprisoned in what becomes known as the Black Hole of Calcutta (1756)
  • The US Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States (1782)
  • The first steam-propelled vessel crosses the Atlantic (1819)
  • Samuel Morse receives a patent for the telegraph (1840)
  • West Virginia is admitted as a US state (1863)
  • Lizzie Borden is acquitted of murder (1893)
  • World War II: The “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” takes place (1944)
  • The Ed Sullivan Show (originally Toast of the Town) premiers (1948)


  • Lillian Hellman, playwright (1905)
  • Errol Flynn, actor (1909)
  • Chet Atkins, singer-songwriter and guitarist (1924)
  • Audie Murphy, actor and Medal of Honor recipient (1925)
  • Eric Dolphy, saxophonist and composer (1928)
  • Martin Landau, actor (1928)
  • Jean-Marie Le Pen, politician (1928)
  • Olympia Dukakis, actress (1931)
  • Danny Aiello, actor (1933)
  • Len Dawson, football player (1935)
  • Brian Wilson, singer-songwriter, member of The Beach Boys (1942)
  • Anne Murray, singer (1945)
  • Bob Vila, home restorer (1946)
  • Candy Clark, actress (1947)
  • Lionel Ritchie, singer-songwriter (1949)
  • Nouri alo-Maliki, Iraqi prime minister (1950)
  • Tress MacNeille, voice actress (1951)
  • John Goodman, actor (1952)
  • Nicole Kidman, actress (1967)
  • Robert Rodriguez, director and producer (1968)


  • Bugsy Siegel, mobster (1947)
  • Howard Johnson, hotelier (1972)
  • Clifton Fadiman, author (1999)
  • LeRoy Neiman, painter (2012)
  • Andrew Sarris, critic (2012)

Holidays and Celebrations

  • Day of the National Flag (Argentina)
  • Flitch of Bacon Day
  • Summanus (ancient Rome)
  • Gas Sector Day (Azerbaijan)
  • Martyr’s Day (Eritrea)
  • West Virginia Day (West Virginia)
  • World Productivity Day
  • World Refugee Day
June 20 is the 171st day of the year (172nd in leap years). There are 194 days remaining until the end of the year.