On This Day

What Happened in February 1939

Historical Events

  • Feb 4 Glenn Cunningham (top miler) says 4-min mile beyond human effort
  • Feb 6 Spanish government flees to France
  • Feb 9 Belgian Spaak government falls

Film Premiere

Feb 10 "Stagecoach" western film directed by John Ford, starring Claire Trevor and John Wayne, premieres in Miami

Film & TV History

Feb 14 Victor Fleming replaces George Cukor as director of film "Gone With The Wind"

  • Feb 15 German battleship Bismarck was launched

Theater Premiere

Feb 15 Lillian Hellman's play "The Little Foxes" premieres in New York City

  • Feb 17 Katwijk soccer team forms in the Netherlands
  • Feb 18 Golden Gate International Exposition opens on Treasure Island
  • Feb 20 The American pro-Nazi organization German American Bund hold a rally at Madison Square Garden and 20,000 attend
  • Feb 21 Belgian government of Pierlot forms

Historic Event

Feb 22 Netherlands recognizes Franco regime in Spain

Sports History

Feb 23 Lou Thesz beats Everett Marshall in St Louis, to win the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight C'ship for a 2nd time

Academy Awards

Feb 23 11th Academy Awards: "You Can’t Take It With You", Spencer Tracy & Bette Davis wins

  • Feb 24 Roy Harris' 3rd Symphony premieres in Boston
  • Feb 25 1st Anderson bomb shelter in Britain erected in an Islington garden
  • Feb 27 Belgian government of Pierlot falls
  • Feb 27 Borley Rectory, "the most haunted house in England", destroyed in a fire
  • Feb 27 Britain and France recognize Francisco Franco's government in Spain
  • Feb 27 Supreme Court outlaws sit-down strikes
  • Feb 28 Great Britain recognizes Franco regime in Spain
  • Feb 28 The first issue of Serbian weekly magazine Politikin zabavnik is published.
  • Feb 28 The erroneous word "Dord" is discovered in the Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, prompting an investigation.

