On This Day

Birthdays in History on May 17

  • 1155 Jien, Japanese poet and historian, born in Kyoto (d. 1225)
  • 1443 Edmund, Earl of Rutland, brother of Kings Edward IV of England and Richard III of England, born in Rouen, Normandy (d. 1460)
  • 1451 Engelbert II, Earl of Nassau-Dillenburg-Dietz and viceroy of Luxembourg, born in Breda, Netherlands (d. 1504)

Person of interestAlbert of Prussia

1490 Albert of Prussia, 1st Duke of Prussia, born in Ansbach (d. 1568)

Duke of Prussia Albert of Prussia
Duke of Prussia
Albert of Prussia
  • 1551 Martin Delrio, Flemish theologian and occultist, born in Antwerp (d. 1608)
  • 1576 Ferdinand van Apshoven the Older, Flemish painter, baptized in Antwerp
  • 1628 Ferdinand Charles, Archduke of Austria and Regent of the Tyrol, born in Innsbruck, Austria (d. 1662)
  • 1682 Bartholomew Roberts, Welsh pirate (raided ships off the Americas and West Africa between 1719-1722), born in Puncheston, Pembrokeshire, Wales (d. 1722)
  • 1706 Andreas Felix von Oefele, German historian and librarian, born in Munich (d. 1780)
  • 1718 Robert Darcy, 4th Earl of Holderness, English diplomat and politician (d. 1778)
  • 1741 John Penn, American attorney (signed US Declaration of Independence), born in Port Royal, Caroline County, Virginia (d. 1788)
  • 1743 Seth Warner, American revolutionary leader, born in Roxbury, Connecticut (d. 1784)

Person of interestEdward Jenner

1749 Edward Jenner, English physician, father of immunology, pioneered smallpox vaccinations, born in Berkeley (d. 1823)

Physician and Scientist Edward Jenner
Physician and Scientist
Edward Jenner
  • 1758 John St Aubyn, British fossil collector, born in Golden Square, London (d. 1839)
  • 1768 Caroline of Brunswick, Queen Consort of King George IV (1820-21), born in Brunswick, Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Holy Roman Empire (d. 1821)
  • 1768 Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey, English general, born in London (d. 1854)

  • 1794 Anna Brownell Jameson, Anglo-Irish historian and writer (Loves of the Poets), born in Dublin, Ireland (d. 1860)
  • 1796 Martinus Niewindt, Dutch Bishop of Curacao (advocate for fair treatment and abolition of slavery), born in Amsterdam (d. 1860)
  • 1803 Robert Smith Surtees, British novelist (Jorrocks’s Jaunts and Jollities), born in The Riding, England (d. 1864)
  • 1804 Ottho Gerhard Heldring, Dutch preacher and reformer (Heldring Institutions), born in Zevenaar, Netherlands (d. 1876)
  • 1812 Joseph Warren Revere, American Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 1880)
  • 1821 Sebastian Kneipp, Bavarian priest and naturopathist (known for "Kneipp Cure" form of hydrotherapy), born in Stephansried, Germany (d. 1897)
  • 1836 Virginie Loveling, Flemish writer (Sophie) and poet, born in Nevele, East Flanders, Belgium (d. 1923)
  • 1836 Sir Norman Lockyer, English physicist, co-founder of helium gas, founder and editor of "Nature" magazine, born in Rugby, Warwickshire (d. 1920)
  • 1844 Julius Wellhausen, German biblical scholar (analysis of the structure and dating of the Pentateuch), born in Hamelin, Hanover, Germany (d. 1918)
  • 1846 Edmund Bishop, English Roman Catholic historian and Secretary of Thomas Carlyle, born in Totnes, England (d. 1917)
  • 1867 Gerrit Mannoury, Dutch mathematician and philosopher, born in Wormerveer, Netherlands (d. 1956)
  • 1868 Horace Elgin Dodge, American automobile manufacturing pioneer (co-founder of Dodge Brothers Company), born in Niles, Michigan (d. 1920)
  • 1871 Henk Bremmer, Dutch art historian (Modern Kunstwerken), born in Leiden, Netherlands (d. 1956)
  • 1873 Dorothy M. Richardson, English novelist (Pilgrimage), born in Abington, Berkshire (d. 1957)
  • 1873 Henri Barbusse, French novelist (Le Feu), born in Asnieres, France (d. 1935)
  • 1886 Alfonso XIII, King of Spain (1886-1931), born in Madrid, Kingdom of Spain (d. 1941)
  • 1889 Alfonso Reyes, Mexican writer (Simpatías y diferencias) and diplomat (Higenia Cruel), born in Monterrey, Mexico (d. 1959)
  • 1891 Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife, granddaughter of King Edward VII and great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, born in East Sheen Lodge, Richmond, England (d. 1959)
  • 1893 Frederick McKinley Jones, American inventor (developments in refrigeration), born in Cincinnati, Ohio (d. 1961)
  • 1896 Hannah Tillich, German-American writer (Harbor Mouse) and wife of Paul Tillich, born in Rotenburg an der Fulda, Germany (d. 1988)
  • 1897 Odd Hassel, Norwegian chemist (Nobel 1969 - the study of the three-dimensional geometric structure of molecules), born in Kristiana, Norway (d. 1981)
  • 1898 A. J. Casson, Canadian painter (member of Group of Seven), born in Toronto, Canada (d. 1992)
  • 1903 Douglas Packard, British Lieutenant General (d. 2000)
  • 1906 Eric Mensforth, British pioneer in the development of the helicopter in Britain, born in Stretford, Manchester (d. 2000)
  • 1907 Charles Cawley, British chief scientist and Minister of Power (1959-67) (d. 2000)

