Birthdays in History on April 17

  • 1278 Michael IX Palaeologus, co-ruling Byzantine Emperor (1295-1320), eldest son of Andronikos II Palaiologos and Anna of Hungary, born in Constantinople, Byzantine Empire (d. 1320)
  • 1539 Tobias Stimmer, Swiss painter (Strasbourg astronomical clock), born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (d. 1584)
  • 1573 Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, born in Munich, Germany (d. 1651)
  • 1586 John Ford, English dramatist ('Tis Pity She's a Whore), born in Ilsington, Devon, England (d. 1639)
  • 1598 Giovanni Riccioli, Italian astronomer (Almagestum Novum), born in Ferrara, Italy (d. 1671)

Marguerite BourgeoysMarguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700)

French founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame (first Canadian saint), born in Troyes, France

  • 1622 Henry Vaughan, English poet (Silex Scintillans), born in Newton St. Bridget, Brecknockshire, Wales (d. 1695)
  • 1644 Abraham Jansz Storck, Dutch painter, baptized in Amsterdam (d. 1708)
  • 1666 François Valentijn, Dutch vicar and writer (Old and New East-India), born in Dordrecht, Netherlands (d. 1727)
  • 1676 Frederik I, van Hessen Kassel, King of Sweden (1720-51), born in Kassel, Germany (d. 1751)
  • 1699 Robert Blair, Scottish poet (The Grave), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1746)
  • 1710 Henry Erskine, 10th Earl of Buchan, British Freemason (d. 1767)
  • 1734 Taksin, King of Siam (1767-82), born in Ayutthaya, Thailand (d. 1782)
  • 1741 Samuel Chase, American judge (signed US Declaration of Independence), born in Somerset County, Maryland (d. 1811)
  • 1750 François de Neufchâteau, French statesman and intellectual figure, born in Saffais, France (d. 1828)
  • 1756 Dheera Chinnamalai, Indian Polygar (governor) and freedom fighter, born in Melapalayam, Kongu Nadu (now Tamil, India) (d. 1805)
  • 1788 Joseph Gilbert Totten, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in New Haven, Connecticut (d. 1864)
  • 1794 Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, German botanist and explorer, born in Erlangen, Germany (d. 1868)
  • 1798 Étienne Bobillier, French mathematician, born in Lons-le-Saunier, France (d. 1840)
  • 1809 Philip St. George Cocke, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), born in Bremo Bluff, Virginia (d. 1861)
  • 1813 Henry Washington Benham, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Cheshire, Connecticut (d. 1884)
  • 1816 Thomas Hazlehurst, English Methodist chapel builder, born in Runcorn, Cheshire, England (d. 1876)
  • 1827 Frans Baeckelmans, Flemish architect (St Amanduskerk, Antwerp), born in Antwerp, Belgium (d. 1896)

J. P. MorganJ. P. Morgan (1837-1913)

Sr. [John Pierpont], American financier and banker (General Electric, US Steel Corporation, AT&T), born in Hartford, Connecticut

  • 1842 Maurice Rouvier, French statesman and Prime Minister of France (1905–06), born in Aix-en-Provence, France (d. 1911)
  • 1845 Isabel Barrows, American editor and penologist (Conference on Negro Question), born in Irasburg, Vermont (d. 1913)
  • 1849 William R. Day, American diplomat and Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, born in Ravenna, Ohio (d. 1923)
  • 1863 Augustus Edward Hough Love, English mathematician (theory of elasticity), born in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England (d. 1940)
  • 1865 Ursula Ledóchowska, Polish-Austrian Catholic saint and foundress of the Ursulines of the Agonizing Heart of Jesus, born in Loosdorf, Austrian Empire (d. 1939)
  • 1866 Ernest Starling, British physiologist (Frank-Starling law of the heart), born in London (d. 1927)
  • 1868 Karel Rudolph Gallas, Dutch lexicographer (French Dictionary), born in Amsterdam (d. 1956)
  • 1869 Johannes Marinus Meulenhoff, Dutch publisher, born in Zwolle, Netherlands (d. 1939)
  • 1870 Ray Stannard Baker, American journalist (Puliter Prize 1940), born in Lansing, Michigan (d. 1946)
  • 1876 Ian Hay [John Hay Beith], British novelist and playwright (Pip, Carrying On), born in Rusholme, Manchester (d. 1952)
  • 1877 Matsudaira Tsuneo, Japanese diplomat, born in Tokyo, Japan (d. 1949)
  • 1881 Anton Wildgans, Austrian poet and playwright (Armut), born in Vienna (d. 1932)
  • 1884 Leo Frank, American convict (murder of a 13-year-old employee), born in Cuero, Texas (d. 1915)
  • 1885 Isak Dinesen [Karen Blixen-Finecke], Danish baroness and writer (Out of Africa), born in Rungsted, Zealand, Denmark (d. 1962)
  • 1892 Jean Haesaert, Flemish lawyer and sociologist, born in Lokeren, Belgium (d. 1961)
  • 1897 Antonius Coolen, Dutch author (Village by the River), born in Wijlre, Netherlands (d. 1961)

Thornton WilderThornton Wilder (1897-1975)

American playwright and writer (Bridge of San Luis Rey), born in Madison, Wisconsin

