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date: 17 November 2019

(p. 691) Chronology

(p. 691) Appendix 1


This chronology covers in detail the most important dates in the life of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) and adds birth and death dates for significant figures who were born before 1803 and died after 1882. A detailed chronology of the comparable period in British literature and culture is available on the Romantic Chronology Web site: A chronology that lists only events associated with Transcendentalism is available in the Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism, ed. Wesley T. Mott (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1996).

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Mary Moody Emerson born


William Ellery Channing born


Amos Bronson Alcott born


Charles Lane born


Lydia Maria Francis (Child) and George Ripley born


Thomas Jefferson is president; first tax-supported public library founded in Salisbury, Conn.; Louisiana Purchase completed

Monthly Anthology, and Boston Review founded

Orestes A. Brownson, Sophia Willard Dana (Ripley), and Ralph Waldo Emerson born


Lewis and Clark expedition begins

Nathaniel Hawthorne and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody born


Jefferson's second inaugural

Boston Athenæum founded

Frederic Henry Hedge born


William Gilmore Simms born

Noah Webster, Compendious Dictionary of the English Language


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and John Greenleaf Whittier born

Joel Barlow, The Columbiad


William Cullen Bryant, The Embargo


James Madison inaugurated as president

Oliver Wendell Holmes and Edgar Allan Poe born

Philip Freneau, Collected Poems

Washington Irving, A History of New York


Population of the United States is 7,239,881

William Henry Channing, James Freeman Clarke, Margaret Fuller, and Theodore Parker born

Charles Brockden Brown dies

Isaiah Thomas, History of Printing in America


Harriet Beecher Stowe and Sarah Payson Willis (“Fanny Fern”) born


War declared on Britain; Louisiana admitted as the eighteenth state

American Antiquarian Society founded

James Kirke Paulding, The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan


Madison's second inaugural

Christopher Pearse Cranch, John Sullivan Dwight, Harriet Jacobs, Sylvester Judd, and Jones Very born

Boston Daily Advertiser started


British forces capture Washington; the Treaty of Ghent ends the war with Britain

George Washington Harris born

Francis Scott Key, “The Star-Spangled Banner”


Library of Congress acquires Thomas Jefferson's book collection

Richard Henry Dana Jr. born

North American Review founded

Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography

Lydia Huntley Sigourney, Moral Pieces in Prose and Verse


Indiana admitted as a state

Harvard Divinity School organized


James Monroe inaugurated as president; Mississippi admitted as a state

William Ellery Channing II and Henry David Thoreau born

William Cullen Bryant, “Thanatopsis”


Illinois admitted as a state

Frederick Douglass and John Weiss born


Spain cedes Florida to the United States; Alabama admitted as a state

Julia Ward Howe, James Russell Lowell, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman born

Washington Irving, The Sketch Book


Population of the United States is 9,638,453; Missouri Compromise passed; Maine admitted as a state

English critic Sydney Smith asks, “In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book?”

Charles King Newcomb born


Monroe's second inaugural; Missouri admitted as a state

Saturday Evening Post founded

William Cullen Bryant, Poems


Caroline Wells Healey (Dall), Octavius Brooks Frothingham, and Samuel Johnson born

Washington Irving, Bracebridge Hall


James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers


Marquis de Lafayette tours the United States

Ednah Dow Littlehale (Cheney) born

Lydia Maria Child, Hobomok


John Quincy Adams inaugurated as president

Thomas Cole's first major paintings of catskill landscapes, leading to formation of Hudson River School of landscape painting


Lyceum movement begins

John William DeForest born

Ralph Waldo Emerson licensed to preach

James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans


Sarah Josepha Hale proposes Thanksgiving as a national holiday

The Youth's Companion founded

John James Audubon, The Birds of America

James Fenimore Cooper, The Prairie

Edgar Allan Poe, Tamerlane and Other Poems

Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie


American Peace Society established; Baltimore and Ohio Railroad begins

Henry Timrod born

Cherokee Phoenix, first Native American newspaper, founded

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Fanshawe

Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language


Andrew Jackson inaugurated as president; first school for blind people founded

Encyclopaedia Americana begins publication


Population of the United States is 12,866,020; Indian Removal Act signed; Mormon Church founded

Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson born

Godey's Lady's Book founded


Nat Turner's slave rebellion

Antislavery newspaper, The Liberator, founded

Franklin Benjamin Sanborn born

Edgar Allan Poe, Poems

John Greenleaf Whittier, Legends of New-England in Prose and Verse


Pseudoscience of phrenology introduced in the United States; New England Antislavery Society founded

