Chronology of Thorton Wilder's Life & Works

1897: Thornton Wilder is born in Madison, Wisconsin on April 17.   1940: Our Town film adaptation, starring William Holden.
1906: Moves to Hong Kong (May) and to Berkeley, California (October).   1942: The Skin of Our Teeth opens on Broadway, wins Pulitzer Prize Wilder writes screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Shadow of a Doubt.
1906-11: Attends Emerson Public School in Berkeley and China Inland Mission School in China.   1942-45: Military service with Army Air Force Intelligence in North Africa and Italy.
1912-13: Attends Thacher School, Ojai, California. The Russian Princess, Wilder’s first play known to be produced, is performed by Thacher students.   1948: The Ides of March (novel)
1915: Graduates from Berkeley High School; active in school dramatics.   1951-52: Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard.
1915-17: Attends Oberlin College; publishes regularly.   1952: Gold Medal for Fiction, American Academy of Arts and Letters.
1920: Receives BA from Yale College (with brief service in 1918 with US Army).   1953: Wilder appears on the cover of Time Magazine.
1920-21: Attends American Academy in Rome as special student.   1955: The Matchmaker opens on Broadway (revision of his 1938 play, The Merchant of Yonkers and the basis for Hello, Dolly!).
1920s: Teaches at Lawrenceville School in New Jersey (1921-25 and 1927-28)   1957: Awarded German Booksellers Peace Prize, first American to receive award.
1926: Receives MA degree in French from Princeton University. The Trumpet Shall Sound produced Off Broadway in New York by Laboratory Theatre.  First novel is published, The Cabala.   1961: Opera version of The Long Christmas Dinner (music by Paul Hindemith, libretto by Wilder) premieres in Mannheim.
1927: Second novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, wins Pulitzer Prize.   1962: Plays for Bleeker Street (Someone from Assisi, Infancy, and Childhood) performed at Circle in the Square Theatre in New York City.
1928: The Angel That Troubled the Waters (first published collection of drama playlets).   1963: Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom.
1930s: Part-time teacher at the University of Chicago; lectures across the country; first visit to Hollywood (1934); extensive foreign travel.   1964: Hello, Dolly! (based on his play The Matchmaker) opens on Broadway.
1930: The Woman of Andros (novel)   1965: Awarded National Book Committee’s Medal for Literature.
1932: Lucrece (translation of André Obey’s Le Viol de Lucrèce) opens on Broadway.   1967: The Eighth Day (novel) receives National Book Award for Fiction.
1937: Wilder adapts Ibsen’s A Doll’s House for Broadway (Broadway record until 1999).   1973: Theophilus North (novel).
1938: Our Town opens on Broadway, wins Pulitzer Prize; Wilder performs role of the Stage Manager for two weeks.   1975: Dies in sleep in Hamden, Connecticut on December 7.

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