On This Day

Birthdays in History on August 20

  • 1377 Shahrukh Mirza, Ruler of Persia and Transoxonia (1405-47), born in Samarkand, Uzbekistan (d. 1447)
  • 1517 Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, Spanish cardinal and viceroy of Naples (1571-75), born in Besançon, France (d. 1586)
  • 1526 Peter Opmeer, church historian and humanist (Historia Martyrum) (d. 1595)
  • 1625 Thomas Corneille, French playwright (Timocrates), born in Rouen, France (d. 1709)
  • 1632 Louis Bourdaloue, French Jesuit preacher, born in Bourges, France (d. 1704)
  • 1637 Cornelis Van Aerssen, Dutch governor of Suriname (1638-88), born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1688)
  • 1665 Bernardus Smijtegelt, Dutch vicar (Gekrookte Reed), born in Goes, Netherlands (d. 1739)
  • 1702 Stepan F graaf Apraksin, Russian general-fieldmarshal (d. 1758)
  • 1710 Thomas Simpson, English mathematician (rule of Simpson), born in Sutton Cheney, Leicestershire (d. 1761)
  • 1719 Charles-François de Broglie, French soldier and diplomat, marquis de Ruffec, born in Paris (d. 1791)
  • 1719 Christian Mayer, Czech Catholic priest and astronomer, born in Modřice, Moravia (d. 1783)
  • 1764 Charles F Bentinck, Dutch minister of Colonies
  • 1778 Bernardo O'Higgins, Chillán, Chile, South American independence leader who freed Chile from Spanish rule (1817-1823 Supreme Director of Chile)
  • 1779 Jöns Jakob Berzelius, Swedish chemist, born in Linköping, Sweden (d. 1848)

Person of interestFabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen

1779 Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, Russian explorer who discovered the continent of Antarctica, born in Osel, Estonia (d. 1852)

  • 1785 Oliver Hazard Perry, American Naval hero (Battle of Lake Erie), born in South Kingstown, Rhode Island (d. 1819)

  • 1799 Heinrich von Gagern, German liberal politician, born in Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany (d. 1880)
  • 1802 Cadwalader Ringgold, American Commander (Union Navy), born in Washington County, Maryland (d. 1867)
  • 1811 Gilman Marston, American Brigadier General (Union Army) and politician (R-NH), born in Orford, New Hampshire (d. 1890)
  • 1824 Absalom Baird, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Rockland, Maine (d. 1905)
  • 1832 Thaddeus S. C. Lowe, American aeronaut and inventor, born in Jefferson Mills, Coos County, New Hampshire (d. 1913)

Person of interestBenjamin Harrison

1833 Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President of the United States (Republican: 1889-93), born in North Bend, Ohio (d. 1901)

23rd US President Benjamin Harrison
23rd US President
Benjamin Harrison
  • 1842 Juliaan de Vriendt, Flemish painter, born in Ghent, Belgium (d. 1935)
  • 1845 Albert Chmielowski, Polish Catholic Saint, born in Igołomia, Małopolskie, Congress Poland (d. 1916)
  • 1847 Bolesław Prus, Polish writer (The Outpost), born in Hrubieszów, Congress Poland (d. 1912)
  • 1855 Innokenti F Annenski, Russian poet and interpreter (Laodania), born in Omsk, Russian Empire (d. 1909) [NS Sept 1]
  • 1856 Jakub Bart-Ćišinski, Sorbian writer, born in Panschwitz-Kuckau, Germany (d. 1909)
  • 1860 Raymond Poincaré, French president and Prime Minister (1912), born in Bar-le-Duc, France (d. 1934)
  • 1873 Eliel Saarinen, Finnish-American architect (GM Tech Institute, Mich), born in Rantasalmi, Finland (d. 1950)
  • 1881 Edgar Albert Guest, English-American poet and newspaperman, born in Birmingham, England (d. 1959)
  • 1885 Dino Campana, Italian poet (Canti orfici), born in Marradi, Italy (d. 1932)
  • 1886 Paul Tillich, German-American theologist (Die sozial Entscheidung), born in Starzeddel, Brandenburg, Germany (d. 1965)
  • 1890 H. P. Lovecraft, American horror writer (At the Mountains of Madness, Weird Tales), born in Providence, Rhode Island (d. 1937)
  • 1897 Tarjei Vesaas, Norwegian poet and author (Det Store Spelet), born in Vinje, Telemark, Norway (d. 1970)
  • 1898 Gerard Kraus, Dutch psychiatrist and director Santpoort (Insanity in Netherlands) (d. 1956)
  • 1898 Leopold Infeld, Polish nuclear physicist (Whom the God's Love), born in Kraków, Poland (d. 1968)
  • 1898 Vilhelm Moberg, Swedish author (The Emigrants) and historian, born in Moshultamåla, Sweden (d. 1973)
  • 1899 Hanns Lilje, German Lutheran bishop and antifascist (Church und Welt), born in Hanover, Germany (d. 1977)

