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The Life and Times of P. G. Wodehouse

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

1881 October 15: Birth of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse at 1 Vale Place, Guildford, Surrey

1894: PGW first attends Dulwich College, London


1900: Receives his first payment for writing: from Public School Magazine for an article entitled ‘Some Aspects of Game-Captaincy’

1900 September: Starts work at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, London


1901 July: First real short story published in Public School Magazine, entitled ‘The Prize Poem’

1901 August 16: First contribution to Globe newspaper

1902 September 9: Resigns from the HS Bank


1902 September 17: First article for Punch magazine, entitled ‘An Unfinished Collection’

1904 April 16: First visit to the USA


1904 August: Appointed Editor of the ‘By The Way’ column at the Globe


1904 December 10: First published lyric, ‘Put Me In My Little Cell’, sung in Sergeant Brue at the Strand Theatre, London

1906 March 6: Employed by Seymour Hicks as the resident lyricist at the Aldwych Theatre

1906 March 19: First meets future collaborator Jerome Kern

1906 August: First novel for adults, Love Among the Chickens, published


1907 December 6: Joins Gaiety Theatre as lyricist


1909: Second visit to USA, where he sells short stories to Collier’s and Cosmopolitan

1911 August 24: First play, A Gentleman of Leisure, opens in New York

1913 April 8: First play in London, Brother Alfred, flops

1914 August 2: Returns to New York


1914 August 3: Meets Ethel Rowley, née Newton, an English widow, at a New York party

1914 September 30: Marries Ethel Rowley and inherits her daughter Leonora


1915 March: Appointed drama critic of [US] Vanity Fair

1915 June 26: First appearance of Lord Emsworth and Blandings Castle in the serialisation of Something New (Something Fresh is U.K. title) in Saturday Evening Post

1915 September 18: Jeeves makes his first appearance, in the story ‘Extricating Young Gussie’ published in Saturday Evening Post


1916 September 25: First Bolton, Wodehouse & Kern musical comedy, Miss Springtime debuts in New York and is moderately successful


1919 June 7: First Oldest Member story, ‘A Woman is Only a Woman’, published in Saturday Evening Post

1923 April: First Ukridge short story, ‘Ukridge’s Dog College’, appears in Cosmopolitan


1926: PGW elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature


1926 July: First Mr Mulliner story, ‘The Truth About George’, appears in Strand magazine

1930 June 1: Starts first contract with MGM in Hollywood


1933 August: First instalment of the first Jeeves and Bertie Wooster novel, Thank You, Jeeves, published in Strand

1934 January 19: Successfully challenges in court the U.K. Inland Revenue’s attempts to claim more income tax on his earnings


1934 June: Settles in Le Touquet, France

1935 June 3: Buys Low Wood in Le Touquet

1936 June 26: Awarded medallion by International Mark Twain Society


1939 June 2: Invested as D. Litt at Oxford University

1939 September 3: Britain declares war on Germany

1940 May 21: PGW, Ethel and animals try to leave Le Touquet in the light of the German advance, but their car twice breaks down


1940 July 21: Start of PGW internment by Germans in camps successively at Loos Prison (Lille), Liege, Huy and Tost (Upper Silesia)

1941 June 21: PGW released from internment and taken to Berlin

1941 June 26: PGW makes the first of five radio broadcasts for fans in neutral USA

1941 July 15: ‘Cassandra’s’ BBC radio broadcast of a vituperative attack on PGW, calling him a traitor

1943 September 11: PGW transferred to Paris

1944 May 16: Death of PGW’s step-daughter Leonora

1947 April 27: PGW and Ethel arrive in US on SS America

1952 March: Ethel buys a house in Basket Neck Lane, Remsenburg, Long Island, New York, close to Guy Bolton’s home


1955 December 16: PGW becomes an American citizen

1960 January 27: PGW elected to the Punch table

1961 July 15: BBC broadcasts ‘An Act of Homage and Reparation’ by Evelyn Waugh

1965 May 27: BBC TV series The World of Wooster begins transmission


1967 February 16: BBC TV series Blandings Castle begins transmission

1974 November: PGW’s last complete novel, Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, published in the U.K.

1975 January 1: PGW knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, his wife Ethel taking the title Lady Wodehouse

1975 February 14: PGW dies in hospital





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