May 1927

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May 21, 1927: Charles Lindbergh becomes first man to fly non-stop from New York to Paris
May 9, 1927: Nungusser and Coli disappear while attempting trans-Atlantic flight
May 18, 1927: Murderer kills 38 schoolchildren, six adults in Michigan school bombing

The following events occurred in May 1927:

May 1, 1927 (Sunday)[edit]

May 2, 1927 (Monday)[edit]

May 3, 1927 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • Dr. Quirino Majorana, Italian physicist, announced in Rome that he had invented a system for "wireless transmission of speech by means of ultra-violet rays", which had been tested over a distance of ten miles.[4]
  • In the largest seizure in the U.S., up to that time of illegal drugs, the British trawler Gabriella was seized in New York Harbor with 2,000 drums of alcohol, valued at $1,200,000. The ship's captain had been free on bond after being arrested the year before for smuggling of 1,200 cases of whiskey.[5]
  • Aviator Ferdinand Scholtz set a record for longest time aloft in a glider, keeping the unpowered airplane up for 14 hours and 8 minutes.[6]
  • Born: Mell Lazarus, American comic strip artist who created Miss Peach and Momma; in Brooklyn (d. 2016)
  • Died: Ernest Ball, 47, American singer and songwriter

May 4, 1927 (Wednesday)[edit]

May 5, 1927 (Thursday)[edit]

  • French aviators Pierre de Saint-Roman and Herve Mouneyres took off from Saint-Louis, Senegal to make a transatlantic flight from Africa to South America. The pair never arrived. Wreckage of an airplane believed to be theirs washed ashore in Brazil on July 16, and a year later, a message in a bottle, possibly written by Saint-Roman, was found, suggesting that the plane had ditched in the ocean.[10]
  • To The Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf, was first published.[11]
  • Germany's Nazi Party, the National Socialists, was banned by police from activities in Berlin's metropolitan area. Soon after, Joseph Goebbels was banned from speaking anywhere in Prussia.[12]

May 6, 1927 (Friday)[edit]

  • The first radio broadcasts in Turkey began, from a station in Istanbul. Television would be introduced on January 31, 1968.[13]
  • Dr. Richard Meissner, a German chemist, claimed that he had developed an insulin substitute, which he called "horment" from the islands of Langerhans, which could be taken in tablet form and which would cure diabetes.[14]
  • The romantic drama film 7th Heaven starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell was released.
  • Born: Mary Ellen Avery, American physician who discovered the cause of respiratory distress syndrome and contributed to its treatment and cure; in Camden, New Jersey (d. 2011)

May 7, 1927 (Saturday)[edit]

May 8, 1927 (Sunday)[edit]

May 9, 1927 (Monday)[edit]

May 10, 1927 (Tuesday)[edit]

May 11, 1927 (Wednesday)[edit]

May 12, 1927 (Thursday)[edit]

  • Under the direction of Scotland Yard, London police raided Arcost, Ltd., the office of the Soviet trade delegation. At 4:00 pm, telephone lines were cut and the building was sealed, with the 600 employees detained during a search. Evidence of Russian espionage was found and a break of diplomatic relations followed.[27]
  • Philip F. Labre applied for a patent for the "grounding receptacle and plug", the three pronged plug still in use today. U.S. Patent No. 1,672,067, was granted on June 5, 1928.[28]

May 13, 1927 (Friday)[edit]

  • The equity market in Germany suffered a severe price drop after Reichsbank President Hjalmar Schacht had attempted to stop price speculation. Prices continued to decline following the "Black Friday".[29]
  • King George V issued a royal proclamation dropping the term "United Kingdom" from his title, referring to himself instead as "Georgius V, Dei Gratia Magnae Britanniae, Hiberniae et terrarum transmarinarum quae in ditione iunt Britannica Rex, Fidei Defensor, Indiae Imperator" ("George V, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland, and the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India").[30][31][32]
  • Born:

May 14, 1927 (Saturday)[edit]

May 15, 1927 (Sunday)[edit]

  • The civil war in Nicaragua came to an end, with President Adolfo Díaz requesting U.S. President Calvin Coolidge to supervise elections that would be "free, fair, and impartial and not open to fraud or intimidation". With U.S. envoy Henry L. Stimson as the intermediary, Díaz and rebel leader José María Moncada had agreed to terms at Tipitapa, with Díaz to arrange elections following Moncada's troops completing disarmament. The voting took place in October 1928, with Moncada winning the presidency.[35]

May 16, 1927 (Monday)[edit]

