- Jan 13 National Geographic Society founded in Washington, D.C.
- Mar 2 The Convention of Constantinople is signed, guaranteeing free maritime passage through the Suez Canal during war and peace.
- Jun 29 First (known) recording of classical music made, Handel's Israel in Egypt on wax cylinder
- Aug 21 American inventor William Seward Burroughs patents the adding machine
- Sep 7 Edith Eleanor McLean is 1st baby to be placed in an incubator at State Emigrant Hospital on Ward’s Island, New York
- Oct 17 Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie)
- Dec 23 Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left ear with a razor, after argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, and sends to a prostitute for safe keeping
National Geographic Society formed in Washington, D.C.
On January 27, 1888