On This Day

What Happened in May 1921

Historical Events

  • May 1 Drusian sultan Pasja al-Atrasj elected governor of Suwayda
  • May 2 Start of 3rd anti-German revolt in Upper Silesia
  • May 3 West Virginia imposes 1st state sales tax
  • May 3 Northern Ireland is created under the UK Government of Ireland Act partitioning off six north eastern counties with a Protestant majority
  • May 5 1st ranger for Cleveland Metroparks hired
  • May 5 Miniature newspaper published (Brighton Gazette 10 x 13 cm)

Historic Event

May 5 Perfume Chanel No. 5 released by fashion designer Coco Chanel

  • May 6 American Soccer League forms
  • May 7 47th Kentucky Derby: Charles Thompson on Behave Yourself wins 2:04.2
  • May 8 Sweden abolishes capital punishment
  • May 10 Luigi Pirandello's "Sei Personaggi in Cerca d'Autore" premieres
  • May 11 Tel Aviv is 1st all Jewish municipality
  • May 11 The Allied Supreme Council warns Germany to pay reparations or the entire Ruhr Valley will be occupied; Germany agrees
  • May 12 National Hospital Day 1st observed in the United States
  • May 14 Florence Allen is 1st woman judge to sentence a man to death in Ohio

Election of Interest

May 14 Mussolini's fascists obtain 29 parliamentary seats in Italian elections

  • May 15 British Legion formed to care for ex-servicemen
  • May 16 46th Preakness: F Coltiletti aboard Broomspun wins in 1:54.2
  • May 17 Belgian and Luxembourg sign customs union

Historic Event

May 17 US President Warren G. Harding opens (via telephone) 1st Valencia Orange Show

  • May 19 Congress sharply curbs immigration, setting a national quota system
  • May 21 Oldest radio station west of Mississippi River licensed in Greeley Co.
  • May 23 Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake's musical "Shuffle Along" premieres on Broadway at Daly's 63rd Street Theatre, New York City [1]
  • May 24 1st parliament for Northern Ireland elected
  • May 24 Bulhoek Massacre: police commissioner Colonel Theodore Truter leads 6 squadrons and artillery detachment against Israelite religious sect collected at annual gathering on land of leader Enoch Mgijima at Ntabalanga; 190 killed
  • May 30 Lord Dunsany's "If" premieres in London
  • May 30 Memorial to Capt. Eddie Grant, killed in WW I, unveiled at Polo Grounds, NYC
  • May 30 Salzburg, Austria, votes to join Germany
  • May 30 Indianapolis 500: Tommy Milton accompanied by riding mechanic Harry Franck wins the first of two 500 victories after Ralph DePalma had led for 109 laps
  • May 31 Boston Red Sox 1st baseman John "Stuffy" McInnis begins an errorless string of 1,700 chances
  • May 31 A large-scale race riot breaks out in Tulsa, Oklahoma, later described as the worst incident of racial violence in American history; around 150-300 African Americans killed [1]

Famous Birthdays

  • May 1 Paul Daels, president (Flemish Iron Pilgrimage committee)
  • May 2 Satyajit Ray, Indian director (Goddess, Adversary), born in Calcutta, India (d. 1992)

Sugar Ray Robinson

May 3 Sugar Ray Robinson [Walter Smith], American middle/welterweight boxer (1946-52, 55, 58), born in Ailey, Georgia (d. 1989)

  • May 3 Vasco Gonçalves, Portuguese army officer and 103rd Prime Minister of Portugal (1974-75), born in Lisbon, Portugal (d. 2005)
  • May 3 Joe Ames, American singer and actor (The Ames Brothers Show), born in Malden, Massachusetts (d. 2007)
  • May 4 John van Kesteren, Dutch tenor (Komische Oper, West-Berlin), born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 2008)
  • May 4 Virginia "Patsy" Garrett, American singer (Fred Waring's Pleasure Time), and actress (Nanny & the Professor), born in Atlantic City, New Jersey (d. 2015)
  • May 4 Edo Murtić, Croatian painter, born in Velika Pisanica, Bjelovar, Croatia (d. 2005)
  • May 5 Sonja Oosterman, Dutch singer (Marketensters) (d. 2008)

Arthur Leonard Schawlow

May 5 Arthur Leonard Schawlow, American physicist, shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics for his pioneering work with lasers, born in Mount Vernon, New York (d. 1999)

