Life Events

1892 Born on January 3 in Bloemfontein, South Africa, where his father worked for Lloyd's Bank

1896 Death of father, Arthur Tolkien. Family moves near Sarehole Mill, outside Birmingham

1900 Enters King Edward VI School, Birmingham

1904 Death of mother, Mabel Tolkien

1908 Meets Edith Bratt

1909 Father Francis Morgan discovers Tolkien's romance with Edith

1911 Enters Exeter College, Oxford to read Classics

1915 Obtains First Class in English Language and Literature. Commissioned in the Lancashire Fusiliers

1916 Marries Edith Bratt. Serves from July to November in the Battle of the Somme and returns to England suffering from "trench fever"

1917 Birth of son John

1920 Appointed Reader in English literature at Leeds University. Birth of son Michael

1924 Birth of son Christopher

1925 Elected to the Chair of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University

1926 Friendship with C. S. Lewis begins

1929 Birth of daughter Priscilla

1945 Takes up Chair of English Language and Literature at Oxford University. Inklings friend Charles Williams dies

1959 Retires from his work at Oxford

1963 C. S. Lewis dies

1968 Moves to Bournemouth

1971 Death of Edith Tolkien. Returns to Oxford

1973 Dies on September 2

Literary Events

1917 Begins writing tales that later become The Silmarillion

1918 Takes up work with the new Oxford English Dictionary

1925 Publishes Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

1929 Publishes Ancrene Wisse: The English Text of the Ancrene Riwle. Publishes his treatise on Hali Meithhad, or "Holy Virginity"

1930 Begins to write The Hobbit

1936 Delivers the lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" to British Academy

1937 Publishes The Hobbit. Begins a sequel that becomes The Lord of the Rings

1939 Delivers the lecture "On Fairy-Stories"

1949 Publishes Farmer Giles of Ham

1954 Publishes first two volumes of The Lord of the Rings

1955 Publishes final volume of The Lord of the Rings

1962 Publishes The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, and Other Verses from the Red Book

1964 Publishes Tree and Leaf

1965 Increasing popularity on American college campuses after Ace issues an unauthorized paperback of The Lord of the Rings

1967 Publishes Smith of Wootton Major

1976The Father Christmas Letters published

1977The Silmarillion, edited by Christopher Tolkien, published

1980Unfinished Tales, edited by Christopher Tolkien, published

World Events

1894 Oscar Wilde imprisoned for homosexuality

1899 Boers initiate war with Britain in South Africa

1908 G. K. Chesteron's Orthodoxy published

1912 Titanic sinks

1914 World War I breaks out

1918 Allies defeat Germany and sign armistice

1922 T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land published

1929 Wall street plunges

1932 Aldous Huxley's Brave New World published

1933 Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany

1936 American runner Jesse Owens upstages Nazis at the Olympic Games

1939 Britian declares war on Germany

1945 World War II ends with Japan's surrender

1948 State of Israel declared

1953 Elizabeth II crowned queen of Great Britain

1962 America and Russia step back from nuclear war

1964 Beatles frenzy sweeps America

1973 America admits defeat in Vietnam