On This Day

What Happened in December 1903

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 "The Great Train Robbery" the 1st Western film, released starring Justus D. Barnes and G. M. Anderson
  • Dec 3 Panglima Polim surrenders to Capt Colijn at Atjeh
  • Dec 6 Sumatra Atjehs guerilla leader Panglima Polim surrenders
  • Dec 9 Norwegian parliament votes unanimiously for female suffrage

Nobel Prize

Dec 10 Nobel Prize for physics awarded to Pierre and Marie Curie for their study of spontaneous radiation

  • Dec 11 British forces under MacDonald & Younghusband march into Tibet
  • Dec 12 Roger Casement completes report about abuses in Belgian Congo
  • Dec 14 Reg Foster completes 287 England v Australia on his Test Cricket debut
  • Dec 14 The Wright brothers attempt to fly the Wright Flyer for the first time at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
  • Dec 15 NY Wall Street vendor Italo Marchiony [Marcioni] granted patent for a mound for making ice cream cones
  • Dec 16 Majestic Theater, NYC, becomes 1st in US to employ women ushers
  • Dec 16 The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel opens its doors to guests for the first time

1st Airplane Flight

Dec 17 The Wright brothers make the 1st sustained motorized aircraft flight at 10:35 AM, piloted by Orville Wright at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

  • Dec 19 Williamsburg suspension bridge opens between Brooklyn and Manhattan
  • Dec 27 "Sweet Adeline", a barbershop quartet favorite, is first sung

Theater Premiere

Dec 28 Clyde Fitch's play "Glad of It" premieres in NYC

  • Dec 29 French Equatorial Africa separates into Gabon, Chad and Ubangi-Shari
  • Dec 30 Electric arc lamp sets fire to Iroquois theater in Chicago leaving 602 dead in one of the deadliest blazes in American history
  • Dec 30 American Political Science Association founded at New Orleans

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 4 Siro Cisilino, Italian composer and musicologist, born in Mereto di Tomba, Italy (d. 1987)
  • Dec 4 A. L. Rowse, British author and historian, born in Tregonissey, St Austell, Cornwall (d. 1997)
  • Dec 4 Cornell Woolrich, American writer (El Angel Negro), born in NYC, New York (d. 1968)
  • Dec 4 Al Leader, Canadian-American Hockey Hall of Fame player, referee and administrator (Western Hockey League), born in Barnsley, Manitoba (d. 1982)

Cecil Frank Powell

Dec 5 Cecil Frank Powell, English physicist who discovered pion (pi-meson), a subatomic particle (Nobel 1950), born in Tonbridge, England (d. 1969)