Louisa May Alcott and Moncure Daniel Conway born

Philip Freneau dies

Ralph Waldo Emerson resigns as pastor of the Second Church in Boston

John Pendleton Kennedy, Swallow Barn


Jackson's second inaugural; American Antislavery Society founded

Horatio Greenough completes first large marble sculpture by an American, a statue of George Washington

Lydia Maria Child, An Appeal in Favor of the Class of Americans Called Africans

Sketches and Eccentricities of Col. David Crockett, of West Tennessee

Timothy Flint, Memoir of Daniel Boone


Southern Literary Messenger founded

Amos Bronson Alcott opens Temple School in Boston

William Gilmore Simms, Guy Rivers


Samuel F. B. Morse invents the telegraph; the Liberty Bell cracks

Mark Twain born

Western Messenger founded

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Record of a School

Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Georgia Scenes, Characters, and Incidents

William Gilmore Simms, The Yemassee

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America


Battle of the Alamo; Arkansas admitted as a state

Bret Harte born

First of the school readers by William Holmes McGuffey published

First meeting of the Transcendental Club

Amos Bronson Alcott, Conversations with Children on the Gospels

Lydia Maria Child, Philothea

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature


Martin Van Buren inaugurated as president; Michigan admitted as a state; financial panic hits the United States

John Burroughs, Edward Eggleston, and William Dean Howells born

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar”

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Twice-Told Tales


Establishment of the first transatlantic steamship service; Cherokees forced to embark on the Trail of Tears

Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery

Boston Quarterly Review founded by Orestes A. Brownson

George Ripley begins publication of Specimens of Foreign Standard Literature series

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Divinity School Address

Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, of Nantucket

John Greenleaf Whittier, Ballads and Anti-slavery Poems


American Art Union formed

First of Margaret Fuller's “Conversations” in Boston

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion and Voices of the Night

Jones Very, Essays and Poems


Population of the United States is 17,069,453; Republic of Texas recognized as a nation

Dial and National Anti-Slavery Standard founded

Last meeting of the Transcendental Club

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody opens a bookshop on West Street in Boston

Richard Henry Dana Jr., Two Years before the Mast

Edgar Allan Poe, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque

John Greenleaf Whittier, Moll Pitcher and the Minstrel Girl


William Henry Harrison inaugurated as president but dies after only a month in office; John Tyler inaugurated as president

Brook Farm utopian community founded near Boston

New-York Tribune founded by Horace Greeley

Last issue of Western Messenger published

James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays [First Series]

James Russell Lowell, A Year's Life and Other Poems

Theodore Parker, A Discourse of the Transient and Permanent in Christianity


Sons of Temperance founded; Charles Dickens tours the United States

Ambrose Bierce, William James, and Sidney Lanier born

William Ellery Channing dies

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Poems on Slavery

Theodore Parker, A Discourse on Matters Pertaining to Religion


Bronson Alcott begins Fruitlands utopian community near Concord, Massachusetts

Henry James Jr. born

Francis Scott Key and Noah Webster die

William Ellery Channing II, Poems


Fruitlands community closes

Last issue of Dial published

George Washington Cable and Harriet Lothrop (“Margaret Sidney”) born

Ralph Waldo Emerson purchases land at Walden Pond

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: Second Series

Margaret Fuller, Summer on the Lakes, in 1843

James Russell Lowell, Poems


James K. Polk inaugurated as president; Florida and Texas admitted as states

Henry David Thoreau moves to Walden Pond

Harbinger founded at Brook Farm

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century

Sylvester Judd, Margaret

Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven and Other Poems and Tales


Mexican War begins; Iowa admitted as a state

Congress passes legislation to establish Smithsonian Institution

Henry David Thoreau spends a night in jail for failing to pay his poll tax

Margaret Fuller, Papers on Literature and Art

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse

Herman Melville, Typee

John Greenleaf Whittier, Voices of Freedom


Brigham Young and the Mormons reach Salt Lake City

Brook Farm community closes

Henry David Thoreau leaves Walden Pond

Massachusetts Quarterly Review founded

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poems

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline

Herman Melville, Omoo


Gold discovered in California; Seneca Falls woman's rights convention; Wisconsin admitted as a state

Joel Chandler Harris born

William Henry Channing, A Memoir of the Life of William Ellery Channing

Frederic Henry Hedge, The Prose Writers of Germany

James Russell Lowell, The Biglow Papers and A Fable for Critics

Edgar Allan Poe, Eureka: A Prose Poem


Zachary Taylor inaugurated as president

Elizabeth Blackwell is first woman in the United States to receive MD degree

Sarah Orne Jewett and James Whitcomb Riley born

Edgar Allan Poe dies

Last issue of Harbinger published; only issue of Aesthetic Papers published

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature; Addresses, and Lectures

