A Eudora Welty Timeline
Personal Events | Professional Events | World Events
Eudora Alice Welty, the second child of Chestina Andrews, homemaker and avid gardener, and Christian Webb Welty, a secretary and director of Lamar Life Insurance Company, is born on April 13 in Jackson, Mississippi.
|1912:||Brother Edward |
Edward Jefferson Welty born.
|1915:||Life in Jackson|
Eudora enjoys family life, including Sunday drives, summer visits to grandparents in Ohio and West Virginia, and going to theater and concerts with parents, both music lovers.
Around the age of seven, Welty is diagnosed with a fast-beating heart and confined to bed for several months. She reads myths and nursery rhymes, the Brothers Grimm, Edward Lear, Dickens, Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Ring Lardner, encyclopedias, and popular sentimental and didactic fiction.
Eudora learns about photography from her father who develops his own pictures, and studies the Bible with her mother. She goes to movies weekly.
Walter Andrews Welty born.
Having learned to read at home, Welty enters first grade at Jefferson Davis Elementary School in January 1919. She also attends Sunday school at Methodist Episcopal Church South, although the family are not regular churchgoers.
Parents build new home on Pinehurst Street in Jackson. Welty shares a room in Old Main dormitory with three other students. For first time, she gets to know people from throughout the state and is fascinated by their different accents.
|1927:||Study of literature|
As she considers a career as an artist, Welty studies literary modernists including Virginia Woolf, William Faulkner, and William Butler Yeats, who becomes her favorite poet.
While in school at Madison, she frequently visits Chicago, spending time at the Art Institute while waiting for train connections between Mississippi and Madison.
|1930:||New York City|
Living in New York while attending business school, Welty rooms with friends from Jackson. She regularly visits galleries, museums, and theater, where she enjoys musical comedy and revues, as well as jazz and vaudeville in Harlem.
Eudora's father becomes critically ill with leukemia and dies while receiving a blood transfusion from her mother, with Welty at bedside.
|1935:||Night-Blooming Cereus Club|
Welty meets at her home with friends including young writers Frank Lyell, Hubert Creelmore, Nash Burger, and composer and conductor Lehman Engel; the group is dubbed the "Night-Blooming Cereus Club."
Welty signs on with the Russell & Volkening literary agency in New York; Diarmuid Russell begins placing her fiction in magazines such as Atlantic Monthly and Harper's Bazaar. He and Welty begin a close working relationship that blooms into an enduring friendship.
Welty spends June and July at Yaddo writers' colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. She shares housing with Katherine Anne Porter and the two become close friends.
|1944:||New York Times Book Review|
For the summer, Welty works for Robert Van Gelder at The New York Times Book Review writing reviews of books on the war under pseudonym "Michael Ravenna." She continues writing reviews when she returns to Jackson.
Welty travels in November to San Francisco for a stay that stretches to four months. While there, she writes "Music from Spain," sees a lot of John Fraiser Robinson, and makes new friends including Art and Antonette Fereva Foff, also clients of Diarmurd Russell.
Welty sails to Italy, where she sees John Fraiser Robinson, and to France where she travels with Harper's Bazaar editor Mary Louise Aswell. Goes on to England and then Ireland; sends note to Elizabeth Bowen, who has reviewed Welty's work favorably, and is invited to visit her at home in County Cork.
While at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, to lecture, Eudora meets the young Reynolds Price, editor of the undergraduate literary magazine the Archive.
Welty's mother endures a slow and difficult recuperation from eye surgery. While caring for her, Welty works on a "long story about the country" (eventually Losing Battles), writing brief vignettes and scenes which she keeps in shoeboxes for assembling later.
With her mother and Jackson friends who charter a plane for the event, Welty attends the February 16th New York opening of Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov's adaptation of The Ponder Heart, starring David Wayne as Uncle Daniel and Una Merkel as Edna Earle; it runs for 149 performances.
Eudora's brother Walter dies in January.
Eudora's mother Chestina dies on January 20 after a long and painful series of illnesses.
Eudora's brother Edward dies unexpectedly on January 24, just days after her mother's death.
|1989:||National Portrait Gallery |
A portrait of Welty is added to the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution.
