On This Day

Historical Events in 1917

Historic Event

Jan 1 T. E. Lawrence joins the forces of the Arabian sheik Feisal al Husayn, beginning his adventures that will lead him to Damascus by October, 1918

  • Jan 1 3rd Rose Bowl, Tournament Park, Pasadena, California: Oregon beats Pennsylvania, 14-0; MVP: John Beckett, Oregon
  • Jan 2 Royal Bank of Canada takes over Quebec Bank
  • Jan 8 Austria-Hungarian troops conquer Forlani Italy
  • Jan 9 World War I: the Battle of Rafa occurs near the Egyptian border with Palestine.

Historic Event

Jan 10 The Allied Governments respond to US President Woodrow Wilson's December 1916 note, giving their terms for ending the war

Historic Event

Jan 10 Suffragettes the "Silent Sentinels" first protest outside The White House, in Washington led by Alice Paul and the National Woman's Party

  • Jan 11 Guy Bolton & PG Wodehouse's "Have a Heart" premieres in New York
  • Jan 13 Train at Ciurea station in Romania catches fire and explodes, between 800-1,000 die, making it the third worst rail accident in history
  • Jan 13 Ammunitions ship explosion at Ekonomiia port near Archangel, Russia kills many and injures hundreds
  • Jan 16 The Greek Government accepts reparations for Allied losses sustained in recent actions in Greece
  • Jan 16 "Zimmermann Telegram" is sent from Germany to Mexico, stating in the event of the US entering World War I on the allied side, Mexico would be given Texas, Arizona and New Mexico. Intercepted by British intelligence and partially deciphered by the next day. It's release in March shifts US public opinion in favor of war against Germany.
  • Jan 17 US pays Denmark $25 million for Virgin Islands (or 3/21)
  • Jan 19 The Silvertown explosion: 73 die when a munitions factory in Essex explodes.
  • Jan 27 Coen de Koning wins 2nd official 11 cities race (9:53) (record)
  • Jan 28 Municipally owned streetcars take to the streets of San Francisco, California
  • Jan 29 British submarine K13 sank in Gaire Loch, Scotland; killing 32 of her crew
  • Jan 31 Germany notifies US that U-boats will attack neutral merchant ship
  • Jan 31 Mexican President Carranza announces a new constitution with many liberal elements; most of which his regime will not implement
  • Feb 1 German Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz announces unrestricted submarine warfare against allied shipping
  • Feb 3 US liner Housatonic is sunk by German submarine, on the same day that US President Woodrow Wilson breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany
  • Feb 4 Belgian Council of Flanders established
  • Feb 5 Congress overrides Wilson's veto, curtailing Asian immigration
  • Feb 5 Morosco Theater opens at 217 W 45th St NYC (demolished 1982)

Historic Event

Feb 5 The last of the American troops commanded by General John Pershing leave Mexico; President Carranza will be assassinated within the next year

  • Feb 10 Johanna Westerdijk installed as the Netherlands' 1st female professor
  • Feb 12 1st edition of Joseph Patterson and Sidney Smith's strip "The Gumps"

Music History

Feb 13 Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari is arrested in Paris on suspicion that she is a German spy

  • Feb 15 San Francisco Public Library (Main Branch at Civic center) dedicated
  • Feb 16 1st synagogue in 425 years opens in Madrid
  • Feb 17 In Australia, Nationalist Party takes over a coalition government
  • Feb 18 1st major strike of the Russian "February Revolution" starts at the giant Putilov factory in Petrograd [NS=Mar 3]

Music Premiere

Feb 20 Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton & P.G. Wodehouse's musical "Oh, Boy!" opens at the Princess Theatre, NYC; runs for 463 performances

  • Feb 21 British troopship SS Mendi sinks off Isle of Wight, 646 die
  • Feb 22 German Navy torpedoes 7 Dutch ships
  • Feb 24 German plan to get Mexican help in WW I exposed (Zimmerman telegram)
  • Feb 24 Red Sox sell Smokey Joe Wood, his arm dead at 26, to Cleveland for $15,000
  • Feb 26 1st jazz records recorded - "Dixie Jazz Band One Step" and "Livery Stable Blues" by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company

Historic Event

Feb 26 Russian February Revolution: Tsar Nicolas II orders army to quell civil unrest in Petrograd - army mutinies [NS Mar 11]

