What Happened in May 1939

Historical Events

  • May 1 Batman comics hit street
  • May 1 Pulitzer Prize awarded to Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Yearling)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 2 Lou Gehrig ends 2,130 consecutive game streak, Yanks beat Tigers 22-2

Baseball Player Lou Gehrig
Baseball Player
Lou Gehrig
  • May 3 The All India Forward Bloc is formed by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • May 5 Flash floods kill 75 in Northeast Kentucky
  • May 6 1st performance of Honegger/Claudel's "Jeanne d'Arc Ouch B-cher"
  • May 6 65th Kentucky Derby: James Stout aboard Johnstown wins in 2:03.4
  • May 7 Germany and Italy announce an alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis
  • May 13 64th Preakness: George Seabo aboard Challedon wins in 1:59.8
  • May 13 SS St Louis departs Hamburg with 937 Jews fugitives
  • May 14 Lina Medina becomes the world's youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five.
  • May 16 1st AL night game, Philadelphia Shribe Park (Indians 8, Athletics 3 in 10)
  • May 16 Food stamps are 1st issued
  • May 17 1st sports telecast-Columbia vs Princeton-college baseball
  • May 19 Churchill signs British-Russian anti-Nazi pact
  • May 20 "3 Little Fishies" by Kay Kyser swam to #1
  • May 20 1st regular transatlantic airmail (Pan Am: NY to Marsseille France)

AgreementTreaty of Interest

May 22 Adolf Hitler & Benito Mussolini sign "Pact of Steel"

Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini
Italian Dictator
Benito Mussolini
Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • May 23 British parliament plans to make Palestine independent by 1949
  • May 23 Dmitri Shostakovitch appointed professor at conservatory of Leningrad

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 23 Hitler proclaims he wants to move into Poland

Dictator of Nazi Germany Adolf Hitler
Dictator of Nazi Germany
Adolf Hitler
  • May 23 Submarine USS Squalus sinks in the Gulf of Maine, drowning 26, 33 remaining crew rescued from a depth of 243 ft (74 m) by divers using newly developed heliox air systems (divers later awarded the Medal of Honor)
  • May 25 Carl Storck becomes 2nd NFL president
  • May 30 Indianapolis 500: Wilbur Shaw wins in 4:20:47.412 (185.131 km/h)

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Judy Collins, singer (Send in the Clowns, Clouds), born in Seattle, Washington

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 1 Max Robinson, 1st African American network TV anchor (ABC), born in Richmond, Virginia (d. 1988)

