On This Day

What Happened in May 1889

Historical Events

  • May 1 2nd International Congress calls for 1st International Workers Day 1st May 1890 to mark protests in Chicago in 1886

Treaty of Interest

May 2 Abyssinian Emperor Menelik II and Italy sign Treaty of Wichale

Historic Event

May 6 Exposition Universelle (World's Fair) in Paris opens with the recently completed Eiffel Tower serving as the entrance arch

  • May 9 15th Kentucky Derby: Thomas Kiley aboard Spokane wins in 2:34.50
  • May 10 17th Preakness: W Anderson aboard Buddhist wins in 2:17.5
  • May 14 The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) is launched in London

Music Premiere

May 18 Jules Massenet's opera "Esclarmonde" premieres in Paris

Historic Event

May 28 Édouard and André Michelin incorporate the Michelin tyre company

  • May 29 August Strindberg's "Hemsoborna" premieres in Copenhagen
  • May 31 Johnstown Flood; 2,209 die in Johnston, Pennsylvania when the South Fork Dam, located on the Little Conemaugh River fails

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 John Evans, English cricket batsman (1 Test) and author ('The Escaping Club'), born in Newtown, Hampshire (d. 1960)
  • May 3 Beulah Bondi, American actress (It's a Wonderful Life), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1981)
  • May 4 Francis Spellman, American Bishop and Cardinal of Roman Catholic Church, born in Whitman, Massachusetts (d. 1967)
  • May 5 Herbie Taylor, South African cricket batsman and captain (42 Tests; 2,936 runs @ 40.77; 7 x 100s), born in Durban, South Africa (d. 1973)
  • May 6 Stanley Morison, British typographer, born in Wanstead, Essex (d. 1967)
  • May 10 Mae Murray, American silent screen actress, born in Portsmouth, Virginia (d. 1965)
  • May 12 Otto Frank, German born father of Anne Frank who saw her diaries published, born in Frankfurt (d. 1980)
  • May 13 Merie Earle [Ireland], American film and television character actress (The Waltons - "Maude Gormley"), born in Morrow, Ohio (d. 1984)
  • May 15 Bessie Abramowitz Hillman, Russian-American labor leader and founder of Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, born in Linoveh, Russia (d. 1970)
  • May 16 Joan Collette, Dutch (male) painter (New Church, Delft)
  • May 17 Alfonso Reyes, Mexican writer (Simpatías y diferencias) and diplomat (Higenia Cruel), born in Monterrey, Mexico (d. 1959)
  • May 18 Gunnar Gunnarsson, Icelandic writer (The Church on the Mountain), born in Fljótsdalur, Iceland (d. 1975)
  • May 18 Thomas Midgley, American chemist and inventor (leaded gasoline), born in Beaver Fall, Pennsylvania (d. 1944)
  • May 20 Felix Arndt, American composer, born in NYC, New York (d. 1918)
  • May 20 Margery Allingham, detective story writer
  • May 20 William Lawther, union leader
  • May 23 Ernst Niekisch, German politician (d. 1967)
  • May 24 Creighton Hale, Irish actor (Gorilla Man, Way Down East), born in Cork, Ireland (d. 1965)
  • May 25 Gilardo Gilardi, Argentine composer, pianist and conductor (La leyenda del urutaú; Réquiem; Misa de Gloria), born in San Fernando, Argentina (d. 1963)

Igor Sikorsky

May 25 Igor Sikorsky, Russian-American pioneer of aviation in both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, born in Kyiv, Ukraine (d. 1972)

  • May 25 Sverre Jordan, Norwegian composer, orchestra conductor and pianist (Norwegian Rapsody), born in Bergen, Norway (d. 1972)
  • May 28 José Padilla, Spanish composer and pianist (La Violetera - City Lights; Ça c'est Paris - Moulin Rouge), born in Almería, Spain
  • May 31 Athene Seyler, British actress (Make Mine Mink), born in London, England (d. 1990)

Famous Weddings

Ignacy Jan Paderewski

May 31 Polish pianist, and politician Ignacy Jan Paderewski (38) weds Polish baroness, social activist, and humanitaran Helena Maria von Rosen (32) in Warsaw

Famous Deaths

  • May 9 William S. Harney, American general, dies at 88
  • May 10 Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, Russian satirist (b. 1826)
  • May 14 Volney E. Howard, American politician, dies at 79
  • May 15 Alfred Potocki, premier Austrian/governor/viceroy of Galicia, dies
  • May 17 William Roxby Beverly, artist, dies
  • May 17 Marie of Prussia, Queen consort of Bavaria (1848-64), dies at 63
  • May 18 Isabella Glyn Dallas, Scottish Shakepearean actress, dies at 65