Presentation of the Lord (also called Purification of the Virgin Mary or Candlemas): It commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the temple 40 days after his birth.
Groundhog Day If he sees his shadow, expect six more weeks of winter.
1982 Late Night with David Letterman NBC debuts the show that brought us stupid pet tricks, elevator races, top-ten lists, and Larry "Bud" Melman.
1979 Sex Pistols Sid Vicious overdoses on heroin. He was awaiting trial for the stabbing death of his girlfriend, "nauseating Nancy" Spungen.
1964 First U.S. spacecraft to strike the moon Ranger 6, launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, strikes the moon. Unfortunately, its camera equipment failed to operate.
1943 World War II - Battle of Stalingrad German troops surrender to Russia after a five-month battle, marking the end of Hitler's campaign in Russia.
1934 Export-Import Bank of the U.S Pres. Roosevelt establishes this organization to encourage trade between the U.S. and other nations.
1914 Cub Scouts The first Cub Scout pack is formed in Sussex, England.
1913 Grand Central Terminal The New York terminal officially opens.
1901 U.S. Army Dental Corps is founded by Congress.
1893 First motion picture close-up Fred Ott sneezing.
1892 Bottle cap William Painter of Baltimore receives a patent for his design. Called a "crowned cork," it consisted of a cork disk which prevented the bottle's contents from touching the corrugated tin cap.
1876 Baseball - First Professional Baseball League The National League is formed. It consisted of Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Hartford, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. Source: Famous First Facts
1848 Mexican War The war between Mexico and the U.S. ends with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The U.S. acquired Texas and the land that would become California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.
1834 First co-ed college Oberlin Collegiate Institute, Ohio, is incorporated. Although it allowed women to attend classes, it did not grant them equal status until 1837.
1953 Christie Brinkley American model.
1948 Al McKay American guitarist, with Earth, Wind & Fire. Music: Shining Star (1975, #1, Grammy), Best of My Love (1977, #1), and After the Love has Gone (1979, #2, Grammy).
1946 Howard Bellamy American singer, with the Bellamy Brothers. Music: Let Your Love Flow (1976, #1), If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body, Would You Hold It Against Me? (1979, #1), and Kids of the Baby Boom (1987, #1).
1942 Graham Nash English singer, with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
1942 Bo Hopkins American actor. TV: The Rockford Files (disbarred lawyer John Cooper) and Dynasty (Matthew Blaisdel).
1937 Tom Smothers American comedian, one of the Smothers Brothers.
1935 Jane Wagner American Emmy/Peabody-winning playwright, actress, Lily Tomlin's comic writer and life partner. Writings: The Incredible Shrinking Woman (1981) and The Search For Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (1991). Quote: "The ability to delude yourself may be an important survival tool." Source: Fifth 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said #550)
1932 Robert Mandan American actor. TV: Soap (Chester Tate) and Private Benjamin (Col. Fielding).
1926 Elaine Stritch American actress. TV: My Sister Eileen (Ruth).
1923 James Dickey American poet, novelist. Writings: Deliverance (1970 He played the sheriff in the 1972 film adaptation).
1905 Ayn Rand d. 1982 Russian-born American author. Writings: Anthem (1938), The Fountainhead (1943), and Atlas Shrugged (1957).
1895 George Halas d. 1983 American Football Hall of Famer, player-coach, co-founder of the NFL, and founder of the Chicago Bears. He is the all-time leader in coaching wins (324) and won a record 6 NFL championships. He was also the 1919 Rose Bowl MVP.
1886 William Rose Benet d. 1950 American Pulitzer-winning poet, novelist. Writings: The Dust Which is God (1941).
1883 Johnston McCulley d. 1958 American author, creator of Zorro. Writings: The Mark of Zorro (1920) and The Curse of Capistrano (1920).
1882 James Joyce d. 1941 Irish novelist. Although his novel Ulysses (1922) was banned in the U.S. in 1933, it is considered one of the greatest works of 20th-century fiction.
1861 Solomon R. Guggenheim d. 1949 American philanthropist. In 1937 he founded the Guggenheim foundation, which maintains the museum in New York.
1754 Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord d. 1838 French statesman. He was foreign minister to Napoleon Bonaparte and King Louis XVIII, and was ambassador to Britain. One of history's greatest diplomats, he once stated, "We were given speech to hide our thoughts."
1651 Sir William Phips d. 1695 English Colonial leader and governor of the Massachusetts Colony (1692-94) during the Salem witchcraft trials.
1650 Nell Gwynn d. 1687 English actress, mistress of King Charles II, by whom she had two children.
1649 Benedict XIII d. 1730 religious leader, 245th Pope (1724-30).
1996 Gene Kelly b. 1912 American Emmy-winning actor, dancer. Film: Singin' in the Rain (1952, with his famous dance scene).
1995 Donald Pleasence b. 1919 British actor. Film: The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965, the Devil), You Only Live Twice (1967, Ernst Blofeld), and Halloween (1978).
1987 Alistair Maclean b. 1922 Scottish novelist, World War II veteran. Writings: Guns of Navarone (1957) and Ice Station Zebra (1963).
1978 Wendy Barrie b. 1912 (Wendy Jenkins), British actress. TV: The Wendy Barrie Show.
1970 Bertrand Russell b. 1872 British mathematician, Nobel-winning philosopher, author. He was the most distinguished philosopher of his time.
1969 Boris Karloff b. 1887 (William Henry Pratt), English horror actor. Stage: Arsenic and Old Lace (1941, Jonathan Brewster) and Peter Pan (1951, Captain Hook). Film: Frankenstein (1931, the monster) and The Mummy (1932, title role). TV: How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966, narrator).
1967 Floretta McCutcheon b. 1888 American bowler. Although considered the greatest woman bowler of all time, she had never held a bowling ball until she was 33.
1918 John L. Sullivan b. 1858 American boxer, heavyweight champion (1882-92) and the last bare-knuckle champion.
1907 Dmitri Mendeléyev b. 1834 Russian chemist. He created the periodic table of elements (1869).
1804 George Walton b. 1751 American lawyer, signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, and governor of Georgia (1779-80, 1789-90).
1769 Clement XIII b. 1693 Italian religious leader, 248th Pope (1758-69).