"Eudora" e-mail program, named after the author in honor of her famous story "Why I Live at the P.O.," is made available on the Internet.
July 23: Eudora Welty dies following a bout of pneumonia in Jackson, Mississippi.
Eudora wins the $25 prize in the "Jackie Mackie Jingles" contest sponsored by Mackie Pine Oil Specialty Co., which sends letter encouraging Welty to "improve in poetry to such an extent as to win fame."
Eudora begins attending Jackson's Central High School in fall 1921; publishes sketches and poems in school newspaper and St. Nicholas, a magazine for young people. One of her drawings is accepted by the local newspaper, the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Eudora graduates from Jackson's Central High School and enrolls in fall at Mississippi State College for Women in Columbus with plans to become a writer. Tries writing a novel; publishes sketches, poems, and stories in campus newspaper The Spectator, and two of her drawings appear in campus magazine O, Lady.
|1926:||University of Wisconsin, Madison|
Welty transfers to the university for junior and senior years, but feels lonely in the "icy world" of Madison, whose people "seemed to me like sticks of flint."
Poem "Shadows" published in Wisconsin's Literary Magazine (April).
Eudora receives a BA degree. She becomes seriously interested in photography; uses Kodak camera with a bellows and develops her own prints.
Eudora begins a one-year advertising course at Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York City,
|1931:||Work in Jackson|
Eudora returns home at completion of Columbia course in 1931. She gets work writing scripts, doing odd jobs, and editing Lamar Life Radio News at WJIX, the first Jackson radio station. She also works as Jackson's social news correspondent for the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
|1935:||Works Progress Administration |
Welty works as a publicity agent in Mississippi, traveling throughout the state to photograph and report on WPA projects and people they serve. She uses a Recomar camera and in 1936 buys a Rolleiflex.
|1936:||First story published|
Eudora submits stories to the prestigious little magazine Manuscript, published in Athens, Ohio, which accepts "Death of a Traveling Salesman" and "Magic."
In New York, Lugene Opticians sponsors "Black Saturday," an exhibition of 45 Welty prints at Photographic Galleries, March 31-April 1.
|1937:||"The Petrified Man"|
Discouraged when Robert Penn Warren and Cleanth Brooks, editors of the newly established Southern Review, return "Petrified Man," Welty destroys the only copy. When Warren expresses second thoughts, she rewrites it from memory; it is later included in the 0. Henry Prize Stories of 1939.
Six of Welty's photographs appear in Life in conjunction with a story on a series of deaths in Mount Olive, Mississippi, caused by the prescription drug sulfanilamide.
|1938:||"Lily Daw and the Three Ladies" |
Welty's tale of a selfless act gone awry appears in The Best Short Stories 1938.
|1939:||"A Curtain of Green"|
"A Curtain of Green," which appeared in Southern Review, Autumn 1938, is chosen for inclusion in The Best Short Stories 1939.
"The Hitch-Hikers," (Southern Review, Autumn 1939) is chosen for The Best Short Stories 1940.
|1942:||A Curtain of Green|
Doubleday, Doran offers contract for a story collection, which is published in November, with introduction by Katherine Anne Porter.
"The Wide Net"
wins first prize in the O. Henry Awards competition for 1942.
"A Worn Path"
wins second prize in the O. Henry Awards competition.
The Robber Bridegroom
is published by Doubleday, Doran in October.
The Wide Net and Other Stories is published by Harcourt in September. "Liwie" wins first prize in O. Henry Awards competition for 1943, "Asphodel" is included in The Best American Short Stories 1943.
|1944:||"The Delta Cousins" |
Based on stories and documents of friend John Fraiser Robinson's family, the stories Welty works on quickly "boil over" into a novel that she calls "Shellmound" (and later Delta Wedding).
|1946:||"A Sketching Trip"|
wins mention in 0. Henry Awards competition.
In the spring, Delta Wedding is serialized in The Atlantic Monthly and published as a book by Harcourt in April.
|1947:||"The Reading and Writing of Short Stories"|
In August, Welty delivers a lecture at the Northwest Pacific Writers' Conference at University of Washington. She later revises the lecture to form her first extended literary criticism (published in Atlantic Monthly, Feb. 1949).
