Month In History

Discover the global events and personal stories of May

May 1, 1862

Abraham Lincoln’s Quote About His Mother: “All That I am or Hope Ever to be I Get From My Mother”

“All that I am or hope ever to be,” Abraham Lincoln famously said, “I get from my mother – God bless her.”

May 8, 1945

Victory in Europe Day

Nazi Germany surrenders.
“The other day I visited a German internment camp. I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world!” – General Eisenhower.

May 14, 1948

Truman Recognizes Israel: The Anniversary of Israel’s Founding

5 days before recognizing Israel, Truman writes to Clark Clifford, mentioning the pressure of Palestine.

May 14, 1948

The Anniversary of the Founding of the State of Israel

Palestine, says President Truman in February 1948, is a “matter of considerable disturbance” to be determined by the U.N.

May 19, 1864

The Death of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Franklin Pierce on the death of his dearest friend, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Abraham Lincoln Photograph, platinum print from wet plate collodion glass negative. 1860. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
May 26, 1860

Lincoln Declares He is Not a “Man of Great Learning, or a Very Extraordinary One in Any Respect”

Lincoln was fifty-one years old, and in his own eyes, a common man, running for president against those infinitely more likely, and better favored, than himself. Lincoln’s identification of himself as unexceptional in any way reflected his intrinsic egalitarianism .

May 29, 1797

Presidents’ Day: Newly Retired George Washington’s Daily Routine

Writing just two months after handing the presidency off to John Adams, Washington was a changed man. Having returned to Mount Vernon, and at last under the shadow of his own vine and fig-tree, he was, in fact, exuberant, wry – and surprisingly, funny.

May 29, 1844

Dark Horse Candidate James K. Polk Receives the Democratic Nomination

Polk, surprised to be nominated, says that the presidency is too important an office to be sought or declined.

May 29, 1917

The John F. Kennedy Centenary

Kennedy’s Most Famous Words: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”