  • Admiral Richard E. Byrd, one of several aviators planning to fly from New York to Paris, told reporters that he would fly no earlier than the middle of the following week, after alerting his elderly mother in a phone conversation. "Byrd Won't Start Across Atlantic for While Yet", Spokane Daily Chronicle, May 16, 1927, p1
  • A fireball was witnessed by thousands of spectators in Missouri and Kansas, streaking across the sky shortly before midnight and then exploding near the General Hospital on the south side of Kansas City, Missouri.[36]
  • Died: Sam Bernard, 64, English vaudeville comedian

May 17, 1927 (Tuesday)[edit]

  • The planned transatlantic flight of Lloyd W. Bertaud and Clarence D. Chamberlin, who were racing against Lindbergh and Byrd to become the first persons to fly an airplane from New York to Paris, was cancelled after an argument between the two fliers and their chief backer, Charles A. Levine.[37]
  • The town of Melville, Louisiana, population 1,028 was destroyed when a levee on the Atchafalaya River gave way.[38]
  • Died: Major Harold Geiger, 42, Army aviation pioneer, was killed in a plane crash

May 18, 1927 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • Thirty-eight schoolchildren and six adults were killed by dynamite charges placed underneath the local school in Bath Township, Michigan. Andrew Kehoe, who had been treasurer of the township school board, had planted the bombs under the north wing, which housed 110 pupils and instructors, and the south wing, with 150 more. On the morning of the last day of classes, Kehoe set a two-minute timer and drove away, and at 9:43 a.m., the explosives under the north wing detonated. A short circuit in one of the wires prevented the destruction of the south wing. Kehoe, who had murdered his wife earlier and blew up his house and farm, killed himself and three other people half an hour later, detonating a car bomb while sitting in his Ford truck. With 41 deaths, the bombings remain the deadliest act of mass murder at a school in U.S. history.[39]

May 19, 1927 (Thursday)[edit]

  • At the German city of Kassel, nine people were killed and 11 seriously injured after a 9-year-old boy released the emergency brake of a crowded streetcar.[40]
  • Died: Maurice Mouvet, 38, American dancer who attained fame in North America and Europe as "Maurice"

May 20, 1927 (Friday)[edit]

  • Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on New York's Long Island at 7:52 a.m. in his airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, bound for Paris. With the plane carrying a 5,150 pound load, he barely cleared a string of telegraph wires. Lindbergh told a police chief, "When I enter that cockpit, it's like going into the death chamber. When I get to Paris, it will be like getting a pardon from the governor.[41]
  • The independence of the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz, with the Sultan Ibn Saud as monarch, was recognized by the United Kingdom in the Treaty of Jeddah signed by representatives of the kings of both nations. On September 23, 1932, the nation would be renamed Saudi Arabia by King Ibn Saud.[42]
  • J. Willard Marriott started his first business, a 9-stool A&W root beer franchise located at 3128 14th Street, NW in Washington, D.C. Marriott would eventually found the worldwide Marriott Hotel chain.[43]
  • The Boeing 40A, first passenger airliner built by the Boeing company, was flown for the first time.[44]
  • Born: Bud Grant, American and Canadian pro football coach, in Superior, Wisconsin.
  • Died: Eduard Bruckner, 64, German geographer and glaciologist

May 21, 1927 (Saturday)[edit]

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis
  • Charles Lindbergh became the first man to complete a non-stop trans-Atlantic airplane flight, from New York to Paris. He landed his monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, at Le Bourget airfield near Paris at 10:21 p.m. local time (5:21 pm in New York), 33 hours and 29 minutes after taking off from New York. Lindbergh won the $25,000 Orteig Prize and a lifetime of fame and fortune.[45]

May 22, 1927 (Sunday)[edit]

May 23, 1927 (Monday)[edit]

May 24, 1927 (Tuesday)[edit]

May 25, 1927 (Wednesday)[edit]

  • U.S. Army Lt. James H. Doolittle became the first person to perform an "outside loop", a feat that aviators had been attempting since 1912, with at least two getting killed in the attempt. Doolittle, who would later become more famous as Lt. Gen. Jimmy Doolittle for a daring raid on Tokyo, climbed to 8,000 feet over Dayton, Ohio, then turned the nose of his plane downward, being upside down at 6,000 feet, before flying back upward to his original altitude and completing the circle.[53]
  • Born: Robert Ludlum, American novelist who wrote The Bourne Identity and its sequels, in New York City (d. 2001)
  • Died:

May 26, 1927 (Thursday)[edit]

