On This Day

What Happened in December 1888

Historical Events

  • Dec 11 French Panama Canal Company fails
  • Dec 18 Richard Wetherill and his brother in-law discover the ancient Anasazi ruins of Mesa Verde, Colorado

DiscoveryHistoric Expedition

Dec 19 Henry Morton Stanley's expedition reaches Fort Bodo, East-Africa

Journalist and Explorer Henry Morton Stanley
Journalist and Explorer
Henry Morton Stanley

Sport defeatBoxing Title Fight

Dec 22 Heavyweight boxing champ John L. Sullivan challenges Jake Kilrain

Heavyweight Boxing Champion John L. Sullivan
Heavyweight Boxing Champion
John L. Sullivan

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 23 Vincent van Gogh cuts off his left ear with a razor, after argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, and sends to a prostitute for safe keeping

Painter Vincent van Gogh
Painter
Vincent van Gogh
Painter and Sculptor Paul Gauguin
Painter and Sculptor
Paul Gauguin
  • Dec 25 1st indoor baseball game played at fairgrounds in Philadelphia
  • Dec 30 Belgium: king Leopold II installs Order of African Star

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 3 Ion Nonna Otescu, Romanian composer, born in Bucharest, Romania (d. 1940)
  • Dec 3 Algernon Kingscote, English tennis player (Australasian C'ship 1919), born in Bangalore, India (d. 1964)
  • Dec 4 Aleksandar I, King of Yugoslavia (1921-34), born in Cetinje, Montenegro (d. 1934)
  • Dec 5 Áskell Snorrason, Icelandic composer, born in Öndolfsstaðir, Iceland (d. 1970)
  • Dec 6 Will Hay [William Thomson Hay], British comedian, actor and amateur astronomer, born in County Durham, England (d. 1949)
  • Dec 7 Hamilton Fish III, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York), born in Garrison, New York (d. 1991)
  • Dec 7 Joyce Cary, Anglo-Irish writer (House of Children), born in Londonderry, Ireland (d. 1957)
  • Dec 7 Matthew Heywood Campbell Broun, 1st President of American Newspaper Guild
  • Dec 8 Fiske Kimball, American architect and art historian, born in Newton, Massachusetts (d. 1955)
  • Dec 8 Paul Cavanagh, British actor (The Woman in Green, Tarzan & his Mate), born in Chislehurst, England (d. 1964)
  • Dec 9 Mabel Stark, American tiger trainer "crazy Mabel", born in Tennessee or Kentucky (d. 1968)
  • Dec 15 Artturi Leinonen, Finnish journalist and writer (Kati), born in Ylihärmä, Finland (d. 1963)

Person of interestMaxwell Anderson

Dec 15 Maxwell Anderson, American dramatist (Winter Set, High Tor), born in Atlantic, Pennsylvania (d. 1959)

Playwright and Dramatist Maxwell Anderson
Playwright and Dramatist
Maxwell Anderson
  • Dec 16 Alphonse Juin, French marshal
  • Dec 16 Alexander I, king of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (1921–29) and of Yugoslavia (1929–34), born in Cetinje, Montenegro (d. 1934)
  • Dec 18 Gladys Cooper, British actress (My Fair Lady), born in Lewisham, England (d. 1971)
  • Dec 18 Robert Moses, power broker (built Long Island & NYC parks & roads)
  • Dec 19 Fritz Reiner, Hungarian-American conductor (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1953-63), born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (d. 1963) [1]
  • Dec 20 Fred Merkle, American baseball figure, born in Watertown, Wisconsin (d. 1958)
  • Dec 22 J. Arthur Rank, English industrialist, born in Kingston upon Hull, United Kingdom (d. 1972)
  • Dec 23 Friedrich Wolf, German writer and diplomat, born in Neuwied, Germany (d. 1953)
  • Dec 27 (Raffaele Attilio) "Tito" Schipa, Italian tenor and composer (La Rondine), born in Lecce, Italy (d. 1965)
  • Dec 27 Thea von Harbou, German author and actress (Metropolis), born in Tauperlitz, Döhlau, Bavaria, Germany (d. 1954)
  • Dec 28 Gabriel von Wayditch, composer
  • Dec 29 Joseph Beran, Czech Roman Catholic prelate, born in Pilsen, Czech Republic (d. 1969)

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 2 Franz Xaver Witt, composer, dies at 54
  • Dec 2 Namık Kemal, Turkish writer and journalist (Vatan), dies at 47
  • Dec 3 Carl Zeiss, German scientific instrument and lens maker (Carl Zeiss AG), dies at 72
  • Dec 10 Marià Obiols, Catalan composer, dies at 79
  • Dec 31 Samson Raphael Hirsch, German Orthodox rabbi and intellectual founder of the Torah im Derech Eretz school of contemporary Orthodox Judaism, dies at 80