On This Day

Birthdays in History on May 31

  • 1443 Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII and paternal grandmother of King Henry VIII of England, born in Bletsoe Castle, Bedfordshire, England (d. 1509)
  • 1469 Manuel I, King of Portugal (1495-1521) during era of exploration known as "Manuel The Fortunate", born in Alcochete, Portugal (d. 1521)
  • 1472 Erardus van der Mark, prince-bishop of Luik/cardinal
  • 1535 Alessandro Allori, Italian painter and carpet designer, born in Florence, Italy (d. 1607)
  • 1557 Feodor I (Fyodor/Theodore Ivanovich), Tsar of Russia (1584-98), born in Moscow, Russia (d. 1598)
  • 1640 Michał Wiśniowiecki, King of Poland (1669-73), born in Biały Kamień, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (d. 1673)
  • 1699 Alexander Cruden "Alexander the Corrector", Scottish biblical scholar and eccentric, compiler of a concordance to King James Bible, born in Aberdeen, Scotland (d. 1770)
  • 1744 Richard Edgeworth, Anglo-Irish inventor and educationalist, born in Bath, Somerset (d. 1817)
  • 1753 Pierre-Victurnien Vergniaud, French politician and police leader, born in Limoges, France (d. 1793)
  • 1773 Ludwig Tieck, German writer, born in Berlin (d. 1853)
  • 1801 Johann Georg Baiter, Swiss philologist, born in Zürich, Switzerland (d. 1887)
  • 1810 Horatio Seymour, American politician (18th Governor of New York), born in Onondaga, New York (d. 1886)
  • 1817 Georg Herwegh, German poet, born in Stuttgart (d. 1875)
  • 1818 John Albion Andrew, American politician (25th Governor of Massachusetts), born in Windham, Massachusetts (d. 1867)

Person of interestWalt Whitman

1819 Walt Whitman, American poet (Leaves of Grass) and volunteer nurse during the Civil War, born in West Hills, New York (d. 1892)

Poet and Nurse Walt Whitman
Poet and Nurse
Walt Whitman
  • 1835 Hijikata Toshizō, Japanese military leader, born in Hino, Tokyo, Japan (d. 1869)

  • 1837 Ernest Daudet, French journalist and writer (White Terror), born in Nîmes, France (d. 1921)
  • 1837 William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, American Major General (Confederate Army), born in Arlington House, Virginia (d. 1891)
  • 1837 Stephen Dodson Ramseur, American general and the youngest West Pointer to be Major General, born in Lincolnton, North Carolina (d. 1864)
  • 1838 Henry Sidgwick, English philosopher (Wife at University), born in Skipton, Yorkshire, England (d. 1900)
  • 1852 Francisco Moreno, Argentine explorer, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina (d. 1919)
  • 1857 Pius XI [Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti], Italian 259th Pope (1922-39), born in Desio, Lombardy-Venetia, Austrian Empire (d. 1939)
  • 1860 Walter Sickert, Danish-English painter (The Miner), born in Munich (d. 1942)
  • 1861 Emily Bissell, American welfare worker and founder of Christmas Seals, born in Wilmington, Delaware (d. 1948)
  • 1863 Francis Younghusband, British journalist and explorer (1904 British expedition to Tibet), born in Murree, British India (d. 1942)
  • 1872 Charles Greeley Abbot, American astronomer (Solar Constant), born in Wilton, New Hampshire (d. 1973)
  • 1872 W. Heath Robinson, English illustrator and cartoonist (Don Quixote), born in Islington, England (d. 1944)
  • 1882 Sándor Graf Festetics, Hungarian nobleman and politician, born in Dég, Fejér county, Hungary (d. 1956)
  • 1883 Lauri Kristian Relander, 2nd President of Finland (1925-31), born in Kurkijoki, Finland (d. 1942)
  • 1885 Alois Hudal, Austrian bishop who helped Nazi war criminals escape trial, born in Graz, Austria-Hungary (d. 1963)
  • 1887 Saint-John Perse, French diplomat and poet (Nobel 1960), born in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe (d. 1975)
  • 1892 Gregor Strasser, German political activist and NSDAP-Reich organization leader, born in Geisenfeld, Germany (d. 1934)
  • 1892 Konstatin G Paustovski, Russian author (Bespokojnaja Joenostj) [NS]
  • 1892 Michel Kikoine, Belarus painter (d. 1968)
  • 1892 Konstantin Georgiyevich Paustovsky, Russian writer (d. 1968)
  • 1898 Norman Vincent Peale, Ohio, clergyman (Power of Positive Thinking)