  • Feb 26 1st Annual fair at Utrecht Harbor (Netherlands)
  • Feb 28 AP reports Mexico & Japan will allie with Germany if US enters WW I
  • Mar 1 1st federal land bank chartered in USA
  • Mar 1 US government releases the plain text of the "Zimmermann Telegram" to the public
  • Mar 2 Jones Act: Puerto Rico territory created, US citizenship granted
  • Mar 3 US Congress passes 1st excess profits tax on corporations
  • Mar 3 1st major strike of the Russian "February Revolution" starts at the giant Putilov factory in Petrograd [OS=Feb 18]
  • Mar 3 Mexico and the USA renew diplomatic relations
  • Mar 3 German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann publicly admits the "Zimmermann Telegram" is genuine. Generates support for the US declaration of war on Germany in April.
  • Mar 5 US President Woodrow Wilson is inaugurated for a second term
  • Mar 7 1st jazz record released on a 78 by Original Dixieland Jass Band for the Victor Talking Machine Company ("Dixie Jazz Band One Step," one side "Livery Stable Blues" other)
  • Mar 8 Russian "February Revolution" begins in earnest with protests celebrating International Woman's Day and riots in St Petersburg over food rations and conduct of the war [OS=Feb 23]
  • Mar 8 US Senate introduces the Cloture Rule, requiring a two-thirds majority to end debate, at the urging of Woodrow Wilson [1]
  • Mar 10 Batangas was formally founded as one of the Philippines's earliest encomiendas
  • Mar 11 1st NHL championship game ever played, Toronto Arenas beats Montreal Canadiens 7-3 in 1st of 2 game set (second game on March 13)
  • Mar 11 British forces occupy Baghdad, the capital of Mesopotamia, after Turkish forces evacuated
  • Mar 12 [OS Feb 27] Russian Duma sets up the Provisional Committee; Soviets form Executive Committee
  • Mar 12 In the wake of the February Revolution, Communist Party members Joseph Stalin, Lev Kamenev and Matvei Muranov arrive in Petrograd (St Petersburg) and seize control of the Pravda newspaper
  • Mar 12 A German submarine sinks an unarmed US merchant ship, the 'Algonquin' on the same day that US President Woodrow Wilson gives executive order to arm US merchant ships
  • Mar 15 Nicholas II, the last Russian Tsar abdicates and nominates his brother Grand Duke Michael to succeed him [OS Mar 2]
  • Mar 16 Russian Grand Duke Michael, brother of Tsar Nicholas II declines the Russian throne [OS Mar 3]
  • Mar 17 1st exclusively women's bowling tournament begins in St Louis
  • Mar 17 Delta Phi Epsilon is founded at New York University Law School

Murder of Interest

Mar 17 Albert Anastasia is convicted of murdering longshoreman George Turino

  • Mar 19 US Supreme Court uphoelds 8-hr work day for railroad employees
  • Mar 19 Victor Herbert and Harry Blossom's operetta "Eileen", loosely based on a novel by Herbert's grandfather, premieres at Shubert Theater, New York City
  • Mar 20 After the sinking of 3 more American merchant ships, US President Woodrow Wilson meets with cabinet, who agree that war is inevitable
  • Mar 21 Loretta Walsh becomes US Navy's 1st female Petty Officer
  • Mar 22 The USA is the first nation to recognize the new government of Russia
  • Mar 23 Tornadoes kills 211 over 4 days in Midwest US

Historic Event

Mar 25 Canadian flying ace Billy Bishop claims his first victory, shooting down and mortally wounding German Leutnant Theiller

  • Mar 26 Stanley Cup Final, Seattle Ice Arena, Seattle, WA: Seattle Metropolitans (PCHA) beat Montreal Canadiens (NHL), 9-1 for a 3-1 series victory; first US team to win SC
  • Mar 26 British win a battle against Turks at Gaza
  • Mar 28 Jews are expelled from Tel Aviv & Jaffa by Turkish authorities
  • Mar 28 Puccini's "La Rondine" premieres in Monte Carlo
  • Mar 31 The Danish West Indies are officially ceded to the US for $25 million and renamed the Virgin Islands

Historic Event

Apr 2 Jeannette Rankin (Rep-R-Montana) begins her term as 1st woman member of US House of Reps

Historic Event

Apr 3 Vladimir Lenin arrives in Petrograd from Switzerland [NS=April 16]

Historic Event

Apr 3 Alfred Stieglitz opens 1st one-person show of Georgia O'Keeffee's work at 291 art gallery in New York

