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29 February 1940

29 February 1940

29 February 1940

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11 historic events that happened on February 29, also known as 'Leap Day'

While a typical year is typically composed of 365 days, every four years the calendar adds one extra day to the end of February to catch up with the solar cycle.

That extra day, February 29, is known as "Leap Day."

Though it's the rarest day on the calendar, a number of significant events have occurred on Leap Day since since its inception in 45 B.C.

Here are the most important historical events February 29 has brought us:


February 29, 1940

Hattie McDaniel American Actress becomes first black person to win an Oscar.

Hattie McDaniel was an American actress of stage and screen, professional singer-songwriter, and comedian. She is best known for her role as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the first black person to win an Oscar.

Hattie McDaniel – Actress – Associated Links:

  • Hattie McDaniel | Biography
  • Hattie McDaniel | Notable Biographies
  • Hattie McDaniel | Black Past
  • Hattie McDaniel | Colorado Virtual Library
  • Hattie McDaniel | Black History Now
  • Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel by Carlton Jackson | Amazon

Hattie McDaniel – Actress – Related Articles:a “Hattie McDaniel: Biopic on ‘Gone With the Wind’ Star in the Works'” | Hollywood Reporter

  • “Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American actress to win Oscar” | HISTORY
  • “Hattie McDaniel First Black Oscar Winner” |Refinery 29
  • “GW’s Role in Unraveling the Mystery of Hattie McDaniel’s Missing Oscar” | GW Law
  • “The Life and Struggles of Hattie McDaniel” | NPR
  • “Oscar’s First Black Winner Accepted Her Honor in a Segregated ‘No Blacks’ Hotel in L.A.” | Hollywood Reporter
  • “What Hattie McDaniel Said About Her Oscar Winning Career Playing Racial Stereotypes” | Smithsonian
  • “Hattie McDaniel quote from Academy Award speech” | Historical Snapshots
  • “How the FIRST black Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel dealt with being segregated” | Daily Mail Online
  • “Hattie McDaniel, the first black Oscar winner, and her legacy” | Entertainment Weekly

Disclaimer: This content was prepared by the author in her personal capacity. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, opinion, or position of their employer.


You were born on a Thursday

February 29, 1940 was the 9th Thursday of that year. It was also the 60th day and 2nd month of 1940 in the Georgian calendar. The next time you can reuse 1940 calendar will be in 2024. Both calendars will be exactly the same.

There are left before your next birthday. Your 82nd birthday will be on a Saturday and a birthday after that will be on a Wednesday. The timer below is a countdown clock to your next birthday. It’s always accurate and is automatically updated.

Your next birthday is on a Saturday


A few facts about leap day

February 29 can seem like a mysterious thing. But why it happens every four years is actually very simple. So simple, we can explain it in just 30 seconds.

A homemade February 2016 calendar illustrating leap year. Feb. 29 is that extra day that rolls around every four years. (Photo: Leanne Italie, AP)

Surrounded in history and superstition, February 29 only comes once every four years— and we have one Monday. Here are a few facts about leap day.

Bachelor’s Day

In Ireland, February 29 is Bachelor's Day - a traditional holiday when women propose to men. Scotland began the tradition in 1288 by passing a law permitting women to propose and if refused, the man had to pay a fine. Now, the tradition is just an amusing historical tidbit.

2. Gregorian calendar roots

Pope Paul III, the last of the Renaissance popes, was born on a leap day in 1468. Interestingly enough, it was another pope who established the Gregorian calendar - Pope Gregory XIII.

Julius Caesar introduced the idea, but the math he used wasn't quite right, creating too many leap years. Essentially, every 400 years, we ended up with three extra days, so to compensate, centuries must be divisible by 400 to count as leap years. Years like 1700, 1800 and 1900 are only 365 days long, rather than 366.

Leap day babies

The chances of having a birthday on a leap day are about one in 1,461, according to BBC.

Leap year babies, called leaplings, are said to have unusual talents by astrologers.