Welty hears that her Guggenheim fellowship has been renewed.
The Golden Apples
is published by Harcourt.
|1952:||National Institute of Arts and Letters |
Welty is elected to this society founded in 1898 to further literature and the fine arts in the United States.
|1953:||"The Ponder Heart"|
appears in The New Yorker (December 5th issue).
|1954:||The Ponder Heart|
Published by Harcourt in January, The Ponder Heart is also a Book-of-the-Month Club selection.
Selected Stories of Eudora Welty
Published by Modern Library. It includes "A Curtain of Green" and "The Wide Net."
|1955:||The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories|
dedicated to Elizabeth Bowen, is published by Harcourt in January.
|1960:||Ford Foundation grant |
Welty spends two seasons of study and observation at the Phoenix Theatre in New York on a grant from the Ford Foundation.
|1963:||"Where Is the Voice Coming From?"|
In response to the assassination in Jackson of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers, Welty writes this story published in The New Yorker on July 6.
"Must the Novelist Crusade?"
Welty writes this essay in response to civil rights disturbances in Mississippi.
|1967:||"The Optimist's Daughter"|
Welty completes a draft of "Poor Eyes" in May which Diarmuid Russell sends to The New Yorker. Retitled "The Optimist's Daughter," it appears on March 15, 1969.
(from The New Yorker, Nov. 26, 1966) wins first prize in O. Henry competition.
|1969:||Harcourt out, Random House in|
Welty sends her completed draft of Losing Battles to Diarmuid Russell in May; he submits it to several publishers. When Harcourt demands cuts, Welty terminates her contract with them and in August signs with Random House for four books, including Losing Battles.
Losing Battles, dedicated to her brothers, is published on Welty's birthday; it becomes her biggest seller and precipitates re-issues of her earlier works.
|1971:||One Time, One Place|
Welty's photographs of Mississippi during the Depression (many part of the "Black Saturday" group exhibited in New York in 1935), are published by Random House in October.
National Book Award Nomination
Welty receives a nomination for the 1971 National Book Award for Losing Battles.
|1972:||The Optimist's Daughter|
Random House publishes a revision of The New Yorker text of The Optimist's Daughter in spring. The book wins Welty the Pulitzer Prize the following April.
Welty receives the Gold Medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters in May. It is presented by Katherine Anne Porter.
|1973:||Eudora Welty Day|
In May, Welty is honored by the celebration of "Eudora Welty Day" in Mississippi.
Diarmuid Russell dies
Russell, Welty's longtime literary agent and close friend who had retired in the spring because of illness, dies on December 16.
Welty's The Optimist's Daughter wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
|1978:||The Eye of the Story: Selected Essays and Reviews|
Published by Random House in April.
|1979:||National Medal for Literature|
Welty wins this award, presented by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for past and continuing contributions to literature.
|1980:||The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty|
Published by Harcourt in October, The Collected Stories wins the American Library Association Notable Book and the American Book awards.
Medal of Freedom
President Jimmy Carter awards Welty with the Medal of Freedom Welty at a White House ceremony in June.
The Ponder Heart is produced as an opera bouffe with musical score by Alice Parker in Jackson, Mississippi.
|1984:||One Writer's Beginnings|
Harvard University Press publishes a version of the lectures Welty delivered at the university in April of 1983; it wins the American Book and National Book Critics Circle awards.
Continues over the next decade to write occasional book reviews, introductory essays, and prefaces. She receives the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres (France) and a National Medal of Arts.
|1989:||Eudora Welty Photographs|
This collection, which includes 226 photographs from the Welty collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, is published by the University Press of Mississippi with a foreword by Reynolds Price.
Welty receives the PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the short story.
|1995:||Welty Writers' Center|
The Eudora Welty Writers' Center is established by the Mississippi legislature on the site of Welty's childhood home at 741 N. Congress St. in Jackson.
|1996:||Legion d' Honneur |
Welty is inducted into France's Legion d' Honneur at a ceremony held in the Old Capitol building in Jackson.
Queen Victoria dies on Jan. 22 after a reign of nearly 64 years, and is succeeded by her son, Edward VII.
