On This Day

What Happened in February 1849

Historical Events

  • Feb 4 University of Wisconsin begins in 1 room with 20 students
  • Feb 8 New Roman Republic established in Italy
  • Feb 9 Roman Republic declared in Rome replacing following flight of Pope Pius IX

Famous PhotoOldest Photo of a Serving US President

Feb 14 In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes first serving US President to have his photograph taken (by Matthew Brady).
Learn More >>

James K. Polk, in a restored 1849 daguerrotype that is the oldest image of a serving American president
James K. Polk, in a restored 1849 daguerrotype that is the oldest image of a serving American president
  • Feb 18 1st regular steamboat service to California starts (or 02/28)
  • Feb 28 1st boat load of gold rush prospectors arrives in San Francisco from the east coast
  • Feb 28 11th Grand National: Tom Cunningham wins aboard 20/1 Peter Simple; 2nd consecutive year there are 3 equine fatalities during the race

Famous Birthdays

  • Feb 2 Pavol Országh Hviezdoslav, Slovak poet (d. 1921)
  • Feb 4 Jean Richepin, French poet/writer (Les Chansons de Gueux)
  • Feb 13 Lord Randolph Churchill, England, politician, Winston's father
  • Feb 17 Selwyn Image, English painter and designer (Arts and Crafts Movement), born in Bodiam Sussex (d. 1930)
  • Feb 18 Alexander L. Kielland, Norwegian writer and politician (Garman og Worse)
  • Feb 22 Nikolay Yakovlevich Sonin, Russian mathematician (d. 1915)

Famous Deaths

  • Feb 8 France Prešeren, Slovenian poet (Sonetni Venec), dies at 48
  • Feb 8 Francois-Antoine Habeneck, composer, dies at 68
  • Feb 9 Corneille Vander Planken, Belgian violinist and composer, dies at 76
  • Feb 13 Christian Rummel, German conductor and composer, dies at 61
  • Feb 15 Pierre François Verhulst, Belgian mathematician (logistic curve), dies at 44
  • Feb 22 Alexander Fesca, German pianist and composer, dies at 28