February 1Alexander Selkirk Title Page

1709, shipwrecked on a desert island, Alexander Selkirk is rescued and inspires Daniel DeFoe to write Robinson Crusoe.

1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened in New York City for the first time.

1942, the Voice of America began broadcasting radio and television programs aimed at Axis controlled nations. It was the official broadcasting service of the U.S. federal government.

1960, four black college students from North Carolina A & T State University began a sit-in protest at a lunch counter in a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, where they’d been refused service. They returned the next day with fifteen students and the next with three-hundred. By the fourth day, roughly one-thousand entered the store in support of the desegregation sit-in. Woolworth’s relented and agreed to desegregate. Sit-ins began occurring in many other locations across the country from the result of this initial sit-in.

2009, the Pittsburgh Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII, making it their sixth Super Bowl win.

February 2

1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the Mexican War of 1846—1848. Terms in the treaty outlined Mexico seceding the ‘upper’ California (North of Baja California) and New Mexico to the U.S. The area included all of present-day California, Nevada, Utah and most of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. It also validated that Texas was U.S. territory and Mexico would recognized the Rio Grande as the southern boundary of the U.S. Mexico would also receive $15 million and forgiveness of their $3.25 million debt.

1937, the city of Paducah, Kentucky was flooded by the the Ohio River. Flood waters rose as high as sixty feet.

1949, 45 rpm records went on sale, becoming one of the most popular methods of buying recorded music, lasting into the 1980s.

February 3

1783, Spain recognized the new nation of the United States of America. France had already acknowledged the U.S. in 1778.

1932, the third Winter Olympics began in Lake Placid, New York.

1947, the coldest temperature recorded in North America was made in Snag, Yukon Territory, Canada with a reading of -81.4°F (-63°C).

1948, the next evolution in cars is seen with the 1948 Cadillac sporting tail fins. They were small bumps with a tail light on them but would grow over the next ten years and appear on virtually every make of automobile.

February 4

1922, the Ford Motor Company acquires the failing luxury automaker Lincoln Motor Company for $8 million.

USO Patch1941, the USO is founded in New York. Its first National Chairman was Thomas Dewey. The goal of the USO was to bring a little bit of ‘home life’ in America to the servicemen worldwide. Though disbanded in 1947, it was revived in 1950 for the Korean War. Currently the USO has over 30,000 volunteers working world wide in fourteen countries at over 160 locations.

February 5

1859, at the Monastery of Saint Catherine in the Sinai, Egypt, Constantin von Tischendorf received the Codex Sinaiticus (an ancient, handwritten copy of the Greek Bible), dating back to the 4th Century.

1924, the Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC pips”. The tones mark the last five seconds leading up to the hour and the final tone, for .5 seconds, marks the start of the new hour.

February 6

1862, the U.S. Navy gives the Union its first victory by capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee. The victory allowed the Union to travel up the Tennessee River past the Alabama border. The fort was bombarded by Naval gunships, causing the commander to surrender before Grant’s army arrived on foot.

1998, the Washington National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport by a signed bill from President Clinton.

February 7

1497, the Bonfire of the Vanities started in Florence, Italy in which the people began burning artwork, books and cosmetics in support of Girolamo Savonarola. A little more than a year later, in May 1498, he and two of his followers are burnt at the stake on the town square for preaching repentance and condemning the wicked lifestyles of the day.

1952, England’s reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II is proclaimed Queen of the United Kingdom and five other commonwealth realms. (Originally there were seven but they have since gained their independence.)

February 8

1910, the Boy Scouts of America incorporated, modeled after the Boy Scouts of England.

1918, the U.S. Army resumed printing the newspaper Stars and Stripes for soldiers stationed in Europe through the duration of WWI. It had its origin in the Civil War as a newsletter for Union soldiers. The paper was discontinued in 1919 but was resumed in 1942 and has since been in continual publication for seventy years.

1963, President Kennedy began an embargo against Cuba, prohibiting travel to, or financial or commercial business with Cuba.

February 9

1870, Congress approved a resolution for a National Weather Service which President Grant signed, creating the U.S. Weather Bureau.

1895, in Holyoke, Massachusetts, William G. Morgan created a game called “Mintonette”, now it is called “Volleyball”. Morgan was a physical education director at the YMCA when he came up with the game. Volleyball was added as an official event to the Olympic games in summer of 1964.

1961, President Kennedy asked Congress to approve a new health insurance program for senior citizens aged 65 and over. The program would become known as “Medicare.” The cost for this program was to be covered by increasing the Social Security tax.

February 10

1933, in New York City, the Postal Telegraph Company introduced the singing telegram. Western Union also offered singing telegrams and discontinued them in 1974.

1967, the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified and enacted on the 23rd. It clarified the succession of the President and Vice President upon a vacancy in the office.

February 11King Henry VIII

1531, King Henry VIII of England was recognized as the head of the Church of England.

February 12

1964, due to fan hysteria, known as “Beatlemania,” the surrounding streets around Carnegie Hall in Manhattan had to be closed by police. It was the music group’s first concert in New York City.