  • Apr 4 US Senate agrees (82-6) to participate in WWI
  • Apr 6 US declares war on Germany, enters World War I
  • Apr 7 Manuel de Falla's ballet "El Sombrero de tres Picos" ("The Three-Cornered Hat") premieres at Teatro Eslava in Madrid, Spain
  • Apr 7 J.M. Barrie's play "The Old Lady Shows Her Medals" premieres in London
  • Apr 9 Battle of Arras begins
  • Apr 9 Vimy Ridge in France stormed by Canadian troops
  • Apr 10 Munition factory explosion at Eddystone, Pennsylvania, kills 133 workers
  • Apr 12 Bijou Theater opens at 222 W 45th St NYC (Demolished 1982)
  • Apr 12 Domenico Scarlatti & Jeab Cocteaus ballet premieres in Rome
  • Apr 14 Chicago White Sox pitcher Ed Cicotte no-hits St Louis Browns, 11-0
  • Apr 16 [OS Apr 3] Lenin arrives back from exile in Russia at Finland Station, Petrograd to join the Russian Revolution
  • Apr 16 21st Boston Marathon won by Bill Kennedy in 2:28:37.2
  • Apr 16 Vladimir Lenin issues his radical "April Theses" calling for Soviets to take power during the Russian Revolution [OS Apr 4]
  • Apr 24 Yankee lefty George Mogridge no-hits Red Sox 2-1 at Fenway
  • Apr 24 US Congress passes the Liberty Loan Act, authorizing the Treasury to issue a public subscription for 2 billion in bonds for the war
  • May 2 Cin Fred Tooney & Chic's Hippo Vaughn pitch duel no-hitter, Vaughn gives up 2 hits & a run in 10th, so Cin wins 1-0
  • May 3 Ernest Bloch's "Schelomo: Rhapsodie Hébraïque" and "Israel Symphony" premiere in Carnegie Hall, NYC, with Artur Bodanzky conducting the former, and the composer conducting the latter
  • May 4 A flotilla of US destroyer ships arrive in Queenstown, Ireland, to aid in convoying ships to England
  • May 5 St Louis Browns pitcher Ernie Koob no-hits Chicago White Sox, 1-0 at Sportsman's Park III

Historic Event

May 5 Eugene Bullard gains his pilot's license from Aéro-Club de France and becomes the 1st African-American military pilot (French Air Service)

  • May 6 St Louis Browns pitcher Bob Groom no-hits Chicago White Sox, 3-0 at Sportsman's Park, St. Louis

Sports History

May 7 In a testament to his pitching ability, future Baseball Hall of Fame slugger Babe Ruth leads Boston Red Sox to a 1-0 victory against Washington Senators legend Walter Johnson

  • May 10 Atlantic ships get destroyer escorts to stop German attacks

Historic Event

May 11 King George V grants Royal Letters Patent to New Zealand

  • May 12 42nd Preakness: E Haynes aboard Kalitan wins in 1:54.4
  • May 12 43rd Kentucky Derby: Charles Borel on Omar Khayyam wins in 2:04.6
  • May 13 1st appearance of Mary to 3 shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal
  • May 15 The first officer's training camp is opened in the US, as the country prepares for war
  • May 18 Erik Satie, Leonide Massine and Pablo Picasso's ballet "Parade" premieres in Paris
  • May 18 US Congress passes Selective Service Act, authorizing the federal government to raise a national army for the American entry into World War I through compulsory enlistment
  • May 18 First units of the American Expeditionary Force, commanded by General John J. Pershing, is ordered to France
  • May 20 Turkish government authorizes Jews to return to Tel Aviv & Jaffa
  • May 21 Leo Pinckney, 1st American drafted during WWI
  • May 21 The Great Fire of Atlanta: at least 10,000 people were displaced, but there was only one fatality
  • May 23 Dutch 2nd Chamber approves 1908 conscription draft
  • May 26 Walt Cruise hit 1st HR out of Braves Field
  • May 27 Race riot in East St Louis Illinois, 1 black killed
  • May 30 Jazz standard "Dark Town Strutters Ball" by Shelton Brooks recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band
  • Jun 1 Boston Braves first baseman Hank Gowdy is first active MLB player to enlist for service in World War I; only player to fight in both World War I & II
  • Jun 2 Canadian ace Billy Bishop undertakes a solo mission behind enemy lines, shooting down three aircraft as they were about to take off and several more on the ground, for which he is awarded the Victoria Cross
  • Jun 4 1st Pulitzer prize awarded to Richards & Elliott (Julia Ward Howe)
  • Jun 4 American men begin registering for the draft
  • Jun 4 Most Excellent Order of British Empire inaugurated by King George V to recognise the efforts of his people in WWI
  • Jun 5 10 million US men begin registering for draft in WW I
  • Jun 7 Melvin Jones and a number of other Chicago businessmen found Lions Clubs International, now the largest service organization in the world
  • Jun 7 The British detonate mines beneath the German-held Messines Ridge, in the Ypres area
  • Jun 8 Walt Disney graduates from Benton High School
  • Jun 10 60,000 people of Petrograd Russia welcome Prince Kropotkin (banned 41 years) returning after February Russian Revolution
  • Jun 10 Limburg mine workers strike in the Netherlands

