February 1, 1844: Happy birthday Eduard Strasburger, one of the most famous botanists of the 19th-century! Strasburger developed the principles of mitosis and coined the terms "cytoplasm" and "nucleoplasm". His 1898 textbook: <https://tinyurl.com/ya52wbk7>
February 1, 1865: 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (abolishing slavery) is approved by President Lincoln. It had been passed by the House of Representatives the previous day, and would be ratified on December 6th of that year. More information and a scan of the document can be seen at: <https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=40>
February 2, 1882: A baby elephant is born at the winter quarters of Barnum's Circus in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The baby is two feet, six inches high, weighs forty-five pounds, and is covered with shaggy black hair an inch long. More details: <https://tinyurl.com/y8ts5azl>
February 2, 1887: The ancient holiday of Groundhog Day is officially celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, USA, for the first time. (The Punxsutawney groundhog would become the official representative of the holiday in the U.S.) Read more here: <https://tinyurl.com/y873z757>
February 10, 1840: Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert.
February 10, 1853: Charles Stratton (a.k.a. General Tom Thumb) marries Lavinia Warren. An article about the wedding appeared in the New York Times the next day: http://www.nytimes.com/1863/02/11/news/loving-lilliputians-warren-thumbiana-marriage-general-tom-thumb-queen-beauty-who.html?pagewanted=all
February 11, 1861: Happy birthday, Elizabeth Bisland! Miss Bisland is now perhaps most famous for her 1889-90 race around the world against fellow journalist Nelly Bly. However, Miss Bisland was a sweet, fascinating woman in her own right —and a very skilled writer as well. Her own account of the famous voyage, "A Flying Trip Around the World" makes for absolutely charming reading. For hyperlinks to Elizabeth's book about her famous trip, look under "Travel Books" on http://www.thisvictorianlife.com/favorite-books-etc.html
February 12, 1809: Happy birthday, Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln!
February 14: Happy birthday, Frederick Douglass! The writer and orater was born a slave and the exact date of his birth around 1818 was not recorded, but he chose to celebrate it on Valentine's Day. More information: <https://www.biography.com/people/frederick-douglass-9278324>
February 14, 1859: Oregon becomes a state.
February 16, 1883: Ladies' Home Journal begins publishing.
February 25, 1874: Happy birthday, Ida Lewis, the lady the Society of the American Cross of Honor called "The Bravest Woman in America" for her valiant achievements in saving the lives. Her father had been a lighthouse keeper but he was disabled by a stroke of paralysis when Ida was a young adolescent. Ida and her mother took over his lighthouse keeping duties, and Ida became known for her fearless willingness to risk her own life to save others. She would venture out into stormy seas —often alone— to rescue people from drowning, and in 1874 the U.S. government awarded her a gold medal in recognition of the many lives she had saved.
February 14, 2018: Ash Wednesday. Lent begins.
Author: Sarah A. Chrisman
(Known around Port Townsend as "The Victorian Lady"