On This Day

Birthdays in History on May 2

  • 1360 Yongle, Emperor of the Ming Empire (1402-24), born in Yingtian, Yuan Empire, China (d. 1424)
  • 1451 René II, Duke of Lorraine, born in Angers, France (d. 1508)
  • 1458 Eleanor of Viseu, Queen of Portugal (1481-95), born in Beja, Portugal (d. 1525)
  • 1551 William Camden, English historian (Brittania, Annales), born in London (d. 1623)
  • 1601 Athanasius Kircher, German Jesuit priest and inventor (magic lantern), born in Abbacy of Fulda, Germany (d. 1680)
  • 1695 Giovanni Niccolò Servandoni, Italian-French architect, born in Florence, Italy (d. 1766)
  • 1702 Friedrich Christoph Oetinger, German Lutheran theologian, born in Göppingen, Germany (d. 1782)

Person of interestCatherine the Great

1729 Catherine the Great [Catherine II], German Empress of Russia (1762-96), born in Stettin, Kingdom of Prussia (d. 1796)

Empress of Russia Catherine the Great
Empress of Russia
Catherine the Great

Person of interestWilliam Petty

1737 William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne, Prime Minister of Great Britain (1782-83), born in Dublin, Kingdom of Ireland (d. 1805)

British Prime Minister William Petty
British Prime Minister
William Petty
  • 1740 Elias Boudinot, American lawyer and patriot, President of the Continental Congress, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1821)
  • 1750 John André, British Army officer of the American Revolutionary War, born in London (d. 1780)
  • 1768 Jean-Louis-Marc Alibert, French dermatologist, born in Villefranche-de-Rouergue, Aveyron, France (d. 1837)
  • 1772 Novalis [Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg], German romantic writer ('Heinrich von Ofterdingen), born in Oberwiederstedt, Saxony (d. 1801)
  • 1773 Henrik Steffens, Norwegian-German philosopher, born in Stavanger, Norway (d. 1845)
  • 1779 John Galt, Scottish novelist (Annals of the Parish), born in Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland (d. 1839)

Person of interestAbraham Gesner

1797 Abraham Gesner, Canadian geologist (inventor of kerosene), born in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia (d. 1864)

Physician and Geologist Abraham Gesner
Physician and Geologist
Abraham Gesner

  • 1821 Abram Sanders Piatt, American farmer, publisher, poet, politician, and Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Cincinnati, Ohio (d. 1908)
  • 1828 Désiré Charnay, French traveller and archaeologist, born in Fleurie, France (d. 1915)
  • 1837 Henry Martyn Robert, American soldier and parliamentarian (Robert's Rules of Order), born in Robertville, South Carolina (d. 1927)

Person of interestElijah McCoy

1844 Elijah McCoy, Canadian-American inventor of African descent, notable for his 57 US patents (lubrication of steam engines), born in Colchester, Ontario (d. 1929)

Inventor Elijah McCoy
Inventor
Elijah McCoy
  • 1859 Jerome K. Jerome, English writer (The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow), born in Walsall, Staffordshire, England (d. 1927)
  • 1860 D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, Scottish zoologist and classicist (On Growth & Form), born in Edinburgh, Scotland (d. 1948)
  • 1860 Theodor Herzl, Austrian journalist and founder (Zionist movement), born in Budapest, Austria-Hungary (d. 1904)
  • 1860 William Maddock Bayliss, British physiologist, co-discoverer of hormones, born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire (d. 1924)
  • 1865 Clyde Fitch, American playwright, born in Elmira, New York (d. 1909)
  • 1872 G. G. van der Hoeven, Dutch editor-in-chief (NRC newspaper), born in Brielle, Netherlands (d. 1955)

Person of interestJames F. Byrnes

1879 James F. Byrnes, American politician and statesman influential in domestic and foreign policy in the mid-1940s, born in Charleston, South Carolina (d. 1972)

Politician and US Secretary of State James F. Byrnes
Politician and US Secretary of State
James F. Byrnes
  • 1884 François de Vries, Dutch economist, born in Groningen, Netherlands (d. 1958)
  • 1885 Hedda Hopper [Elda Furry], American gossip columnist, born in Pennsylvania (d. 1966)
  • 1886 Gottfried Benn, German poet and essayist, born in Mansfelf, Germany (d. 1956)
  • 1890 E. E. Smith, American food engineer and sci-fi author (Triplanetary), born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin (d. 1965)