The Wright brothers make aviation history with their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
|1906:||San Francisco Earthquake|
More than 500 people killed during the San Francisco earthquake and ensuing three-day fire.
September 4: Richard Wright born near Natchez, Mississippi.
|1909:||Birth of the NAACP|
In New York, a group of black and white intellectuals and activists found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), originally called the National Negro Committee.
March 26: One of America's greatest playwrights, Thomas Lanier ("Tennessee") Williams is born in Columbus, Mississippi.
|1912:||H.M.S Titanic sinks|
On her maiden voyage, the H.M.S Titanic sinks after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic; 1,513 lives are lost.
America completes construction of the Panama Canal after having taken over the project from France some three decades earlier. President Theodore Roosevelt sees the Canal as a necessity for naval power and security.
Archduke Francis Ferdinand assassinated
On June 28, Austrian archduke Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo. His murder sparks the beginning of war in Europe.
May 28: Walker Percy is born in Birmingham, Alabama; as a teenager he and his brothers will go to live with their cousin William Alexander Percy in Greenville, Mississippi.
November 17: Shelby Dade Foote, Jr., is born in Greenville, Mississippi.
|1917:||America enters the war|
Unable to maintain a position of neutrality, America enters the "Great War" on the side of the Allies (France, Britain, and Russia). The war will end with Germany's surrender on November 11, 1918, with 10 million estimated casualties.
|1919:||18th Amendment |
Congress ratifies Prohibition, which bans the manufacture and transport of liquor. It will be repealed with the 21st Amendment of 1929.
The 19th Amendment is passed, giving U.S. women the right to vote.
By November 1922, there are 564 licensed radio broadcasters in the United States. America turns on the radio for music, news, and entertainment.
The Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson, introduces sound to motion pictures.
|1929:||Stock market crash|
On October 24, the U.S. stock market crashes. The country sinks into the grip of the Great Depression.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected president in a landslide victory for the first of four terms.
Created in 1935 under Roosevelt's New Deal, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) provides work for millions of Americans during the Great Depression.
Ellen Gilchrist is born near Vicksburg, Mississippi.
|1937:||Amelia Earhart vanishes |
Earhart vanishes over the Pacific near the finish of what would have been the first solo around-the-world flight by a woman pilot.
|1940:||War in Europe|
World War II begins in Europe. It will not end until the Japanese surrender in September of 1945.
|1941:||Pearl Harbor attacked|
On December 7, the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The following day, America officially enters the war.
April 23: Barry Hannah is born in Clinton, Mississippi.
February 16: Richard Ford is born in Jackson, Mississippi.
|1945:||War in Europe ends|
On May 8, V.E. Day, the war in Europe ends.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
In August, with the war still raging in the Pacific, the United States drops atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
|1947:||Jackie Robinson |
On April 15, Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American since 1884 to sign a contract with a major baseball club, the Brooklyn Dodgers. He is named National League Rookie of the Year.
Capitalizing on the nation's fear of communist advances in Eastern Europe and China, Senator Joseph McCarthy begins his crusade against communism in the United States.
With Soviet backing, North Korea invades South Korea. The United Nations, with the United States as the principal participant, supports South Korea, establishing a precedent for U.S. containment of communism.
May 8: Elizabeth Becker (Beth) Henley is born in Jackson, Mississippi. She will become a successful playwright, author of Crimes of the Heart and The Miss Firecracker Contest.
|1953:||Queen Elizabeth II|
Queen Elizabeth II, daughter of the late King George VI of England, is crowned.
|1954:||Cat on a Hot Tin Roof|
Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama.
Dwight D. Eisenhower is reelected president of the United States.
A desegregation crisis erupts in Little Rock, Arkansas; President Eisenhower sends in paratroopers.
Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy wrangle in a series of landmark television debates.
A group of loosely organized, black and white protesters testing integration in the South are attacked and beaten by whites.
Black student James H. Meredith, escorted by federal marshals and amidst 3,000 troops maintaining order, registers for classes at the University of Mississippi.
July 6: William Faulkner dies of a heart attack in Byhalia, Mississippi. He is buried in St. Peter's Cemetery in Oxford.