  • May 6 Erich Fried, Austrian-British writer, born in Vienna (d. 1988)
  • May 6 Freddy Randall, English jazz trumpeter, born in London (d. 1999)
  • May 6 Robert Fell, British CEO (British Stock Exchange)
  • May 7 Gale Robbins [Betty Gale Murphy], American singer and actress (Fuller Brush Girl, Mr Hex), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1980)
  • May 8 Graham Leonard, Bishop of London, most senior Anglican to convert to Catholicism since the reformation (d. 2010)
  • May 9 Mona Van Duyn, American poet (d. 2004)
  • May 9 Daniel Berrigan, American Jesuit priest and peace activist (Vietnam War), born in Virginia, Minnesota (d. 2016)
  • May 9 Sophie Scholl, German anti-Nazi political activist, active in the non-violent resistance group, the White Rose (Die Weisse Rose), born in Forchtenberg, Germany (d. 1943)
  • May 11 Ian Percival, British politician (C) and Solicitor General (d. 1998)
  • May 11 Hildegard Hamm-Brücher, German politician, born in Essen, Germany (d. 2016)
  • May 12 Edvard Mirzoyan, Armenian composer, born in Gori, Georgia (d. 2012)
  • May 12 Giovanni Benelli, Italian archbishop (Florence) and Papal candidate
  • May 12 Henry Mackie, designer of the Belfast Calorimeter
  • May 12 Joseph Beuys, German avant-garde painter (Fluxus, movement), born in Krefeld, Germany (d. 1986)
  • May 12 Farley Mowat, Canadian writer and naturalist, born in Belleville, Ontario, (d. 2014)
  • May 12 (Otis W.) "Joe" Maphis, American session and country music guitarist ("Dim Lights"), born in Suffolk, Virginia (d. 1986)
  • May 13 Syd[ney G] Vincent, British mine workers leader
  • May 14 Arve Opsahl, Norwegian actor and stand-up comedian (Mot i brøstet, Olsen-banden), born in Oslo, Norway (d. 2007)
  • May 16 Harry Carey Jr, American actor (Back to the Future Part III, Gremlins), born in Saugus, California (d. 2012)
  • May 16 Robert Croften Brown, politician
  • May 17 Dennis Brain, British classical horn player (Serenade), born in London, England (d. 1957)
  • May 17 John Garlick, British senior civil servant
  • May 17 Bob Merrill, American composer and lyricist (People; Mambo Italiano), born in Atlantic City, New Jersey (d. 1998)
  • May 18 Anthony Epstein, English pathologist and virologist (Epstein–Barr virus)
  • May 19 Charles van de Reve, slavic (Belief of Kameraden)
  • May 19 Daniel Gélin, French actor (Obsession, The Man Who Knew Too Much), born in Angers, Maine-et-Loire (d. 2002)
  • May 19 Karel van het Reve, Dutch Slavist (Comrade's Religion)
  • May 19 William H. Stewart, 10th US Surgeon General (1965-69), born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (d. 2008)
  • May 20 John Harrison, British vice admiral/surgeon
  • May 20 John Marchi, US Senator (Rep-R-NY)
  • May 20 Wolfgang Borchert, German writer, born in Hamburg (d. 1947)
  • May 20 Hal Newhouser, American baseball player (d. 1998)

Andrei Sakharov

May 21 Andrei Sakharov, Russian nuclear physicist and an activist for disarmament, peace and human rights (1975 Nobel), born in Moscow, Russia (d. 1989)

  • May 21 Leona Wood, painter and dancer, born in Seattle, Washington
  • May 23 Humphrey Lyttelton, British jazz trumpeter and bandleader ("Bad Penny Blues"), and broadcaster (BBC2 - Best Of Jazz, 1967-2007; BBC4 - I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, 1972-2008), born in Eton, Buckinghamshire (d. 2008)
  • May 23 James [Benjamin] Blish, US/UK, sci-fi author (Hugo, Star Trek Reader)
  • May 23 Loren Tindall, American actor (Meet Me on Broadway, Girl of Limberlost), born in Hastings, Oklahoma (d. 1973)
  • May 23 Montague Modlyn, broadcaster
  • May 23 Sanderson Temple, circuit judge
  • May 25 Hal David, American lyricist ("Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head"; "What The World Needs Now Is Love";"Do You Know the Way to San Jose"), born in Brooklyn, New York (d. 2012)
  • May 25 Kitty Kallen, American singer ("Little Things Mean a Lot"), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2016)
  • May 25 Jack Steinberger, American physicist (1988 Nobel Prize for Physics - Neutrinos), born in Bad Kissingen, Germany (d. 2020) [1]
  • May 26 Frank Mooney, New Zealand cricket wicketkeeper (13 Tests, 30 dismissals; Wellington), born in Wellington, New Zealand (d. 2004)
  • May 27 Caryl Chessman, kidnapper who got death penalty (1960)
  • May 28 Heinz G. Konsalik, German author (d. 1999)
  • May 28 Tom Uren, Australian politician, Australian heritage and conservation campaigner, born in Sydney, New South Wales (d. 2015)
  • May 29 George Terry, British chief constable (Sussex, England) (d. 1995)
  • May 31 Alida Valli [Baroness Alida von Marckenstein-Frauenberg], Italian actress (The Paradine Case, The Third Man), born in Rome, Italy (d. 2006)
  • May 31 Andrew Grima, British jeweller
  • May 31 Robert Arthur Ley, UK, sci-fi author (Telepath, Power of X)
  • May 31 Howard Reig, American radio and television announcer

Famous Deaths

  • May 1 Louis Campbell-Tipton, American composer, dies at 43
  • May 3 Théodore Pilette, Belgian racing driver, dies at 36
  • May 5 Alfred Hermann Fried, German pacifist (Nobel 1911-co-founder of the German peace movement), dies at 56
  • May 5 William Friese-Greene, British photographer and inventor (motion pictures), dies at 65
  • May 12 Emilia Pardo Bazán, Spanish countess and writer (Pascual López: Autobiography of a Medical Student), dies at 68
  • May 13 Jean Aicard, French poet and novelist (b. 1848)
  • May 19 Edward Douglass White, American politician and jurist (9th Chief Justice of the United States), dies at 75
  • May 22 Marie E Wilton, writer, dies
  • May 28 Geo Mestdagh, Belgian aviation pioneer, dies
  • May 29 Horace Porter, American Brigadier General (Union Army), dies at 84