Ralph Waldo Emerson
A Chronology of His Life
1803 - 1892
1803 - born May 25 in Boston to William Emerson and Ruth Haskins Emerson
1807 - (April 26), death of brother John Clarke
1811 - (May 12) father, William Emerson, dies
1812-1817 - attends Boston Latin School
1820 - begins keeping journals which he would continue throughout virtually all his life. The first series are called "Wide World", expressing his current thoughts on any and all topics.
1821-1825 - attends Harvard College, in a rather undistinguished manner
1822 - publishes first article, in The Christian Disciple
1825 - admitted to middle class of Harvard Divinity School
1826 - preaches first sermon in Samuel Ripley's pulpit
1827 - sails to South Carolina and St. Augustine, Florida seeking better health
1827-1829 - serves as "supply" preacher
1828 - engaged to Ellen Tucker, age 17 - mental breakdown of brother Edward
1829 - ordained as junior minister of Second Church (Unitarian) in Boston - (September 10) - marries Ellen Tucker
1831 - (February 8) - Ellen dies of tuberculosis
1832 - preaches "Last Supper" sermon, (October 28) resigns from Second Church
1833 - meets Coleridge, Wordsworth, has inspiring meeting with Carlyle
1833 - Frederic Hedge publishes article on Coleridge in The Christian Examiner which provides the first American recognition of the claims of Transcendentalism
1834 - settles in Concord. Boards with Ezra Ripley, his stepgrandfather. "Nature" and next set of lectures written there.
1835 - lectures on "Biography" from January
1835-1836 - Lecture Series on "English Literature" - November-January
1836 - (May 9) - brother Charles dies
1837 - RWE gives "The American Scholar" address at Harvard to seniors, one of whom is Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau, responding to a suggestion of Emerson's, begins to keep a journal. Leads to an extraordinary lifetime of journal-keeping.
1838 - (July 15) gives "Divinity School Address" at Harvard. Later the prominent Andrews Norton attacks Emerson's views as "the latest form of infidelity"
1839 - (February 24) - daughter Ellen born
1840-1844 - writes for The Dial with Margaret Fuller as editor First issue comes out July 1, 1840.
1841 - (March 20) "Essays" (First Series) - published
1842 - (January 27) - son Waldo dies lectures in New York, meets Henry James
1843 - delivers lecture series "New England" in Baltimore, New York, Philadelphia, Newark
1844 - Emerson's "Essays: Second Series" published (October 19) . Sells well.
1845 - Close friend Margaret Fuller publishes Woman in the Nineteenth Century.
1845-1846 - Lecture series "Representative Men" (December - January)
1846 - Poems published (December 25)
1847-1848 - second trip to England and France, British lecture tour. Visits Carlyle, Martineau, Wordsworth
1849 - "Nature; Addresses and Lectures published again (September)
1850 - "Representative Men" published
1851 - speaks on the Fugitive Slave Law (May)
1852 - speaks on the Fugitive Slave Law (May)
1853 - (November 16) - mother, Ruth Haskins Emerson, dies at 85, at Emerson's home
1854 - lectures on poetry at Harvard Divinity School (April)
1855 - Whitman publishes Leaves of Grass Emerson believes Whitman to be a true American genius yet suggests to Whitman that some overtly sexual passages be omitted. Whitman declines.
1856 - "English Traits" published
1859 - (May 27) - brother Bulkeley dies
1860 - "The Conduct of Life" published
1861 - mobbed at Tremont Temple by pro-slavery agitators
1862 - meets Abraham Lincoln (February)
1863 - hails Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclamation" with "Boston Hymn" (January)
1865 - daughter Edith marries William Hathaway Forbes
1866 - given honorary doctorate at Harvard College
1867 - "May-Day and Other Pieces" published
1868 - (September 13) - brother William dies
1870 - "Society and Solitude" published (March)
1871 - trip to California, meets with famed naturalist John Muir who is enchanted with RWE. (April - May)
1872 - (July 24) Emerson's house (Bush) burns
1872-1873 - third trip to Europe (October - May), including England (farewell visit to Carlyle) and Egypt...while house is repaired
1874 - "Parnassus" published
1875 - "Letters and Social Aims" published
1876 - lectures at University of Viirginia
1881 - reads paper at Massachusetts Historical Society on the death of Carlyle (February)
1882 - Emerson dies in Concord on April 27, at age 78 and is buried in Sleepy Hollow.
1883-1886 - Emerson-Carlyle correspondence published 1884 - "Lectures and Biographical Sketches" published. "Miscellanies" published.
1892 - (November 13) Lidian Emerson dies at age 90
1893 - "Natural History of the Intellect" and "Other Papers" published
1909-1910 - "Journals' edited by son Edward Emerson and Waldo Emerson Forbes, published in ten volumes.
SOURCE: Chronology taken from Emerson: The Mind on Fire by Richardson,
Ralph Waldo Emerson: Days of Encounter by McAleer, and other volumes.
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