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Kavanagh

Herman Melville, Mardi and Redburn

Francis Parkman, The Oregon Trail

Henry David Thoreau, “Resistance to Civil Government” and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers


Population of the United States is 23,191,876; Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Law enacted; California admitted as a state

Margaret Fuller dies

Harper's Magazine founded

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Men

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Herman Melville, White-Jacket

Donald Grant Mitchell, Reveries of a Bachelor


Kate Chopin and Grace King born

John James Audubon and James Fenimore Cooper die

New York Times founded

The New-York Tribune begins publication of Karl Marx's work.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables and The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick


Sylvester Judd and Daniel Webster die

Dwight's Journal of Music founded

William Henry Channing, James Freeman Clarke, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli

Martin Robinson Delany, The Condition, Elevation, Emigration, and Destiny of the Colored People in the United States

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance

Herman Melville, Pierre

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin


Franklin Pierce inaugurated as president; trade opened with Japan

Thomas Nelson Page born

Putnam's Monthly Magazine and The Una founded

William Wells Brown, Clotelle


Kansas-Nebraska Act enacted; Anthony Burns returned to Slavery in Virginia

Boston Public Library opens

Saturday Club founded

Louisa May Alcott, Flower Fables

Timothy Shay Arthur, Ten Nights in a Barroom and What I Saw There

Sarah Josepha Hale, Woman's Record

Julia Ward Howe, Passion Flowers

Henry David Thoreau, Walden


American Journal of Education founded

John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Song of Hiawatha

Herman Melville, Israel Potter

Walt Whitman, first edition of Leaves of Grass

Fanny Fern (Sarah Payson Willis), Ruth Hall


First kindergarten in America opens; Congress passes U.S. copyright law

Harold Frederic born

Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits

Herman Melville, The Piazza Tales

Walt Whitman, second edition of Leaves of Grass


James Buchanan inaugurated as president; Dred Scott decision by U.S. Supreme Court; Central Park laid out in New York City; financial panic begins, leading to recession

Atlantic Monthly and Harper's Weekly founded

Herman Melville, The Confidence-Man


Minnesota admitted as a state

Charles Waddell Chesnutt born

Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Courtship of Miles Standish


Oregon admitted as a state; John Brown seizes arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, is captured and later hanged; Dan Emmett composes “Dixie”

Washington Irving dies

Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

Theodore Parker, Theodore Parker's Experience as a Minister

Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Minister's Wooing


Population of the United States is 31,443,321; Pony Express mail service begins; South Carolina secedes from the Union; Government Printing Office established

Hamlin Garland and Charlotte Perkins Gilman born

James Kirke Paulding and Theodore Parker die

Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Conduct of Life

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun

Ann Stephens, Malaeska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter

Walt Whitman, third edition of Leaves of Grass


Lincoln inaugurated as president; Confederate States of America formed, with Jefferson Davis as president; Confederate troops fire on U.S. troops at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina; and Civil War begins

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Elsie Venner

Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl


Lincoln submits Emancipation Proclamation to Congress

Henry David Thoreau dies

Rebecca Harding Davis, Margaret Howth


Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation; also delivers “The Gettysburg Address”; Robert E. Lee's Confederate forces defeated at Gettysburg; Thanksgiving Day made a national holiday; West Virginia admitted as a state

National Academy of Sciences founded

George Santayana born

Mary Moody Emerson and Sophia Willard Dana Ripley die

Louisa May Alcott, Hospital Sketches

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Our Old Home

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Tales of a Wayside Inn

Henry David Thoreau, Excursions


Nevada admitted as a state

Richard Harding Davis born

Nathaniel Hawthorne dies

Henry David Thoreau, The Maine Woods


Lincoln's second inaugural; Freedman's Bureau founded; Civil War ends; Lincoln assassinated; Andrew Johnson inaugurated as president; Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, passes; Ku Klux Klan founded

Lydia Huntley Sigourney dies

Louisa May Alcott, Moods

Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod and Letters to Various Persons

Mark Twain, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”

Walt Whitman, Drum-Taps


Young Women's Christian Association founded

Herman Melville, Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War

Henry David Thoreau, A Yankee in Canada

John Greenleaf Whittier, Snow-Bound


Beginning of Reconstruction; Nebraska admitted as a state; Alaskan Territory purchased; first successful typewriter patented

