Photo Gallery for Supercentenarians born in the year 1875,
as of October 10, 2018.
Bertha Blair, 112
Bertha Blair was born in Iowa, United States on December 30, 1875 and died in California, United States on February 9, 1988 at the age of 112 years, 41 days. She attributed her long life to “minding her own business.”
Jeanne Calment, 122
At age 20
At age 22
At age ~25
At age 40
In her 50s, with her daughter.
At age 60
At age 87
At age 108
At age 112
At age 113
At age 114
At age 116
At age 117
At age 118
At age 119
On February 14, 1995; one week before her 120th birthday.
On February 21, 1995; her 120th birthday.
On October 18, 1995; the day after she was recognised as the oldest person ever, having passing the claimed final age of Shigechiyo Izumi.
On February 14, 1996; one week before her 121st birthday.
On February 19, 1996; two days before her 121st birthday
On February 20, 1997; the day before her 122nd birthday
and lastly, again at age 122, at a French film shoot with a “clap board.”
Jeanne Louise Calment was born in Arles, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, France on February 21, 1875 and died in the same place on August 4, 1997 at the phenomenal and unrivalled age of 122 years, 164 days. She became the oldest living person in France on June 20, 1986, following the death of Eugenie Roux. On July 18, 1987, she passed the final age of Eugenie Roux and became the oldest French person ever. On January 11, 1988, she became the oldest verified living person in the world, following the death of Florence Knapp. On May 12, 1990, she passed the final age of Augusta Holtz and became the oldest verified person ever. On October 17, 1995, she passed the then accepted final claimed age of the now disputed Shigechiyo Izumi and was recognised by Guinness as the oldest person ever. Calment was the first fully verified person to reach the ages of 116, 117, 118, 119, 120, 121 and 122. She was the last living verified person born in the 1870s and also outlived everyone born in 1881. In the two decades since her death, no one has come within three years of her final age and just one person has come within four and a half years.
Calment’s reign as the World’s Oldest Person lasted a record nine years and six months. Since 1964, no one else has held this title for three and a half years. She was a member of the top 10 oldest living people for a record 11 years, 195 days. No one else who entered the top ten in their supercentenarian years has lived for seven years among the top 10 oldest living people. Calment broke the record for longest confirmed lifespan by over seven years. Before Calment, the only person who had surpassed a former longest confirmed lifespan by more than one year was Delina Filkins, who passed away in 1928 after surpassing the then longest confirmed lifespan by just over two years.
Exceeding what scientists had long considered to be the absolute limit of human longevity, Calment establishes the record as the most-verified supercentenarian ever recorded. Beginning with the 1876 census in which Calment is listed as a one-year-old, she was indexed within sixteen census documents until 1975, and seven further documents were identified to corroborate her claim.
Calment was the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder. She attended school between the ages of seven and sixteen, passing the Brevet in her final year. Calment learned piano from the age of seven and went to Marseilles for advanced lessons after discovering she had an aptitude for it. In about 1885, her father named one of his ships “La Jeanne” after his daughter. In 1888, at the age of 13, Calment met Vincent van Gogh when he visited her father’s fabric shop to buy canvas. She described him as “dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable”, and “very ugly, ungracious, impolite, sick.” In 1896, at the age of 21, she married her double second cousin, Fernand Calment, a affluent store owner. Their only child, a daughter named Yvonne Calment, was born in 1898. Their wealth ensured Calment never had to work. Instead, she pursued an active and leisurely lifestyle incorporating hobbies such as tennis, cycling, swimming, mountain excursions, piano and opera.
After her daughter died from pneumonia in 1934 at the age of just 35, she raised her only grandchild, Frederic Billiot, who subsequently became a doctor. Her husband passed away in 1942 at the age of 73 after eating a dessert prepared with spoiled cherries. Her grandson died in an car accident in 1963 at the age of 36.
In 1965, aged 90 and with no heirs, Calment signed a deal to sell her apartment to lawyer Andre-Francois Raffray. Raffray, then aged 47, agreed to pay her 2,500 francs per month in return for ownership of the apartment upon her death. By the time Raffray died in 1995 at the age of 77, he had ended up paying Calment the equivalent of over $180,000 (more than double the value of the property) for an apartment he never got to live in. When asked about this deal in 1995, Calment commented “In life, one sometimes makes bad deals.”