Two women have given birth to three leap day babies, according to the New York Daily News. The Henriksen family from Norway had their children on leap days in 1960, 1964 and 1968. The most recent family to tie the record is the Estes family from Utah. Their children were born in 2004, 2008 and 2012. So, depending on how you look at it, the children will celebrate their third, second and first birthdays this year.

Even more rare, the eighth premier of Tasmania, James Milne Wilson, was born on a leap day and died on a leap day in the 1800s, according to the World Heritage Encyclopedia.

Kathie Taylor may be close to 100, but this leap year baby is just now celebrating her 24th birthday. She was born on February 29, 1920.

February 29 in history

In order to gain the cooperation of the indigenous people of Jamaica, Christopher Columbus used the lunar eclipseon February 29, 1504, to his advantage, according to the BBC. The local chiefs decided to stop helping his crew with the food and provisions they had been supplying, so he told them that God was going to punish them by painting the moon red. During the eclipse, Columbus said God would end the punishment if they cooperated. The chiefs agreed to continue giving them supplies, and of course the lunar eclipse ended.

The first warrants of the Salem witch trials were issued on February 29, 1692. The trials continued until early 1693 and resulted in the execution of 20 people and the death of seven others in jail, History.com reported.

On February 29, 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first black woman to win an Oscar, according to History.com. She was awarded for her role in Gone With the Wind.

Leap Year: Special travel deals for leap day babies and more this Feb. 29


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The Denison Press (Denison, Tex.), Vol. 6, No. 187, Ed. 1 Thursday, February 1, 1940 , newspaper , February 1, 1940 (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth735994/: accessed June 20, 2021 ), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu crediting Grayson County Frontier Village .

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Leap-Day Birthdays: Famous (and Infamous) Feb. 29 Births

You’d think a Feb. 29 birthday would be an auspicious thing. The rarest of all birth dates, it confers an extended adolescence — you’re not 40 you’re just a sprightly 10! Alas, a scan of celebrities born on Leap Day suggests potentially bad tidings. If you were born Feb. 29, your fellow candle blowers include:

Aileen Wuornos, convicted serial killer. Fate doesn’t deal many a worse hand than it did Wuornos, a victim of myriad forms of child abuse who in later years shot numerous men to death, claiming self-defense in each case, before being executed for her crimes in 2002. Her Feb. 29, 1956, birth date may be the least auspicious leap birth of them all.

Ja Rule, rapper of “Always on Time” fame. Born Jeffrey Atkins on Feb. 29, 1976, Ja Rule has had limited success since his Murder Inc. days and is celebrating his ninth birthday in New York’s Mid-State Correctional Facility on a gun-possession conviction.

Richard Ramirez, convicted serial killer. (What is it with crime and Feb. 29?) Ramirez, dubbed the Night Stalker by the media, was born Feb. 29, 1960, and was exposed to a family murder 13 years later that may have helped chart his course. A drifter by the mid-’80s, subsisting largely on junk food, he committed a series of violent rapes and killings that landed him on death row, where he remains — undoubtedly looking forward to an imaginary Feb. 29 birthday cake, whether it has 52 or 13 imaginary candles on it.

Tony Robbins, motivational speaker and self-help writer. His seminars on unleashing the giant within and mastering wealth have sold in droves, but the toothy author, born on Feb. 29, 1960, flopped with the TV show Breakthrough with Tony Robbins in the summer of 2010. Perhaps people just don’t like to take life-coaching advice from 12-year-olds.

Pedro Zamora, The Real World: San Francisco housemate and AIDS educator. After testing positive for HIV in high school, Zamora, born Feb. 29, 1972, courageously took his diagnosis public by appearing on the third season of MTV’s flagship reality show. His HIV-prevention messages reached countless Americans. Sadly, he died from AIDS-related complications in late 1994 — far too early, whether you consider him to have been 22 or 5.

