1949 in the United States
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|1949 in the United States|
|Years:||1946 1947 1948 – 1949 – 1950 1951 1952|
48 stars (1912–59)
Events from the year 1949 in the United States.
- President: Harry S. Truman (D-Illinois)
- Vice President: vacant (until January 20), Alben W. Barkley (D-Kentucky) (starting January 20)
- Chief Justice: Fred M. Vinson (Kentucky)
- Speaker of the House of Representatives: Joseph William Martin, Jr. (R-Massachusetts) (until January 3), Sam Rayburn (D-Texas) (starting January 3)
- Senate Majority Leader: Wallace H. White, Jr. (R-Maine) (until January 3), Scott W. Lucas (D-Illinois) (starting January 3)
- Congress: 80th (until January 3), 81st (starting January 3)
- January 2 – Luis Muñoz Marín becomes the first democratically elected Governor of Puerto Rico.
- January 4 – RMS Caronia of the Cunard Line departs Southampton for New York on her maiden voyage.
- January 4–February 22 – Series of winter storms in Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah, Colorado and Nevada – winds of up to 72 mph – tens of thousands of cattle and sheep perish.
- January 5 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman unveils his Fair Deal program.
- January 11 – Los Angeles, California receives its first recorded snowfall.
- January 17 – The first Volkswagen Beetle to arrive in the United States, a 1948 model, is brought to New York by Dutch businessman Ben Pon. Unable to interest dealers or importers in the Volkswagen, Pon sells the sample car to pay his travel expenses. Only two 1949 models will be sold in America that year, convincing Volkswagen chairman Heinrich Nordhoff that the car has no future in the U.S. (The VW Beetle goes on to become the greatest automobile phenomenon in American history.)
- January 19 – The Poe Toaster first appears at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe.
- January 20 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman begins his full term.
- January 25 – The first Emmy Awards are presented at the Hollywood Athletic Club.
- February 19 – Ezra Pound is awarded the first Bollingen Prize in poetry by the Bollingen Foundation and Yale University.
- February 22 – Grady the Cow, a 1,200-pound cow, gets stuck inside a silo on a farm in Yukon, Oklahoma and garners national media attention.
- March 2 – The B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II under Captain James Gallagher lands in Fort Worth, Texas, after completing the first non-stop around-the-world airplane flight (it was refueled in flight 4 times).
- March 17 – The Shamrock Hotel in Houston, Texas, owned by oil tycoon Glenn McCarthy, has its grand opening.
- March 20 – The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, Denver & Rio Grande Western and Western Pacific railroads inaugurate the California Zephyr passenger train between Chicago and Oakland, California, as the first long distance train to feature Vista Dome cars as regular equipment.
- March 26 – The first half of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida, conducted by legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini, and performed in concert (i.e. no scenery or costumes), is telecast by NBC, live from Studio 8H at Rockefeller Center. The second half is telecast a week later. This is the only complete opera that Toscanini ever conducts on television.
- March 28 – United States Secretary of Defense James Forrestal resigns suddenly.
- March 29 – The 21st Academy Awards ceremony is held.
- April 4 – The North Atlantic Treaty is signed in Washington, D.C., creating the NATO defense alliance.
- April 7 – Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific, starring Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza, opens on Broadway and goes on to become R&H's second longest-running musical. It becomes an instant classic of the musical theatre. The score's biggest hit is the song Some Enchanted Evening.
- April 23 – Development of the USS United States (CVA-58) "supercarrier" is cancelled; high-ranking Navy officials resign in protest in what has been called the Revolt of the Admirals.
- June 8 – Red Scare: Celebrities including Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson are named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.
- June 14 – Albert II, a rhesus monkey, becomes the first primate to enter space, on Hermes project V-2 rocket Blossom IVB, but is killed on impact at return.
- June 19 – Glenn Dunaway wins the inaugural NASCAR race at Charlotte Speedway, a 3/4 mile oval in Charlotte, North Carolina, but is disqualified due to illegal springs. Jim Roper is declared the official winner.
- June 24 – The first television western, Hopalong Cassidy, airs on NBC.
- June 29 – The last U.S. troops withdraw from South Korea.
- August 10 – The National Military Establishment (formerly the Department of War) is renamed the Department of Defense.
- August 16 – Office of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff created.
- August 28 – The last 6 surviving veterans of the American Civil War meet in Indianapolis.
- September 5 – Howard Unruh, a World War II veteran, kills 13 neighbors in Camden, New Jersey with a souvenir Luger to become America's first single-episode mass murderer.
- September 15 – The Housing Act of 1949 is enacted.
- September 29 – Iva Toguri D'Aquino is found guilty of broadcasting for Japan as "Tokyo Rose" during World War II.
- October 27 – An airliner flying from Paris to New York crashes in the Azores island of São Miguel. Among the victims are violinist Ginette Neveu and boxer Marcel Cerdan.
- November – Englewood race riot in Chicago.
- November 24 – The ski resort in Squaw Valley, California officially opens.
- General Services Administration established per Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949
- The first 20 mm M61 Vulcan Gatling gun prototypes are completed.
- 1949 is the first year in which no African-American is lynched in the USA.