Person of interestSalvatore Quasimodo

1901 Salvatore Quasimodo, Italian poet, critic and translator (Nobel 1959), born in Modica, Italy (d. 1968)

Author/Poet Salvatore Quasimodo
Author/Poet
Salvatore Quasimodo
  • 1902 Ernest Marke, Sierra Leonean seaman and club owner (d. 1995)
  • 1904 Jaap [Jacobus Albertus Wilhelmus] Burger, Dutch politician and chairman (PvdA), born in Willemstad, Netherlands (d. 1986)

  • 1905 Jean Gebser, German-born author, linguist, and poet, born in Poznań, Poland (d. 1973)
  • 1907 Stanley Devon, British photographer (British press photographer of the year 1948, 50) (d. 1995)
  • 1908 John Reginald Bevins, British Conservative politician, born in Liverpool, Lancashire (d. 1996)
  • 1908 Kingsley Davis, American sociologist and demographer (coined the term "population explosion"), born in Tuxedo, Texas (d. 1997)
  • 1910 Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American architect (IBM Building, MIT Chapel), born in Kirkkonummi, Finland (d. 1961)
  • 1912 Philip Kapleau, American Zen teacher and founder (Rochester Zen Center in New Haven), born in New Haven, Connecticut (d. 2004)

Person of interestJacqueline Susann

1918 Jacqueline Susann, American author (Valley of the Dolls), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1974)

  • 1922 Tetsuzo Akutsu, Japanese surgeon who built the first artificial heart, born in Japan (d. 2007)
  • 1931 Bernhard "Bernd" Becher, German artist and photographer (industrialist builder 19th/20th), born in Siegen, Germany (d. 2007)
  • 1932 Vasily Aksyonov, Soviet-Russian novelist (The Burn), born in Kazan, Soviet Union (d. 2009)
  • 1933 Don Fuqua, American Democratic politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida), born in Jacksonville, Florida
  • 1933 George J. Mitchell, American lawyer and politician (Senate Majority Leader 1989-95), born in Waterville, Maine
  • 1935 Ron Paul, American author and politician (3 times presidential candidate, 1988, 2008, 12), born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • 1936 Hideki Shirakawa, Japanese chemist (Nobel Prize 2000 - discovery and development of conductive polymers), born in Tokyo
  • 1937 Corrie Moret-de Jong, Dutch politician (CDA)
  • 1938 Jean-Loup Chrétien, French cosmonaut (T-6, TM-7, STS 86), born in La Rochelle, France
  • 1938 Alain Vivien, French Socialist Party politician (MILS, French Mission Interministérielle pour la Lutte contre les Sectes Chairman 1998-2002), born in Melun, France
  • 1940 Rubén Hinojosa, American politician (Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas), born in Edcouch, Texas
  • 1941 William H. Gray III, American politician (Rep-D-PA, 1978-1991), born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (d. 2013)

Person of interestSlobodan Milosevic

1941 Slobodan Milosevic, President of Serbia (1991-97) and Yugoslavia (1997-2000), born in Pozarevac

President of Serbia and Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic
President of Serbia and Yugoslavia
Slobodan Milosevic

Person of interestRajiv Gandhi

1944 Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister of India (1984-89), born in Bombay, British India (d.1991)

Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi
Indian Prime Minister
Rajiv Gandhi
  • 1946 N.R. Narayana Murthy, Indian industrialist and co-founder (Infosys), born in Shidlaghatta, Kolar district, India
  • 1947 James Pankow, American rocker (Chicago), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1951 Greg Bear, American sci-fi author (2 Hugos, Eon, Eternity), born in San Diego, California
  • 1951 Svetlana Oktyabrevna Omelchenko, Russian cosmonaut
  • 1954 Tawn Mastrey, American disc jockey and music video producer (d. 2007)
  • 1960 Sally Yates, American lawyer and Acting Attorney General (Jan 2017), born in Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1961 Greg Egan, Australian science fiction and hard science author, born in Perth, Australia
  • 1975 Marianne Garvey, American reporter
  • 1975 Marcus Mastin, American author, born in Carthage, New York
  • 1994 Miracle the white buffalo, an extremely rare white, non-albino buffalo calf, born in Janesville Wisconsin
  • 2003 Prince Gabriel of Belgium, second child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, born in Erasmus Hospital, Anderlecht, Brussels, Belgium