1891 Mabel Suffield moves to Africa to marry Arthur Tolkien, English manager of a bank in Bloemfontein.
1892 John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is born.
1894 His younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel is born.
1895 Mabel with children returns to England and live with her relatives in Birmingham, waiting for Arthur.
1896 Arthur Tolkien dies in Africa. Mabel with sons moves outside Birmingham, to Sarehole. Mabel begins to teach Ronald Latin, French, German, drawing, painting and handwriting.
1900 Mabel Tolkien becomes Catholic and converts her sons. Ronald enters King Edward VI School, and they move back to Birmingham.
1901 They move to a villa behind King's Heath Station
1902 They move to a suburb of Edgbaston. Ronald enrolls at St. Phillip's Grammar School.
1903 Tolkien returns to King Edward's, where he becomes a scholarship student and learns Middle English and Greek.
1904 Mabel Tolkien dies. A parish priest Father Francis Morgan becomes guardian for the Tolkien brothers.
1905 Tolkien and brother live with Aunt Beatrice.
ca. 1906-11 Tolkien privately studies Old English, Old Norse, and Gothic, begins to invent languages with their own grammars and histories, and writes poems, some in invented languages.
1908 Tolkien brothers are moved to mrs. Faulkner's boardinghouse. Edit Bratt, also an orphan, is there.
1909 That autumn Father Morgan discovers the romance between Ronald and Edith, which he fears may lead to early marriage and ruin Tolkien's carer prospects. Tolkien fails to win an Oxford scholarship.
1910 Father Morgan moves the boys. Ronald is forbidden to contact Edith until he is twenty-one. She leaves Birmingham. Ronald speaks Gothic and Old English in a school debate. He is awarded a small scholarship to study classical languages at Exeter College, Oxford. He also learns some Old Norse and Spanish.
1911 Creates the Tea Club and Barrovian Society at grammar school.
Begins the study of comparative philology under Joseph Wright, joins and camps with a cavalry regiment, reads a paper on the Kalevala (a Finnish mythological epic), writes poems.
1913 Turns twenty-one, contacts Edith Bratt. She breaks engagement to another man. He takes a Second Class in exams and transfers from classics to English, with emphasisi in philology, and formally studies Old Norse.
1914 Edith converts to Catholicism, and they are formally engaged. Britain declares war on Germany. tolkien decides to complete his degree before serving.
1915 Receives First Honors on final examination, takes a commission, and begins army training. Continues to write poetry in "fairy language" and English, including the anthologized "Goblin Feet."
1916 Marries Edith Bratt on 22 March, leaves for France on 4 June, and participates in the Battle of the Somme. Is stricken with "trench fever," returning home on 8 November.
1917 Convalescing, begins The Book of Lost Tales--the first draft of what later will be called The Silmarillion, specifically, The Fall of Gondolin. The first son, John, is born.
1918 Accepts a position as a junior staff member of the New English Dictionary that is later called Oxford English Dictionary atOxford and works in the letter "w."
1920 Begins The Father Christmas Letters. The second son, Michael, is born. Appointed Reader in English Language at Leeds University.
1922 Publishes a Middle English Vocabulary. Begins work on the new editon of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with E.V.Gordon
1924 Appointed Professor of English Language at Leeds. The third son, Christopher, is born.
1925 The Sir Gawain... is published. Moves from Leeds to Oxford where he is elected Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon.
1926 Forms "The Coalbiters," a faculty club readin Old Norse. Meets C.S.Lewis.
1928 Writes the first sentence of The Hobbit (other sources indicate that it happened in 1930 or 1931).
1929 His daughter, Priscilla, is born.
1930 Completes fulld raft of The Silmarillion (printed in The Shaping of Middle-earth, 1986).
1932 Tolkien shows the manuscript of The Hobbit to C.S. Lewis
1934 Receives two-year Leverhulme Research Fellowship.
1936 Delivers lecture, "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics,", before British Academy. Publishers Allen and Unwin read the Hobbit manuscript and suggest that he complete it. When he does so, it is accepted for publication.
1937 The Hobbit is a commercial and critical success. Unwin asks for a sequel. Tolkien submits Father Christmas Letters and The Silmarillion, but they are rejected. In December, he writes first chapter of "New Hobbit," which will become The Lord of the Rings.
1938 Expands Farmer Giles of Ham manuscript to book length. The Hobbit published in the US and receives New York Herald Tribune award as best children's book of the season. Drafts twelve chapters of The Lord of the Rings.
1939 Lectures "On Fairy Stories" at St. Andrew's University. Sixteen chapters of the sequel written.
1943 Son Christopher enters the Air Force.
1944 Tolkien writes long letters to Christopher, and sends him chapters of The Lord of the Rings, now into book 5.
1945 Leaf by Niggle is published in the Dublin Review. Tolkien elected Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and says he is putting The Lord of the Rings "before all else".
1947 Notes discrepancies between The Hobbit and its sequel, particularly as to the nature of the ring. "On Fairy Stories" is published.
1948 The Lord of the Rings is completed (according to other sources the year is 1950).
1949 Farmer Giles of Ham is published.
1950 Negotiates with Collins, a London publisher, to publish The Silmarillion along with the hobbit sequel. Farmer Giles sells slowly.
1951 Rivised edition of The Hobbit published.
1952 Collins returns manuscripts. Tolkien agrees to allow Allen and Unwin to publish The Lord of the Rings without Silmarillion.
1954 First two volumes of The Lord.... is published.
1955 The Return of the King is published. Tolkien ceases to meet regularly with Lewis.
1956 Rings are translated into Dutch: during the next 20 years it will be translated into Swedish, Polish, Danish, German, Italian, French, Japanese, Finnish, and, the last but not least, Russian.
1959 Retires from the Merton professorship.
1962 Tolkien publishes The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and his edition of the Middle English Ancrene Wisse.
1963 C.S.Lewis dies on 22 November.
1964 Tree and Leaf is published.
1965 An unathorized Ace paperback edition of Rings, the first inexpensive edition, triggers sudden popularity of Tolkien on college campuses and attention from the press. There is a legal conflict over publishing rights. An athorized revised edition issued by Ballantine is a best-seller. Tolkien Society of America is founded.
1966 A revised, third edition of The Hobbit is published. A collection of earlier stories and essays, The Tolkien Reader is published in America.
1967 Smith of Wootton Major is published.
1968 Poems and Songs of Middle-earth, a record of Tolkien's poems in English and Elvish set to music, is issued. The Tolkiens move to Poole, near Bornemouth, a seaside resort.
1970 The staff of the Oxford English Dictionary compiles an entry for "hobbit".
1971 Edith Tolkien dies on 29 November, aged eighty-two.
1972 Tolkien returns to Oxford, with rooms at Merton College. Receives honorary doctorate from Oxford University and is made a Commander of British Empire.
1973 Visiting friends in Bornemought, becomes ill and dies a few days later, on 2 September, at eighty-one years of age. His son Christopher, as literary executor, is left to complete The Silmarillion
1977 The Silmarillion is published with the aid of Christopher. The first Russian translation of Tolkien(The Hobbit) is published.
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