John Steinbeck: A Brief Chronology

1902--On February 27, John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. He was the third of four children and the only son of John Ernst II and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. He spent his childhood and adolescence in the Salinas Valley, later called "the salad bowl of the nation."

1915-19--Attended Salinas High School.

1919-25--Attended classes at Stanford University, leaving without a degree. During these years Steinbeck dropped out for several months, and was employed intermittently as a sales clerk, farm laborer, ranch hand, and factory worker.

1925--November, traveled by freighter from Los Angeles to New York City; worked as a construction laborer and, briefly, for the New York American.

1926-28--Lived in Lake Tahoe, California and worked as a caretaker for a summer home.

1929--August, publication of first novel, Cup of Gold, by McBride (New York).

1930--January 14, marries Carol Henning. October, meets Edward F. Ricketts, marine biologist, philosopher, longtime friend.

1932--October, The Pastures of Heaven, published by Brewer, Warren, and Putnam (New York).

1933--September, novel To A God Unknown published by Ballou (New York).

1934--Winter, gathers information on farm labor unions. Interviews labor organizer in Seaside.

1935--May 28, first popular success, novel Tortilla Flat about Monterey's paisanos. Published by Covici-Friede (New York); beginning of lifelong friendship with editor Pascal Covici.

1936--October, novel In Dubious Battle, about striking workers. Published by Covici-Friede.

1937--February 6, novella Of Mice and Men published by Covici-Friede; Summer, first trip to Europe and Russia; September, The Red Pony, three connected stories, published by Covici-Friede; November 23, New York opening of the play Of Mice and Men (207 performances).

1938--April, Their Blood Is Strong, a nonfiction account of the migrant labor problem in California, published by the Simon J. Lubin Society (San Francisco); May, receives the New York Drama Critics Award for the play Of Mice and Men; September, short story collection, The Long Valley, incorporating The Red Pony (1937), published by Viking (New York), where Pascal Covici became an editor after the bankruptcy of his own firm.

1939--April, The Grapes of Wrath, his greatest critical success, published by Viking, provoking both great popular acclaim and violent political condemnation for its depiction of Oklahoma migrants and California growers, as well as for its alleged "vulgar" language and socialist bias.

1940--January, films of Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath released; March 11 - April 20, marine expedition in the Gulf of California with Ricketts; Spring, receives the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath; Summer, documentary film about living conditions in rural Mexico, The Forgotten Village.

1941--Spring, separated from Carol; fall, moves to New York City with singer Gwyndolyn Conger; December 5, Sea of Cortez, written with Edward Ricketts, published by Viking.

1942--March, sued for divorce by Carol; March 6, novel The Moon Is Down published by Viking; April 8, New York opening of the play The Moon Is Down; May, film of Tortilla Flat released; November 27, Bombs Away published by Viking.

1943--March, film of The Moon Is Down released; March 29, marries Gwyn Conger in New Orleans; June-October, in Europe and North Africa as war correspondent for New York Herald Tribune.

1944--August 2, birth of first son, Thom.

1945--January 2, publication of novel Cannery Row by Viking.

1946 June 12, birth of second son, John IV.

1947--February, novel The Wayward Bus published by Viking; August-September, tour of Russia with photographer Robert Capa, for the New York Herald Tribune; November, novella The Pearl published by Viking.

1948--April, A Russian Journal, an account of his 1947 tour of Russia, published by Viking; May, Ed Ricketts killed in automobile accident; August, divorced by Gwyn; December, elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters.

1950--October, novella Burning Bright published by Viking; October 18, New York City opening of the play Burning Bright; December 28, marries third wife, Elaine Anderson Scott.

1951 September, The Log from the Sea of Cortez, the narrative part of the Sea of Cortez (1941) including an original essay "About Ed Ricketts," published by Viking.

1952 March, film Viva Zapata! released (screenplay published in Rome by Edizoni Filmcritica in 1953; first published in America, edited by Robert Morsberger, by Viking in 1975); September, novel East of Eden published by Viking.

1954--June, novel Sweet Thursday published by Viking (a sequel to Cannery Row).

1955--March, purchases a summer home in Sag Harbor, Long Island, New York; November 3, New York City opening of Pipe Dream, a Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein III musical based on Sweet Thursday.

1957--April, novel The Short Reign of Pippin IV published by Viking; film of The Wayward Bus released.

1958--September, Once There Was a War, a collection of his 1943 wartime dispatches, published by Viking.

1959--February-October, travels in England and Wales, researching background for a modern English version of Malory's Morte d'Arthur (1485).

1960--September-November, tours United States with poodle, Charley.

1961--April, twelfth novel, The Winter of Our Discontent, published by Viking.

1962--July, Travels with Charley, the journal of his 1960 tour, published by Viking; October 25, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1963--October-December, travels to Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and Russia on United States Information Agency cultural tour, with dramatist Edward Albee.

1964--September 14, presented with United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

1966--October 12, America and Americans, reflections on contemporary America, published by Viking.

1968--December 20, dies of arteriosclerosis in New York.

1969--Publication of Journal of a Novel: The "East of Eden" Letters, journal kept during composition of East of Eden, by Viking.

1975--Steinbeck: A Life in Letters (selected correspondence) edited by Elaine Steinbeck and Robert Wallsten published by Viking.

1976--Publication of The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (edited by Chase Horton), an unfinished translation of Morte d'Arthur.

1979--U.S. commemorative stamp issued on what would have been his seventy-seventh birthday

1984--The True Adventures of John Steinbeck, Writer (biography), by Jackson J. Benson is published by Viking; Steinbeck is pictured on half-ounce gold medal issued by the U.S. Government.

1989--Working Days: The Journal of "The Grapes of Wrath," edited by Robert DeMott (journal kept during writing of the novel in 1938, published on the novel's fiftieth anniversary).

1991--Frank Gallati's Steppenwolf Theater dramatization of The Grapes of Wrath wins New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best play of the season.

1992--Gary Sinise directs and stars in (with John Malkovich), in another film version of Of Mice and Men; Nantucket conference on "Steinbeck and the Environment," co-sponsored by the Steinbeck Research Center and University of Massachusetts.

1994--Biography by Jay Parini, John Steinbeck: A Biography is published in England by Heinemann.

1995--A revised version of Parini's biography is published in the United States by Henry Holt and Company in New York


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