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A Son of the West timeline: 1912 - 1940
"His clock was set on pioneer time. He met trains that hadn't been built, beside tracks that might never be laid."
Wallace Stegner, American author

John Gardner was born on October 8, 1912 in Los Angeles, California, and lived in the then-rural village of Beverly Hills, California. John was only a year old when his father died; his mother, Marie, became John's mentor and moral compass.

When John was a boy, the West was still the frontier, where millions of people went in search of their dreams and a better life. There was a sense of optimism in the air, and a spirit, as John Gardner recalls, that in life there are always "riches left untapped."

more information  Learn more about The Growing West

With a sense of the possible, John entered Stanford University in 1929. He made the school's swim team through sheer determination, and went on to break several Pacific Coast Conference records. He also met Aida Marroquin, a Guatemalan woman, with whom he fell in love. John learned Spanish to communicate with her, and in 1934, they married. A year later, John graduated from Stanford with a degree in psychology, and in 1938, John received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Later that year, John, Aida, and his newborn daughter, Stephanie, headed East so John could take a post teaching psychology at Connecticut College for Women. There, he followed his interest in human development -- in the classroom and at home, watching Stephanie and her sister, Francesca, grow up. Nurturing human potential would become a consuming interest for Gardner.



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timeline legend
1912 John Gardner born in Los Angeles, California
1920 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified -- Women given the right to vote
1929 Stock market crash: beginning of the Great Depression
1934 John Gardner marries Aida Marroquin
1938 John Gardner receives his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley
   John Gardner writes "Level of Aspiration" based on his doctoral dissertation
1939 Germany invades Poland -- World War II beguins