On This Day

Birthdays in History on August 17

  • 1473 Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, son of King Edward IV, one of the princes in the tower who disappeared (d. 1483?)
  • 1578 Francesco Albani, Italian painter (d. 1660)
  • 1586 Johann V Andreae, German vicar and writer (Christenburg)
  • 1607 Pierre de Fermat, French mathematician who needed wider margins (Fermat's Last Theorem) [or 1608], born in Beaumont-de-Lomagne, France (d. 1665)
  • 1629 King John [Jan] III Sobieski of Poland. Victor over the Turks in 1683 (d. 1696)
  • 1720 Charles-Dominique-Joseph Eisen, French engraver and painter (Contes de La Fontaine), born in Valenciennes, France (d. 1778)
  • 1753 Josef Dobrovský, Czech linguist (d. 1828)
  • 1768 Louis Charles Antoine Desaix, French general (d. 1800)

Person of interestDavy Crockett

1786 Davy Crockett, American frontiersman, adventurer and politician, born in Greene County, Tennessee (d. 1836)

Frontiersman/Soldier Davy Crockett
Frontiersman/Soldier
Davy Crockett
  • 1786 Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, mother of Queen Victoria, born in Coburg, Holy Roman Empire (d. 1861)
  • 1794 Prince Alexander of Hohenlohe-Waldenburg-Schillingsfürst, German priest (d. 1849)
  • 1811 Johannes H Scholten, Dutch theologist (Free Will)
  • 1817 Joseph baron Kervyn de Lettenhove, Belgian Internal minister (1870-71)
  • 1819 James Henry Van Alen, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Kinderhook, New York (d. 1886)
  • 1828 Jules Bernard Luys, French neurologist (d. 1897)
  • 1838 Laura de Force Gordon, California lawyer, a prominent suffragette, and 1st woman to run a daily newspaper in the US (Stockton Daily Leader, 1874), born in North East, Pennsylvania (d. 1907)
  • 1839 Thijs [Matthijs] Maris, Dutch painter/etcher
  • 1840 Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, England, writer (Irish Land League)
  • 1841 Luis NF Varela, Brazilian romantic poet

Person of interestMenelik II

1844 Menelik II, Emperor of Ethiopia (1889-1913) and Negus/King of Shewa (1866–89), born in Angolalla, Ethiopia (d. 1913)

Emperor of Ethiopia Menelik II
Emperor of Ethiopia
Menelik II
  • 1851 Henry Drummond, Scottish geologist and evangelist
  • 1856 Violet Paget [Vernon Lee], British author (Satan the master)
  • 1863 Gene Stratton-Porter, American author and naturalist (d. 1924)
  • 1866 Mir Mahboob Ali Khan, 6th Nizam of Hyderabad (d. 1911)
  • 1870 Frederick F. Russell, American army physician, developed 1st successful typhoid fever vaccine, born in Auburn, New York (d. 1960)
  • 1873 John A. Sampson, American gynecologist (d. 1946)
  • 1876 Eric Drummond, British politician and diplomat, 1st Secretary-General of League of Nations (1919-33), born in Fulford, England (d. 1951)
  • 1876 Henri Winkelman, Dutch general, Commander-in-Chief of Dutch Armed Forces during WWII, born in Maastricht, Netherlands (d. 1952)
  • 1885 Clara [G Meijer-] Wichmann, German anarchist and feminist (Wife & society), born in Hamburg, Germany (d. 1922)
  • 1885 Kurt Hiller, German writer, born in Berlin (d. 1972)
  • 1887 Charles I, last emperor of Austria-Hungary (1916-18)

Person of interestMarcus Garvey

1887 Marcus Garvey, Jamaican-born black nationalist who began the back-to-Africa movement among US African Americans, born in Saint Ann's Bay, Jamaica (d. 1940)

Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey
Black Nationalist
Marcus Garvey
  • 1890 Harry Hopkins, US politician, Secretary of Commerce under FDR (Loan & Lease law), born in Sioux City, Iowa (d. 1946)
  • 1890 Stefan Bastyr, Polish aviator (d. 1920)
  • 1894 Erik A Blomberg, Swedish art historian, poet and author (Jorden), born in Stockholm, Sweden (d. 1965)
  • 1894 Johan Polet, Dutch sculptor
  • 1896 Henry P de Vries, Dutch painter/poet (Laws of the Americas)

Person of interestLeslie Groves

1896 Leslie Groves, American army engineer who directed the Manhattan Project and construction of the Pentagon, born in Albany, New York (d. 1970)