  • 1899 Ilse Lagner, German antiwar writer, born in Breslau (d. 1987)
  • 1899 Leonid Leonov, Russian writer, born in Moscow (d. 1994)
  • 1900 Helma Wolf-Catz, Dutch author (Undercurrent, Coral Reef)
  • 1907 Valston Hancock, British air marshal
  • 1909 Jan Lewando, British director (Marks & Spencer)
  • 1910 Francis Avery Jones, British gastro-enterologist
  • 1911 Edward Adamson, British artist, 'father of art therapy' and collector, born in Sale, England (d. 1996)
  • 1912 Henry M "Scoop" Jackson, (Sen-D-Wash)
  • 1912 Martin Schwarzschild, US astronomer (evolution)
  • 1912 Chien-Shiung Wu, Chinese-American experimental physicist (conducted the Wu experiment), born in Liuhe, China (d. 1997)
  • 1913 Peter Gibson, British Rear-Admiral
  • 1916 Bert Haanstra, Holten Netherlands, director (Fanfare)
  • 1921 Andrew Grima, British jeweller
  • 1921 Robert Arthur Ley, UK, sci-fi author (Telepath, Power of X)
  • 1922 Elisabeth, arch duchess of Austria/princess of Liechtenstein
  • 1923 Rainier III, Prince of Monaco (1949-2005), born in Monaco (d. 2005)
  • 1924 Patricia Roberts Harris, (Rep-D),1st African American woman cabinet member, born in Mattoon, Illinois (d. 1985)
  • 1926 Derek Birley, founding Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ulster
  • 1926 Martin Peake, 2nd Viscount Ingleby, British peer and business man (d. 2008)
  • 1927 Isabel Stoate, British diplomat
  • 1927 James Eberle, British admiral, director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs)
  • 1927 Michael Sandberg, British CEO (Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corp)
  • 1929 Neil Shaw, British CEO (Tate & Lyle)
  • 1930 William Taylor, British Chairman of Convocation (London University)
  • 1931 John Schrieffer, US physicist (Nobel 1972)
  • 1931 Steve Horn, (Rep-R-California)
  • 1932 Elizabeth Southey, British CEO (National Fed of Women's Institutes)
  • 1932 George Vallings, British Vice Admiral
  • 1932 Ronald Hampel, British CEO (ICI)
  • 1932 Jay Miner, American microchip designer (d. 1994)
  • 1935 Jim Bolger, 35th Prime Minister of New Zealand
  • 1936 Zevulun Hammer, Israeli politician, minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel (1996-98), born in Haifa, Mandatory Palestine (d. 1998)
  • 1937 Vladislav Ivanovich Gulyayev, Russian cosmonaut
  • 1938 John Prescott, British Labour MP
  • 1939 Terry Waite, English Anglican Church envoy/Lebanese hostage, born in Bollington, Cheshire
  • 1940 Gilbert Shelton, American underground comics illustrator
  • 1941 June Clark, British Professor of Nursing (Middlesex U)
  • 1941 Louis J. Ignarro, American pharmacologist, Nobel Prize laureate
  • 1941 William Nordhaus, American economist (Nobel Prize 2018, climate change modelling), born in Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • 1942 John Daniel, British Vice-Chancellor (Open U)
  • 1943 Richard Timothy George Mansfield Parker, 9th Earl of Macclesfield
  • 1945 Linda Davies, British Judge
  • 1945 Bernard Goldberg‎, American journalist
  • 1946 Ted Baehr, American media critic
  • 1947 William H Campbell Jr, rocker
  • 1948 Duncan L Hunter, (Rep-R-CA, 1981- 2009), born in Riverside, California
  • 1948 Svetlana Alexievich, journalist and author (Noble Prize for Literature 2015), born in Stanislav, Ukraine
  • 1950 Edward Barker, cartoonist
  • 1955 Ben de Lisi, British fashion designer
  • 1957 Stephen Jones, British milliner
  • 1958 Mkhuseli Jack, South African UDF-leader (consumer boycots)
  • 1962 Børge Ousland, Norwegian polar explorer, 1st person to complete solo crossing of the Antarctic, born in Oslo, Norway
  • 1963 Viktor Orbán, Hungarian politician, Prime Minister of Hungary (2010-), born in Székesfehérvár, Hungary
  • 1964 Leonard Asper, Canadian businessman
  • 1974 Adrian Tomine, American cartoonist
  • 1977 Joel Ross, British disc jockey
  • 1986 Robert Gesink, Dutch cyclist
  • 1990 Liberty Irene Kasem, daughter of Casey & Jean Kasem