1st African-American Network TV Anchor Max Robinson
1st African-American Network TV Anchor
Max Robinson
  • May 1 Ray Aranha, actor (Nick-Married People), born in Miami, Florida
  • May 2 Sumio Iijima, Japanese physicist
  • May 2 Gates Brown, Crestline, OH, MLB player (Detroit Lions), (d. 2013)
  • May 3 Jonathan David Harvey, English composer (Bhakti, Music of Stockhausen)
  • May 3 Jose Torres, US, boxer (Olympics)
  • May 4 Amos Oz, Jerusalem, Israel, author (My Michael)
  • May 4 Paul Gleason, American actor (Breakfast Club, Die Hard), born in Jersey City, New Jersey (d. 2006)
  • May 5 James R Jones, (Rep-D-OK, 1973- )
  • May 5 Cesare Fiorio, Italian sporting director of various Formula One teams
  • May 6 Anthony Blacker, master-general of Ordnance
  • May 6 Herbie Cox, rocker (Cleftones)
  • May 6 Zhanna Dmitriyevna Yerkina, Russian cosmonaut
  • May 7 Johnny Maestro, NY rock vocalist (Crests-16 Candles, Brooklyn Bridge)
  • May 7 Marco St John, actor (Rayford-Ball Four), born in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • May 7 Rudolphus FM "Ruud" Lubbers, director Dutch/CDA-premier (1982-94)
  • May 7 Volker Braun, German writer (Provocation for me), born in Dresden
  • May 7 Sidney Altman, Canadian molecular biologist, Nobel laureate
  • May 8 Otis Paul Drayton, Glen Cove NY, 4x100m runner (Olympic-gold-1964)
  • May 9 Bruce Mather, composer
  • May 9 Herbert Hippauf, baseball player
  • May 9 Jim Dent, PGA golfer (1989 MONY Syracuse Senior), born in Augusta, Georgia
  • May 9 Kenneth Warby, fastest man on water at 300 knots (345 mph)
  • May 9 Ralph Boston, Laurel Miss, long jumper (Oly-gold/sil/brz-60, 64, 68)
  • May 9 Pierre Desproges, French humorist (d. 1988)
  • May 9 Ion Ţiriac, Romanian tennis manager
  • May 11 Milt Pappas, American baseball pitcher, born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2016)
  • May 11 Carlos Lyra, Brazilian musician
  • May 12 Ronald Ziegler, White House press secretary for Nixon
  • May 12 Miltiadis Evert, Greek politician
  • May 12 Reg Gasnier, Australian rugby league footballer, born in Mortdale, New South Wales, (d. 2014)
  • May 13 Anthony Hide, racehorse trainer
  • May 13 Harvey Keitel, actor (Taxi Driver, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs)
  • May 13 Terry Dill, Forth Worth TX, PGA golfer (1992 Bank One Senior Classic)
  • May 13 William W Cobey Jr, (Rep-R-NC, 1985-87)
  • May 13 Hildrun Claus, German athlete
  • May 14 M N Fathulin, cosmonaut
  • May 15 Brian Hartley, mathematician
  • May 15 Dorothy Shirley, British athlete
  • May 17 Wim de Bie, CEO (Simplistic Covenant)
  • May 17 Gary Paulsen, American author
  • May 18 Patrick Cormack, British politician (C), born in Grimsby, Lincolnshire
  • May 18 Giovanni Falcone, Italian magistrate (d. 1992)
  • May 18 Gordon O'Connor, Canadian politician
  • May 18 Gary S. Paxton, Musician and songwriter (Monster Mash), born in Coffeyville, Kansas (d. 2016)
  • May 19 17th earl of Pembroke, English landowner/director (Emily)
  • May 19 Francis R Scobee, Wash, USAF/astronaut (STS 41C, 51L-Chal disaster)
  • May 19 James Fox, actor (The Servant), born in London, England
  • May 19 Nancy Kwan, Hong Kong, actress (Flower Drum Song, World of Suzie Wong)
  • May 19 Richard Lowe Teitelbaum, composer
  • May 19 Tomasz Sikorski, composer
  • May 19 Livio Berruti, Italian athlete
  • May 21 Heinz Holliger, composer, oboist, & conductor
  • May 23 Ron Stevens, horse trainer
  • May 23 Michel Colombier, French composer and songwriter (d. 2004)
  • May 24 Gert J Schutte, Dutch MP (GPV)
  • May 25 Dixie Carter, TN, actress (Designing Women, Edge of Night)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

May 25 Sir Ian McKellen, English film and theatre actor (Lord of the Rings, X-Men), born in Burnley Lancashire

  • May 26 Brent Musburger, sportscaster (CBS-TV)
  • May 26 Gerald Ronson, English multi-millionaire
  • May 26 Merab Kostava, Georgian anti-Soviet leader
  • May 27 Donald "Don" Williams, American country singer (I Believe in You), born in Floydada Texas (d. 2017)
  • May 27 Earl Cairns, CEO (S G Warburg & Co)
  • May 27 Jerry Mercer, rock drummer (April Wine Montreal Montreal)
  • May 27 Socratis Kokkalis, Greek businessman
  • May 29 Al Unser, auto racer (Indianapolis 500-1970, 71)
  • May 29 Martin Garrod, Commandant General Royal Marines
  • May 30 Michael J Pollard, actor (Bonny & Clyde, Roxanne), born in Passaic, New Jersey
  • May 30 Dieter Quester, Austrian racing driver
  • May 31 Charles Drain, American soul singer, born in Eupora, Mississippi (d. 1995)
  • May 31 Terry Waite, English Anglican Church envoy/Lebanese hostage, born in Bollington, Cheshire

Famous Weddings


HeartWedding of Interest

May 29 Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (25) weds Aliza Arnold

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin
Israeli Prime Minister
Menachem Begin

Famous Deaths

  • May 3 [Karl Eduard] Wilhelm Groener, German general, dies at 71
  • May 11 Evgenii Miller, Russian counter-revolutionary, dies at 71
  • May 20 Joe Carr, NFL hall of famer/NFL president (1921-39), dies at 59
  • May 22 Ernst Toller, German playwright, commits suicide at 45
  • May 22 Jiri Mahen, Czech author (b. 1882)
  • May 26 Charles H Mayo, US surgeon/co-founder (Mayo Clinic), dies at 74
  • May 26 Cornelis J Cutters, supreme commander of Navy (1910-18), dies
  • May 27 Joseph Roth, Austria journalist (Fluctuate ohne Ende), dies at 44
  • May 29 Ursula Julia Ledochowska, Polish-Austrian Catholic saint (b. 1865)
  • May 30 Floyd Roberts, Auto racer, killed during 1939 Indianapolis 500 (b. 1904)