  • U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Andrew W. Mellon announced that he had approved a change in the size of United States currency to save printing costs. The bills would be 1​13 inches shorter and ​34 inches narrower, with the first new bills to appear in spring of 1928. In addition, consistent images were selected for the one dollar bill (George Washington) and the two dollar bill (Thomas Jefferson). Mellon commented that, "in time, each denomination will be immediately recognized from the picture it bears".[54]
  • Al Jolson was signed to the play the lead in The Jazz Singer, the first talkie, after George Jessel (who originated the role in the 1925 Broadway play) backed out over artistic differences in the screenplay adaptation, and after being denied a salary bonus after the movie's last-minute change from a silent to a talkie. Principal photography is scheduled to begin in July.[55]

May 27, 1927 (Friday)[edit]

  • The United Kingdom officially terminated diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. A note from Foreign Secretary Neville Chamberlain, delivered to the Soviet legation at Chesham House in London, directed the chargé d'affaires and his staff to leave the country within ten days. "[56]
  • Born:

May 28, 1927 (Saturday)[edit]

  • The sport of greyhound racing was introduced to Australia, with spectators there seeing for the first time the "mechanical rabbit" that raced ahead of the fleet canines.[57]

May 29, 1927 (Sunday)[edit]

May 30, 1927 (Monday)[edit]

May 31, 1927 (Tuesday)[edit]

Ford Model T - Serial No. 15,000,000, Built May 1927.jpg
  • The 15,007,033rd and last Ford Model T, after a 19-year run that began in 1908. Henry Ford had announced the week before that production would halt at the end of the month, that 24 plants would close and 10,000 employees would be laid off. Ford car dealers across the United States all received a telegram on May 26, the day the 15,000,000th Model T was driven by Ford out of the factory in Highland Park, Michigan, that the factories were being retooled to make way for the new Model A, which would be introduced in December.[62] The Model T would hold the record for the most popular model of car in history until February 17, 1972, when the 15,007,034th Volkswagen Beetle was produced.[63]
  • Died: Francis Grierson, 79, American novelist and pianist, died while giving a concert for friends. [64]


