1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar).
- January 4 - Émile Courtet (later known as Émile Cohl), French caricaturist and animator
- February 12 - Bobby Peel, English cricketer (d. 1943).
- February 22 - Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement (d. 1941)
- February 22 - Heinrich Hertz, physicist
- March 8 - Ruggiero Leoncavallo, Italian composer (d. 1919)
- March 30 - Leon Charles Thevenin , French telegraph engineer (d. 1926)
- April 5 - Alexander of Battenberg, first prince of Bulgaria
- May 7 - William A. MacCorkle, governor of West Virginia
- May 15 - Williamina Fleming, astronomer (d. 1911)
- May 31 - Pope Pius XI (d. 1939)
- July 23 - Carl Meinhof, German linguist (d. 1944)
- July 30 - Thorstein Veblen, economist (d. 1929)
- September 5 - Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, scientist, inventor († 1935)
- September 13 - Milton S. Hershey, American founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company
- September 13 - Michał Drzymała, Polish peasant and revolutionary (d. 1937)
- November 26 - Ferdinand de Saussure, Swiss linguist
- November 28 - King Alfonso XII of Spain
- November 30 - Bobby Abel, English cricketer (d. 1936)
- December 3 - Joseph Conrad, Polish-British novelist
- Joseph Tabrar, British songwriter
- John Jacob Abel - American pharmacologist
- February 10 - David Thompson, British-Canadian explorer
- May 2 - Alfred de Musset, French poet (b. 1810)
- May 11 - Eugène François Vidocq, French criminal, first director of Surete Nationale , and founder of the earliest known private detective agency
- May 23 - Augustin Louis Cauchy, French mathematician.
- July 19 - Stefano Franscini, member of the Swiss Federal Council (b. 1796)
- August 3 - Eugène Sue, French novelist (b. 1804)
- September 3 - John McLoughlin, Hudson's Bay Company factor
- November 26 - Joseph von Eichendorff, German poet (b. 1788)
- December 15 - Sir George Cayley, English aviation pioneer.
- Johann Georg Hiedler, step-father of Alois Hitler
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