On This Day

What Happened in December 1908

Historical Events

  • Dec 2 Child Emperor Pu Yi ascends the Chinese throne at the age of two

Music releaseMusic Premiere

Dec 3 Edward Elgar's 1st Symphony in A performed by the Hallé Orchestra conducted by Hans Richter, premieres in Manchester, England

Composer Edward Elgar
Composer
Edward Elgar
  • Dec 4 Haiti's president General Alexis Nord flees from military coup
  • Dec 4 The world's ten leading maritime nations attend a Naval Conference in London; they agree on rules for blockade, convoys, and seizure of contraband
  • Dec 5 1st US football uniform numerals used (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Dec 9 The German Reichstag adopts a progressive social law restricting hours of factory work by young people and women
  • Dec 11 Frederick Delius' "In a Summer Garden" premieres in London
  • Dec 12 Australasian Championships Men's Tennis, Sydney: American Fred Alexander beats Alfred Dunlop of Australia 3-6, 3-6, 6-0, 6-2, 6-3
  • Dec 16 1st credit union in US forms (Manchester NH)

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 17 In Turkey the new parliament convenes with reformist Young Turks as the majority

Leader of the Ottoman Empire Enver Pasha
Leader of the Ottoman Empire
Enver Pasha

Sport defeatBoxing Title Fight

Dec 26 African-American boxer Jack Johnson stops Canadian defending champion Tommy Burns in the 14th round in Sydney, Australia, to become the first black man to win world heavyweight title; Burns is favourite in 12th title defence but Johnson dominates before police stop the bout

Boxer and World Heavyweight Champion Tommy Burns
Boxer and World Heavyweight Champion
Tommy Burns
  • Dec 28 Earthquake strikes Messina, Italy, killing nearly 80,000
  • Dec 29 Patent granted for a 4-wheel automobile brake, Clintonville, Wisconsin
  • Dec 30 Stanley Cup, Montreal Arena, Westmount, Quebec: Montreal Wanderers outscore Edmonton HC, 14-9 in 2 game challenge series