Person of interestThe Red Baron

1892 Manfred von Richthofen [The Red Baron], German World War I fighter ace, born in Wrocław, Poland (d. 1918)

World War I Fighter Ace The Red Baron
World War I Fighter Ace
The Red Baron
  • 1895 Alfred Kurella, German author and functionary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in East Germany, born in Brieg, Silesia (d. 1975)
  • 1895 Peggy Bacon, American author and illustrator (Off With Their Heads), born in Ridgefield, Connecticut (d. 1987)
  • 1896 Helen of Greece and Denmark, Queen Mother of Romania, born in Athens, Greece (d. 1982)
  • 1898 Jef Last, Dutch poet and writer, born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1972)

  • 1899 George Hamilton Combs, American politician and TV and radio commentator (Through the Curtain), born in Kansas City, Missouri (d. 1977)
  • 1901 Lev Lunts, Russian writer (Outside the Law, City of Truth), born in Saint Petersburg, Russian Empire (d. 1924)
  • 1901 Willi Bredel, German writer, born in Hamburg (d. 1964)

Person of interestBenjamin Spock

1903 Benjamin Spock, American pediatrician (Common Sense Book of Baby Care), born in New Haven, Connecticut (d. 1998)

Pediatrician Benjamin Spock
Pediatrician
Benjamin Spock
  • 1906 Philippe Halsman, American portrait photographer, born in Riga, Latvia (d. 1979)
  • 1907 Pinky Lee, American children's show host (Pinky Lee Show), born in Saint Paul, Minnesota (d. 1993)
  • 1910 Alexander Bonnyman Jr., U.S. Marine Corps officer, born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 1943)
  • 1912 Axel Springer, German newspaper magnate (Bild Zeitung), born in Altona, Hamburg, German Empire (d. 1985)
  • 1912 Marten Toonder, Dutch comic writer and cartoonist (Tom Puss), born in Rotterdam, Netherlands (d. 2005)
  • 1918 Frederick Archibald Warner, British diplomat, born in Blagdon, England (d. 1995)
  • 1920 Otto Buchsbaum, Austrian writer and ecological activist, born in Vienna, Austria (d. 2000)
  • 1921 Satyajit Ray, Indian director (Goddess, Adversary), born in Calcutta, India (d. 1992)
  • 1922 A. M. Rosenthal, American journalist and newspaper editor (NY Times), born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada (d. 2006)
  • 1924 Jamal Abro, Sindhi writer, born in Dadu, Pakistan (d. 2004)
  • 1926 Gérard D. Levesque, Canadian politician, born in Port-Daniel–Gascons, Canada (d. 1993)
  • 1930 Marco Pannella, Italian politician and activist, born in Teramo (d. 2016)
  • 1932 Kees de Galan, Dutch economist, born in Zaandam, Netherlands (d. 1987)
  • 1935 Faisal II, King of Iraq (1939-58), son of Ghasi I, born in Baghdad (d. 1958)
  • 1937 Gisela Elsner, German writer (Die Riesenzwerge, Rowohlt), born in Nuremberg, Middle Franconia (d. 1992)
  • 1937 Ted [Samuel Frederick ] Dabney, American engineer, founder of Atari (Pong), born in San Francisco, California (d. 2018)
  • 1938 Moshoeshoe II, King of Lesotho (1966-90), born in Morija, Lesotho (d. 1996)
  • 1939 Sumio Iijima, Japanese physicist, born in Koshigaya, Saitama, Japan
  • 1940 Sari van Heemskerck Pillis-Duvekot, Dutch governor and politician (VVD), born in Goes, Netherlands
  • 1941 Jules Wijdenbosch, Surinamese politician, President of Suriname (1996-2000), born in Paramaribo, Surinam
  • 1944 Franz Innerhofer, Austrian writer (Beautiful Days), born in Krimml, Salzberg
  • 1944 John Verity, English rocker (Argent), born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
  • 1947 Bill Lowery, American politician, U.S. House of Representatives from California (1981-93), born in San Diego, California
  • 1950 Duncan Gay, Australian politician, Vice-President of the Executive Council (2014-17), born in Crookwell, New South Wales
  • 1954 Bulelani Ngcuka, South African attorney and leader (UDF), born in Middlerift, South Africa
  • 1955 Donatella Versace, Italian fashion designer, born in Reggio di Calabria, Italy
  • 1957 Domonic L. Pudwill Gorie, American NASA astronaut (sk: STS-91), born in Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • 1961 Phil Vickery, English celebrity chef (This Morning), born in Folkestone, Kent, England
  • 1966 Belinda Stronach, Canadian businesswoman and politician, born in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada
  • 1968 Eric Holcomb, American politician, Governor of Indiana (2017-), born in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1977 Fredrik Malm, Swedish politician, Member of Parliament for the Liberal People's Party, born in Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2015 Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, daughter of Prince William, born in London