1939 in the United States
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|1939 in the United States|
|Years:||1936 1937 1938 – 1939 – 1940 1941 1942|
48 stars (1912–59)
Events from the year 1939 in the United States.
- President: Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democratic)
- Vice President: John Nance Garner (Democratic)
- Chief Justice: Charles Evans Hughes
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: William B. Bankhead (D-Alabama)
- Senate Majority Leader: Alben W. Barkley (D-Kentucky)
- Congress: 75th (until January 3), 76th (starting January 3)
- January 1 – The Hewlett-Packard Company is founded.
- January 1 – Texas A&M University wins its only football national championship.
- January 5 – Amelia Earhart is officially declared dead after her 1937 disappearance.
- February 21 – The Golden Gate International Exposition opens in San Francisco, California.
- February 27 – Sit-down strikes are outlawed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
- March 3 – Students at Harvard University demonstrate the new tradition of swallowing goldfish to reporters.
- March 28 – American adventurer Richard Halliburton delivers a last message from a Chinese junk, before he disappears on a voyage across the Pacific Ocean.
- April 9 – African-American singer Marian Anderson performs before 75,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., after having been denied the use both of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution, and of a public high school by the federally controlled District of Columbia.
- April 14 – John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath is first published.
- April 30 – The 1939 New York World's Fair opens.
- May 2 – Major League Baseball's Lou Gehrig, the legendary Yankee first baseman known as "The Iron Horse", ends his 2,130 consecutive games played streak after contracting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The record stands for 56 years before Cal Ripken, Jr. plays 2,131 consecutive games.
- May 20 – Pan-American Airways begins trans-Atlantic mail service with the inaugural flight of its Yankee Clipper from Port Washington, New York
- June 4 – The St. Louis, a ship carrying a cargo of 907 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida after already having been turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, many of its passengers later die in Nazi death camps during the Holocaust.
- June 12 – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is officially dedicated in Cooperstown, New York.
- July 2 – The 1st World Science Fiction Convention opens in New York City.
- August 2 – Albert Einstein writes to President Franklin Roosevelt about developing the atomic bomb using uranium. This leads to the creation of the Manhattan Project.
- August 15 – MGM's classic musical film The Wizard of Oz, based on L. Frank Baum's famous novel, and starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, premieres at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
- September 5 – World War II: The United States declares its neutrality in the war.
- September 21 – Radio station WJSV in Washington, D.C. records an entire broadcast day for preservation in the National Archives.
- September 29 – Gerald J. Cox, speaking at an American Water Works Association meeting, becomes the first person to publicly propose the fluoridation of public water supplies in the United States.
- October 11 – Manhattan Project: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is presented a letter signed by Albert Einstein, urging the United States to rapidly develop the atomic bomb.
- October 15 – The New York Municipal Airport (later renamed La Guardia Airport) is dedicated.
- October 24 – Nylon stockings go on sale for the first time anywhere in Wilmington, Delaware.
- October 25 – The Time of Your Life, a drama by William Saroyan, debuts in New York City.
- November 4 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders the United States Customs Service to implement the Neutrality Act of 1939, allowing cash-and-carry purchases of weapons to non-belligerent nations.
- November 6 – Hedda Hopper's Hollywood debuts on radio with Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper as host (the show runs until 1951, making Hopper a powerful figure in the Hollywood elite).
- November 15 – In Washington, D.C., U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt lays the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial.
- December 2 – La Guardia Airport opens for business in New York City.
- December 15 – The film Gone with the Wind, starring Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland and Leslie Howard, premieres at Loew's Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. It is based on Margaret Mitchell's best-selling novel. It is the longest American film made up to that time (nearly four hours).
- CBS Television begins transmission.
- Sandia View Academy, a private Adventist school, is founded in Corrales, New Mexico,
- General Motors introduces the Hydra-Matic drive, the first mass-produced, fully automatic transmission, as an option in 1940 model year Oldsmobile automobiles.
- Construction of Fallingwater, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is completed.
- January 20 – Paul Coverdell, United States Senator from Georgia from 1993 till 2000. (died 2000).
- January 31 – Jerry Brudos, serial killer (died 2006)
- March 6 – Kit Bond, United States Senator from Missouri from 1987 till 2011.
- March 15 – Ted Kaufman, United States Senator from Delaware from 2009 till 2010.
- June 26 – Chuck Robb, United States Senator from Virginia from 1989 till 2001.
- September 22 – Tim Wirth, United States Senator from Colorado from 1987 till 1993.
- October 18 – Lee Harvey Oswald, sniper who assassinated John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States (died 1963)
- November 19 – Tom Harkin, United States Senator from Iowa since 1985.
- December 2 – Harry Reid, United States Senator from Nevada since 1987.
- December 25 – Don Alias, jazz percussionist (died 2006)
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