What Happened on February 18?

  • The first Academy Awards were announced. (1929) The awards were not awarded in a lavish ceremony — rather, the names of the winners were printed on the back of the academy's newsletter. Among the first winners were Janet Gaynor and Emil Jannings for best actress and actor, with Wings, a World War I drama, winning best picture.

  • The Lincoln County War began. (1878) One of the longest and bloodiest feuds in the American Old West. The fight began over who would control the beef markets in the area, which came with extremely lucrative government contracts. Famous outlaw Billy the Kid later became involved in the war, which lasted until 1884.

  • Pluto was discovered. (1930) Clyde Tombaugh discovered the dwarf planet by studying photos of the night sky where astronomers predicted a "Planet X" would show up. He also discovered more than 800 asteroids during his search for "Planet X."

  • The first cow flew in an airplane. (1930) Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow in flight on this day when she took off in a plane as part of the International Air Exposition. Her trip was both a publicity stunt as well as an experiment to see the effects of air travel on animals. She was also the first cow milked in flight.

  • Members of the White Rose Party were arrested. (1943) The White Rose Party was a major resistance force in Nazi Germany during the first years of the war, and were known for their anonymous leaflet campaigns. The six leaders of the party were arrested by the Gestapo on this day and later executed.

  • Snow fell in the Sahara. (1979) The snowstorm took place in Southern Algeria, and lasted only about 30 minutes. It was the first time in recorded history that snow had fallen in the Sahara.

  • The first Church of Scientology opened. (1954) The belief system was founded the year before by L. Ron Hubbard in New Jersey, although the first church building dedicated to Scientology opened on this day in Los Angeles. The church is known for its many celebrity followers.

  • "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was published. (1885) Though it is widely considered an iconic work of Americana, it is also one of the most banned books of all time. Many libraries and schools have banned it for its depiction of the relationship between Jim, a slave, and Huck, a free boy, and the pidgin English that Twain writes Jim's dialogue in.

  • The Know-Nothing Party met in Philadelphia. (1856) The Know-Nothings were a nativist political party who were staunchly against uncontrolled immigration and embraced temperance. The are best known for being the party of US President Millard Fillmore after his term in office.

  • Toni Morrison was born. (1931) Morrison, a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner, is a novelist whose works focused on sweeping, epic themes. She was a major force in the development of African-American literature in America, and is best known for Beloved and Song of Solomon.

Discussion Comments


I've always loved Toni Morrison's writings. Without her, who knows what some forms of literature would be like? Even though there are those who aren't familiar with her, we have to remember that there have always been major contributors in literature. Despite how significant they are or aren't, they certainly changed the medium, and set the standards for how certain forms of writing should be.


I've never read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but I have seen the movie, which was decent at best, terrible at worst. I'm surprised that it's a banned book. Though it's not mentioned, I wonder if it was also banned because of Huck's personality. He's generally portrayed as a bum with no family and friends, and he does whatever he wants. Maybe he was seen as a bad role model for kids?


There were a lot of interesting things that happened on February 18th, but the one that caught my attention the most is when snow fell in the Sahara. I'm surprised that such a dry desolate place could even have a speck of snow. Is this the only time that it's happened?

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