1870: Maria Montessori, education pioneer
1908: William Saroyan, author (The Human Comedy)
1918: Alan Jay Lerner, lyricist (“I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Almost Like Being in Love”)
1935: Eldridge Cleaver, author (Soul On Ice) and leader of the Black Panther Party
1945: Van Morrison, singer (“Brown Eyed Girl”)
1949: Richard Gere, actor (An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman, Chicago)
1970: Queen Rania of Jordan
1982: G. Willow Wilson, author (Alif the Unseen, Ms. Marvel comic series)
1422: Henry V of England
1688: John Bunyan, preacher and author (The Pilgrim’s Progress)
1811: Louis Antoine de Bougainville, admiral and namesake of the bougainvillea plant
1867: Charles Baudelaire, poet (The Flowers of Evil)
1969: Rocky Marciano, boxer
1973: John Ford, director (The Grapes of Wrath, How Green Was My Valley)
1997: Diana, Princess of Wales
2013: David Frost, journalist (“The Nixon Interviews”)
1422: At only 9 months old, Henry VI succeeds to the throne of England.
1888: Jack the Ripper kills Mary Ann Nichols, his first victim.
1959: President Dwight Eisenhower and British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan appear in a live television debate.
1980: The Gdansk Agreement ends a series of strikes in Poland, later leading to the formation of the Solidarity labor movement.
1989: Moldova adopts National Language Day.
1994: The Irish Republican Army declares a complete ceasefire after 25 years of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.
1997: Princess Diana and her companion Dodi Fayed die in a car accident in Paris.
2006: Edvard Munch’s painting, The Scream, is recovered after its theft almost exactly two years earlier.
2010: President Barack Obama ends the U.S. combat mission in Iraq after seven years.
Lists like this are necessarily subjective and limited. Do you think I’ve left an important August 31 event out? Then please let me know in the forum!