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  2. ^ Stanley Powell Davies, Social Control of the Mentally Deficient (Thomas Y. Crowell, 1930) p112
  3. ^ "Beef Grades and Standards-- Past and Present", by John C. Pierce, in Beef for Tomorrow (National Research Council, 1960) p48
  4. ^ "Speech Carried on Ultra-Violet Ray", Gazette, May 4, 1927, p1
  5. ^ "Captain and Crew of Trawler Held", Montreal Gazette, May 4, 1927, p1
  6. ^ "Nonstop Record for Glider Established", Milwaukee Sentinel, May 16, 1927, p2
  7. ^ "20 Years' Drive Alters Spelling Of Dozen Words", Miami Daily News, May 5, 1927, p1
  8. ^ Jeffrey R. Davis, et al., Fundamentals of Aerospace Medicine (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008) p6
  9. ^ Andrew J. Rausch, Turning Points in Film History (Citadel Press, 2004) p86
  10. ^ Martyrs of the Air; "Bottle Holds Last Message", St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, July 12, 1928, p2
  11. ^ Deborah G. Felder, The 100 Most Influential Women of All Time (Rosen Publishing Group, 2009) p246
  12. ^ Randal Marlin, Propaganda and the Ethics of Persuasion (Broadview Press, 2002) p82
  13. ^ "Historical Background of Radio and Television Broadcasting in Turkey", Office of the Prime Minister (Turkey), Directorate General of Press and Information (June 2010)
  14. ^ "Claims Discovery of Diabetes Cure", Montreal Gazette, May 7, 1927, p2
  15. ^; Mel Scott, The San Francisco Bay Area: a metropolis in perspective (University of California Press, 1986) pp219-220
  16. ^ "PARIS FLIERS HOP OFF TO NEW YORK", Miami Daily News, May 8, 1927, p1
  17. ^ "OCEAN FLIERS NOT YET IN SIGHT", May 9, 1927, p1
  18. ^ "Two Hemispheres Join in Hunt for Aviators", May 10, 1927, Miami News p1; "Hopes That Two Missing Fliers Survive Shrink", May 11, 1927, Miami News p1; "Giant Dirigible May Go North to Hunt Fliers", Miami News, May 13, 1927, p2; Miami News, "Hopes for Airmen's Safety Slip Away", May 15, 1927, p2; Sue Hamilton, Air & Sea Mysteries (ABDO, 2007) pp17-21
  19. ^ "Philanthropist Dies of Wound", Miami Daily News, May 9, 1927, p2
  20. ^ Brian Carroll, Australia's Prime Ministers: From Barton to Howard (Rosenberg Publishing, 2004) pp110-111
  21. ^ "England's New King Practical, Serious-Minded and Conservative", The Day (New London, CT), December 11, 1936 p21
  22. ^ "TORNADO LEAVES TRAIL OF DEATH", Miami Daily News, May 10, 1927, p1
  23. ^ Ann Jones, Women who kill (Beacon Press, 1996) p297
  24. ^ "Pistol Mailing Stops Tuesday", Miami Daily News, May 9, 1927, p1
  25. ^ Wayne Erbsen, Old Time Gospel Songbook (Mel Bay Publications, 2002)
  26. ^ "1,550-mile Hop From San Diego Made by Flier", Miami Daily News, May 11, 1927, p1
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  28. ^ Google patents
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  31. ^ (R.E. Owen, 1950) p16
  32. ^ Sir Ernest Mason Satow, Satow's Guide to Diplomatic Practice (Longman, 1979) p28
  33. ^ "Bleachers Fall in Philadelphia Baseball Game", Miami Daily News, May 15, 1927, p2; Philadelphia's old ballparks Rich Westcott Temple University Press, 1996) p78
  34. ^ Benjamin Jacobs and Eugene Pool, The 100-year Secret: Britain's Hidden WWII Massacre (Globe Pequot, 2004) p39
  35. ^ Henry L. Stimson, American Policy in Nicaragua (Charles S. Scribner's Sons, 1927, reprinted by Markus Wiener Publishers, 1991) p208 : The Lasting Legacy
  36. ^ "Sputtering 'Ball of Fire' From Sky Shocks Kansas City", Miami Daily News, May 17, 1927, p1
  37. ^ AMERICANS PLAN OCEAN DASH", Miami Daily News, May 11, 1927, p1; "Row Menaces Bellanca Hop Over Atlantic", May 17, 1927, p1; "Bertaud Out of Race, Levin Announces", May 19, 1927, p1
  38. ^ "TOWN DESTROYED AS LEVEE BREAKS", Miami Daily News, May 17, 1927, p1
  39. ^ "SCORE, AT LEAST, KILLED BY BLAST", Miami Daily News, May 18, 1927, p1; "Whole Village in Gloom over Madman's Act", Miami Daily News, May 19, 1927, p2H. Thomas Milhorn, Crime: Computer Viruses to Twin Towers (Universal-Publishers, 2004) p180
  40. ^ "9 Lives Taken by Boy's Prank", Miami Daily News, May 19, 1927, p1
  42. ^ Albert P. Blaustein, et al, Independence documents of the world, Volume 2 (Brill Archive, 1977) p600
  43. ^
  44. ^ Bill Yenne, The Story of the Boeing Company (Zenith Imprint, 2005) p16
  45. ^ "LINDBERGH HERO OF WILD PARIS", Miami Daily News, May 22, 1927, p1
  46. ^ National Geophysical Data Center,
  47. ^ "Natural Disasters", in Encyclopedia of the Developing World, Thomas M. Leonard, ed. (Routledge, 2006) p1114
  48. ^
  49. ^ Serguei A. Blagov, Caodaism: Vietnamese Traditionalism and Its Leap Into Modernity (Nova Publishers, 2001) p86
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  51. ^ "BALDWIN URGES BREAK WITH SOVIET RUSSIA", Miami Daily News, May 24, 1927, p1
  52. ^ "Baldwin Denies Break With Russia Means War", Miami Daily News, May 27, 1927, p1
  53. ^ "U.S. Army Flier is First to Do 'Outside Loop'", Miami Daily News, May 26, 1927, p1
  54. ^ "U.S. Will Cut Size of Money", Milwaukee Journal, May 26, 1927, p1
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  56. ^ Red Staff Must Leave England Within 10 Days- Britain Ends 6-Year Experiment in Soviet Relations" Montreal Gazette, May 28, 1927, p1
  57. ^ Wray Vamplew, The Oxford Companion to Australian Sport (Oxford University Press, 1992) p164
  58. ^ Simon Martin, Football and Fascism: The National Game under Mussolini (Berg Publishers, 2004) p132
  59. ^ Andrew Postman and Larry Stone, The Ultimate Book of Sports Lists (Black Dog Publishing, 2003)
  60. ^ "Unassisted Triple Play Among Rarest Feats in Baseball", Baseball Digest (February 1993) p76
  61. ^ "Former Purdue Student Wins Speedway Classic", Miami Daily News, May 31, 1927, p11
  62. ^ Rudi Volti, Cars and Culture: The Life Story of a Technology (JHU Press, 2006) p49; Peter Winnewisser,The Legendary Model A Ford: The Ultimate History of One of America's Great Automobiles (Krause Publications, 2006)
  63. ^ "Volkswagen overtake Model T record", Glasgow Herald, February 17, 1972, p2
  64. ^ "Francis Grierson, Author, Dies in Poverty at 79", Brookyn Daily Eagle, June 2, 1927, p1