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Daily Calendar for Monday, February 20, 2023 | Almanac.com

Daily Calendar for Monday, February 20, 2023

Though this day is commonly called Presidents’ Day, the federal holiday is still called “Washington’s Birthday,” contrary to popular belief. It is one of eleven permanent holidays established by Congress. George Washington’s actual birthday is February 22, but we observe federal holidays on Mondays (in this case, the third Monday of February). To complicate matters, Washington was actually born on February 11 in 1731 because the country switched from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar during his lifetime (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. Learn more facts and folklore about Presidents’ Day.

Died

  • Frederick Douglass (abolitionist)
  • Walter Winchell (journalist)
  • Alice Roosevelt Longworth (last surviving child of Teddy Roosevelt)
  • Rene Dubos (environmentalist, microbiologist)
  • Dick York (actor)
  • Gene Siskel (film critic)
  • Sandra Dee (actress)
  • John Raitt (actor)
  • Hunter S. Thompson (journalist and author who unleashed the concept of gonzo journalism” in books like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”)

Born

  • Ansel Adams (photographer)
  • Sidney Poitier (actor)
  • Phil Esposito (hockey player)
  • Charles Barkley (basketball player)
  • Cindy Crawford (model)
  • Lili Taylor (actress)
  • Trevor Noah (television host, comedian)
  • Rihanna (singer)
  • Olivia Rodrigo (singer)

Events

  • George Washington signed the Postal Act, creating the Federal Postal System with a per-mile rate structure
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened in New York City
  • Tchaikovsky’s ballet Swan Lake premiered
  • An auto-airplane combination, Arrowbile, completed for testing
  • V-2 rocket launched fruit flies to 68-mile altitude
  • Carolyn Cummins gave birth to the first of her five children. The second was born in 1953, 3rd in 1956, 4th in 1961 and the 5th in 1966. All five children have the same birthday.
  • Astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth. He made 3 trips around the earth in his Mercury-Atlas spacecraft, Friendship 7, in just under 5 hours
  • U.S.S.R.’s Mir space station launched
  • The Station nightclub experienced the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, killing 100 people and injuring more than 200. The fire started when pyrotechnics set off by Great White, the rock band playing that night, lit flammable soundproofing foam behind the stage
  • Regeneration of Silene stenophylla from 30,000-year-old fruit tissue announced

Weather

  • A tornado tracked 15 miles from Shreveport to Abner, Louisiana, killed 8 people, and injured 50
  • The temperature in Los Angeles, California, hit 95 degrees F, a record high for the month of February

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