Calment remained in spectacular health for her age throughout her entire life. In 1960, at the age of 85, she took up fencing. At the age of 100, she was still running and riding her bicycle. She continued to do gymnastics and play the piano until at least the age of 109. Calment lived independently until shortly before her 110th birthday, when she moved into a retirement home after a cooking accident started a small fire in her house. However, Calment was still in incredible shape, and continued to walk until she fractured her femur during a fall at age 114 years 11 months, which required surgery. In doing so, she became the oldest person ever to undergo and survive an operation. After her operation, Calment needed to use a wheelchair. A woman of very strong character, she refused to accept the timetables imposed upon her and succeeded in adapting the retirement home to her wishes. Calment smoked cigarettes from the ages of 21 to 117, although she was believed to consume no more than two cigarettes per day towards the end of her life.
In 1988, aged 113, Calment’s international fame escalated when reporters descended upon Arles to commemorate the centenary of Vincent van Gogh’s visit. Calment recalled selling coloured pencils to Van Gogh, and seeing the Eiffel Tower being built. At the age of 114, she played herself in the 1990 film Vincent and Me, becoming the oldest person ever to appear in a film. In 1992, at the age of 117, she conducted a two and a half hour interview with the lucidity of a healthy octogenarian. At the age of 118, a Mental Status Examination and CT Scan showed her performance on tests of verbal memory and language fluency to be comparable to that of persons with the same level of education in their 80’s or 90’s. On her 120th birthday in 1995, when asked about her vision of the future, she replied: “Very brief.” 1995 also saw the release of Beyond 120 Years with Jeanne Calment, a documentary film about her life. In 1996, Time’s Mistress, a four-track CD featuring Calment reminiscing over a background of rap and dance music, was released. On her 122nd birthday on February 21, 1997, it was announced that she would make no more public appearances, as her health had seriously deteriorated. Jean-Marie Robine, the French demographer and gerontologist who helped verify her age, said that this “allowed her to die, as the attention had kept her alive.” Calment died on August 4, 1997, at 22:45 Central European Time. She remained mentally intact until her very end.
Calment ascribed her longevity and amazingly youthful appearance for her age to a diet rich in olive oil (which she also rubbed onto her skin) “All my life I’ve put olive oil on my skin and then just a puff of powder. I could never wear mascara, I cried too often when I laughed.” Calment also recommended laughter as a recipe for longevity and joked that she had “never had but one wrinkle, and I’m sitting on it,” and “God must have forgotten about me.” She further credited her calmness, saying, “That’s why they call me Calment.” She once said “If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about it.” She also recommended a diet of port wine, and ate nearly one kilogram of chocolate every week.
Annie Cawthorne, 111
On her 107th birthday:
On her 111th birthday:
These photos were sourced from The Milwaukee Sentinel and The Times Herald.
Annie Cawthorne was born in Michigan, United States on January 18, 1875 and died in the same state on March 18, 1986 at the age of 111 years, 59 days.
Margaretha Eijken, 110
On her 110th birthday:
Margaretha Eijken was born in North Holland, Netherlands on November 12, 1875 and died in the same province on May 1, 1986 at the age of 110 years, 170 days. She became the oldest living person in the Netherlands on December 27, 1984, following the death of Frederika van Asselt-Benkemper. On the day of her death, Eijken equalled the Dutch longevity record, previously held exclusively by Petronella Ribbens-Verstallen. Their Dutch longevity record was broken by Christina van Druten-Hoogakker in 1987. She remains the oldest verified person ever from North Holland.
Laura Jobe, 110
With her daughter, aged 101:
Laura Jobe was born in Mississippi, United States on January 5, 1875 and died in Texas, United States on June 21, 1985 at the age of 110 years, 167 days.
Elzona Maxey, 112
On her 110th birthday:
Photo sourced from The Oklahoman.
August 30, 2017; Elzona Maxey was born in Kentucky, United States on November 30, 1875 and died in Oklahoma, United States on April 25, 1988 at the age of 112 years, 147 days.
Orpha Nusbaum, 112
With her first husband:
Aged about 103:
On the right, aged 112:
Orpha Nusbaum was born in Elkhart County, Middlehart, Indiana, United States on August 13, 1875 and died in Goshen, Indiana, United States on March 30, 1988 at the age of 112 years, 230 days. Following the death of Florence Knapp in January 1988, Nusbaum was recognised by Guinness as the oldest living person in the world. In reality, Nusbaum was the second oldest living person in the United States and fourth oldest verified person in the world at the time of her death.
In 1897, Nusbaum married John Mischier, a minister. After his death, she married Frank Nusbaum in 1947. Her second husband died in 1959. Nusbaum worked as a Sunday school teacher and enjoyed writing poetry. She was also an active member of the Church of the Brethren. Younger relatives said she was someone who always tried to help others. Betty Nusbaum, her stepdaughter-in-law, said “She visited the senior citizens a lot and raised flowers inside and outside of her house and was always helping the needy.” Nusbaum had no children.
