||February 6: Ronald Wilson Reagan is born in Tampico, Illinois, the second of two sons to John (Jack) and Nelle Reagan.
||After years of moving from town to town, the Reagan family settles in Dixon, Illinois.
||September 21: Reagan is baptized at his mother's Disciples of Christ Church.
||Reagan enters Dixons Northside High School.
||Reagan takes a job as lifeguard in Lowell Park, two miles away from Dixon, on the Rock River.
||August 3: "Dixon Daily Telegraph" front page headline reads: "Ronald Reagan saves drowning man." By the time he leaves his job, after seven summers, the count of those he has pulled from the water is 77.
Reagan enrolls in Eureka College, a small Christian college near Peoria, Illinois. Although never a model student (he graduated with a "C" average), Reagan is successful as both an actor and a football player.
||Within six weeks of graduating from Eureka, Reagan finds work at WOC radio in Davenport, Iowa.
||Reagan becomes a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Officers Reserve Corps of the Cavalry.
A Warner Brothers agent discovers him and offers him a seven-year studio contract. After his first film, "Love Is on the Air," in which Reagan plays a radio personality who uncovers corruption, Reagan will go on to star in more than 50 more films.
||January 26: Reagan marries actress Jane Wyman.
Reagan stars as Notre Dame football legend George Gipp in "Knute Rockne, All American." He earns the nickname "the Gipper" from this role.
||January: Reagans father Jack dies of heart attack at age 58.
January 4: Daughter Maureen is born.
July: Appointed to the board of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG). He had joined in 1937.
December: U.S. at war. Reagan drafted into the army. Nearsighted vision keeps him away from the front. He is assigned to the Motion Picture Army Unit in Culver City to make training and propaganda films.
||January 1: "King's Row" opens. Reagan's performance as Drake McHugh is the highlight of his film career.
||March: Michael Edward Reagan is adopted.
||November: SAG asks Reagan to mediate a dispute between rival unions. One, the Conference of Studio Unions, is lead by Herb Sorrell, a suspected Communist. It is while battling Sorrell that he learns to mistrust Communists.
||June 26: Wyman gives birth to a baby girl, born four months premature. The baby dies the next day.
Elected president of SAG for the first of five consecutive terms, Reagan testifies as a friendly witness before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. As a result of the hearings, "the Hollywood Ten" are imprisoned and many writers and directors thought to have ties to the Communist Party are blacklisted.
||June 6: Reagan and Wyman divorce. Wyman alleges "mental cruelty." Speculation about reasons for the break-up ranges from Reagans obsession with politics to allegations of Wymans affair with Lew Ayres, her co-star in "Johnny Belinda."
||Reagan campaigns in support of California Democrat Helen Gahagan Douglas in her race against Richard Nixon for U.S. Senate.
||March 4: Marries Nancy Davis, an actress under contract with MGM.
October 22: Daughter Patricia (Patti) is born.
Reagan leads a movement of Democrats for Eisenhower during both of Eisenhower's presidential campaigns, in 1952 and 1956.
Reagan's movie career falters. Financially strapped, Reagan is forced to take a job as an emcee in Vegas, introducing singing quartet "The Continentals."
||January: Reagan is hired by General Electric. For the next eight years he will host "G.E. Theater" on television every Sunday evening. The job also requires him to make celebrity appearances at G.E. plants. Reagan receives a political education rarely available to politicians. He hones his political ideas, as his speeches increasingly discuss governments encroachment on individual freedom.
||May 28: Son Ronald Prescott (Ron) is born.