September 9th is reportedly the most popular birth date for babies, and September is the busiest month for birthdays. But that doesn’t mean it’s a month for citizens. Here are some notable (and noble) people born in September.
1st September 7th 1533: Queen Elizabeth
England’s first Queen Elizabeth had a somewhat complicated path to the throne. When her father, King Henry VIII, died in 1547, the throne passed to his 9-year-old son Edward VI. Over (from his third marriage to Jane Seymour). Edward died six years later at the age of 15, but by that time he had already changed the order of succession, naming his cousin Lady Jane Gray as his successor. Gray ruled only nine days before the privy councilor declared Mary (daughter of Henry and first wife, Catherine of Aragon) queen. Mary I, also known as Bloody Mary, ruled for five turbulent years until she died without an heir at the age of 42. Elizabeth finally ascended the throne in 1
September 2nd, 1890: Colonel Harland Sanders
Colonel Sanders will always be known as the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, but he was 40 years old before he even started selling groceries at his gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. Before that he worked as a farm worker, painter, tram conductor, blacksmith assistant, railway fireman, lawyer, insurance agent, secretary, midwife and ferry company. He didn’t own his first KFC franchise until he was 62.
3. September 13, 1916: Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl, the British author who gave us Charlie and the chocolate factory, James and the giant peach, Fantastic Mr. Foxand many other memorable stories have produced some of his most profound writings outside the realm of fiction. In 1962, Dahl’s oldest child, Olivia – the apple of his eye – died after contracting measles, which developed into measles encephalitis. Dahl wrote about the loss in his private diary, an entry uncovered by his family long after the writer’s death. While this prose remained private throughout Dahl’s life, he wrote an open letter to parents about the measles vaccine in 1988, which was published in a pamphlet by the Sandwell Health Authority. You can read the entire heartbreaking letter here.
4. September 15, 1890: Agatha Christie
Dame Agatha Christie holds the world record for best-selling female writer of all time. While much credit can be given to her sheer talent and imagination, Christie was also influenced by her time at a Red Cross hospital during World War I. She was trained in pharmacy for the job, but was obsessed with the fear of an accident of poisoning someone. No wonder so many of their fictional victims – 83 in total – were poisoned.
5th September 16, 1924: Lauren Bacall
Anyone who has seen any of Lauren Bacall’s 70+ film and television appearances knows that the legendary actor was magnetic – a fact that people around her noticed during her first film. Bacall was only 20 years old when it was poured into it To have and not to have (1944). On the set, she met and fell in love with Humphrey Bogart, who was 44 years old and married at the time. The chemistry between the two was so evident that the filmmakers worked to extend their screen time until she played a lead role. A year later she and Bogart married and made three more films together – in 1946 The great sleep, Dark passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948).
6. September 18, 1905: Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo was an unlikely movie star. She was a notorious introvert who stopped giving interviews at the beginning of her career, made 32 films, and then retired from Hollywood at the age of 35. Her enigmatic manner was one of the reasons she was hired for MI6 during WWII. The highly recognizable Garbo could not be covered up, but she made contacts with interested people and reported evidence of her sympathies to headquarters. She also helped persuade the Swedish King Gustav V to meet the physicist Niels Bohr, which ultimately led the king to offer asylum to Danish Jews. She was criticized in public for not doing enough for the war effort, but in typical Garbo fashion, she kept silent about her espionage activities.
7. September 22, 1791: Michael Faraday
The English chemist and physicist Michael Faraday, among other things, gave us the concept of an electromagnetic field and invented devices that paved the way for our daily use of electricity. He was quite an educator too. In addition to his work for the Royal Institution, Faraday opened a series of science lectures for children in 1825, when such a curriculum was rare. He gave 19 of the so-called Christmas Lectures (the last in 1860), and the series continues to this day.
8. September 23, 1838: Victoria Woodhull
Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for President of the United States despite being unable to legally vote at the time (1872)! Women in office were a radical idea, but Woodhull was a radical woman in many ways. She divorced twice, invested in the stock market, published a newspaper and worked as a clairvoyant. Woodhull ran for president on the Equal Rights Party ticket but spent election night in jail for indecency for invoking the hypocrisy of a local minister.
September 9, 1936: Jim Henson
Jim Henson was the genius behind the Muppets, but he didn’t grow up with great aspirations in puppetry. As a high school graduate in 1954, he got a job at a local television station that wanted a show with puppets. Henson – just an amateur doll maker and operator at the time – decided that over time he could learn. The show only lasted two episodes, but that was enough time for Henson to socialize and make an impression. Further television appearances soon followed.
September 10-25, 1930: Shel Silverstein
Beloved children’s author Shel Silverstein claims to be famous in the music world, although few know about it: he wrote the Johnny Cash hit “A Boy Named Sue”. Silverstein first played the song for the country crooner at a party in 1969, and days later Cash played it while recording live In San Quentin. Columbia Records then released the song and peaked at number 2 on the pop charts, becoming Cash’s best-selling single. Silverstein grabbed a Grammy for the tune and appeared on it a year later The Johnny Cash Show to do it himself with the man in black. In 1978, Silverstein followed with a sequel called “The Father of a Boy Called Sue”, in which the saga was told from the perspective of the dear old father.
This story has been updated for 2020.