Thirty-seven-year-old Medgar Evers, Mississippi's NAACP field secretary, is murdered outside his home. Byron De La Beckwith will be tried twice for the crime in 1964, with both trials resulting in hung juries. But thirty years later he will be convicted.
John F. Kennedy is killed by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas on November 22; Lyndon Johnson succeeds him in office.
|1964:||Civil rights murders|
In August, three Mississippi civil-rights workers are officially declared missing, having disappeared on June 21. The trio, Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner, had been working to register black voters. Their murdered bodies are found after President Johnson sends military personnel to join the search. It is later revealed that police had turned the three men over to the Ku Klux Klan.
|1965:||More civil rights disorder|
Malcolm X, Black Muslim leader, is shot in New York; Selma, Alabama, experiences outbreaks of violence; severe race riots in the Watts section of Los Angeles.
President Johnson appoints Thurgood Marshall, the first African American, to the Supreme Court.
|1968:||Martin Luther King Jr. murdered|
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a leader of the civil rights movement, is assassinated at a motel in Memphis.
The strongest hurricane to strike the U.S. since 1935, Hurricane Camille devastates the Mississippi Gulf coast.
Alabama's governor George C. Wallace, is shot while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination; he is partially paralyzed.
The Senate Watergate committee begins its nationally televised hearings on an apparent web of political spying and sabotage, bribery, illegal use of campaign funds and a cover-up by the Nixon administration. Former solicitor general Archibald Cox is the Justice Department's special prosecutor
|1976:||United States Bicentennial|
U.S. marks the beginning of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution.
|1977:||Department of Energy|
The U.S. Department of Energy is established in the wake of the Manhattan Project and the race to develop the atomic bomb.
|1980:||Mount St. Helens|
A magnitude 5.1 earthquake about 1 mile beneath Mount St. Helens, a volcano in Washington State, triggers a massive eruption; 57 die.
Ronald Reagan becomes the 40th president of the U.S. after a landslide victory over Jimmy Carter the previous fall.
|1983:||Tennessee Williams dies|
February 25: Tennessee Williams dies in New York City.
Thousands of pro-democracy students demonstrate at Tiananmen Square in Beijing; after seven weeks the Chinese government imposes martial law and a military assault to disperse the students. Many hundreds are killed.
In October, West and East Germany were reborn as a unified nation. Fireworks lit up the sky over Berlin and the streets were filled with tearful, celebrating Germans.
Walker Percy dies
May 10: Walker Percy dies of cancer in Covington, Louisiana.
On January 16 full-scale war erupted again along the Persian Gulf. U.S. commanders -- leading an international anti-Iraqi coalition -- launched Operation Desert Storm against Iraq and dictator Saddam Hussein.
|1992:||The Siege of Sarajevo|
In the ethnically divided Yugoslav republic of Serbia the fiercely nationalist president Slobodan Milosevic, helped by nationalist Bosnian Serbs, began to brutally campaign to annex parts of the republic of Bosnia/Herzegovina.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raids the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. More than 80 inside die.
|1994:||South African rule|
Nelson Mandela is elected president of South Africa.
Former football player O.J. Simpson is arrested and charged with two counts of "murder with special circumstances" in the deaths of his ex-wife and a friend.
|1995:||Oklahoma City terrorism|
On April 19th, a massive bomb inside a rental truck explodes in front of the Oklahoma City federal building, a terrorist attack that leaves 168 men, women and children dead.
|1997:||Images of Mars|
The Mars Pathfinder space probe sends back the first panoramic color images of the desolate, rock-strewn surface of the planet.
In October, congress votes to begin impeachment hearings of President Clinton, stemming from the relationship between the president and White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
South Carolina agrees to remove the Confederate battle flag from its capitol dome.
Bush vs. Gore
U.S. presidential election closest in decades; Bush's slim lead in Florida leads to automatic recount in that state (Nov. 7-8); the Supreme Court seals Bush victory by 5-4 by ruling there can be no further recounting (Dec. 12).
|2001:||Terrorism in the USA|
September 11th: Muslim extremists highjack four planes; 3 crash into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington DC. The fourth crashes in rural PA. Thousands die in the worst terrorist attack in history.
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