Birthdays in History on December 17

  • 1239 Kujō Yoritsugu, 5th shōgun of the Kamakura shogunate of Japan (d. 1256)
  • 1267 Emperor Go-Uda, 91st Emperor of Japan (d. 1324)
  • 1554 Ernest of Bavaria, Prince-elector-archbishop of the Archbishopric of Cologne, born in Munich (d. 1612)
  • 1619 Prince Rupert of the Rhine, German soldier, Commander in the English Civil War and first Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, born in Prague (d. 1682)
  • 1632 Anthony Wood, English antiquarian, born in Oxford, England (d. 1695)
  • 1685 Thomas Tickell, English writer and poet, born in Bridekirk, Cockermouth, England (d. 1740)
  • 1706 Émilie du Châtelet, French mathematician and physicist (Institutions de Physique; translation of Newton's Principia), born in Paris, Kingdom of France (d. 1749)
  • 1706 Gabrielle Chôtelet [La belle Emilie], French writer (Voltaire), born in Paris (d. 1749)
  • 1734 Maria I of Portugal, Queen of Portugal and the Algarves, born in Ribeira Palace, Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal (d. 1816)
  • 1734 William Floyd, American soldier who signed the US Declaration of Independence, born in Brookhaven, Province of New York (d. 1821)
  • 1778 Humphry Davy, English chemist, studied electro-chemistry, invented the Davy lamp), born in Penzance, Cornwall, England (d. 1829)
  • 1796 Thomas Chandler Haliburton, Canadian novelist (The Clockmaker; or, The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick of Slickville), born in Windsor, Canada (d. 1865)
  • 1797 Joseph Henry, American scientist and pioneer of electromagnetism, born in Albany, New York (d. 1878)
  • 1800 Gergely Czuczor, Hungarian-Czech poet and translator (Great Hung dictionary), born in Andód (d. 1866)
  • 1807 John Greenleaf Whittier, American poet (Snow-bound), born in Haverhill, Massachusetts (d. 1892)
  • 1819 Samuel Jones, American Major General (Confederate Army), born in Powhatan County, Virginia (d. 1887)
  • 1820 Frederick Tracy Dent, American General (Union Army), born in St. Louis, Missouri (d. 1892)
  • 1821 Frederick West Lander, American poet and Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Salem, Massachusetts (d. 1862)
  • 1824 John Kerr, Scottish physicist and pioneer in the field of electro-optics (electro-visually Kerr-effect), born in Ardrossan, Scotland (d. 1907)
  • 1824 Manning Ferguson Force, American lawyer, judge and Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Washington, D.C. (d. 1899)
  • 1824 Thomas Starr King, American Unitarian clergyman (Christianity & Humanity), born in New York City (d. 1864)
  • 1830 Jules de Goncourt, French novelist (Germinie), wrote with his brother Edmond de Goncourt, born in Paris (d. 1870)
  • 1833 James T. Holtzclaw, American Brigadier General (Confederate Army), born in McDonough, Georgia (d. 1893)
  • 1835 Alexander Agassiz, American biologist and geologist, born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland (d. 1910)
  • 1842 Marius Sophus Lie, Norwegian mathematician (continous groups)
  • 1847 Émile Faguet, French writer and critic (d. 1916)

Émile RouxÉmile Roux (1853-1933)

French physician, bacteriologist, Immunologist who developed the 1st diphtheria vaccine and co-founded the Pasteur Institute, born in Confolens, France

  • 1859 Paul César Helleu, French artist (d. 1927)
  • 1873 Ford Madox Ford [Hueffer], British novelist (The Good Soldier), critic, and journal editor (The Transatlantic), born in Merton, Surrey, England (d. 1939)

Mackenzie KingMackenzie King (1874-1950)