Historic Event

Jun 11 King Alexander assumes the throne of Greece after his father Constantine I abdicates under pressure by allied armies occupying Athens

  • Jun 12 US Secret Service extends protection of the President to include his family
  • Jun 13 World War I: the deadliest German air raid on London during World War I is carried out by Gotha G bombers and results in 162 deaths, including 46 children with 432 injuries
  • Jun 14 1st German air attack on England, 100+ killed in East London
  • Jun 14 General Pershing and his HQ staff arrived in Paris during WW I
  • Jun 15 In order to calm troubled relations with Ireland, the British grant amnesty to the Prisoners taken during the Easter Rising of 1916
  • Jun 16 1st All Russian Congress of the Soviets convenes in Petrograd, Russia [OS Jun 3]
  • Jun 16 49th Belmont: James Butwell aboard Hourless wins in 2:17.8
  • Jun 19 The British Royal Family, which has had strong German ties since George I, renounces its German names and titles and adopts the name of Windsor
  • Jun 21 Hawaiian Red Cross forms
  • Jun 23 Ammunition factory in Boleweg Bohemia explodes, killing 1,000
  • Jun 23 Ernie Shore enters game after Boston Red Sox pitcher Babe Ruth is ejected for throwing punch at umpire; retires all 26 batters he faces to win 4-0 vs Washington Senators; ruled combined no-hitter
  • Jun 23 US National Championship Women's Tennis, Forest Hills, NY: Two-time defending champion Molla Bjurstedt beats Marion Vanderhoef 4-6, 6-0, 6-2
  • Jun 24 Russian Black Sea fleet mutinies at Sebastopol
  • Jun 26 1st US troops arrive in France during World War I

Historic Event

Jun 27 Venizelos takes over as Prime Minister of Greece and severs relations with Central Powers, bringing Greece onside with the Allies in WWI

  • Jun 28 Potato entrepreneurs begins in Amsterdam
  • Jul 1 257cm-mirror for Mount Wilson Observatory mounted
  • Jul 1 Race riots in East St Louis, Illinois (40 to 200 reported killed)
  • Jul 1 Reds' Fred Toney pitches 2 complete games in doubleheader victories over Pirates, allows 3 hits each game, fewest allowed by any pitcher winning 2 MLB games in one day
  • Jul 1 In contravention of state law, Robins (Dodgers) play their 1st Sunday MLB game in Brooklyn; owner and manager arrested but escape with a fine; Robins edge Philadelphia, 3-2
  • Jul 2 Labor disputes lead to race riot in East St Louis, Illinois - Black neighborhood attacked and burned, 40-200 killed and 6000 left homeless
  • Jul 3 Spontaneous demonstration at Tauride Palace, Petrograd

Red October

Jul 4 Troops of the Russian Provisional Government open fire on protesters in Petrograd during the 'July Days' of unrest

HMS Vanguard Disaster

Jul 9 British battleship HMS Vanguard explodes at Scapa Flow (the result of an internal explosion of faulty cordite), killing 804

  • Jul 10 Emma Goldman imprisoned for obstructing draft
  • Jul 12 The Bisbee Deportation occurs as vigilantes kidnap and deport nearly 1,300 striking miners and others from Bisbee, Arizona
  • Jul 13 Vision of Virgin Mary appears to children of Fatima, Portugal
  • Jul 17 Royal Proclamation by King George V changes name of British Royal family from German Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor
  • Jul 20 Pact of Corfu signed: Serbs, Croats & Slovenes form Yugoslavia
  • Jul 20 WW I draft lottery held; #258 is 1st drawn
  • Jul 21 Russian Revolution: Socialist Alexander Kerensky becomes Russian Prime Minister
  • Jul 22 British bomb German lines at Ypres, 4,250,000 grenades
  • Jul 23 Cleveland Metropolitan Park District established in Greater Cleveland, Ohio
  • Jul 24 Trial of Dutch exotic dancer Mata Hari begins in Paris for allegedly spying for Germany and thus causing the deaths of 50,000 soldiers
  • Jul 25 Sir Thomas Whyte introduces the first income tax in Canada as a "temporary" measure (lowest bracket is 4% and highest is 25%).

Historic Event

Jul 26 J. Edgar Hoover gets job in US Department of Justice

  • Jul 27 World War I: Allied troops reach the Yser Canal in the prelude to the Battle of Passchendaele

Historic Event

Jul 28 Silent Parade organised by James Weldon Johnson of 10,000 African-Americans who march on 5th Ave in NYC to protest against lynching

  • Jul 30 Board of Commissioners of Cleveland Metroparks has its 1st meeting
  • Jul 31 World War I: Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres) begins, goes on to cause approximately 500,000 casualties
  • Aug 1 Frank Little, IWW organizer, lynched in Butte, Montana
  • Aug 4 Pravda calls for the killing of all capitalists, priests and officers
  • Aug 5 British troops attack canal of Ypres in Boesinghe, Belgium
  • Aug 5 The entire US National Guard is taken into national service, subject to presidential rather than state control
  • Aug 6 World War I: Battle of Mărăşeşti between the Romanian and German armies begins
  • Aug 9 Canadian Parliament passes the Compulsory Military Act which is opposed by many French Canadians from Québec
  • Aug 13 Milt Stock (2), Fred Luderus (2) and Possum Whitted of the Philadelphia Phillies steal 5 bases in an inning in 3-0 win against Boston at Braves Field
  • Aug 13 A revolt in Catalonia, the province in northeast Spain that has long seen itself as independent
  • Aug 14 China declares war on Germany & Austria

Historic Event

Aug 15 Poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon first met at Craiglockhart War Hospital, Edinburgh, go on to have an profound influence on each other's work (actual date 15-19 Aug)

  • Aug 17 Italy declares war on Turkey
  • Aug 18 Dutch Naval Air Force forms (MLD)
  • Aug 18 A Great Fire in Thessaloniki, Greece destroys 32% of the city leaving 70,000 individuals homeless.

Historic Event

Aug 18 The Queen's Hospital opens to provide pioneering plastic surgery for WWI soldiers, led by Harold Gillies in Sidcup, England

  • Aug 19 Sunday benefit baseball game at NYC's Polo Grounds results in John McGraw & Christy Mathewson's arrest for violating Blue laws
  • Aug 22 Pittsburgh Pirates play 4th straight extra inning game; left fielder Carson Bigbee sets MLB record of 11 at-bats in 22 inning, 6-5 loss to Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field
  • Aug 23 Race riot in Houston Texas (2 blacks & 11 whites killed)
  • Aug 25 US National Championship Men's Tennis, Forest Hills, NY: Robert Lindley Murray beats Nathaniel W. Niles 5-7, 8-6, 6-3, 6-3 for first of 2 straight US singles titles
  • Aug 27 Indians set club record by stealing eight bases in a game
  • Aug 28 Ten suffragists arrested as they picket the White House

Election of Interest

Aug 31 In China, Sun Yat-sen and his supporters' 'rump' parliament establishes a military government and elects Sun Yat-sen as commander-in-Chief

  • Sep 2 Pan-Germanic and nationalist Fatherland Party (Deutsche Vaterlands Partei) formed by former Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz
  • Sep 3 1st night bombing of London by German aircraft
  • Sep 3 German troops overrun Riga, Latvia
  • Sep 3 Grover Cleveland Alexander pitches complete wins in a doubleheader
  • Sep 6 French pilot Georges Guynemer shoots down 54th German aircraft
  • Sep 15 Russia proclaimed a republic by Alexander Kerensky's Provisional government
  • Sep 15 Forbes Magazine founded by B. C. Forbes and Walter Drey in the US

Sports History

Sep 17 Honus Wagner, retires at 43, Pirates retire his #33

  • Sep 20 British assault on Polygon Forest, France