Famous Birthdays

  • Feb 1 Del McCoury, American bluegrass guitarist and singer, born in York, Pennsylvania
  • Feb 1 Paul Gillmor, American politician (Rep-R-Ohio 1989-2007), born in Tiffin, Ohio (d. 2007)
  • Feb 1 Claude François, French pop singer-songwriter ("Comme d'habitude"), born in Ismaïlia, Egypt (d. 1978)
  • Feb 1 Joe Sample, American jazz and session keyboardist and composer (The Jazz Crusaders), born in Houston, Texas (d. 2014)
  • Feb 2 Akbar Adibi, Iranian scientist, father of electronics in Iran (d. 2000)
  • Feb 2 Dale T. Mortensen, Enterprise, Oregon, economist (Nobel, 2010), (d. 2014)
  • Feb 3 Vladimir Yevgenyevich Preobrazhensky, Russian cosmonaut
  • Feb 3 Michael Cimino, American director (The Deer Hunter), (d. 2016) possible date only
  • Feb 4 Jacques Charlier, Belgian sculptor
  • Feb 4 Stan Lundine, American politician (Rep-D-NY, 1976-86, Lieutenant Governor of New York. 1987-94), born in Jamestown, New York
  • Feb 5 Brian Luckhurst, cricketer (England opener of 60's & early 70's)
  • Feb 5 Jane Bryant Quinn, newscaster/financial writer (Everyone's Money Book), born in Niagara Falls, New York
  • Feb 5 Derek Wadsworth, British jazz composer and arranger, born in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire (d. 2008)
  • Feb 5 Patric Standford, British composer (Taikayoku; Christus Requiem), born in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England (d. 2014)
  • Feb 6 Mike Farrell, American actor & director & activist (M*A*S*H; Battered; Patch Adams), born in Saint Paul, Minnesota
  • Feb 8 Gerrit Lakmaaker, Dutch sculptor/painter (Leidsepleingroep) (d. 1995)
  • Feb 8 José Maria Sison, Filipino communist
  • Feb 9 Barry Mann [Imberman], American pop songwriter ("You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling"), and singer ("Who Put the Bomp In The Bomp, Bomp, Bomp"), born in Brooklyn, New York
  • Feb 9 Janet Suzman, South African actress (Dry White Season, Nuns on the Run)
  • Feb 10 Barbara Kolb, composer (Trobar Jus), born in Hartford, Connecticut
  • Feb 10 Adrienne Clarkson, 26th Governor General of Canada
  • Feb 10 Peter Purves, English television presenter and actor (Doctor Who, Blue Peter), born in Preston, Lancashire
  • Feb 11 Bryan Gould, New Zealand and British politician (L), born in Hawera, New Zealand
  • Feb 11 Gerry Goffin, American pop and rock lyricist ("Will You Love Me Tomorrow"; "Up On The Roof"; "Pleasant Valley Sunday"), married to Carole King, 1959-69, born in Queens, New York (d. 2014)
  • Feb 11 Jane Yolen, American sci-fi and children's literature author and poet (Spider Jane; Heart's Blood), born in Manhattan, New York City
  • Feb 12 Ray Manzarek, American rock organist and songwriter (The Doors - "Light My Fire"; "Love Her Madly"), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2013)
  • Feb 12 John D Hancock, American actor and director (Black Marble, Traxx, Houston Knights), born in Kansas City, Missouri
  • Feb 13 Valery Rozhdestvensky, Soviet cosmonaut (Soyuz 23), born in Leningrad, Soviet Union (d. 2011)
  • Feb 13 Beate Klarsfeld, Franco-German journalist, born in Berlin, Germany
  • Feb 14 Chris Pyne, British jazz, touring, and session trombonist (Mike Gibbs; Ronnnie Scott; Humphrey Lyttelton), born in Bridlington, East Riding of Yorkshire, England (d. 1995)
  • Feb 14 Michael Rudman, English theater director and producer (Donkeys' Years)
  • Feb 15 Jo Clayton, American sci-fi author (Irsud, Maeve, Star Hunters)
  • Feb 15 Tony Bloom, deputy CEO (Sketchley)
  • Feb 15 Robert Hansen, American serial killer
  • Feb 16 David Griffiths, Welsh portrait painter, born in Liverpool, United Kingdom
  • Feb 17 Mary Ann Mobley, American model and actress (Miss America-1959, Diff'rent Strokes), Biloxi Mississippi (d. 2014)
  • Feb 18 Claude Ake, political scientist
  • Feb 18 Marlos Nobre, composer
  • Feb 18 Petronella CM "Carletta" Banning, actress (Potasch & Perlemoer)
  • Feb 18 Dal Maxvill, American baseball player
  • Feb 18 Marek Janowski, Polish-born conductor
  • Feb 18 Bobby Hart [Harshman], American pop songwriter ("I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone"; "Last Train To Clarksville") and singer (Boyce & Hart - "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight"), born in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Feb 19 Gwen Taylor, British actress (Life of Brian, Sob Sisters, Screaming)
  • Feb 19 Douglas Mitchell, Canadian Football Hall of Fame executive (CFL Commissioner 1984-88), born in Calgary, Alberta (d. 2022)
  • Feb 20 (Roy George) Elroy Josephs, Jamaican-British jazz dance teacher, and actor, born in Jamaica (d. 1997)
  • Feb 20 Frank Arundel, English footballer
  • Feb 21 Richard Beymer, American stage actor and singer (West Side Story; Diary of Anne Frank), born in Avoca, Iowa
  • Feb 21 Ron Nagle, American sculptor, and songwriter, born in San Francisco, California
  • Feb 22 Steve Barber, American MLB pitcher (Baltimore Orioles, NY Yankees), born in Takoma Park, Maryland (d. 2007)
  • Feb 22 George Haslam, British avant-garde jazz baritone saxophonist, and tárogató player, born in Preston, Lancashire, England
  • Feb 23 Edmund Boyd Fisher, publisher
  • Feb 23 Josef Feistmantl, Austrian lugeist (Olympic gold 1964)
  • Feb 23 Esteban "Steve" Jordan, American conjunto, Tejano, rock and jazz accordion player, born in Elsa, Texas (d. 2010)
  • Feb 24 George Bain, principal (London Business School)
  • Feb 25 A C F Verity, master (Dulwich College)
  • Feb 25 Marisa Mell, Graz Austria, actress (Masquerade, Casanova '70)
  • Feb 26 Josephine Tewson, English actress, born in Hampstead, United Kingdom
  • Feb 27 Antoinette Sibley, British ballerina (Turning Point), born in Bromley, United Kingdom
  • Feb 27 Kenzō Takada, Japanese fashion designer (Kenzo), born in Himejo, Japan (d. 2020)
  • Feb 27 Lester King, West Indian cricketer (WI fast bowler, 2 Tests 1962-68, 9 wkts), born in St Catherine, Jamaica
  • Feb 27 Peter Revson, American auto racer (Indianapolis 500 1971 pole winner, runner-up), born in New York City (d. 1974)
  • Feb 28 Charles Brown, featherweight boxer (Olympic bronze 1964), born in Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Feb 28 John Fahey, American folk singer and guitarist (Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death), born in Washington, D.C. (d, 2001)
  • Feb 28 Tommy Tune, American dancer and choreographer (Boyfriend), born in Wichita Falls, Texas
  • Feb 28 Kamel Lemoui, Algerian soccer defender (7 caps; AS Béziers Hérault) and manager (Algeria 1988-89), born in Batna, Algeria (d. 2022)

Famous Weddings

Frank Sinatra

Feb 4 American singer Frank Sinatra (23) marries 1st wife Nancy Barbato (21) at Our Lady of Sorrows catholic church in Jersey City, New Jersey; divorce in 1951

Famous Deaths

  • Feb 4 Edward Sapir, US linguist/cultural antropologist (indian), dies at 55
  • Feb 4 Henri Deterding, Dutch oil magnate (Royal Oil, Shell), dies at 72
  • Feb 7 Boris Grigoriev, Russian painter (b. 1886)

Pius XI

Feb 10 Pius XI [Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti], Italian 259th Pope (1922-39), dies at 81

  • Feb 11 Franz Schmidt, Austro-Hungarian cellist, pianist, and composer, dies at 64
  • Feb 15 Foppe G Scheltema, Dutch lawyer, dies at 47
  • Feb 15 Henri Jaspar, 27th Prime Minister of Belgium (1927-31), dies at 68
  • Feb 15 Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Russian painter (b. 1878)
  • Feb 16 Jura Soyfer, Austrian political journalist and cabaret writer, dies at Buchenwald concentration camp at 26
  • Feb 17 Willy Hess, German violinist, dies at 79
  • Feb 18 Ludwig Bonvin, composer, dies at 89
  • Feb 22 Antonio Machado, Spanish poet (Campos de Castilla), dies at 63
  • Feb 27 Nadezjda K Krupskaya, Russian revolutionary/wife of Lenin, dies at 70