Famous Birthdays

  • Dec 1 Georgios Kasassoglou, Greek musician (d. 1984)
  • Dec 2 Robert F. Simon, American actor (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; Operation Petticoat; M*A*S*H), born in Mansfield, Ohio (d. 1992)
  • Dec 2 Rufus "Rufe" Davis, American actor (Cocoanut Grove, Trail Blazers, Gangs of Sonora), born in Vinson, Oklahoma (d. 1974)
  • Dec 3 Halsey Stevens, American composer (Triskelion), born in Scott, New York (d. 1989)
  • Dec 3 Nigel Balchin, English author (Business for Pleasure), born in Potterne, England (d. 1970)
  • Dec 3 Edward Underdown, British actor (Beat the Devil, Thunderball), born in London, England (d. 1989)
  • Dec 4 A. D. Hershey, American biologist, worked with bacteriophages (Nobel 1969), born in Owosso, Michigan (d. 1997)
  • Dec 6 Pierre Graber, Swiss politician and member of the Swiss Federal Council (1970–1978), born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland (d. 2003)
  • Dec 7 Jacques Gans, Dutch author and journalist, born in Hilversum, Netherlands (d. 1972)
  • Dec 7 John Doeg, American tennis player (US Nat C'ship 1930), born in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico (d. 1978)
  • Dec 8 John Volpe, American politician (61st and 63rd Governor of Massachusetts) and U.S. Secretary of Treasury (1969-73), born in Wakefield, Massachusetts (d. 1994)
  • Dec 10 Arnold van Ruler, Dutch theologist, born in Apeldoorn, Netherlands (d. 1970)
  • Dec 10 Olivier Messiaen, French composer (L'Ame en Bourgeon; St Francois d'Assise), born in Avignon, France (d. 1992)
  • Dec 11 Elliott Carter, American classical composer and winner of two Pulitzer prizes, born in New York City (d. 2012)
  • Dec 13 Victor Babin, Russian pianist and composer (Vronsky & Babin), born in Moscow (d. 1972)
  • Dec 14 Laurence Naismith, British actor (Diamonds Are Forever, Camelot, Persuaders), born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, England (d. 1992)
  • Dec 14 Morey Amsterdam, American comedian and actor, born in San Francisco, California (d. 1996) probable date
  • Dec 14 Claude Davey, Welsh rugby union footballer, born in Garnant, Wales (d. 2001)
  • Dec 14 Mária Szepes, Hungarian author (The Red Lion), born in Budapest (d. 2007)
  • Dec 16 Remedios Varo, Anglès Spain, Spain-Mexican Surrealist artist
  • Dec 17 William Brocklesby Wordsworth, composer
  • Dec 17 Willard Libby, American chemist who developed radiocarbon dating (Nobel 1960), born in Grand Valley, Colorado (d. 1980)
  • Dec 18 Celia Johnson, English actress (Happy Breed, Brief Encounter), born in Richmond, Surrey (d. 1982)
  • Dec 20 Julio César Brero [or Giulio Cesare], Italian-born Argentine composer and lawyer (Novella), born in Milan, Italy (d. 1973)
  • Dec 20 Norman Hackforth, British musician and radio broadcaster (Noel Coward; Twenty Questions), born in Bihar, British India (d. 1996)
  • Dec 20 Dennis Morgan, American actor (Kitty Foyle), born in Prentice, Wisconsin (d. 1994)
  • Dec 20 Francis Turner, American civil engineer (oversaw the Interstate Highway System), born in Dallas, Texas (d. 1999)
  • Dec 21 Pat Weaver, American radio advertising executive (started Today show), born in Los Angeles, California (d. 2002)
  • Dec 22 Marius F. Duintjer, Dutch architect, born in Veendam, Netherlands
  • Dec 22 Max Bill, Swiss architect & artist (Ruban Sans Fin), born in Winterthur, Switzerland (d. 1994)
  • Dec 23 Yousuf Karsh, American Canadian portrait photographer (Life Magazine), born in Mardin, Ottoman Empire (d. 2002)
  • Dec 24 Cladys "Jabbo" Smith, American jazz trumpet pioneer, born in Pembroke, Georgia (d. 1991)
  • Dec 25 Helen Twelvetrees, American actress (State's Attorney, Painted Desert), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1958)
  • Dec 25 Jan Seidel, Czech composer, born in Nymburk, Bohemia (d. 1998)
  • Dec 25 Quentin Crisp, English author (d. 1999)
  • Dec 25 Jo-Jo Moore, American baseball left fielder (MLB All Star 1934–38, 40; World Series 1933; NY Giants), born in Gause, Texas (d. 2001)
  • Dec 25 Zora Arkus-Duntov, Belgian-American automotive engineer (d. 1996)
  • Dec 26 Ralph Hill, American athlete (Olympic silver 5,000m 1932; same time as winner Lauri Lehtinen), born in Klamath Falls, Oregon (d. 1994)
  • Dec 27 Louis JHCA de Bourbon, Dutch writer/poet (Black Banners)
  • Dec 28 Lew Ayres, American actor (All Quiet on Western Front, Holiday, Dr Kildare), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (d. 1996)
  • Dec 28 Felicja Blumental, Polish-Brazilian concert pianist ( Villa-Lobos' Piano Concerto No. 5; Penderecki's Partita for Harpsichord), born in Warsaw, Poland, Russian Empire (d. 1991)
  • Dec 29 Claire Dodd, American actress (Lady, In the Navy), born in Des Moines, Iowa (d. 1973)
  • Dec 29 Gerben Sonderman, Dutch test pilot (Fokker), born in Drachten, Netherlands (d. 1955)
  • Dec 31 Marko Rothmuller, Croatian composer, born in Slavonski Brod, Croatia (d. 1993)
  • Dec 31 Simon Wiesenthal, Jewish-Austrian holocaust survivor & Nazi hunter (Wiesenthal Center), born in Buchach, Ukraine (d. 2005)
  • Dec 31 John Kirby [Kirk], American jazz double-bassist and tuba player (Benny Goodman; "Undecided"), born in Winchester, Virginia (d. 1952)

Famous Deaths

  • Dec 9 William Harvey Carney, American Civil War soldier (first African-American to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor), dies of injuries sustained in an elevator accident at 68
  • Dec 13 Augustus Le Plongeon, French-American photographer and antiquitarian, dies at 83
  • Dec 22 Marie Jungius, Dutch teacher/fairy tale writer, dies at 44
  • Dec 23 Eduard Wachmann, Romanian composer, dies at 72
  • Dec 23 Francois A. Gevaert, Belgium Dutch composer (Diable au Moulin), dies at 68
  • Dec 24 François-Auguste Gevaert, Belgian composer (Le diable au moulin), dies at 80
  • Dec 30 Thomas-Alfred Bernier, Canadian lawyer, journalist and senator (b. 1844)