1959 Events & Facts

What Happened in 1959?


  • Fidel Castro’s forces victorious in Cuban revolution
  • Alaska and Hawaii become U.S. states
  • U.S. and Canada complete St. Lawrence Seaway
  • Vice President Richard Nixon engages Soviet leader Khrushchev in an informal "kitchen debate" at a Moscow trade show where U.S. kitchen appliances are on exhibit


  • Congress passes legislation cracking down on union racketeering
  • President Eisenhower intervenes to halt protracted steel and longshoremen’s strikes


  • Soviet space probe Lunik III photographs far side of the moon
  • Xerox launches the first commercial copier
  • Boeing 707 Jet Airliner comes into service significantly shortening transatlantic flight time


  • World Series: Los Angeles over Chicago, 4-2
  • Jack Nicklaus wins USGA Amateur golf championship


  • Movies: Suulenly Last Summer, Ben Hur, Anatomy of a Murder, Hiroshima Mon Amour
  • Songs: Mack the Knife, High Hopes, Personality, Kansas City, Battle of New Orleans
  • TV Shows: Maverick, Rawhide, Fibber McGee and Molly, Peter Gunn, Real McCoys, Dennis the Menace
  • Books: Goodbye, Columbus, Philip Roth; Goldfinger, Ian Fleming; The Miracle Worker, William Gibson; The Status Seekers, Vance Packard; The Tin Drum, Günter Grass; Advise and Consent, Allen Drury
  • Scandal strikes the popular TV quiz show $64,000 Question when a contestant admits his winning performances were rigged
  • Musicals Gypsy, The Sound of Music debut
  • U.S. Post Office bans D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover from the mails on obscenity grounds
  • Film director Cecil B. De Mille dies
  • First Grammy Awards


  • Studies determine that more Americans have died in auto accidents than in all U.S. wars combined
  • Playboy magazine debuts, featuring Marilyn Monroe as its first centerfold


  • New York City considers lobbying for statehood


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