On This Day

Birthdays in History on May 21

Person of interestAurelia Cotta

120 BC Aurelia Cotta, Mother of Julius Caesar, born in Rome (d. 54 BC)

Mother of Julius Caesar Aurelia Cotta
Mother of Julius Caesar
Aurelia Cotta
  • 1471 Albrecht Dürer , German Renaissance painter and printmaker (Adam and Eve), born in Nuremberg, Germany (d. 1528)
  • 1527 Philip II, King of Spain (1556-98) and Portugal (1580-98), born in Valladolid, Spain (d. 1598)
  • 1653 Eleonora Maria Josefa of Austria, queen consort of Poland and Lithuania (d. 1697)

Person of interestAlexander Pope

1688 Alexander Pope, English poet (Rape of the Lock, translation of Homer) (d. 1744), born in London, England

  • 1755 Alfred Moore, American judge (d. 1810)
  • 1763 Joseph Fouché, French statesman (d. 1820)
  • 1775 Lucien Bonaparte, prince of Canino and Musignano

Person of interestElizabeth Fry

1780 Elizabeth Fry, English prison reformer, social reformer and Quaker Minister, born in Norwich, England (d. 1845)

English Social Reformer Elizabeth Fry
English Social Reformer
Elizabeth Fry
  • 1792 Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis, French scientist ( Coriolis effect), born in Paris, France (d. 1843)
  • 1796 Reverdy Johnson, American politician and jurist (Dred Scott v. Sandford), born in Annapolis, Maryland (d. 1876)
  • 1799 Mary Anning, British fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist (Jurassic marine fossil beds of Lyme Regis), born in Lyme Regis, Dorset (d. 1847)
  • 1821 John F. Loudon, Dutch sugar and indigo manufacturer, whose Deft collection was left to the Rijksmuseum, born in Rotterdam, Netherlands (d. 1895)
  • 1822 Dabney Herndon Maury, American Major General (Confederate Army), born in Fredericksburg, Virginia (d. 1900)
  • 1822 Mosby Monroe Parsons, United States officer in the Mexican–American War and brigadier general of the Confederate States Army, born in Charlottesville, Virginia (d. 1865)
  • 1825 George Lafayette Beal, American politician and Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in Norway, Maine (d. 1896)

  • 1826 Danillo II, ruler of Montenegro (1851-60), born in Njeguši, Montenegro (d. 1860)
  • 1827 Konstantin Pobedonostsev, Russian reactionary lawyer and senator, born in Moscow, Russian Empire (d. 1907)
  • 1827 William P. Sprague, American politician from Ohio (d. 1899)
  • 1832 Elizabeth Storrs Mead, American educator (d. 1917)
  • 1835 Newton Martin Curtis, American Brevet Major General (Union Army), born in De Peyster, New York (d. 1910)
  • 1835 František Chvostek, Moravian physician (d. 1884)
  • 1843 Charles-Albert Gobat, Swiss politician, recipient of the 1902 Nobel Peace Prize, born in Tramelan, Switzerland (d. 1914)
  • 1843 Louis Renault, French lawyer, born in Autun, France (d. 1918)
  • 1844 Henri Rousseau, French post-impressionist painter (The Dream, The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope), born in Laval, France (d. 1910)
  • 1850 Giuseppe Mercalli, Italian volcanologist (d. 1914)
  • 1851 Léon Bourgeois, French politician, French Prime Minister (1895-96, Nobel 1920), born in Paris, France (d. 1925)
  • 1853 Jacques Marie Eugène Godefroy Cavaignac, French politician (d. 1905)
  • 1855 Emile Verhaeren, Belgian poet and writer (Les Flammes Hautes), born in Sint-Amands, Belgium (d. 1916)
  • 1858 José Batlle y Ordóñez, President of Uruguay (1899, 1903-7, 1911-15), born in Montevideo, Urguay (d. 1929)
  • 1860 Willem Einthoven, Dutch physiologist and inventor of the electrocardiodiogram (Nobel Prize in Medicine 1924), born in Semarang, Dutch East Indies (d. 1927)
  • 1864 Princess Stephanie of Belgium (d. 1945)
  • 1872 Henry Warren, American inventor (Telechon electric clock), born in Boston, Massachusetts
  • 1873 Emil Ermatinger, Swiss literature historian, born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland (d. 1953)
  • 1873 Everard Verachtert, Flemish translator (I speak beschaafd Dutch)
  • 1873 Hans Berger, German neuroscientist, psychiatrist, and inventor of electroencephalography (EEG), born in in Neuses, German Empire (d. 1941)

  • 1878 Glenn Hammond Curtiss, American inventor (hydroplane) and founder of the US aviation industry, born in Hammondsport, New York (d. 1930)
  • 1878 Louis de Visser, Dutch politician (CPN)
  • 1880 Tudor Arghezi, Romanian writer (d. 1967)
  • 1884 Manuel Pérez y Curis, Uruguayan poet (d. 1920)
  • 1885 Sophie of Schönburg-Waldenburg, wife of Prince William of Wied (d. 1936)
  • 1892 John Peale Bishop, American poet (This Side of Paradise), born in Charles Town, West Virginia (d. 1944)
  • 1898 Armand Hammer, American millionaire industrialist (Occidental Petroleum), born in NYC, New York
  • 1901 Suzanne Lilar [Verbist], France Belgian writer (Le burlador)
  • 1902 Marcel Breuer, Hungarian-born modernist architect and furniture designer, born in Pécs, Hungary (d. 1981)
  • 1903 Ali Sastroamidjojo, Indonesian attorney, minister and Prime Minister of Indonesia (1953-7), born in Grabag, Central Java, Dutch West Indies (d. 1975)
  • 1903 Manly Wade Wellman, Angolan born American sci-fi author (After Dark, Devil's Planet), born in Kamundongo, Portuguese West Africa (d. 1986)
  • 1903 Pedro Aramburu, Argentine army leader, President and Dictator of Argentina (1955-58), born in Río Cuarto, Argentina (d. 1970)
  • 1909 Guy de Rothschild, French banker ( Rothschild Frères), born in Paris, France (d. 2007)
  • 1909 François-Albert Angers, Quebec economist (d. 2003)
  • 1912 John Curtis Gowan, American psychologist (d. 1986)

