April 25th, in Newport News, Virginia, Ella Jane Fitzgerald is born to Temperance and William Fitzgerald.
William abandons the family.
Mother dies suddenly of a heart attack. Orphaned at age 15, she is placed in the Colored Orphan Asylum in Riverdale, NY.
Makes stage debut while living on the streets of Harlem in an amateur contest sponsored by the Apollo Theatre in New York City.
Makes her first recording with Chick Webb, "Love and Kisses," for the Decca Records label.
Song "A-Tisket A-Tasket," a swinging version of the nursery rhyme, gains national recognition and becomes her first hit.
After the death of Chick Webb, takes over the direction of his band, which she leads for three years.
Marries con man Ben Kornegay but has the marriage quickly annulled.
Embarks on a solo career, issuing commercial and jazz recordings.
Signs with Decca, producers of her million selling album "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall"
Marries Ray Brown, the bassist from the Dizzy Gillespi's band.
Has first over-seas concert at the London Palladium.
Performs at the Jazz at the Philharmonic formed by Norman Granz, a philosophy graduate and jazz enthusiast.
Chooses Norman Granz as her personal manager. Divorses Ray Brown.
Signs with Granz's label, Verve.
She and Granz record their first collaboration "The Cole Porter Songbook." It is a turning point in her career.
Wins the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Individual Performance for "Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book."
Wins Grammy for Best Vocal Performance Single Record or Track, Female for "Mack the Knife," recorded on the Verve record label.
Wins Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance for "Fitzgerald and Pass...Again."
Receives the Kennedy Center Award for lifetime achievement and is enshrined in the Hall of Fame of the jazz magazine "Down Beat."
Wins Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Female for "A Perfect Match/Ella and Basie."
Awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Yale University. Later than year, she is admitted to intensive care for heart trouble.
Awarded the U.S. National Medal.
Holds her final recording session.
Awarded the National Medal of Freedom.
June 15, 1996 at age 78, Ella Fitzgerald dies of complications from diabetes.
The Ella Fitzgerald Collection is officially donated to the Library of Congress after being on deposit since 1996.