Nusbaum had no real health problems until she reached the age of 99. After that, however, she suffered a broken wrist, cataracts and a broken hip. She moved into a nursing home in 1982 at the age of 106. In 1986, she was named to the Sagamores of the Wabash, the highest civilian award available in Indiana. At the time of her 112th birthday, she credited her longevity to “honoring her parents”. The director of her nursing home said that her health was good, but that she mostly stays in bed all day. Nusbaum had trouble understanding several questions asked to her, but could recall events of the past. The town of Middlebury, about 10 miles from Goshen, honored her by naming one of its streets Orpha Drive.
Amelia Schmidt, 110
This photo was sourced from an article in The Daily Reporter.
Amelia Schmidt was born in Iowa, United States on September 7, 1875 and died in the same state on February 17, 1986 at the age of 110 years, 163 days.
Herman Smith-Johannsen, 111
February 25, 2002; Mr. Robert Young has provided us with three pictures of
Further photos provided at a later date:
Aged 109, at the 50th anniversary celebrations at the Sun Valley Resort:
Herman Smith-Johannsen was born in Horten, Ostlandet, Norway on June 15, 1875 and died in the Tonsberg, Ostlandet, Norway on January 5, 1987 at the age of 111 years, 204 days. On June 15, 1985, he became the first ever Norwegian male supercentenarian. On September 13, 1986, he passed the final age of Wilhelmine Sande and became the oldest Norwegian person ever. On December 14, 1986, he became the oldest living man in the world, following the death of Joe Thomas. His Norwegian longevity record was broken by Maren Bolette Torp in 1988 but he remains the oldest Norwegian man ever.
By the early 1890s Johannsen was rated one of the finest all-round skiers in Norway. In 1894, he graduated from the Royal Norwegian Military Academy as a Second Lieutenant and went to Germany to study engineering. In 1899, he graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Berlin. In 1901, he emigrated to the United States to work as a heavy machinery salesman. In 1902, while on a business trip to Canada to sell machinery to the Canadian Grand Trunk Railway company, Johannsen was befriended by the First Nations Cree in the wilderness above North Bay, Ontario. The nickname “Jackrabbit” is said to have been given to him by the Cree, who were impressed by his uncanny ability to hop around in deep snow in dense woods and travel extreme distances on skis at speeds unobtainable in the snowshoes they used at the time.
In 1907, Johannsen married Alice Robinson, with whom he went on to have three children. From 1907 to 1915, he worked in the West Indies as a sales engineer, representing various manufacturers of sugar cane handling equipment. After the First World War, Johannsen moved his business operations to Montreal, Canada; his family and home remaned in Lake Placid, New York. In 1929, Johannsen and his family moved permanently to Canada. In 1932, they settled in Piedmont in the Laurentians, a region of the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec. Johannsen learned French and played a major pioneering role in popularizing cross-country (or Nordic) skiing in Canada. He built many ski jumps and helped inspire a huge increase in the popularity of skiing throughout Ontario, the Eastern Townships, and the Laurentians. In the 1920s and 1930s, he cut the first cross-country ski trails in the Laurentians, including the famous Maple Leaf Trail. He organized races, taught, coached, officiated at competitions, served as a consultant countless times over, and was a tireless champion of physical fitness his whole long life. In the Eastern U.S. 25-mile race he was third in 1923 and second in 1924. In 1936 he entered and won a veteran’s race at Shawbridge. In 1946, at the age of 71, four times older than the youngest competitors, he raced in Vermont’s Stowe Derby and came third.
Johannsen was an honorary member of the Norwegian skiing and gentlemen’s club SK Ull. His wife died in 1963. On December 22, 1972, Johannsen was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for fostering and developing skiing as a recreation and helping and encouraging generations of skiers in Canada. In his 100th year, Johannsen was still skiing every day. In February 1986, at the age of 109, Johanssen attended the 50th anniversary celebrations at the Sun Valley Resort. He passed away from pneumonia while visiting his native Norway in 1987. Johannsen is the namesake of Cross Country Canada’s Jackrabbit program designed to introduce children aged 6-9 to cross-country skiing through local ski clubs. Some former “Jackrabbits” introduced to skiing through the program include Olympic medalists Beckie Scott, Sara Renner, and Chandra Crawford and World Champions Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey.
Joe Thomas, 111
October 8, 2017; Joe Thomas was born in Louisiana, United States on May 1, 1875 and died in the same state on December 14, 1986 at the age of 111 years, 227 days. He became the oldest living man in the world following the death of Mathew Beard on February 16, 1985.
Ine Tsugawa, 110
This photo was sourced from a Japanese newspaper.