10th Prime Minister of Canada (1921-30, and 1935-48), born in Berlin, Ontario

  • 1881 Jan Sluyters, Dutch painter (Moderne Kunstkring), born in s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands (d. 1957)
  • 1887 Hermine Reuss, Empress of Germany and Duchess of Bohemia (d. 1947)
  • 1887 Josef Lada, Czech painter (d. 1957)
  • 1893 Erwin Piscator, German stage director (Der Stellvertreter), born in Greifenstein-Ulm, German Empire (d. 1966)
  • 1894 David Butler, American director (April in Paris, Calamity Jane), born in San Francisco, California
  • 1894 Hans Henny Jahnn, German playwright, born in Stellingen, Germany (d. 1959)
  • 1894 Hans Kramers, Dutch theoretical physicist (quantum mechanics), born in Rotterdam, Netherlands (d. 1952)
  • 1894 Willem Schermerhorn, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (1945-46), born in Akersloot, Netherlands (d. 1977)
  • 1900 Mary Cartwright, English mathematician, born in Aynho, United Kingdom (d. 1998)
  • 1902 Albert Drach, Austrian-Jewish writer, born in Vienna (d. 1995)
  • 1903 Erskine Caldwell, American novelist (Tobacco Road, God's Little Acre), born in Moreland, Georgia (d. 1987)
  • 1904 Paul Cadmus, American etcher and painter (Sailors & Floozies), born in NYC, New York (d. 1999)
  • 1905 Érico Lopes Veríssimo, Brazilian writer (d. 1975)
  • 1905 Simo Häyhä, Finnish sniper (d. 2002)

Willard LibbyWillard Libby (1908-1980)

American chemist who developed radiocarbon dating (Nobel 1960), born in Grand Valley, Colorado

  • 1916 Penelope Fitzgerald, English writer (d. 2000)
  • 1916 Toon Hermans, Dutch poet (Kolderliedjes), born in Sittard, Netherlands (d. 2000)
  • 1920 Kenneth E. Iverson, Canadian computer scientist (d. 2004)
  • 1922 Alan Voorhees, American engineer and urban planner (d. 2005)
  • 1923 Jaroslav Pelikan, American historian (d. 2006)
  • 1926 Jeremy Brooks, English writer (Jampot Smith), born in Southampton (d. 1994)
  • 1928 Eli Beeding, Sherman, TX, Air Force Captain and rocket test pilot, (d. 2013)
  • 1928 Marilyn Beck, newspaper columnist

William SafireWilliam Safire (1929-2009)

American political columnist (NY Times) and speech writer (Nixon), born in NYC, New York

Bob GuccioneBob Guccione (1930-2010)

American publisher (Penthouse, Omni), born in Brooklyn, New York

  • 1931 Yvonne Keuls [Bamberg], Dutch writer (Jan Rap & Co)
  • 1933 Paul Snoek [Edm Schietekat], Belgian poet
  • 1936 Frank Martinus Arion [F Efraim M], Antilles, writer (Double Play)

Pope FrancisPope Francis (85 years old)

1936 Catholic Pope (2013-) 1st Jesuit pope, 1st from the Americas and 1st non-European pope since Syrian Gregory III in 741, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • 1937 Calvin Waller, US Army general (d. 1996)
  • 1937 John Kennedy Toole, American novelist (d. 1969)
  • 1937 Kerry Packer, Australian businessman (d. 2005)
  • 1939 Charles V. Bush, African-American pioneer (1st African-American US Air Force Academy Graduate and US Supreme Court Page), (d. 2012)
  • 1940 Kåre Valebrokk, Norwegian journalist

Muhammadu BuhariMuhammadu Buhari (79 years old)

1942 Nigerian military leader and politician (President of Nigeria 2015-), born in Daura, Katsina State

  • 1944 Jack L[aurence] Chalker, American sci-fi author (Saga of Well World)
  • 1945 Chris Matthews, American journalist
  • 1945 Jacqueline Wilson, English author
  • 1946 Simon Bates, British disk jockey and radio presenter (BBC Radio 1, Classic FM), born in Birmingham, England
  • 1950 Laurence F. Johnson, American educator
  • 1952 Hans Alders, Dutch minister of environment (PvdA)
  • 1954 Kenneth Frazier, American executive (1st African American to head major pharmaceutical company - Merck), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1956 Amado Carrillo Fuentes, Mexican drug lord (Juárez Cartel), born in Guamuchilito, Mexico (d. 1997)
  • 1966 Christopher A. Wray, American lawyer, F.B.I. Director (2017-), born in NYC, New York
  • 1966 Kristiina Ojuland, Estonian politician
  • 1968 Andrey Golovatiuk, Russian politician
  • 1969 Chuck Liddell, American mixed martial artist
  • 1970 Benedictine, a St. Bernard dog who grew to become the heaviest known dog (137 kg)
  • 1980 Eli Pariser, American political activist (
  • 1982 Craig Kielburger, Canadian labour activist
  • 1982 Ryan Moats, National Football League runningback
  • 1985 Ryuichi Ogata, member of Japanese boy band w-inds.
  • 1987 Chelsea [born Bradley] Manning, US soldier who released WikiLeaks, born in Crescent, Oklahoma
  • 2007 James Windsor, Viscount Severn, son of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex