On This Day

What Happened in December 1903

Historical Events

  • Dec 1 "The Great Train Robbery", the 1st Western film, released
  • 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 prizeNobel Prize

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

Physicist Marie Curie
Physicist
Marie Curie
  • 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 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

Plane1st 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
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Seconds into the first ever flight of the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville Wright is flying, Wilbur Wright is running alongside.
Seconds into the first ever flight of the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Orville Wright is flying, Wilbur Wright is running alongside.
  • Dec 19 Williamsburg suspension bridge opens between Brooklyn and Manhattan
  • Dec 27 "Sweet Adeline", a barbershop quartet favorite, is first sung
  • Dec 28 Clyde Fitch's "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)

Person of interestCecil 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)

Physicist and Nobel Laureate Cecil Frank Powell
Physicist and Nobel Laureate
Cecil Frank Powell
  • 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, Israeli composer, born in Riga, Latvia (d. 1967)
  • 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, bandleader, born in Ashland, Kentucky (d. 1990)

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 2 Victor Roger, composer, dies at 50
  • Dec 6 Frederick Grant Gleason, composer, dies at 54

Person of interestHerbert Spencer

Dec 8 Herbert Spencer, British philosopher (Social Statics), dies at 83

Philosopher and Intellectual Herbert Spencer
Philosopher and Intellectual
Herbert Spencer
  • Dec 11 Patrick McShane, cricket player/ump (1884-85 Ashes series), dies
  • Dec 20 Gavriil Musicescu, composer, dies at 56
  • Dec 28 George Gissing, British novelist (New Grub Street, Charles Dickens: A Critical Study), dies from a chill at 46