  • 1909 Edward Playfair, British senior civil servant, born in London (d. 1999)
  • 1911 Knut Anders Haukfield, SOE Operative
  • 1912 Archibald Cox, American lawyer and special prosecutor (Watergate), born in Plainfield, New Jersey (d. 2004)
  • 1913 Alec Ogilvie, CEO (Powell Duffryn)
  • 1913 Desmond Barel Hirshfield, Lord Hirshfield, British chartered accountant, born in Birmingham (d. 1993)
  • 1915 Joseph D Craggs, electrical engineer
  • 1916 Cornelis A Eman, Aruban politician
  • 1916 John Hinde, photographer/circus promoter
  • 1919 Merle Miller, American biographer (d. 1986)
  • 1920 Harriet Van Horne, columnist/panelist (Leave it to Girls), born in Syracuse, New York
  • 1921 Dennis Brain, french-hornist (Serenade), born in London, England
  • 1921 John Garlick, British senior civil servant
  • 1923 Michael Beetham, Marshal (RAF)
  • 1923 Miles Wingate, deputy master (Trinity House)
  • 1924 Lord Tombs, CEO (Rolls Royce)
  • 1924 Thomas Baird, vice-admiral
  • 1926 Cicely Berry, British theatre director (Royal Shakespeare Company)
  • 1926 David Young, Lt-Gen/CEO (Cairn Tech)
  • 1926 David Ogilvy, Earl of Airlie, Scottish peer, Lord Chamberlain to Queen Elizabeth, born in London
  • 1926 Geoffrey Caston, vice chancellor (U of South Pacific)
  • 1927 Ronald Halstead, deputy CEO (British Steel)
  • 1928 Donald Cameron Watt, historian
  • 1928 Ian Griggs, bishop (Ludlow)
  • 1928 Vivian Moses, biotechnologist
  • 1929 Raymond Hide, geophysicist
  • 1929 George Weinberg, American psychotherapist (coined "homophobia"), born in Manhattan, New York (d. 2017)
  • 1932 Arthur Jones, principal (Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester)
  • 1932 Colin Hope, British industrialist (Turner and Newall), born in Birkenhead (d. 2015)
  • 1932 Rodric Braithwaite, British ambassador to USSR
  • 1935 Dennis Potter, British TV dramatist (The Singing Detective, Karaoke, Midnight Movie), born in Gloucestershire, England (d. 1994)
  • 1935 Ivan Slone, world-famous watchmaker
  • 1936 Lars Gustafsson, writer
  • 1937 Hazel R. O'Leary, United States Secretary of Energy
  • 1938 Trinus Riemersma, Dutch-Frisian writer (Conquest of Leeuwarden)
  • 1939 Wim de Bie, CEO (Simplistic Covenant)
  • 1939 Gary Paulsen, American author

Person of interestAlan Kay

1940 Alan Kay, American computer scientist (GUI design and object-oriented programming), born in Springfield, Massachusetts

Computer Scientist Alan Kay
Computer Scientist
Alan Kay
  • 1941 Ben Nelson. American politician
  • 1942 Caroline Charles, fashion designer
  • 1944 Canon P B Price, general secretary, USPG
  • 1945 D A S Pennefather, Maj-General/Commandant (General Royal Marines)
  • 1945 George Miller, American politician (Rep-D-CA, 1975-2015), born in Richmond, California
  • 1946 F. Paul Wilson, American novelist
  • 1949 Timothy Cordy, British director (Town/Country Planning Association)
  • 1950 Alan Johnson, British politician (Home Secretary 2009-10), born in London
  • 1950 Janez Drnovšek, Slovenian politician
  • 1951 I R Evans, CEO (Hyder, Welsh Water)
  • 1951 Simon Hughes, British politician and government minister (SD)
  • 1952 Howard Hampton, Canadian politician
  • 1953 Nicholas Bacon, premier baronet of England
  • 1954 John Iles, dolby supervisor (Elephant Man, Richard III)
  • 1956 Dave Sim, Canadian cartoonist
  • 1962 Lise Lyng Falkenberg, Danish writer
  • 1965 Richard Baumhammers, American spree killer
  • 1970 Matt Lindland, American mixed martial arts fighter
  • 1971 Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, Queen of the Netherlands (2013-present), born in Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 1975 Cheick Kongo, French martial artist
  • 1975 Jonti Picking, British cartoonist
  • 1980 Davor Džalto, Serbian art historian
  • 1984 Christine Robinson, Canadian water polo player
  • 1987 Edvald Boasson Hagen, Norwegian cyclist (Norwegian National Road Race Champions 2012), born in Rudsbygd, Norway