  • 1899 Vincent Wigglesworth, British entomologist (Metamorphosis hormones), born in Kirkham, Lancashire, England (d. 1994)
  • 1901 George Keyt, Sri Lankan painter, born in Ceylon (d. 1993)
  • 1902 Jaime Torres Bodet, Mexican politician, 2nd Director-General of the UNESCO (1948-52), born in Mexico City, Mexico (d. 1974)
  • 1906 Sidney Garfield, American physician and pioneer of health maintenance organizations (Kaiser Permanente), born in Elizabeth, New Jersey (d. 1984)
  • 1909 Alain Poher, French politician and President of the European Parliament (1966-69), born in Ablon-sur-Seine, France (d. 1996)
  • 1909 Humphrey Sims Moore, British pacifist and journalist (founder of Peace News), born in Samoa (d. 1995)
  • 1911 Hervé Bazin, French writer (Head Against the Wall), born in Angers, Maine-et-Loire, France (d. 1996)
  • 1912 Isador Caplan, British lawyer and Aldeburgh Festival pioneer, born in Blackpool, England (d. 1995)
  • 1914 George Davis, American art director (20th Century Fox), born in Kokomo, Indiana (d. 1984)
  • 1916 Ryoei Saito, Japanese businessman (Daishowa Paper Manufacturing), born in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan (d. 1996)

Sirimavo BandaranaikeSirimavo Bandaranaike (1916-2000)

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka (1960-65, 1970-77 and 1994-2000) and 1st female head of state, born in Ratnapura, British Ceylon

  • 1917 Bill Clements, American politician, Governor of Texas (1987-91), born in Dallas, Texas (d. 2011)
  • 1919 Gilles Lamontagne, Canadian politician, 24th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec (1984-90), born in Montreal, Quebec (d. 2016)
  • 1919 Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado, Cuban communist politician and 14th President of Cuba (1959-76), born in Cienfuegos, Cuba (d. 1983)
  • 1920 Bengt Anderberg, Swedish poet and writer (Kain), born in Gothenburg, Sweden (d. 2008)
  • 1920 Joan Warburton, Scottish painter, born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1996)
  • 1923 Lindsay Anderson, British director (Thursday's Children), born in Bangalore, India (d. 1994)
  • 1923 Lloyd Biggle Jr., American sci-fi author (Silence is Deadly), born in Waterloo, Iowa (d. 2002)
  • 1923 Norman Potter, English cabinetmaker, designer and writer, born in London (d. 1995)
  • 1924 Althea Simmons, American human rights activist and chief lobbyist (NAACP), born in Shreveport, Louisiana (d. 1990)
  • 1924 Patrick Sergeant, British investor and founder (Euromoney Publications)
  • 1925 John Yates, Anglican bishop (Lambeth England), born in Burslem, Staffordshire
  • 1926 Arthur Hockaday, Director-General (Commonwealth War Graves Commission), born in Plymouth
  • 1928 Cynthia Ozick, American author (Pagan Rabbi & Other Stories), born in NYC, New York
  • 1931 John Chalstrey, 668th Lord Mayor of London
  • 1931 Joyce Molyneux, British chef and author
  • 1931 Ruth Etchells, English poet and principal (St John's College-Durham), born in Liverpool
  • 1932 Han J. A. Hansen [Jansen], Dutch journalist (King Comes!)
  • 1937 Brian Sedgemore, British MP (Labour Party 1974-79 and 1983-2005), born in Exmouth, Devon (d. 2015)
  • 1937 Eduard Stepanov, Russian cosmonaut, born in Werkhopeniye, Russia (d. 2015)
  • 1937 Ferdinand Piëch, Austrian-German automotive engineer and executive (Volkswagen Group), born in Vienna, Austria
  • 1938 Ben Barnes, American politician (36th Lieutenant Governor of Texas), born in Gorman, Texas
  • 1938 David Dilks, British historian and vice-chancellor (Hull U), born in Foleshill, Coventry
  • 1938 Kerry Wendell Thornley, Co-founder of Discordianism, born in California (d. 1998)
  • 1941 Max Stafford-Clark, English artistic director (Royal Court Theatre), born in Cambridge, England
  • 1945 Vincent van der Burg, Dutch scientist, lawyer, and politician (CDA), born in Zeist, Netherlands
  • 1952 Arkan [Željko Ražnatović], Serbian paramilitary leader, born in Brežice, Slovenia (d. 2000)
  • 1956 Kaye Young, American WBL forward (NY Stars, NJ Stars), born in Bunn, North Carolina
  • 1956 Pillow [Theresa Jean Bell], American bodybuilder (Gold Classic 1983)
  • 1957 Nick Hornby, English writer (High Fidelity), born in Redhill, Surrey
  • 1959 Peter Doig, Scottish painter (White Canoe), born in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • 1961 Frank J. Christensen, American labor leader, born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1964 Raye Hollitt, American bodybuilder (American Gladiators), born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • 1965 Yoshiki Kuroda, Japanese urban planner and Sayako Kuroda's husband, born in Tokyo
  • 1967 Birgitta Jonsdottir, Icelandic politician, Head of the Pirate Party, born in Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 1968 Adam McKay, American director (The Big Short, Vice), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1968 Prince Maurits of Orange-Nassau, van Vollenhoven, eldest son of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and Pieter van Vollenhoven, born in Utrecht, Netherlands