On This Day

What Happened in May 1909

Historical Events

  • May 1 Netherlands begins unity with Belgium

Baseball Record

May 2 Honus Wagner steals his way around bases in 1st inning against Cubs

  • May 3 35th Kentucky Derby: Vincent Powers on Wintergreen wins in 2:08.2
  • May 6 Indian nationalist Sri Aurobindo acquitted in the Alipore Bomb Case in Calcutta, India
  • May 7 Construction begins on first 100 houses in Ahuzat Bayit (Tel Aviv)
  • May 8 American Albert Raines runs world record marathon (2:46:04.6) in NYC
  • May 8 British runner Henry Barrett runs world record marathon (2:42:31) in the Polytechnic Marathon in London
  • May 10 Winchester's Fred Toney no-hits Lexington for 17 inning
  • May 12 34th Preakness: Willie Doyle aboard Effendi wins in 1:39.8
  • May 13 Christian National Labor Workers (CNV) party begins in Netherlands
  • May 13 First Giro d'Italia takes place in Milan - Italian cyclist Luigi Ganna is the winner
  • May 17 White firemen on Georgia lroad strike to protest against hiring blacks

Boxing Title Fight

May 19 In his first title defence Jack Johnson fights 'Philadelphia' Jack O'Brien to a no decision in 6 rounds in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to retain his world heavyweight crown

  • May 22 1st San Francisco fireboat, David Scannell, launched
  • May 24 Bristol University granted Royal Charter
  • May 29 Frank "Home Run" Baker's 1st career home run for Philadelphia Athletics
  • May 30 Reuben Siegel laid cornerstone of 1st home in Tel-Aviv

Conference of Interest

May 31 National Conference on the Negro holds its first meeting in United Charities Building, New York (earlier form of the NAACP)


Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Ethel Jane Cain, British telephonist and original UK Speaking Clock voice, born in England (d. 1996)
  • May 1 George Melachrino, English composer, born in London (d. 1965)
  • May 1 Yiannis Ritsos, Greek poet and political activist, born in Monemvasia (d. 1990)
  • May 4 Howard Da Silva [Silverblatt], American actor (1776, The Lost Weekend, The Blue Dahlia), born in Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1986)
  • May 4 Jeroom Verten [Jozef Frans Vermetten], Flemish playwright, born in Berchem, Antwerp, Belgium (d. 1958)
  • May 5 Miklós Radnóti, Hungarian poet (Clouded Sky), born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (d. 1944)
  • May 6 Loyd Sigmon, American radio broadcaster, sound engineer, and inventor ("Sig Alert" for traffic and emergency notices), born in Stigler, Oklahoma (d. 2004)

Edwin Land

May 7 Edwin Land, American inventor of instant photography and co-founder of the Polaroid Corporation, born in Bridgeport, Connecticut (d. 1991)

  • May 9 Don Messer, Canadian folk fiddler, and television host (Jubilee, 1959-73), born in Tweedside, New Brunswick (d. 1973)
  • May 10 Harold Collison, British trade unionist (agriculture workers), born in London (d. 1995)

Maybelle Carter

May 10 Maybelle Carter, American country singer (Johnny Cash Show), born in Nickelsville, Virginia (d. 1978)

  • May 11 Herbert Murrill, composer
  • May 11 René Bousquet, French Vichy-police chief (deported Jews), born in Montauban, Tarn-et-Garonne (d. 1993)
  • May 12 Frank DeCaires, West Indian cricket batsman (3 Tests, 2 x 50; British Guiana), born in British Guiana (d. 1959)
  • May 14 Vladimir Alatortsev, USSR, International Chess Master (1950)
  • May 15 James Mason, British actor (Lolita, North by Northwest, Bloodline, Boys From Brazil), born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire (d. 1984)
  • May 15 Rodolfo Cornejo, composer
  • May 16 Charles Wislon, principal (Glasgow University)
  • May 16 Margaret Sullavan, American actress (Three Comrades, The Shop Around the Corner), born in Norfolk, Virginia (d. 1960)
  • May 17 Edward Playfair, British senior civil servant, born in London (d. 1999)
  • May 17 Magda Schneider, German actress (Eva, Going Gay, Be Mine Tonight), born in Bavaria, German (d. 1996)
  • May 17 Karl Schäfer, Austrian figure skater (Olympic gold 1932, 36), born in Vienna, Austria (d. 1976)
  • May 18 Fred Perry, English tennis player/broadcaster (8 x Grand Slam singles, 6 x Grand Slam doubles titles; Davis Cup 1933, 34, 35, 36), born in Stockport, England (d. 1995)
  • May 19 Schlomo Joffe, Polish-Israeli folk and classical musician and composer, born in Warsaw, Poland (d. 1995)
  • May 19 Nicholas Winton, English Humanitarian ('British Schindler' - saved 600 children from Nazis), born in London (d. 2015)
  • May 20 Edward Moss Hutchinson, educationalist
  • May 20 John Arkell, director of administration (BBC)
  • May 21 Guy de Rothschild, French banker (Rothschild Frères), born in Paris, France (d. 2007)
  • May 21 François-Albert Angers, Quebec economist (d. 2003)
  • May 23 Edwin Arrowsmith, diplomat
  • May 24 Guillermo Díaz-Plaja, Spanish literary and poet (Lorca), born in Manresa, Barcelona (d. 1984)
  • May 24 Louis Fornberg, writer (d. 1957)
  • May 24 Wilbur Mills, American congressmen (Democrat-AZ: 1939-77), famous for his involvement in a sex scandal with Fanne Foxe, born in Kensett, Arkansas (d. 1992)
  • May 25 Alfred Kubel, German politician, born in Braunschweig, Germany (d. 1999)
  • May 25 Marie Menken, American experimental filmmaker and socialite, born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 1970)
  • May 26 Matt Busby, Scottish soccer forward (Manchester City, Liverpool) and manager (Manchester United 1945-69, 70–71; Scotland 1958), born in Orbiston, Bellshill, Scotland (d. 1994)
  • May 26 Richard Maibaum, American screenwriter (Goldfinger), born in NYC, New York (d. 1991)
  • May 27 Isador Goodman, South African-Australian pianist and composer (New Guinea Fantasy), born in Cape Town, South Africa (d. 1982)
  • May 28 John Schepens [Jean Baudoux], Flemish journalist and writer (Polyfoto)
  • May 28 Red Horner, Canadian hockey player (Toronto Maple Leafs), born in Lynden, Ontario, Canada (d. 2005)
  • May 29 Neil R. Jones, American sci-fi author (Space War, Twin Worlds), born in Fulton, New York (d. 1988)

Benny Goodman

May 30 Benny Goodman, American clarinetist and bandleader (King of Swing), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1986)

  • May 30 George Headley, West Indies cricket batsman (22 Tests; 2,190 runs @ 60.83; 10 x 100), born in Colón, Panama (d. 1983)
  • May 31 Jan Lewando, British director (Marks & Spencer)
  • May 31 Thor Thorvaldsen, Norwegian yachtsman (Olympic gold dragon class 1948, 52), born in Bamble, Norway (d. 1987)
  • May 31 Sammy Spear, American big band trumpet player and orchestra leader (The Jackie Gleason Show), born in Brooklyn, NYC (d. 1975)

Famous Deaths

  • May 5 Pauline Staegeman, German feminist, dies
  • May 8 Friedrich von Holstein, German civil servant (head of the political department of the German Foreign Office), dies at 72
  • May 10 Johannes de Koo, Dutch journalist and playwright, dies at 67
  • May 12 Bertha Townsend, American tennis player (US Nat C'ship 1888-89), dies at 40
  • May 18 George Meredith, English poet & writer (Diana of Crossways), dies at 81
  • May 18 Isaac Albéniz, Spanish pianist & composer (Suite española; Tango in D), dies from nephritis at 48
  • May 20 Ernest Hogan, blackface comedian and musician (b. 1859)