On This Day

What Happened in May 1899

Historical Events

  • May 4 25th Kentucky Derby: Fred Taral aboard Manuel wins in 2:12
  • May 8 The Irish Literary Theatre in Dublin opens

InventionScientific Discovery

May 8 Ernest Rutherford publishes his discovery of two different kinds of radiation (Alpha and Beta Particles)

  • May 9 John Burr patents an improved rotary blade lawn mower in the US
  • May 17 Victoria & Albert Museum foundation laid, London, England
  • May 18 World Goodwill Day: 26 nations meet in 1st Hague Peace Conference
  • May 20 First speeding infraction by a New York cabbie driving an electric car - 12mph down Lexington Street
  • May 24 1st auto repair shop opens (Boston)
  • May 25 33rd Belmont: R Clawson aboard Jean Beraud wins in 2:23
  • May 30 24th Preakness: R Clawson aboard Half Time wins in 1:47
  • May 31 -June 5] Conference of Bloemfontein fails
  • May 31 Bronx acquires Keltch Memorial Park

Famous Birthdays

  • May 2 George Hamilton Combs, American politician and TV and radio commentator (Through the Curtain), born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 1977)
  • May 3 Aline MacMahon, American actress (Backdoor to Heaven), born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania (d. 1991)
  • May 5 Freeman Gosden, American writer and actor (The Amos 'n' Andy Show, Calvin and the Colonel), born in Richmond, Virginia (d. 1982)
  • May 5 (Adolphe) Paul Barbarinan American jazz drummer (King Oliver; Red Allen Sextet; Onward Brass Band), born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1969)
  • May 6 Billy Cotton, British bandleader and entertainer, born in Smith Square, London (d. 1969)
  • May 8 Jan F van Hall, Dutch sculptor/resistance fighter
  • May 8 [Friedrich] August von Hayek, Aust/British economist (Road to Serfdom)
  • May 8 Arthur Q Bryan, American voice actor, comedian and radio personality (Beulah, The Devil Bat), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1959)

Person of interestFred Astaire

May 10 Fred Astaire [Austerlitz], American stage and screen tap dancer, singer ("Night And Day"; "Cheek To Cheek"; "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off"), and actor (Royal Wedding; Easter Parade; Swingtime), born in Omaha, Nebraska (d. 1987)

Actor and Dancer Fred Astaire
Actor and Dancer
Fred Astaire
  • May 11 Paulino Masip, Spanish playwright (d. 1963)
  • May 12 Indra Devi, Latvian Yoga Instructor (d. 2002)
  • May 14 Pierre Victor Auger, French physicist (d. 1993)
  • May 14 Earle Combs, American MLB baseball centerfielder, 1924-35 (New York Yankees), born in Richmond, Kentucky (d. 1976)
  • May 14 Stelios Perpiniadis, Greek folk singer, songwriter and guitarist, born in Tinos
  • May 15 Jean-Etienne Valluy, French general (d. 1970)
  • May 17 Ralf Harolde, American actor (Framed, Smart Money, Tip-off), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 1974)
  • May 20 Estelle Taylor, American actress (The Ten Commandments), born in Wilmington, Delaware (d. 1958)
  • May 20 John M Harlan, 91st Supreme Court justice (1955-71), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • May 20 Alexander Deyneka, Ukrainian painter (d. 1969)
  • May 21 Ralph Sanford, American actor (Life & Legend of Wyatt Earp), born in Springfield, Massachusetts (d. 1963)
  • May 24 Suzanne Lenglen, French tennis player (French C'ships 1925-26, Wimbledon 1919-23, 25), born in Paris, France (d. 1938)
  • May 24 Henri Michaux, Belgian-born French poet and writer (Miserable Miracle), born in Namur, Belgium (d. 1984)
  • May 25 Kazi Nazrul Islam, Bengali poet, musician, revolutionary and philosopher, born in Asansol, Burdwan, Bengal Presidency, British India (d. 1976)
  • May 26 Otto E. Neugebauer, Austrian-American mathematician and historian, born in Innsbruck, Austria-Hungary (d. 1990)

Person of interestPieter Menten

May 26 Pieter Menten, Dutch war criminal, born in Rotterfam, Netherlands (d. 1987)

War Criminal Pieter Menten
War Criminal
Pieter Menten
  • May 26 Antonio J. Barrette, French Canadian politician, premier of Quebec, born in Joliette, Quebec, Canada (d. 1968)
  • May 30 Irving Thalberg, American film producer (MGM), born in Booklyn, New York (d. 1936)
  • May 31 Ilse Lagner, German antiwar writer, born in Breslau (d. 1987)
  • May 31 Leonid Leonov, Russian writer, born in Moscow (d. 1994)

Famous Deaths

  • May 1 Ludwig B├╝chner, German philosopher and physician, dies at 75
  • May 15 Francisque Sarcey, French writer (Le Temps), dies at 70
  • May 25 Marie-Rosalie "Rosa" Bonheur, French painter, dies at 68
  • May 29 Frantz Jehin-Prume, Canadian violinist and composer, dies at 60