General Chronology

Thomas Jefferson is President First tax-supported public library founded in Salisbury, Conn.
Louisiana Purchase completed
Monthly Anthology, and Boston Review founded

Lewis and Clark expedition begins
Alexander Hamilton killed
Nathaniel Hawthorne born

Jefferson’s second inaugural
Boston Athenæum founded

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

American population is 7,239,881
Charles Brockden Brown dies
Isaiah Thomas, History of Printing in America

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

War is declared on Britain
Louisiana is made the eighteenth state
American Antiquarian Society founded
James Kirke Paulding, The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother Jonathan

Madison’s second inaugural
Boston Daily Advertiser started

British forces capture Washington
Francis Scott Key writes “The Star-Spangled Banner”
The Treaty of Ghent ends the war with Britain
George Washington Harris born

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

Harvard Divinity School organized
Indiana admitted as a state

James Monroe inaugurated as president
Mississippi admitted as a state
Henry David Thoreau born
William Cullen Bryant, “Thanatopsis”

Illinois admitted as a state

Spain cedes Florida to America
Alabama admitted as a state
Julia Ward Howe, James Russell Lowell, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman born
Washington Irving, The Sketch Book

American population 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?”

Monroe’s second inaugural
Missouri admitted as a state
Saturday Evening Post founded
William Cullen Bryant, Poems

James Fenimore Cooper, The Pioneers
Washington Irving, Bracebridge Hall

Hudson River School of landscape painting formed

Lydia Maria Child, Hobomok

John Quincy Adams inaugurated as president

Lyceum movement begins
John William DeForest born
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
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 the blind is founded
Encyclopaedia Americana begins publication

American population is 12,866,020
Indian Removal Act signed
Mormon Church founded
Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson born
Godey’s Lady’s Book founded

Antislavery newspaper, The Liberator, founded
Nat Turner’s slave rebellion
Edgar Allan Poe, Poems
John Greenleaf Whittier, Legends of New-England in Prose and Verse

Pseudoscience of phrenology introduced in America
Louisa May Alcott born
Philip Freneau dies
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 American Called Africans
Sketches and Eccentricities of Col. David Crockett, of West Tennessee
Timothy Flint, Memoir of Daniel Boone

Southern Literary Messenger founded
William Gilmore Simms, Guy Rivers

Samuel F. B. Morse invented the telegraph
The Liberty Bell is cracked
Mark Twain born
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
A. Bronson Alcott, Conversations with Children on the Gospels
Lydia Maria Child, Philothea
First of the school readers by William Holmes McGuffey published

Martin Van Buren inaugurated as president
Michigan admitted as a state
Financial panic hits America
Edward Eggleston and William Dean Howells born
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Twice-Told Tales

Establishment of the first transatlantic steamship service
Edgar Allan Poe, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, of Nantucket
John Greenleaf Whittier, Ballads and Anti-Slavery Poems

American Art Union formed
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion and Voices of the Night

American population is 17,069,453
Republic of Texas recognized as a nation
National Anti-Slavery Standard founded
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
James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer
James Russell Lowell, A Year’s Life and Other Poems

Sons of Temperance founded
Charles Dickens visits America
Ambrose Bierce and Sidney Lanier born
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Poems on Slavery

Bronson Alcott begins Fruitlands utopian community near Concord, Massachusetts
Henry James born
Francis Scott Key and Noah Webster die

Fruitlands community closes
George Washington Cable and Harriet Lothrop (“Margaret Sidney”) born
James Russell Lowell, Poems

James K. Polk inaugurated as president
Florida and Texas admitted as states
Margaret Fuller, Woman in the Nineteenth Century
Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven and Other Poems

Smithsonian Institute authorized by Congress
Mexican War begins
Iowa admitted as a state
Margaret Fuller, Papers on Literature and Art
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from an Old Manse
Herman Melville, Typee
John Greenleaf Whittier, Voices of Freedom

Brook Farm community closes
Brigham Young and the Mormons reach Salt Lake City
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline
Herman Melville, Omoo

