Explore the lives of famous Americans, as seen through the lens of the 1940 U.S. Census. Famous actors, sports stars, authors, artists, and scientists are all represented in the 1940 census, including well-known celebrities such as Clark Gable, Albert Einstein, E. E. Cummings, Babe Ruth, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Motion picture star Clark Gable, best known for the role of Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, settled with his new wife, Carole Lombard, in 1939 in Encino, California, a hilly suburb of Los Angeles. This 25-acre property and ranch house is where the enumerator found Clark and Carole, on April 1, 1940. Sadly, Carole Lombard died in a plane crash less than 2 years later.
As you might expect, American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was living with his wife and daughter in one of his own beautifully designed homes in 1940. The Taliesin property, near Spring Green, Wisconsin, was an area that had been in the possession of the Lloyd-Jones', Frank Lloyd Wright’s maternal side of the family, for generations.
3. Babe Ruth
Scientist Albert Einstein came to America in 1933 and, by 1935, had settled his family, including wife Elsa, and stepdaughter Margot, in a modest single family home at 112 Mercer Street in Princeton, New Jersey. Elsa died the next year, but Albert Einstein was still living in the house in 1940, the year he became a U.S. citizen.
5. Tom Brokaw
9. Henry Ford
10. Lou Gehrig
On 21 June 1939, the New York Yankees announced first baseman Lou Gehrig's retirement from baseball, following his diagnosis with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS, a disease that would become commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. In 1940 the census taker stopped in on Lou and his wife living in the Riverdale, Bronx house where Lou Gehrig would later die in 1941.
11. Orville Wright
12. Roberto Clemente
Roberto Clemente and his family probably had no idea just how famous he would become when the census taker visited his small community of San Anton, Carolina, Puerto Rico, in 1940. The future American baseball legend was just five, the youngest of seven children born to Don Melchor Clemente and Luisa Walker. He's the only one born after the 1930 U.S. census in which the Clemente family also appeared.