Ine Tsugawa was born in Japan on April 3, 1875 and died in Tokushima, Shikoku Island, Japan on May 21, 1986 at the age of 111 years, 48 days. She became the oldest living person in Japan on February 10, 1984, following the death of Momu Okuma.
Lydie Vellard, 114
Lydie Vellard was born in Rozieres-en-Beauce, Loiret, France on March 18, 1875 and died in St. Sigismund, Loiret, France on September 17, 1989 at the age of 114 years and 183 days. At the time of her death, she was the second oldest person in France and the world, after Jeanne Calment. She remains the oldest person ever from Loiret and one of the top 5 oldest French people ever.
Born as Noemie Lidia Hudebine, she married Paul Vellard in the late 1890s. They moved to the town of Saint-Sigismond in 1898, where Lydie was to live for the rest of her life. Her daughter Marguerite was born in 1900.
Delphia Welford, 117
In her centenarian years:
Delphia Welford, aged 109, (center) with her great-great-granddaughter Delphia Boykin (left) in 1984.
Photo courtesy of Mrs. Delphia Boykin.
Apr. 29, 2023; The Gerontology Research Group is delighted to announce the validation of Mrs. Delphia Welford of Humboldt, Tennessee, USA. Following one of the most thoroughful and careful examination using multiple pieces of evidence and documentation spanning from her early life until 1992, we recognize that Delphia Welford was 117 years old. The investigation of her age, which had begun as early as in 2016, and even earlier than that – along with the American SSA Study, proves beyond reasonable doubt that Delphia Welford had been born in Okolona, Chickasaw County, Mississippi, on Sept. 9, 1875. Her parents were Richard and Heddie Welford. The family moved to Humboldt, Gibson, Tennessee when Delphia was young. She had one son, Leo Mathis (1896-1966). Delphia Welford never married and spent the rest of her life in Humboldt. She was homemaker and a member of Lane Chapel C.M.E Church. Welford died in Parkview Manor Health Care Center in Humboldt, Gibson County, Tennessee, USA on November 14, 1992 at the age of 117 years, 66 days. She was the oldest living person in the United States from 30 March 1988 (following the death of Orpha Nusbaum) to her death. She was also the second-oldest validated living person in the world, behind Jeanne Calment of France, and is also the oldest person to never become the world’s oldest living person.
Delphia Welford was originally among Social Security Administration study cases, conducted by Bert Kestenbaum and B. Renee Ferguson. The case re-emerged in 2016 with the work of our most respected GRG Correspondent for Greece, Mr. Ilias Leivaditis, who was the first to lay down hypothesis – on the GRG Supercentenarian Forum – that Delphia Welford may have been much older than her later life claim. Subsequent research provided only more evidence in support of this.
The validation of Delphia Welford changes the history of American longevity, as, in the light of the GRG revelations, she has been:
- the Oldest Living American (following the death of 112-year old Orpha Nusbaum on Mar. 30, 1988 until her own death on Nov. 14, 1992). This means the status of the Oldest Living American was never shared by Elzona Maxey (1875-1988), Alphaeus Philemon Cole (1876-1988), Birdie May Vogt (1876-1989), and Ettie Mae Greene (1977-1992), who until 2023 were believed to consecutively hold the title). Following Delphia Welford’s death, the status of Oldest Living American was inherited by Margaret Skeete (1878-1994).
- the Longevity Recordholder of the USA (surpassing Augusta Holtz in 1990; until her age was surpassed by Sarah Knauss in 1998)
- the African-American Longevity Recordholder for the USA (replacing Susannah Mushatt Jones (1899-2016), with her age being chronologically unrepeated for the next 31+ years)
- the oldest person to have been born in Mississippi (replacing Betty Wilson (1890-2006) and Susie Gibson (1890-2006))
- the third person in history to eclipse the lifespan of 115 years (behind Augusta Holtz and Jeanne Calment)
- the second person in history to eclipse the lifespan of 116 and 117 years (behind Jeanne Calment)
The detailed report on the case validation of Delphia Welford will be presented at the supercentenarian seminar in Paris later this year.
Welford’s age was verified by the SSA study (led by Bert Kestenbaum and B. Renee Ferguson), Robert Young, Waclaw Jan Kroczek, Delphia Boykin, Ilias Leivaditis, Jimmy Lindberg, and Oliver Trim, and (posthumously) validated by the GRG on April 29, 2023.
The validation of Delphia Welford was announced on the World Supercentenarian Forum on May 1, 2023.
Pearl Wolcott, 110
Pearl Wolcott was born in Ohio, United States on July 13, 1875 and died in California, United States on August 16, 1985 at the age of 110 years, 34 days.
Here ends the Photo Gallery for Supercentenarians born in 1875. Click on a link below to view our Photo Gallery for Supercentenarians born in another year.