Person of interestHarold Robbins

1916 Harold Robbins, American author (Moneychangers, Carpetbaggers, Betsy), born in NYC, New York (d. 1997)

  • 1916 Leonard Manasseh, British architect (Rutherford School), born in Singapore (d. 2017)
  • 1917 Ronald Colville, Scottish businessman and Governor of the Bank of Scotland, born in Glasgow, Scotland (d. 1996)
  • 1918 Leonard Mullens, British rubber physicist (Mullins effect) (d. 1997)

Person of interestAndrei Sakharov

1921 Andrei Sakharov, Russian nuclear physicist and an activist for disarmament, peace and human rights (1975 Nobel), born in Moscow, Russia (d. 1989)

Nuclear Physicist & Soviet Dissident Andrei Sakharov
Nuclear Physicist & Soviet Dissident
Andrei Sakharov

  • 1923 Armand Borel, Swiss mathematician (d. 2003)
  • 1926 Robert Creeley, American, poet and novelist (Island), born in Arlington, Massachusetts (d. 2005)
  • 1927 George Levy, English antique dealer and heritage campaigner (d. 1996)
  • 1929 Robert Welch, English designer, silversmith (Robert Welch flatware), born in Hereford, England (d. 2000)

Person of interestMalcolm Fraser

1930 Malcolm Fraser, Australian politician, Prime Minister of Australia (Liberal, 1975-83), born in Toorak, Victoria

Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Fraser
Prime Minister of Australia
Malcolm Fraser
  • 1930 Stanley Wells, English scholar of Shakespeare (Shakespeare Institute U of Birmingham), born in Hull, England
  • 1931 George Vassiliou, Cypriot politician, President of Cyprus (1988-93), born in Famagusta, Cyprus
  • 1932 Gabriele Wohmann, German writer, born in Darmstadt (d. 2015)
  • 1934 Phillip King, British sculptor, born in Tunis, French Tunisia
  • 1934 Bengt I. Samuelsson, Swedish biochemist, (1982 Nobel laureate for Medicine or Physiology for prostaglandins), born in Halmstad, Sweden
  • 1936 Ama Samy, Indian Jesuit priest, Zen teacher and disciple of Yamada Koun, born in Burma
  • 1936 Dipak Nandy, Indian born British academic and founder of the Runnymead Trust. born in Calcutta, India
  • 1936 Abdul Taib Mahmud, 4th Chief Minister of Sarawak (1981-2014) and 7th Governor of Sarawak (2014-), born in Miri, Kingdom of Sarawak
  • 1938 Urs Widmer, Swiss writer, born in Basel (d. 2014)
  • 1941 Anatoly Levchenko, Soviet cosmonaut (TM-4), born in Krasnokutsk, Ukrainian SSR, USSR (d. 1988)
  • 1942 David Hunt, British Conservative politician, born in Glyn Ceiriog, Wales
  • 1942 Robert C. Springer, American Army Colonel USMC/astronaut (STS-29, STS-38), born in St. Louis, Missouri
  • 1944 Janet Dailey, American Romance author, born in Storm Lake, Iowa (d. 2013)
  • 1944 Manual Pina, Spanish fashion designer (d. 1994)
  • 1944 Mary Robinson, Irish politician, President of the Republic of Ireland (1990-97), born in Ballina, Ireland
  • 1945 Ernst Willi Messerschmid, German astronaut (STS 22), born in Reutlingen Germany
  • 1947 Jiggs Kalra, Indian food writer "Czar of Indian cuisine", born in Punjab region, India (d. 2019)
  • 1949 Andrew Neil, Scottish newspaper editor, (Sunday Times), born in Paisley, Scotland
  • 1957 Nadine Dorries, British politician (C), born in Liverpool, England
  • 1959 Brisn Lenihan, Jnr, Irish politician and minister, born in Dublin (d. 2011)

Person of interestJeffrey Dahmer

1960 Jeffrey Dahmer, American serial killer (Milwaukee Cannibal), born in West Allis, Wisconsin (d. 1994)

Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer
Serial Killer
Jeffrey Dahmer
  • 1963 Richard Appel, American writer and TV showrunner (Family Guy), born in New York City
  • 1968 Matthias Ungemach, German rower
  • 1979 James Clancy Phelan, Australian novelist, born in Melbourne, Australia
  • 1979 Jamie Hepburn, Scottish politician, Member of the Scottish Parliament, born in Glasgow, Scotland
  • 1984 Brandon Fields, National Football League punter, born in Southfield, Michigan
  • 1985 Frustaci Septuplets, four boys and three girls (daughter Christina stillborn, three more die later) born to Patricia Frustaci, first known septuplets born in the US
  • 1985 Mark Cavendish MBE, British road cyclist (UCI Road World C'ships 2011; Points classification winner Tour de France 2011, 21; Giro d'Italia 2013; Vuelta a España 2010), born in Douglas, Isle of Man
  • 1991 Kayla Itsines, Australian fitness entrepreneur (Bikini Body Guides), born in Adelaide, Australia