Gold discovered in California
Seneca Falls women’s rights convention
Wisconsin admitted as a state
Joel Chandler Harris born
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 America to receive M.D. degree
Sarah Orne Jewett and James Whitcomb Riley born
Edgar Allan Poe dies
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

American population is 23,191,876
Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Bill enacted
California admitted as a state
Lafcadio Hearn born
Margaret Fuller dies
Harper’s Magazine founded
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
Karl Marx’s work begins publication in New-York Tribune
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables and The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales
Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

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
Joseph Glover Baldwin, The Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi
William Wells Brown, Clotelle

Kansas-Nebraska Bill enacted
The slave Anthony Burns is returned to the South
Boston Public Library opened
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, Leaves of Grass
Fanny Fern (Sarah Payson Willis), Ruth Hall

First kindergarten in America opened
Congress passes American copyright law
Harold Frederic born
Herman Melville, The Piazza Tales

James Buchanan inaugurated as president
Central Park is 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 at the Breakfast Table
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Courtship of Miles Standish

Oregon admitted as a state
John Brown seizes arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia; he is captured and hanged
Dan Emmett composes “Dixie”
Washington Irving dies
Harriet Beecher Stowe, The Minister’s Wooing

American population 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 dies
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun
Ann Stephens, Malaeska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter

Confederate States of America formed, with Jefferson Davis as President; American troops fired on at Ft. Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina; Civil War begins
Abraham Lincoln inaugurated as president
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Elsie Venner

Lincoln submits Emancipation Proclamation to Congress
William Sydney Porter (“O. Henry”) born
Johnson Jones Hooper and Henry David Thoreau die
Rebecca Harding Davis, Margaret Howth

Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation; also delivers “The Gettysburg Address”
Robert E. Lee’s Confederate forces defeated at Gettysburg
National Academy of Sciences founded
Thanksgiving Day made a national holiday
West Virginia admitted as a state
George Santayana born
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 and Thomas Dixon born
Joseph Glover Baldwin and Nathaniel Hawthorne die
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, passed
Ku Klux Klan founded
Lydia Huntley Sigourney dies
Louisa May Alcott, Moods
Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod
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
Laura Ingalls Wilder born
Henry Timrod dies
John William DeForest, Miss Ravenel’s Conversion from Secession to Loyalty
Augusta Jane Evans, St. Elmo
George Washington Harris, Sut Lovingood Yarns
Bret Hart, Condensed Novels and Other Papers
Sidney Lanier, Tiger-Lillies

Benevolent Protective Order of Elks founded
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Ulysses S. Grant inaugurated as president
Women suffrage granted in Wyoming
Edwin Arlington Robinson born
George Washington Harris dies
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Oldtown Folks
Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

American population is 39,818,449
John Pendleton Kennedy, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, and William Gilmore Simms die
Woman’s Journal founded

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

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 Dean Howells, A Chance Acquaintance
Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age

Women’s Christian Temperance Union founded
Robert Frost, Ellen Glasgow, Amy Lowell, and Gertrude Stein born
Congressional Record founded

John William DeForest, Honest John Vane
Brett Harte, Tales of the Argonauts
Henry James, A Passionate Pilgrim and Other Tales
Walt Whitman, Memoranda During the War

General George Armstrong Custer and his men killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn
American Library Association founded
Sherwood Anderson born
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, Two Rivulets

Rutherford B. Hayes inaugurated as president
Thomas A. Edison patented the phonograph
American Humane Society founded
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
James Branch Cabell, Vachel Lindsay, and Wallace Stevens born
Richard Henry Dana, Jr., and Sarah Josepha Hale die
George Washington Cable, Old Creole Days
Henry James, Daisy Miller and Hawthorne

American population is 50,155,783
Metropolitan Museum of Art opened
H. L. Mencken born
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
United States 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

Standard Oil Trust organized
Richard Henry Dana, Jr., and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow die
William Dean Howells, A Modern Instance
Mark Twain, The Prince and the Pauper
Walt Whitman, Specimen Days & Collect