On This Day

What Happened in May 1851

Historical Events

  • May 1 Great Exhibition opens in the Crystal Palace, London
  • May 3 Sixth major fire in San Francisco destroys 1500-2000 buildings
  • May 6 Dr John Gorrie patents a "refrigeration machine"
  • May 6 Linus Yale patents Yale lock
  • May 6 New slave regulations go into effect in Suriname
  • May 6 San Francisco Chamber of Commerce starts
  • May 15 King Mongkut [Rama IV or Phra Chomklao Chaoyuhua] crowned in Siam (Thailand)
  • May 18 Amsterdam-Nieuwediep telegraph connection linked

Conference meetingConference of Interest

May 29 Sojourner Truth addresses 1st Black Women's Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio

Abolitionist and Women's Rights Advocate Sojourner Truth
Abolitionist and Women's Rights Advocate
Sojourner Truth

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Laza Lazarević, Serbian writer (Prvi put s ocem na jutrenje) and psychiatrist, born in Šabac, Serbia (d. 1891)
  • May 15 Herbert Lawford, British tennis player (Wimbledon 1887; first exponent of topspin), born in Bayswater, England (d. 1925)
  • May 18 James Budd, American politician, Governor of California (1895-99), born in Janesville, Wisconsin (d. 1908)
  • May 20 Emile Berliner, German inventor (flat phonograph record)
  • May 20 Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, American nun/daughter of Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • May 21 Leon Bourgeois, French politician, internationalist (Nobel 1920)
  • May 21 Léon-Victor-Auguste Bourgeois, French Prime Minister (1895-96, Nobel 1920), born in Paris (d. 1925)
  • May 23 Antoni Stolpe, Polish pianist and composer, born in Pulawy, Poland (d. 1872)
  • May 28 Dick Barlow, English cricketer (immortal England all-rounder of 1880s), born in Bolton, England (d. 1919)

Famous Deaths

  • May 17 Adriaan van Bevervoorde, Dutch journalist (Treason), dies at 31
  • May 22 Mordecai Manuel Noah, American writer, journalist (b. 1755)
  • May 23 Lucas Pieter Roodbaard, architect, dies at 69
  • May 24 Stanko Vraz [Jakob Frass], Slovenian-Croatian poet (Grammatica), dies at 40