On This Day

What Happened in May 1873

Historical Events

  • May 1 1st US postal card issued
  • May 1 Emperor Franz Joseph opens 5th World's Exposition in Vienna
  • May 7 US marines attack Panama
  • May 9 Der Krach: Vienna stock market crash heralds the Long Depression
  • May 12 Oscar II of Sweden-Norway is crowned King of Sweden

Historic Invention

May 20 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis patent the first blue jeans with copper rivets

  • May 23 1st Preakness Stakes: G. Barbee aboard Survivor wins in 2:43 at Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland
  • May 23 Canada's North West Mounted Police Force forms (it didn't get the "Royal" until 1904)
  • May 23 Postal cards sold in San Francisco for 1st time
  • May 24 Leo Delibes' opera "Le Roi l'a Dit" ("The King Has Spoken") premieres at the Opéra-Comique in Paris

Notable Fireworks

May 24 Alexandra Palace opens on Queen Victoria's 54th birthday with a grand celebration including concerts, recitals and fireworks

Historic Discovery

May 27 Heinrich Schliemann discovers "Priam's Treasure" a cache of gold and other objects in Hisarlik (Troy) in Anatolia


Famous Birthdays

  • May 3 Nicoline Magdalene Roll Anker, Norwegian author (Kvinnen og Den), born in Møre og Romsdal, Norway (d. 1942)
  • May 3 Pavlo Skoropadsky, Ukrainian politician and general, born in Wiesbaden, Germany (d. 1945)
  • May 4 Joe De Grasse, Canadian film director, born in Bathurst, New Brunswick Canada (d. 1940)
  • May 7 Clarence Dickinson, American composer, born in Lafayette, Indiana (d. 1969)
  • May 8 Henry Leveson-Gower, English cricket batsman & captain (3 Tests; Surrey CCC, Oxford University CC), born in Titsey Place, Surrey, England (d. 1954)

Howard Carter

May 9 Howard Carter, British archaeologist and egyptologist who found King Tutankhamun's tomb, born in London (d. 1939)

  • May 9 Lilian Mary Baylis, English theatrical manager (Old Vic & Sadler's Wells Theater), born in London (d. 1937)
  • May 9 Anton Cermak, American politician (44th Mayor of Chicago, 1931-33), born in Kladno, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (d. 1933)
  • May 10 Carl Eldh, Swedish artist and sculptor, born in Östhammar Municipality, Sweden (d. 1954)
  • May 10 Jan Kalf, Dutch art historian and literary scholar (Monument Conservation), (d. 1954)
  • May 15 Nikolay Tcherepnin, Russian composer of ballets, born in St Petersburg, Russia [OS: 03/05]
  • May 17 Dorothy M. Richardson, English novelist (Pilgrimage), born in Abington, Berkshire (d. 1957)
  • May 17 Henri Barbusse, French novelist (Le Feu), born in Asnieres, France (d. 1935)
  • May 19 Federico Gerdes, Peruvian pianist, composer, and educator (founder and first director of the National Conservatory of Music,1909-26), born in Tacna, Peru (d. 1953)
  • May 21 Emil Ermatinger, Swiss literature historian, born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (d. 1953)
  • May 21 Everard Verachtert, Flemish translator (I speak beschaafd Dutch)
  • May 21 Hans Berger, German neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and inventor of electroencephalography (EEG), born in in Neuses, German Empire (d. 1941)
  • May 23 Leo Baeck, rabbi/president (World Union for Progressive Judaism)
  • May 26 C.G.N. de Vooys, Dutch translator and founder (New Taalgids), born in Gouda, Netherlands (d. 1955)
  • May 26 Olaf Gulbransson, Norwegian artist, born in Oslo, Norway (d. 1958)

Famous Deaths

  • May 6 José Antonio Páez, President of Venezuela (1830-35), dies at 82
  • May 13 Kaspar Masek, Czech-Slovenian composer, dies at 79
  • May 14 Gideon Brecher, Austrian physician and writer (b. 1797)
  • May 15 Alexander J Cuza, monarch of Moldavia/Romania, dies at 53
  • May 20 Sir George-Étienne Cartier, French Canadian statesman (b. 1814)
  • May 26 August Conradi, German organist and composer, dies at 51