- January 2
- January 3 – Sylvia Likens, murder victim (died 1965)
- January 6 – Carolyn D. Wright, poet
- January 10
- February 17 – Dennis Green, American football player and coach
- February 19 – Danielle Bunten Berry, born Dan(iel Paul) Bunten, software developer (died 1998)
- February 25 – Ric Flair (Richard Fliehr), wrestler
- February 28 – Ilene Graff, actress and singer
- March 2
- March 3
- March 10 – Larry Wall, computer programmer
- March 12 – Rob Cohen, film director
- March 13 – Julia Migenes, soprano
- March 16
- March 17 – Patrick Duffy, television actor
- March 29 – Michael Brecker, jazz saxophonist (died 2007)
- April 1 – Gil Scott-Heron, African American poet, jazz/soul musician and author (died 2011)
- April 5 – Judith Resnik, astronaut (died 1986)
- April 9 – Stephen Hickman, illustrator
- April 11 – Dorothy Allison, novelist and campaigner
- April 20 – Jessica Lange, actress
- May 3 – Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator from Oregon from 1996
- May 4 – John Force, race car driver
- May 7 – Deborah Butterfield, sculptor
- May 9 – Billy Joel, singer-songwriter and pianist
- May 13 – Zoë Wanamaker, actress
- May 15 – George Adams, basketball player
- May 26 – Ward Cunningham, computer programmer
- June 3 – John Rothman, actor
- June 16 – Karl J Thomas, The Innkeeper
- July 1 – Denis Johnson, writer
- July 15 – Richard Russo, novelist
- June 20 – Lionel Richie, African American singer-songwriter
- June 22
- July 24 – Michael Richards, actor and comedian
- July 31 – Mike Jackson, basketball player
- August 1 – Jim Carroll, author, poet and punk musician (died 2009)
- August 3 – Peter Gutmann, journalist
- August 4 – John Riggins, American football player
- August 11 – Tim Hutchinson, U.S. Senator from Arkansas from 1997 to 2003
- August 17 – Norm Coleman, U.S. Senator from Minnesota from 2003 to 2009
- August 31
- September 1 – Leslie Feinberg, transgender activist
- September 7
- September 10 – Bill O'Reilly, conservative political commentator
- September 13 – John W. Henry, foreign exchange advisor and Boston Red Sox owner
- September 15 – Joe Barton, politician
- September 16 – Ed Begley, Jr. actor and environmentalist
- September 23 – Bruce Springsteen, singer-songwriter
- September 26 – Jane Smiley, novelist
- October 8
- October 25 – Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., film producer, record producer, singer and voice artist (son of Alvin and the Chipmunks creator Ross Bagdasarian, Sr.)
- November 2 – Lois McMaster Bujold, author of speculative fiction
- November 12 – Jack Reed, U.S. Senator from Rhode Island from 1997
- November 14 – James Young, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (Styx)
- November 29
- December 4 – Jeff Bridges, film actor
- December 9 – Tom Kite, golfer
- December 13
- December 14 – Bill Buckner, baseball player
- December 15 – Don Johnson, television actor
- December 16 – Billy Gibbons, rock guitarist (ZZ Top)
- December 25
- December 28 – Barbara De Fina, film producer
- January 6 – Victor Fleming, film director (born 1889)
- January 11 – Nelson Doubleday, publisher (born 1889)
- January 14 – Harry Stack Sullivan, psychiatrist (born 1892)
- February 1 – Herbert Stothart, composer (born 1885)
- February 17 – Ellery Harding Clark, field athlete (born 1874)
- March 7
- March 17 – Felix Bressart, German American actor (born 1892)
- March 20 – Irving Fazola, jazz clarinetist (born 1912; heart attack)
- March 25 – Jack Kapp, president of the U.S. branch of Decca Records (born 1901)
- April 15 – Wallace Beery, film actor (born 1885)
- April 22 – Charles Middleton, actor (born 1874)
- May 22 – James Forrestal, U.S. Secretary of Navy and Defense (born 1892)
- May 27 – Robert Ripley, creator of Ripley's Believe It or Not! (born 1890)
- June 14 – Russell Doubleday, author and publisher (born 1872)
- June 25 – Buck Freeman, baseball player (born 1871)
- July 7 – Bunk Johnson, African American jazz trumpeter (born 1879?)
- July 18 – Alice Corbin Henderson, poet (born 1881)
- July 26 – Linda Arvidson, silent film actress (born 1884)
- August 9
- August 16 – Margaret Mitchell, novelist (born 1900; killed in road accident)
- August 18 – Paul Mares, dixieland jazz cornet player (born 1900; lung cancer)
- September 10 – Wiley Rutledge, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (born 1894)
- September 12 – Harry Burleigh, African American baritone and classical composer (born 1866)
- September 18 – Frank Morgan, character actor (born 1890)
- September 19 – Will Cuppy, humorist (born 1884)
- September 20 – Richard Dix, film actor (born 1893)
- September 22 – Sam Wood, film director (born 1883)
- September 27 – David Adler, architect (born 1882)
- October 1 – Buddy Clark, singer (born 1911; killed in aviation accident)
- October 14 – Fritz Leiber (Sr.), actor (born 1882)
- October 15 – Elmer Clifton, film actor and director (born 1890)
- October 23 – Almanzo Wilder, writer, husband of Laura Ingalls Wilder (born 1857)
- October 31 – Edward Stettinius, Jr., U.S. Secretary of State (born 1900; coronary thrombosis)
- November 3 – Solomon R. Guggenheim, philanthropist (born 1861)
- November 25 – Bill Robinson ("Bojangles"), African American dancer (born 1878)
- December 6
- December 7 – Rex Beach, adventure novelist and Olympic water polo player (born 1877)
- December 25 – Leon Schlesinger, film producer (born 1884)
- December 28
- Media related to 1949 in the United States at Wikimedia Commons