1899 1900 1901 - 1902(MCMII) - 1903 1904 1905
1870s 1880s 1890s - 1900s - 1910s 1920s 1930s
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1902 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar).
- January 28 - The Carnegie Institution is founded in Washington, DC with a $10 million gift from Andrew Carnegie.
- France, Loisy's L'évangile et l'Eglise which inaugurates the Modernist Crisis
- February 11 - Police beat up universal suffrage demonstrators in Brussels.
- February 15 - Berlin underground opened.
- February 18 - US President Roosevelt prosecutes the Northern Securities Company for violation of the Sherman Act.
- March 7 - Boer War: South African Boers win their last battle over British forces, with the capture of a British general and 200 of his men.
- March 10 - Circuit Court's decision disallows Thomas Edison from having a monopoly on motion picture technology.
- March 31 - Disputed first powered heavier-than-air flight; most date it 1903 if at all
- April 2 - "Electric Theatre", the first movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles, California.
- The Irish National Theatre Society is founded by W. B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, J. M. Synge and George Russell.
- May 5 - Commonwealth Public Service Act creates Australia's Public Service
- May 8 - In Martinique, Mount Pelée erupts, destroys the town of Saint-Pierre, and kills over 30,000 people. Only a small handful of St. Pierre's residents survived the blast.
- May 13 - Alfonso XIII of Spain formally begins his reign
- May 15 - In a field outside Grass Valley, California, Lyman Gilmore reportedly becomes the first person to fly a powered airplane (a steam-powered glider).
- May 17 - Archaeologist Spyridon Stais finds the Antikythera mechanism
- May 20 - Cuba gains independence from the United States
- May 29 - Lord Rosebery opens London School of Economics
- May 31 - Treaty of Vereeniging ends Second Boer War
- June 2 - The Anthracite Coal Strike begins in the United States.
- June 15 - The New York Central railroad inaugurates the 20th Century Limited passenger train between Chicago, Illinois and New York City, New York.
- June 16 - Australia: Female British subjects (with the exception of Asians, Aborigines and Africans) won the vote with the Uniform Franchise Act.
- June 26 - Edward VII institutes The Order of Merit.
- July 10 - Rolling Mill Mine disaster in Johnstown, PA, kills 112 miners.
- July 11 - Retirement of Lord Salisbury as British prime minister.
- July 11 - Order of the Garter conferred on Archduke Ferdinand.
- July 14 - St Mark's Campanile in Venice collapses.
- July 23 - Excelsior Rotterdam was founded.
- August 9 - Edward VII is crowned King of the United Kingdom.
- August 22 - Theodore Roosevelt became the first American President to ride in an automobile when he rode in a Columbia Electric Victoria through Hartford, Connecticut.
- September 3 - Popular author Sarah Orne Jewett is thrown out of a carriage, virtually ending her writing career.
- October 21 - In the United States, a five month strike by United Mine Workers ends.
- November 30 - American Old West: Second-in-command of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang, Kid Curry Logan, is sentenced to 20 years hard labor.
- December 31 - Scott, Shackleton and Wilson reach the furthest southern point thus far by man at 82°17'S
- January 1 - Buster Nupen, South African cricketer (d. 1977)
- January 9 - Rudolph Bing, Austrian-born opera manager (d. 1997)
- January 9 - Josemaría Escrivá, Spanish priest and founder of Opus Dei (d. 1975)
- January 11 - Maurice Duruflé, French composer (d. 1986)
- January 12 - King Saud of Saudi Arabia (d. 1969)
- January 16 - Eric Liddell, Scottish runner (d. 1945)
- January 22 - Daniel Kinsey, American hurdler (d. 1970)
- January 24 - E. A. Speiser, American Bible scholar (d. 1965)
- January 25 - André Beaufre, French general (d. 1975)
- January 26 - Menno ter Braak, Dutch author and polemicist (d. 1940)
- January 31 - Tallulah Bankhead, American actress (d. 1968)
- January 31 - Alva Myrdal, Swedish politician, diplomat, and writer, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1986)
- February 1 - Langston Hughes, American writer (d. 1967)
- February 4 - Charles Lindbergh, American aviator (d. 1974)
- February 4 - Hartley Shawcross, British prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials (d. 2003)
- February 6 - George Brunies, American jazz trombonist (d. 1974)
- February 8 - Demchugdongrub, Mongolian politician (d. 1966)
- February 10 - Walter Houser Brattain, American physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1987)
- February 11 - Arne Jacobsen, Danish architect and designer (d. 1971)
- February 19 - Kay Boyle, American writer (d. 1992)
- February 19 - Eddie Peabody, American musician (d.1970)
- February 20 - Ansel Adams, American photographer (d. 1984)
- February 27 - Gene Sarazen, American golfer (d. 1999)
