February 1, 2012

February Dates and Facts

By Eloise Graham


Birthstone – Amethyst Flower – Primrose

February, with only 28 days, is the shortest of our months, but every four years there is a 29th day. This year, February boasts of 29 days. Do you remember what they taught us in school about leap year? Do they still teach anything in school about it? Our calendar year is 365 days. But the solar year, the actual time to revolve around the sun is about 3651/4 days. So every four years, a calendar day of 24 hours is added to the calendar.

Did you know that the solar year is actually a little less than 365 and 1/4 – by 11 minutes? So three times every 400 years, leap year is leaped over! In other words, a century year cannot be a leap year unless it is divisible by 400. Thus, 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years, but 1600, 2000 and 2400 are leap years.

Do you know of anyone with a leap year birthday? I have listed a few famous “Leapers.”

1468 Pope Paul III – last Renaissance pope

1712 General Montcalm – Hero of the French & Indian War

1736 Ann Lee, Shaker movement, Manchester England, Founded the Shaker movement and brought it to America in 1776.

1792 Karl Baer – Embryologist, found mammals develop from eggs

1792 Gioacchino Rossini – Italian composer (The Barber of Seville, William Tell)

1792 Karl Baer – Embryologist, (found mammals develop from eggs)

1828 Antonio Guzman Blanco, president Venezuela

1844 French Ensor Chadwick – Naval officer at battle of Santiago de Cuba

1864 Jan Svatopluk – Czech poet

1864 Albert Patry – Elbing, East Prussia, Germany, Actor

1864 Alice Davenport – USA, silent screen comedic actress

1876 John Harwood – UK, Actor

1888 John Costigan, American regionalist printmaker, and a cousin of the noted American showman, George M. Cohan.

1892 Augusta Christine Savage – Augusta Christine Fells – American sculptor and educator who battled racism to secure a place for African American women in the art world. She became the first Black member of the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptures in 1934.

1896 Ranchhodji Mararji Desai – 6th Prime Minister of India from March 24, 1977 to July 15, 1979. At 83, he was the oldest Prime Minister of India.

1896 Stanley Swash, CEO (Woolworths)

1896 William A. Wellman – American Film Director, (first picture to win an Oscar (1928) “WINGS”)

1904 Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenberdorft Sr., Germany; he had a Christian name for every letter in the alphabet, shortened it to Mr Wolfe Plus 585 Sr. The world’s longest name officially used by a person.

1904 Jimmy Dorsey (James Francis Dorsey) – Legendary saxophonist, onductor, songwriter and composer. He formed an orchestra with his brother, Tommy Dorsey, lasting from 1933 to 1935, and then led his own orchestra, rejoining Tommy’s orchestra in 1953 and taking over the orchestra at Tommy’s death.

1908 Edward B. Taylor – Photographer – documented Dayton, Ohio’s African American culture in photographs for nearly 40 years. He was Dayton’s first Black commercial photographer.