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Calendar for February 17th, 2014

George Washington's Birthday (observed)

Although George Washington's birthday is celebrated on February 22, it is observed as a federal holiday on the third Monday of February. To complicate matters, Washington was actually born on February 11 in 1731! How can that be? During Washington's lifetime, people in Great Britain and America switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar (something most of Europe had done in 1582). As a result of this calendar reform, people born before 1752 were told to add 11 days to their birth dates. Those born between January 1 and March 25, as Washington was, also had to add one year to be in sync with the new calendar. By the time Washington became president in 1789, he celebrated his birthday on February 22 and listed his year of birth as 1732. Upon entering office, Washington was not convinced that he was the right man for the job. He wrote, "My movements to the chair of government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit, who is going to the place of his execution." Fortunately for the young country, he was wrong. You can read more about Washington at the official White House Web site.


  • 1621: Myles Standish appointed commander of Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts

  • 1650s

  • Born 1653: Arcangelo Corelli (composer)

  • 1860s

  • 1864: Confederate H. L. Hunley was first submarine to sink a warship (USS Housatonic)

  • 1865: Columbia, South Carolina, burned by Union Army (U.S. Civil War)

  • 1870s

  • 1876: First sardines canned in Maine

  • Born 1879: Dorothy Canfield Fisher (author)

  • 1890s

  • 1897: The National Congress of Mothers, later known as the PTA, founded

  • 1900s

  • Died 1909: Geronimo (Chiricahua Apache leader)

  • Born 1909: Marjorie Lawrence (opera singer)

  • 1910s

  • 1913: Marcel Duchamp's painting, Nude Descending a Staircase, outraged viewers

  • Died 1919: Wilfred Laurier (8th Prime Minister of Canada)

  • 1930s

  • 1933: First publication of Newsweek magazine

  • 1950s

  • Born 1954: Rene Russo (actress)

  • Born 1956: Richard Karn (actor, game show host)

  • 1960s

  • 1960: Elvis Presley awarded his first gold album for "Elvis"

  • 1961: 9-pound 6-ounce chain pickerel caught near Homerville, Georgia

  • Born 1963: Michael Jordan (basketball player)

  • 1970s

  • Born 1974: Jerry O'Connell (actor)

  • 1980s

  • Born 1980: Jason Ritter (actor)

  • Born 1981: Paris Hilton (heiress)

  • Died 1982: Thelonious Monk (jazz pianist)

  • Died 1982: Lee Strasberg (actor and director)

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