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1837 was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar, the 1837th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 837th year of the 2nd millennium, the 37th year of the 19th century, and the 8th year of the 1830s decade. As of the start of 1837, the Gregorian calendar was 12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
- April 12 – The conglomerate of Procter & Gamble has its origins, when British-born businessmen William Procter and James Gamble begin selling their first manufactured goods (soap and candles) in Cincinnati, Ohio.
- May – W. F. Cooke and Charles Wheatstone patent a system of electrical telegraph.
- May 10 – The Panic of 1837 begins in New York City.
- June 5 – The city of Houston is incorporated, by the Republic of Texas.
- June 11 – The Broad Street Riot occurs in Boston, Massachusetts, fueled by ethnic tensions between the Irish and the Yankees.
- June 20 – Queen Victoria, 18, accedes to the throne of the United Kingdom, on the death of her uncle William IV without legitimate heirs (she will reign for more than 63 years). Under Salic law, the Kingdom of Hanover passes to William's brother, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, ending the personal union of Britain and Hanover which has persisted since 1714.
- October 10–13 – The French army besieges and captures Constantine in French Algeria.
- October 22 – Henry David Thoreau makes his first journal entry, at the suggestion of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
- November 7 – American abolitionist and newspaper editor Elijah Lovejoy is killed by a pro-slavery mob, at his warehouse in Alton, Illinois.
- November 8 – Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, later Mount Holyoke College, is founded in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
- November–December – In the Canadas, William Lyon Mackenzie leads the Upper Canada Rebellion, and Louis-Joseph Papineau leads the Lower Canada Rebellion.
- December 17 – Fire breaks out in the Winter Palace, in Saint Petersburg, Russia killing 30 guards
- December 29 – The Caroline Affair, on the Niagara River, becomes the basis for the Caroline test for anticipatory self-defence in international relations.
- January 2 – Mily Balakirev, Russian composer (d. 1910)
- January 7 – Thomas Henry Ismay, English shipowner (White Star Line) (d. 1899)
- February 5
- February 13 – Valentin Zubiaurre, Spanish composer (d. 1914)
- February 20 – Samuel Swett Green, American librarian, advocate (d. 1918)
- March 1 – William Dean Howells, American writer, historian, editor and politician (d. 1920)
- March 3 – Jacques Duchesne, French general (d. 1918)
- March 7 – Henry Draper, American physician and astronomer (d. 1882)
- March 18 – Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States (d. 1908)
- March 22 – Virginia Oldoini, Countess of Castiglione (d. 1899)
- March 23 – Charles Wyndham, English actor, theatrical manager (d. 1919)
- March 27 – Kate Fox, American medium (d. 1892)
- April 5 – Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet (d. 1909)
- April 17 – John Pierpont Morgan, American financier, banker (d. 1913)
- April 21 – Fredrik Bajer, Danish politician, pacifist, recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (d. 1922)
- April 27 – Queen Cheorin, Korean queen (d. 1878)
- April 29 – Georges Ernest Boulanger, French general, politician (d. 1891)
- May 5
- May 7 – Karl Mauch, German explorer (d. 1875)
- May 9 – Adam Opel, German engineer, industrialist (d. 1895)
- May 27 – Wild Bill Hickok, American gunfighter (d. 1876)
- May 28
- June 20 – David Josiah Brewer, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (d. 1910)
- June 22
- June 28 or 29 – Petre P. Carp, 2-time Prime Minister of Romania (d. 1919)
- July 4 – Carolus-Duran, French painter (d. 1917)
- July 18 – Vasil Levski, Bulgarian revolutionary (d. 1873)
- July 18 – Signe Hebbe, Swedish opera soprano (d. 1925)
- July 21 – Johanna Hedén, Swedish midwife, surgeon (d. 1912)
- August 1 – (bapt.) Mary Harris Jones ("Mother Jones"), Irish-American labor leader (d. 1930)
- August 5 – Anna Filosofova, Russian women's rights activist (d. 1912)
- August 24 – Théodore Dubois, French composer (d. 1924)
- September 2 – James H. Wilson, Union Army major general in the American Civil War (d. 1925)
- September 14 – Nikolai Bugaev, Russian mathematician (d.1903)
- September 12 – Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse (d. 1892)
- September 16 – King Pedro V of Portugal (d. 1861)
- September 18 – Aires de Ornelas e Vasconcelos, Portuguese Archbishop of Goa (d. 1880)
- October 3 – Nicolás Avellaneda, Argentine president (d. 1885)
- October 4 – Auguste-Réal Angers, Canadian judge and politician, 6th Lieutenant Governor of Quebec (d. 1919)
- October 5 – José Plácido Caamaño, 12th President of Ecuador (d. 1900)
- October 10 – Robert Gould Shaw, Union Army general in the American Civil War, social reformer (k. 1863)
- October 26 – Carl Koldewey, German explorer famous for the German North Polar Expedition (d. 1908)
- October 28 – Tokugawa Yoshinobu, Japanese shōgun, 15th and last of the Tokugawa shogunate (d. 1913)
- October 29 – Harriet Powers, African-American folk artist (d. 1910)
- November 2 – Émile Bayard, French artist, illustrator (d. 1891)
- November 5 – Arnold Janssen, German-born Catholic priest, saint (d. 1909)
- November 14 – Lucas Barrett, English naturalist (d. 1862)
- November 20 – Lewis Waterman, American inventor, businessman (d.1901)
- November 23 – Johannes Diderik van der Waals, Dutch physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1923)
- December 9 – Kabayama Sukenori, Japanese samurai, general and statesman (d. 1922)
- December 11 – Webster Paulson, English civil engineer (d. 1887)
- December 15 – George B. Post, American architect (d. 1913)
- December 24
- December 26
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