But all is not lost. Some leaplings grow up to have long, fruitful, healthy lives — the singer and talk-show host Dinah Shore, for one. And some have a great sense of humor about it: Gretchen Christopher, a co-founder of the soft-pop vocal trio the Fleetwoods (“Come Softly to Me,” “Mr. Blue”), was born on Feb. 29, 1940, and in 2004 released a CD titled Gretchen’s Sweet Sixteen, on her 16th — er, 64th — birthday.


UPI Almanac for Monday, Feb. 29, 2016

Today is Monday, Feb. 29, the 60th day of 2016 with 306 to follow.

This is Leap Year Day, which occurs only once every four years.

The moon is waning. Morning stars are Mercury and Venus. Evening stars are Mars, Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Pisces. They include British religious leader Ann Lee, founder of the American Shaker sect, in 1736 operatic composer Gioacchino Antonio Rossini in 1792 American inventor John Holland, who pioneered the modern submarine, in 1840 film director William Wellman (Wings, The Ox Bow Incident) in 1896 big band leader Jimmy Dorsey in 1904 singer Dinah Shore in 1916 astronaut Jack Lousma in 1936 (age 80) actors Dennis Farina in 1944 (died 2013) and Antonio Sabato Jr. in 1972 (age 44) motivational speaker Tony Robbins in 1960 (age 56) and rapper Ja Rule in 1976 (age 40).

In 1704, in the bloodiest event of the so-called Queen Anne's War, Deerfield, a frontier settlement in western Massachusetts, was attacked by a French and indian force. Some 100 men, women and children were massacred as the town was burned to the ground.

In 1868, British statesman Benjamin Disraeli became prime minister for the first time.

In 1916, during World War I, German U-boat commanders were ordered to attack merchant shipping in the Atlantic without warning, a policy that killed thousands and helped draw the United States into the war.

In 1940, the legendary Southern epic Gone With The Wind won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. But, the most momentous award that night went to the movie's Best Supporting Actress winner Hattie McDaniel, first African-American actor honored with an Oscar.

In 1956, almost nine years after becoming an independent nation, Pakistan declared itself an Islamic republic.

In 1968, the President's National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders condemned racism as the primary cause of the recent surge of riots. The commission said in its Feb. 29, 1968, report that "our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white -- separate and unequal."

In 1968, British astronomer Jocelyn Burnell announced the discovery of a pulsating radio source, or "pulsar," in the depths of outer space. She first dubbed it "LGM," short for "little green men." Astrophysicists say pulsars to be rapidly rotating neutron stars.

In 1988, police arrested Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu as he and others marched on Parliament to protest the government's ban on anti-apartheid activities.

In 2000, President George W. Bush, after losing to John McCain in Arizona and Michigan, won the important Virginia Republican primary and declared he had "taken a step" toward the White House.

In 2004, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned and fled the country as rebel forces massed on the outskirts of the capital. U.S. President George Bush ordered Marines into Haiti after the ouster.

Also in 2004, the Iraqi Governing Council finished a draft constitution for final approval by the U.S. administrator.

And, Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, the finale of the epic fantasy trilogy, won all 11 Academy Awards for which it was nominated, including best picture and director, a record sweep.

In 2008, U.S. President George W. Bush dismissed widely feared speculation the nation was headed into a recession, saying his recent economic stimulus package would help the nation cope with a slowdown.

Also in 2008, Deputy Israeli Defense Minister Matan Vilnai threatened a "holocaust" in the Gaza Strip if Palestinian rocket fire continued.

In 2012, the Syrian Army drove insurgents from the Free Syrian Army out of the Bab Amr neighborhood in the city of Homs. Thousands of innocent civilians have died in the past 11 months in the government's crackdown on opposition activists, the United Nations said.

A thought for the day: In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll wrote: "Curtsy while you're thinking of something to say. It saves time."


Pope John Paul II riding in the Popemobile in 2004. Thalion77, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.5

Back when he was just 24-year-old Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II was walking home when a German army truck hit him and left him on the road for dead. The driver of a lumber truck picked him up and took him to the hospital, where Wojtyla remained unconscious for nine hours. It’s said that the incident inspired him to switch to a spiritual career path.

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