- Jan 1 1st football game between black colleges-Atlanta U 10, Tuskegee 0
- Jan 8 Michael Eagan wins 1st US national amateur handball championship
- Jan 10 Henrik Ibsen's "John Gabriel Borkman" premieres in Helsingfors
- Jan 10 Vincent d'Indy's "Istar" premieres in Amsterdam & Brussels
- Jan 11 M H Cannon becomes 1st woman state senator in US (Utah)
- Jan 14 6,960 m (22,834 ft) Cerro Aconcagua (Argentina) 1st climbed
- Jan 16 John Dewey's essay "My Pedagogic Creed" appears in School Journal
- Jan 23 Start of Sherlock Holmes "Adventure of Abbey Grange" (BG)
- Jan 23 Elva Zona Heaster is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Resulting murder trial of her husband perhaps only case in US history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.
- Jan 26 Battle at Bida Gold Coast: British troops beat Nupe's army
- Apr 19 1st Boston Marathon won by John J. McDermott in 2:55:10. Becomes the world's oldest annual marathon.
Elva Zona Heaster is found dead in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. Resulting murder trial of her husband perhaps only case in US history where the alleged testimony of a ghost helped secure a conviction.
On January 23, 1897
- Jan 12 Isaac Pitman, British inventor (Pitman Shorthand) (b. 1813)
- Jan 29 John E. Smith, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), dies at 80
- Jan 30 John Cottam, cricket (Test for Aust 1897, no Sheffield matches), dies
- Feb 1 Constantin von Ettingshausen, Austrian geologist (b. 1826)
- Feb 5 Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn, American pitcher won 60 games in 1884, dies at 42