On This Day

What Happened in May 1885

Historical Events

  • May 1 Maria "Goeie Mie" Swanenburg sentence to life for killing 27 in Netherlands
  • May 2 "Good Housekeeping" magazine is 1st published
  • May 2 Congo Free State formed by King Leopold II of Belgium
  • May 7 John E W Thompson named US minister to Haiti
  • May 8 Sarah Ann Henley survives 76-m jump from Clifton Bridge in Bristol, England

Victory in Battle

May 12 Battle of Batoche: Louis Riel and the Metis defeated by Frederick Middleton, leads to collapse of Provincial Government of Saskatchewan and surrender of Riel

  • May 14 11th Kentucky Derby: Babe Henderson aboard Joe Cotton wins in 2:37.25
  • May 15 Canadian Métis insurgent Louis Reil captured in the aftermath of the Battle of Batoche in Saskatchewan
  • May 19 1st mass production of shoes (Jan Matzeliger in Lynn, Massachusetts)

Historic Event

May 19 German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck takes possession of Cameroon and Togoland

  • May 22 13th Preakness: Jim McLaughlin aboard Tecumseh wins in 2:49
  • May 31 Dr John Harvey Kellogg of Battle Creek, Michigan files application for patent for "flaked cereal, and process of making same"

Famous Birthdays

  • May 2 Hedda Hopper [Elda Furry], American gossip columnist, born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania (d. 1966)
  • May 5 Henri Velge, 1st chairman (Belgian Council of State) (d. 1951)
  • May 5 Agustín Barrios Mangoré, Paraguayan classical guitarist and composer (La Catedral), born in San Juan Bautista, Paraguay (d. 1944)
  • May 7 George "Gabby" Hayes, American actor (In Old Santa Fe, El Paso), born in Wellesvile, New York (d. 1969)
  • May 10 Fritz von Unruh, German writer, (d. 1970)
  • May 11 [Joe] King Oliver, American jazz musician (Dippermouth Blues), born in Aben, Louisiana (birth date disputed - could be Dec. 19) (d. 1938)
  • May 14 Otto Klemperer, German-American conductor (Los Angeles Philharmonic, 1933-39), and composer (Das Ziel), born in Breslau, Prussia (now Wrocław, Poland) (d. 1973)
  • May 18 Eurico Gaspar Dutra, Brazilian leader, President of Brazil (1945-50), born in Cuiabá, Brazil (d. 1974)
  • May 21 Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg, wife of Prince William of Wied (d. 1936)
  • May 22 Julio Fonseca, Costa Rican composer, born in San José, Costa Rica (d. 1950)
  • May 22 Giacomo Matteotti, Italian Socialist Party leader, born in Fratta Polesine, Italy (d. 1924)
  • May 22 Soemu Toyoda, Japanese admiral during World War II, born in Kitsuki, Ōita, Japan (d. 1957)
  • May 24 Susan Sutherland Isaacs, English educational psychologist and psychoanalyst, born in Turton, Lancashire (d. 1948).
  • May 29 Erwin Finlay-Freundlich, British astronomer (theory of relativity), born in Biebrich, Germany (d. 1964)
  • May 31 Alois Hudal, Austrian bishop who helped Nazi war criminals escape trial, born in Graz, Austria-Hungary (d. 1963)

Famous Weddings

Famous Deaths

  • May 4 Alexander Karađorđević, Prince of Serbia (1842-58), dies at 78
  • May 5 Lauro Rossi, Italian composer (I falsi monetari), dies at 73
  • May 8 Pavel Křížkovský, Czech choral composer and conductor (Sts. Cyril and Methodius), dies at 65
  • May 10 Edward Stephen, Welsh musician and composer, dies at 62
  • May 10 Ferdinand Hiller, German pianist, composer and conductor, dies at 73
  • May 13 Juliana Horatia Ewing [Gatty], English children's author (Lob Lie-by-the-Fire), dies at 43
  • May 13 Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle, German pathologist, dies at 75
  • May 19 Peter W. Barlow, English engineer (b. 1809)
  • May 21 Gavril Yakimovich Lomakin, Russian composer and teacher, dies at 73

Victor Hugo

May 22 Victor Hugo, French author (Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Miserables), dies at 83

  • May 29 Alfred Meissner, Austrian poet (Ziska), dies at 62