On This Day

What Happened in May 1897

Historical Events

  • May 4 23rd Kentucky Derby: Buttons Garner aboard Typhoon II wins in 2:12.5
  • May 4 Fire in Paris bazaar at Rue Jean Goujon kills 200
  • May 8 22nd Preakness: T. Thorpe aboard Paul Kauvar wins in 1:51¼
  • May 11 Washington Senator catcher Charlie Farrell throws out 8 attempted stealers
  • May 12 1800-1900 year old fossil of "girl of Yde" found in Drente, Netherlands
  • May 12 Battle at Thessalie: Turkish army beats Greece

Treaty of Interest

May 14 Great Britain signs treaty with Emperor Menelik II of Abyssinia

  • May 14 Oldest continuously operating movie theater in the world, the State Theatre first opens in Washington, Iowa (Guinness World Records)
  • May 15 The Greek army retreats with heavy losses in the Greco-Turkish War.

Historic Event

May 15 The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee is founded in Berlin by Magnus Hirschfeld, the first-ever LGBT rights organization

Historic Event

May 17 The first successful submarine that can run submerged for any considerable distance and combines electric and gasoline engines is launched in the USA by its designer John Philip Holland

  • May 18 Irish Music Festival 1st held in Dublin
  • May 18 MLB American baseball New York Giants' Bill Joyce sets record of 4 triples in 1 game

Music History

May 18 Paul Dukas' symphonic scherzo "The Sorcerer’s Apprentice" (used in Disney's Fantasia film) premieres, based on poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Historic Event

May 18 Herbert Henry Dow founds Dow Chemical in Midland, Michigan

Historic Event

May 19 Oscar Wilde is released from Reading Gaol

Sports History

May 20 British Open Men's Golf, Royal Liverpool GC: English amateur Harold Hilton wins 2nd Open title by 1 stroke from Scot James Braid

  • May 21 Yerkes Observatory 40" (1m) refractor used for 1st time
  • May 22 The Blackwall Tunnel under the River Thames, in London, England officially opens

Historic Publication

May 26 "Dracula" by Irish author Bram Stoker is published by Archibald Constable and Company in London

  • May 29 31st Belmont: Joe Scherrer aboard Scottish Chieftain wins in 2:23.25

Famous Birthdays

  • May 2 J. Fred Coots, American songwriter ("Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"; "Love Letters In The Sand"), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1985)
  • May 3 V. K. Krishna Menon, Indian nationalist, Minister of Defense (1957-62), born in Tellicherry, British India (d. 1974)
  • May 6 Paul Alverdes, German writer (Pfeiferstube), born in Strasbourg, France (d. 1979)
  • May 7 Kitty McKane (Godfree), English tennis player (Olympic gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze-1920, 24), born in Bayswater, England (d. 1992)
  • May 10 Dalton Parry Conyngham, cricketer (one Test South Africa v England 1923)
  • May 10 Ewart Maurice Levy, 2nd Baronet
  • May 10 Einar Gerhardsen, Prime minister of Norway (d. 1987)
  • May 11 Izak W van der Merwe [Boerneef], South African writer (Tweetalige Woordeboek)
  • May 11 Robert E. Gross, American businessman (d. 1961)
  • May 13 Babe Dye, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame right wing (Stanley Cup 1922; NHL scoring champion 1922–23, 24-25; Toronto St. Patricks/Maple Leafs), born in Hamilton, Ontario (d. 1962)
  • May 14 Sidney Bechet, American jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, band leader, and composer ("Petite Fleur"), born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1959)
  • May 14 Ed Ricketts, American marine biologist (d. 1948)
  • May 16 Walther Geiser, composer
  • May 17 Odd Hassel, Norwegian chemist (Nobel 1969 - the study of the three-dimensional geometric structure of molecules), born in Kristiana, Norway (d. 1981)

Frank Capra

May 18 Frank Capra, Italian-American Academy Award-winning film director (It's a Wonderful Life; It Happened One Nigh; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington), born in Bisacquino, Italy (d. 1991)

  • May 18 Jack Raine, British actor (Quartet), born in London, England (d. 1979)
  • May 19 Frank Luke, American World War I pilot (d. 1918)
  • May 19 Jerome Travers, American golfer (US Open 1915), born in NYC, NY (d. 1951)
  • May 20 Diego Abad de Santillán, Spanish anarchist (d. 1983)
  • May 22 Robert Neumann, Austrian-British author (Waters of Babylon), born in Vienna (d. 1975)
  • May 22 Marcelle Meyer, French contemporary classical (Les Six) and Baroque revivalist (Bach; Rameau) concert pianist, born in Lille, France (d. 1958)
  • May 23 Fred Guy, American jazz banjo player and guitarist (Joseph C. Smith's Orchestra; Duke Ellington's Washingtonians) , born in Burkeville, Virginia (d. 1971)
  • May 25 Alan Kippax, Australian cricket batsman (22 Tests, 2 x 100, 8 x 50, HS 145; NSW CA), born in Sydney, Australia (d. 1972)
  • May 27 John Cockcroft, English physicist (Radar, Nobel 1951), born in Todmorden, Yorkshire, England (d. 1967)
  • May 28 Henry Kendall, British director and actor (Amazing Quest, Shadow, Rich & Strange), born in London, England (d. 1962)
  • May 29 Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Austrian-American composer (Violanta, The Adventures of Robin Hood), born in Brünn, Austria-Hungary (d. 1957)
  • May 29 Ignace Lilien, Dutch-Austrian composer, born in Lemberg (now in Lviv, Ukraine) (d. 1964)
  • May 31 Margalo Gillmore, British actress (Skirts Ahoy, High Society), born in London, England (d. 1986)

Famous Deaths

  • May 2 William Cleaver Francis Robinson, composer, dies at 63
  • May 10 William Thomas Best, English organist and composer, dies at 70
  • May 10 Andrés Bonifacio, Filipino revolutionary leader of 1896 Philippine revolt against Spain, dies at 33
  • May 12 Ulrika "Minna" Cant-Johnstown, Finnish playwright, dies at 53
  • May 12 Willem Roelofs, Dutch painter and lithographer, dies at 75
  • May 21 Karol Mikuli, Polish composer, dies at 77
  • May 23 Aleko Konstantinov, Bulgarian writer (To Chicago & Back), dies at 34
  • May 29 Julius von Sachs, German botanist and naturalist, dies at 64