  • Dec 6 Tony Lazzeri, American baseball player, born in San Francisco, California (d. 1946)
  • Dec 7 Danilo Blanuša, Croatian mathematician, born in Osijek, Austria-Hungary (d. 1987)
  • Dec 8 Adele Simpson, American fashion designer (Neiman-Marcus Award-1946), born in NYC, New York (d. 1995)
  • Dec 8 Irene Eisinger, German-British singer, born in Cosel, German Empire (d. 1994)
  • Dec 8 Kitty Muggeridge, British author and translator, born in Chateau d'Oex, Switzerland (d. 1994)
  • Dec 8 Zoltán Székely, Hungarian violinist and composer, born in Kocs, Hungary (d. 2011)
  • Dec 10 George J. Lewis, Mexican actor (Don-Zorro), born in Guadalajara, Mexico (d. 1995)
  • Dec 10 Una Merkel, American actress (42nd Street, Abraham Lincoln), born in Covington, Kentucky (d. 1986)
  • Dec 10 William Plomer, South African-British author (Paper Houses, I Speak of Africa), born in Transvaal, South Africa (d. 1973)
  • Dec 12 Enid Balint-Edmonds, British psychoanalyst, born in London (d. 1994)
  • Dec 13 Carlos Montoya, American flamenco guitarist (Suite Flamenco 1966), born in Madrid, Spain (d. 1993)
  • Dec 13 Yevgeny Petrov [Yevgeny Petrovich Kataev], Soviet writer, born in Odessa, Ukraine (d. 1942)
  • Dec 13 John Piper, British writer (US Churches in WWI) and official war painter, born in Epsom, Surrey, England (d. 1992)
  • Dec 15 Tamanishiki San'emon, Japanese sumo wrestler (32nd yokozuna; winner 9 top division yūshō), born in Kōchi, Japan (d. 1938)
  • Dec 16 Hardie Albright, American actor (Silver Streak, Scarlet Letter), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (d. 1975)
  • Dec 16 Rafael Alberti, Spanish poet (El hombre deshabitado)
  • Dec 17 Erskine Caldwell, American novelist (Tobacco Road, God's Little Acre), born in Moreland, Georgia (d. 1987)
  • Dec 17 Ray Noble, English bandleader, comedian and actor (The Very Thought of You), born in Brighton, Sussex, England (d. 1978)
  • Dec 19 Cyril Dean Darlington, English biologist and geneticist who discovered the mechanics of chromosomal crossover and its role in inheritance and evolution, born in Chorley, England (d. 1981)
  • Dec 19 George Davis Snell, Bradford, Massachusetts, American geneticist (H-2 gene)
  • Dec 19 Theo Harych, German writer, born in Doruchow, Posen (d. 1958)
  • Dec 22 Barbara Moore, Russian-born British engineer (walked across US in 86 days in 1960), born in Russia (d. 1977)
  • Dec 22 Haldan Keffer Hartline, American biophysicist (Nobel 1967), born in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania (d. 1983)
  • Dec 22 Marc Lavry [Levin], Latvian-Israeli composer (Emek; Independence Symphony; Song of Songs], and conductor, born in Riga, Latvia (d. 1967) [1]
  • Dec 23 Fredericka "Fredi" Washington, American actress (Black & Tan), born in Savannah, Georgia (d. 1994)
  • Dec 23 Michael Kalatozov, Russian producer (When the Cranes Fly)
  • Dec 25 Antiochos Evanghelatos, composer
  • Dec 25 Corry Lievens [Isabella MJ Adriaens], Flemish actress (Blue Bird), born in Antwerpen, Flanders, Belgium (d. 1968)
  • Dec 25 J Edward Bromberg, Hungarian actor (The Mark of Zorro, Under 2 Flags), born in Temesvár, Austria-Hungary (d. 1951)
  • Dec 26 Elisha Cook Jr, American actor (Maltese Falcon, Shane, Magnum PI), born in San Francisco, California (d. 1995)
  • Dec 28 John von Neumann, mathematician and astronomer (Bocher Award 1938), born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (d. 1957)
  • Dec 28 Earl "Fatha" Hines, American jazz pianist and bandleader (Deep Forest), born in Duquesne, Pennsylvania (d. 1983)
  • Dec 29 Clyde McCoy, American jazz trumpeter ("Sugar Blues"; the wah-wah sound), bandleader and co-founder of "Down Beat" magazine, born in Ashland, Kentucky (d. 1990)
  • Dec 29 George Elrick, Scottish-British singer ("I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones"), and broadcaster known as 'The Smiling Voice of Radio' (BBC's "Housewives' Choice"), born in Aberdeen, Scotland (d. 1999)

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 2 Victor Roger, composer, dies at 50
  • Dec 6 Frederick Grant Gleason, composer, dies at 54
  • Dec 11 Patrick McShane, Australian cricket player and umpire (1884-85 Ashes series), dies at 45
  • Dec 20 Gavriil Musicescu, Romanian composer of choral music, conductor, and musicologist, dies at 56
  • Dec 28 George Gissing, British novelist (New Grub Street, Charles Dickens: A Critical Study), dies from a chill at 46