Free Religious Association and Radical Club founded

Laura Ingalls Wilder born

Henry Timrod dies

John William DeForest, Miss Ravenel's Conversion from Secession to Loyalty

Ralph Waldo Emerson, May-Day and Other Pieces

Augusta Jane Evans, St. Elmo

George Washington Harris, Sut Lovingood: Yarns Spun

Bret Hart, Condensed Novels and Other Papers

Sidney Lanier, Tiger-Lilies

Walt Whitman, fourth edition of Leaves of Grass


Benevolent Protective Order of Elks founded

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women


Ulysses S. Grant inaugurated as president; woman's suffrage granted in Wyoming

Edwin Arlington Robinson born

George Washington Harris dies

Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Army Life in a Black Regiment

Harriet Beecher Stowe, Oldtown Folks

Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad


Population of the United States is 39,818,449

John Pendleton Kennedy, Charles Lane, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, and William Gilmore Simms die

Woman's Journal founded

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude


National Rifle Association founded; Grand Central Station opens in New York City

Stephen Crane born

Louisa May Alcott, Little Men

Edward Eggleston, The Hoosier Schoolmaster

Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas and Passage to India


Jehovah's Witnesses founded

Paul Laurence Dunbar and Zane Grey born

Sara Payson Willis (“Fanny Fern”) dies

William Dean Howells, Their Wedding Journey

Mark Twain, Roughing It

Walt Whitman, fifth edition of Leaves of Grass


Grant's second inaugural; first cable car used in San Francisco

Willa Cather and Emily Post born

William Holmes McGuffey dies

Louisa May Alcott, Work

William Ellery Channing II, Thoreau: The Poet-Naturalist

William Dean Howells, A Chance Acquaintance

Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age

Walt Whitman, sixth (British) edition of Leaves of Grass


Women's Christian Temperance Union founded

Congressional Record founded

Robert Frost, Ellen Glasgow, Amy Lowell, and Gertrude Stein born


John William DeForest, Honest John Vane

Brett Harte, Tales of the Argonauts

Henry James, A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales


General George Armstrong Custer and his men killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn

American Library Association founded

Sherwood Anderson born

Orestes A. Brownson dies

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims

Octavius Brooks Frothingham, Transcendentalism in New England

Helen Hunt Jackson, Mary Philbrick's Choice

Henry James, Roderick Hudson

Herman Melville, Clarel

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Roughing It

Walt Whitman, Memoranda during the War and Two Rivulets


Rutherford B. Hayes inaugurated as president; Thomas A. Edison patents the phonograph; American Humane Society founded; Compromise of 1877 ends Reconstruction

Alice B. Toklas born

Louisa May Alcott, A Modern Mephistopheles

Henry James, The American


District of Columbia granted a constitution; American Bar Association founded

Carl Sandburg and Upton Sinclair born

William Cullen Bryant dies

Henry James, The Europeans


First Church of Christ, Scientist, founded by Mary Baker Eddy; Thomas A. Edison perfects the electric light

First session of Concord School of Philosophy

James Branch Cabell, Vachel Lindsay, and Wallace Stevens born

Sarah Josepha Hale and John Weiss die

George Washington Cable, Old Creole Days

Henry James, Daisy Miller and Hawthorne


Population of the United States is 50,155,783; Metropolitan Museum of Art opens

H. L. Mencken born

Lydia Maria Francis Child, George Ripley, and Jones Very die

Henry Adams, Democracy

George Washington Cable, The Grandissimes

Lew Wallace, Ben Hur


James A. Garfield inaugurated as president; Garfield assassinated; Chester A. Arthur inaugurated as president; U.S. Lawn Tennis Association founded

Sidney Lanier dies

Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings

Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady and Washington Square

Margaret Sidney (Harriet Lothrop), Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

Henry David Thoreau, Early Spring in Massachusetts

Walt Whitman, seventh edition of Leaves of Grass


Standard Oil Trust organized

Richard Henry Dana Jr., Ralph Waldo Emerson, Samuel Johnson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow die

William Dean Howells, A Modern Instance

Mark Twain, The Prince and the Pauper

Walt Whitman, Specimen Days & Collect


William Henry Channing dies


Emily Dickinson dies


Amos Bronson Alcott, Louisa May Alcott, and James Freeman Clarke die


Frederic Henry Hedge dies


Herman Melville dies


Christopher Pearse Cranch and Walt Whitman die


John Sullivan Dwight dies


Charles King Newcomb and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody die


Octavius Brooks Frothingham dies


William Ellery Channing II dies


Ednah Dow Littlehale Cheney dies


Moncure Daniel Conway dies


Thomas Wentworth Higginson dies


Caroline Wells Healey Dall dies


Franklin Benjamin Sanborn dies