- February 27 - John Steinbeck, American writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
- March 7 - Heinz Rühmann, German actor (d. 1994)
- March 9 - Will Geer, American actor (d. 1978)
- March 16 - Leon Roppolo, American jazz clarinetist (d. 1943)
- March 17 - Bobby Jones, American golfer (d. 1971)
- March 21 - Son House, American musician (d. 1988)
- March 24 - Thomas Dewey, American politician (d. 1971)
- March 28 - Dame Flora Robson, English actress (d. 1984)
- March 29 - William Walton, English composer (d. 1983)
- March 29 - Marcel Aymé, French writer (d. 1967)
- April 4 - Louise Leveque de Vilmorin, French actress (d. 1969)
- April 12 - Louis Beel, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (d. 1977)
- April 23 - Halldór Laxness, Icelandic writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1998)
- April 25 - Werner Heyde, German psychiatrist (d. 1964)
- April 30 - Theodore Schultz, American economist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1998)
- May 3 - Alfred Kastler, French physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1984)
- May 6 - Max Ophüls, German-born director (d. 1957)
- May 6 - Harry Golden, American journalist (d. 1981)
- May 10 - Anatole Litvak, Ukrainian-born film director (d. 1974)
- May 10 - David O. Selznick, Hollywood film producer (d. 1965)
- May 15 - Richard J. Daley, Mayor of Chicago (d. 1976)
- May 18 - Meredith Willson, American composer (d. 1984)
- May 21 - Earl Averill, baseball player (d. 1983)
- May 21 - Marcel Lajos Breuer, architect (d. 1981)
- May 22 - Al Simmons, baseball player (d. 1956)
- July 4 - George Murphy, American dancer, actor, Senator from California (d. 1992)
- July 4 - Meyer Lansky, Russian-born mobster (d. 1983)
- July 10 - Kurt Alder, German chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1958)
- July 28 - Karl Raimund Popper, Austrian philosopher (d. 1994)
- July 26 - Gracie Allen, American actress and comedienne (d. 1964)
- August 8 - Paul Dirac, English physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1984)
- August 9 - Zino Francescatti, French violinist (d. 1991)
- August 10 - Norma Shearer, Canadian actress (d. 1983)
- August 10 - Arne Tiselius, Swedish chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1971)
- August 11 - Alfredo Binda, Italian cyclist (d. 1986)
- August 19 - Ogden Nash, American poet (d. 1971)
- August 22 - Leni Riefenstahl, German film director (d. 2003)
- August 25 - Stefan Wolpe, German-born composer (d. 1972)
- September 21 - Luis Cernuda, Spanish poet (d. 1963)
- September 22 - John Houseman, Romanian-born actor and producer (d. 1988)
- September 24 - Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranian Shia cleric (d. 1989)
- October 5 - Larry Fine, American actor and comedian (d. 1975)
- October 5 - Ray Kroc, American fast food entrepreneur (d. 1984)
- October 25 - Eddie Lang, American jazz guitarist (d. 1933)
- November 1 - Eugen Jochum, German conductor (d. 1987)
- November 2 - Princess Mafalda Maria Elisabetta of Savoy (d. 1944)
- November 9 - Anthony Asquith British film director, (d. 1968)
- November 17 - Eugene Wigner, Hungarian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1995)
- November 23 - Victor Jory, Canadian actor (d. 1982)
- December 2 - Wilfredo Lam, Cuban artist (d. 1982)
- December 5 - Strom Thurmond, U.S. Senator (d. 2003)
- December 20 - Prince George, Duke of Kent (d. 1942)
- December 28 - Mortimer Adler, American philosopher (d. 2001)
- January 11 - Johnny Briggs, English cricketer (b. 1862)
- March 26 - Cecil Rhodes, British imperialist (b. 1853)
- April 2 - Esther Morris, suffragist and the first American woman judge (b. 1814)
- May 6 - Bret Harte, American writer (b. 1836)
- May 26 - Almon Strowger, American inventor (b. 1839)
- June 10 - Jacint Verdaguer, Catalan poet (b. 1845)
- June 18 - Samuel Butler, British author (b. 1835)
- July 4 - Swami Vivekananda, Indian religious leader (b. 1863)
- July 6 - Maria Goretti, Italian Catholic saint (b. 1890)
- August 8 - James Tissot, French artist (b. 1836)
- September 5 - Rudolf Virchow, German doctor, pathologist, biologist, and politician (b. 1821)
- September 6 - Sir Frederick Augustus Abel, British chemist (b. 1827)
- September 29 - Emile Zola, French author (b. 1840)
- October 26 - Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American women's rights activist (b. 1815)
- December 3 - Robert Lawson, New Zealand architect (b. 1833)
- December 22 - Richard von Krafft-Ebing, German sexologist (b. 1840)
- Frederick Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury (b. 1821)
- Physics - Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, Pieter Zeeman
- Chemistry - Hermann Emil Fischer
- Medicine - Ronald Ross
- Literature - Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen
- Peace - Élie Ducommun, Charles Albert Gobat
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