- January 10 - DePauw University founded in Greencastle, Indiana
- January 26 - Michigan is admitted as the 26th U.S. State
- February 8 - Richard Johnson becomes the first Vice President of the United States chosen by the United States Senate
- February 11 - American Physiological Society organizes in Boston
- February 13 - Rowland Hill at a UK government inquiry into postal reform discloses the idea of carrying letters in a separate sheet which folded to become an envelope and the idea of "a bit of paper" which could be affixed to a letter to flag that postage had been paid.
- February 25 - First US electric printing press patented by Thomas Davenport
- March 4 - Martin Van Buren succeeds Andrew Jackson as the President of the United States of America.
- March 4 - Chicago, Illinois is granted a city charter by Illinois.
- May 10 - Panic of 1837 (Global economic crisis): New York City banks fail, and unemployment reaches record levels.
- June 3 - The London Hippodrome opens in Bayswater
- June 5 - The city of Houston, Texas is granted a city charter.
- June 20 - Queen Victoria, monarch of the United Kingdom ascends to the throne
- July 20 - Euston Station, London's first railway stations, is opened
- August 16 - Dutch sack of the fortress of Bonjol, ending the Padri War
- October 21 - General Thomas Jessup captures Osceola in pretext of negotiations
- November 7 - In Alton, Illinois, abolitionist printer Elijah P. Lovejoy is shot to death by a mob (supporters of slavery) while he was attempting to protect his printing shop from being destroyed a third time.
- November 8 - Formation of Mount Holyoke Seminary, first US college founded for women
- Financial and economic panic in US (wildcat banking, paper speculation and inflated land values)
- In the Canadas, William Lyon Mackenzie leads the Upper Canada Rebellion and Louis-Joseph Papineau leads the Patriotes Rebellion.
- Samuel Morse patents telegraph
- New York Sun Hoax – New York Sun claims that astronomer John Herschel has found life in the Moon
- British Piracy Act
- February 5 - Dwight L. Moody, evangelist (d. 1899)
- March 1 - William Dean Howells, writer, historian, editor, politician. (d. 1920)
- March 7 - Henry Draper, doctor, astronomer (d. 1882)
- March 18 - Grover Cleveland, President of the United States (d. 1908)
- March 23 - Charles Wyndham - English Actor and Theatrical Manager (d. 1919)
- April 17 - John Pierpont Morgan - US financier and banker (d. 1913)
- May 9 - Adam Opel, German engineer and industrialist (d. 1895)
- May 27 - Wild Bill Hickok, gunfighter (d. 1876)
- June 7 - Aloys Schicklgruber, later changed name to Alois Hitler, Austrian civil servant
- June 22 - Paul Morphy, US chess player (d. 1884)
- June 22 - Paul Bachmann, mathematician (d. 1920)
- July 4 - Carolus-Duran, French portrait painter (d. 1917)
- August 24 - Théodore Dubois, composer and teacher (d. 1924)
- October 11 - Joseph Burton Sumner, later founder and first mayor of Sumner, Mississippi, USA (d. 1920)
- November 14 - Lucas Barrett, English naturalist (d. 1862)
- December 26 - George Dewey, naval officer (d. 1917)
- Osman Pasha - Turkish General & Statesman (d. 1900)
- Sarah Lockwood Pardee, later known as Sarah Winchester, American eccentric and builder of the Winchester Mystery House (d. 1922).