US Army Engineer and WWII General Leslie Groves
US Army Engineer and WWII General
Leslie Groves
  • 1898 Gerard Schmook, Flemish librarian/historian/custodian
  • 1904 Mary Cain, American newspaper editor and politician (d. 1984)
  • 1905 John Hay Whitney, American diplomat and publisher (NY Herald Tribune 1961-67), born in Ellsworth, Maine (d. 1982)
  • 1906 Hazel Bishop, American chemist and cosmetics manufacturer, born in Hoboken, New Jersey (d. 1998)
  • 1906 Marcello Caetano, last Portuguese prime minister of the Estado Novo regime (1968-1974), born in Graça, Lisbon, Portugal (d. 1980)
  • 1907 Roger Peyrefitte, French writer (Special Friendships), born in Castres, Tarn (d. 2000)
  • 1910 Johan Manusama, Moluccan politician, born in Banjarmasin, Indonesia (d. 1995)
  • 1911 Frederik de Merode, Belgian prince (d. 1958)
  • 1911 Jan Lode Cantens, Flemish dramatist (God's Murderer)
  • 1912 Edgar Fernhout, Dutch painter, son of Charley Toorop
  • 1913 Mark Felt, American FBI official and Watergate secret informant known as "Deep Throat", born in Twin Falls, Idaho (d. 2008)
  • 1914 Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr, son of FDR/(Rep-D-NY, 1949-55)
  • 1917 Safa Khulusi, Iraqi writer and historian, born in Baghdad (d. 1995)
  • 1920 Georgia Gibbs, singer (Ballin the Jack, Kiss of Fire), born in Worcester, Massachusetts
  • 1921 Geoffery Elton, German born British historiographer, born in Tübingen, Germany (d. 1994)
  • 1922 Paul Wiens, German writer, born in Königsberg, East Prussia (d. 1982)
  • 1923 Larry Rivers [Grossberg], American painter (Wash crossing Delaware-1953), born in NYC, New York
  • 1923 Chaleo Yoovidhya, Thai co-creator of Red Bull energy drink, born in Phichit, Thailand (d. 2012)
  • 1924 Helen Wallis, English cartographer and librarian (British Museum), born in Barnet, England (d. 1995)
  • 1924 John A Emmens, Dutch art historian and poet (Kunst & Vliegwerk) (d. 1971)
  • 1924 Evan Connell, American author (The Patriot), born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 2013)
  • 1925 John Hawkes, American writer (2nd Skin), born in Stamford, Connecticut (d. 1998)
  • 1925 John Howard Purnell, Welsh chemist (Royal Society of Chemistry), born in Rhondda, South Wales (d. 1996)

Person of interestJiang Zemin

1926 Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (1989-2002) and President of the People's Republic of China (1993-2003), born in Yangzhou, Jiangsu

Paramount Leader of China Jiang Zemin
Paramount Leader of China
Jiang Zemin
  • 1927 Bernard Cornfeld, Romanian American financier (Fund of Funds), born in Istanbul, Turkey (d. 1995)

Person of interestFrancis Gary Powers

1929 Francis Gary Powers, American spy captured by the USSR after his U-2 spy was shot plane in 1959, born in Jenkins, Kentucky (d. 1977)

Pilot and Spy Francis Gary Powers
Pilot and Spy
Francis Gary Powers
  • 1930 James Gerald Gulliver, Scottish businessman (Argyll Foods), born in Campbeltown, Scotland (d. 1996)

Person of interestTed Hughes

1930 Ted Hughes, English Poet and translator (British Poet Laureate 1984-98), born in Mytholmroyd, Yorkshire (d. 1998)

Person of interestV. S. Naipaul

1932 V.S. Naipaul, British novelist (Middle Passage), born in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago (d. 2018)

Novelist V. S. Naipaul
Novelist
V. S. Naipaul
  • 1933 Eugene F. Kranz, American NASA Flight Director (Gemini and Apollo programs)
  • 1938 Abu Bakar Bashir, Indonesian Muslim cleric, born in Jombang, Dutch East Indies
  • 1938 Theodoros Pangalos, Greek politician, born in Eleusis, Greece
  • 1940 David Price, American politician, (Rep-D-North Carolina 1987-95, 1997-), born in Erwin, Tennessee

Person of interestIbrahim Babangida

1941 Ibrahim Babangida, Nigerian Head of State (1985–1993), born in Northern Region, British Nigeria

General and President of Nigeria Ibrahim Babangida
General and President of Nigeria
Ibrahim Babangida

Person of interestLarry Ellison

1944 Larry Ellison, American businessman (billionaire founder of Oracle Corporation), born in Manhattan, New York

Entrepreneur and Founder of Oracle Larry Ellison
Entrepreneur and Founder of Oracle
Larry Ellison
  • 1946 Patrick Manning, Trinidad and Tobago politician, Prime Minister (1991-95, 2001-10), born in San Fernando (d. 2016)
  • 1947 Francine Hughes Wilson, American domestic abuse victim "The Burning Bed" who changed pubic perceptions, born in Stockbridge, Michigan (d. 2017)
  • 1949 Norm Coleman, American politician (Senator(R)-Minnesota 2003-09), born in New York City
  • 1952 Kathryn C. Thornton, American astronaut (STS 33, 49, 61, 73), born in Montgomery, Alabama
  • 1952 Thomas J Hennen, American astronaut (STS 44), born in Albany, Georgia
  • 1952 Dr. Mario Theissen, German F1 team principal (BMW Sauber)
  • 1953 Robert Thirsk, Canadian astronaut (STS 78), born in New Westminster, British Columbia
  • 1953 Judith Regan, American book publisher, born in Massachusetts
  • 1955 Richard Hilton, American heir, father of Paris and Nicky Hilton, born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1959 David Koresh, American cult leader (Branch Davidians sect), born in Houston, Texas (d. 1993)
  • 1959 Jonathan Franzen, American author (The Corrections), born in Western Springs, Illinois
  • 1971 Shaun Rehn, Australian Rules footballer, born in Arno Bay, Australia
  • 1974 Nicola Kraus, American novelist, born in New York City
  • 1984 Garrett Wolfe, American professional footbal player, born in Chicago, Illinois