On This Day

What Happened in January 1885

Historical Events

  • Jan 2 General Wolseley receives last distress signal of General Gordon in Khartoum
  • Jan 3 The beginning of the Battle of Nui Bop in the Sino-French War
  • Jan 4 Dr William Grant of Iowa, performs 1st appendectomy in America on Mary Gartside, aged 22

Theater Premiere

Jan 11 Henrik Ibsen's play "Vildauden," (The Wild Duck) premieres in Oslo

  • Jan 17 Battle of Abu Klea (Battle of Abu Tulayh), Sudan: British Desert Column defeat Mahdist forces: 76 British and 1,100 Mahdists killed
  • Jan 19 Battle of Abu Kru (Battle of Gubat), Sudan: British Desert Column defeat Mahdist forces: 121 British and untold Mahdists killed

Music History

Jan 25 Vincent d'Indy's "Saugefleurie" premieres

  • Jan 26 Muhammad Ahmed ("Mahdi") rebels conquer Khartoum

Historic Event

Jan 28 Commission for Auguste Rodin's sculpture 'The Burghers of Calais' signed by the Municipal Council of Calais.


Famous Birthdays

  • Jan 1 Roland Diggle, English-born American composer and organist (d. 1954)
  • Jan 2 Johannes Ringers, Dutch water engineer (dikes)
  • Jan 5 Humbert Wolfe, Italian-born British poet, born in Milan, Italy (d. 1940)

John Curtin

Jan 8 John Curtin, Victoria, 14th Prime Minister of Australia (Labor: 1941-45), born in Creswick, Colony of Victoria (d. 1945)

  • Jan 8 A. J. Muste, Dutch pacifist and activist (d. 1967)

Alice Paul

Jan 11 Alice Paul, American suffragist (National Woman's Party), born in Mount Laurel Township, New Jersey (d. 1977)

  • Jan 11 Jack Hoxie, American actor, rodeo performer (The White Outlaw), born in Kingfisher Creek, Oklahoma (d. 1965)
  • Jan 13 Alfred Fuller, CEO (Fuller Brush Man)
  • Jan 15 Lorenz Böhler, Austrian physician, born in Wolfurt, Austria (d. 1973)
  • Jan 15 Huang Yuanyong, Chinese writer, born in Jiujiang, China (d. 1915)
  • Jan 15 Grover Lowdermilk, American baseball player, born in Sandborn, Illinois (d. 1968)
  • Jan 16 Wladyslaw Raczkiewicz, president of Poland (1939-40)
  • Jan 16 Zhou Zuoren, Chinese writer (d. 1967)
  • Jan 17 Emmy Hennings-Ball [Emma Cordsen], German poet and performer, born in Flensburg, German Empire (d. 1948)
  • Jan 17 Joseph Arendt, Belgian worker's union leader
  • Jan 21 Umberto Nobile, Italian general
  • Jan 23 Boleslaw Wallek-Walewski, Polish composer and conductor, born in Lviv, Ukraine (d. 1944)
  • Jan 25 Else Mauhs [Alwine Julie Else Mauhs], German-Dutch actress (Eline Vere, L'aiglon), born in Mülheim an der Ruhr (d. 1959)
  • Jan 25 Kitahara Hakushū, Japanese poet & children's writers, born in Nankan, Japan (d. 1942)

Jerome Kern

Jan 27 Jerome Kern, American Broadway and film composer (Showboat; Roberta), born in NYC, New York (d. 1945)

  • Jan 27 Eduard Künneke, German conductor and theater composer, born in Emmerich, Germany (d. 1953)
  • Jan 27 Maeda Seison, Japanese painter (d. 1977)
  • Jan 30 John Henry Towers, American naval aviator, born in Rome, Georgia (d. 1955)

Famous Deaths

  • Jan 4 Iosif Kotek, Russian composer and violinist, dies at 29
  • Jan 6 Peter C Asbjornsen, Norwegian fairy tale writer, dies at 72
  • Jan 6 Harishchandra, Indian poet, dramatist and commonly referred as "father of modern Hindi", dies at 34
  • Jan 13 Schuyler Colfax, American politician (b.1823)
  • Jan 15 Levin Minn Powell, American Commander (Union Navy), dies at 81
  • Jan 16 Edmond François Valentin About, French writer (Le Roi des montagnes), dies at 56
  • Jan 19 Fred Burnaby, English colonel/balloon pioneer, dies in battle
  • Jan 24 Martin Delany, African-American abolitionist and physician (1st African American major in US Army), dies at 72
  • Jan 26 Charles George Gordon, British Governor-General of Sudan, executed at 51
  • Jan 26 Edward Davy, English inventor (b. 1806)