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Charles Dickens Timeline

Feb. 7, 1812: Born Charles John Huffam Dickens in Portsmouth to Elizabeth Barrow and John Dickens.

1817: His dad, a clerk in the Navy Pay Office, gets a transfer. Family moves to Chatham, Kent.

1821: Attends William Giles' school in Chatham.

1822: His dad again gets a transfer and moves the family to 16 Bayham Street, London. Due to his dad's lack of funds, Charles is unable to go to school.

Feb. 1824: When his dad is arrested for debt and sent to Marshalsea prison, his wife and three of his children join him there. Charles stays with Mrs. Roylance, a friend of the family, in Camden Town.

Mid. 1824: Begins working at Warren's Blacking warehouse where shoe polish is manufactured.

Late 1824: Father is released from prison after inheriting a small fortune from his mother. This enables Charles to continue his education at Wellington House Academy in North London where his interest in theater grows.

1827: Begins employment as a solicitor's clerk at Ellis and Blackmore, an attorney's office. He does this to support his family but finds the job repetitive.

1828: Learns the cryptic Gurney's shorthand at Ellis and Blackmore.

1830: Meets Maria Beadnell and falls instantly in love with her. However, her dad George Beadnell, a London banker, does not approve of this relationship.

1831: Now quite the shorthand writer, he gets a job in Parliament for the Mirror of Parliament, a paper managed by his uncle, John Henry Barrow.

1831: Thinking about becoming an actor, he gets an audition at the Covent Garden Theater but has to cancel due to illness.

1833: George Beadnell sends his daughter Maria Beadnell to Paris for higher education. This ends the courtship between Maria and Charles.

Late 1833: Begins dating Catherine Hogarth, daughter of the music critic of The Morning Chronicle.

Dec. 1833: Publishes first short story, "A Dinner at Popular Walk," in the Monthly Magazine.

1834: The Morning Chronicle hires him on as a reporter.

1836: Meets John Forster, a critic for The Examiner who becomes a close friend and good advisor.

Mar. 1836: His first monthly serial The Pickwick Papers begins.

Apr. 2, 1836: Marries Catherine Hogarth and they honeymoon in Chalk, Kent.

1837: His first child, Charles Culliford Boz Dickens, is born.

Feb. 1837: His novel Oliver Twist begins its serial run in Bentley's Miscellany with a total of 24 installments.

Nov. 1837: His first monthly serial The Pickwick Papers ends.

May 1837: Sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth, who has been living with Charles and his wife, dies in his arms. This has a profound negative effect on Charles who wears one her rings until his death.

1838: Second child is born and he names her Mary, in honor of his beloved sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth.

1839: Third child Kate Macready Dickens is born.

Mar. 1839: Nicholas Nickleby begins its monthly serial run.

1840: The Old Curiosity Shop begins serialization.

1841: His fourth child Walter Savage Landor Dickens is born.

Feb. 1841: Barnaby Rudge begins serialization.

Oct. 1841: Becomes ill and undergoes an operation for a fistula.

Jan. 4, 1842: He and his wife tour the USA for a little over five months. After this trip, he writes a critique of their adventure and many Americans are not amused.

Jan. 1843: Martin Chuzzlewit begins serialization.

Dec. 1843: Publishes A Christmas Carol.

1844: His fifth child Francis Jeffrey Dickens is born.

1845: His sixth child Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens is born.

1846: Dombey and Son begins serialization.

1847: His seventh child Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens is born.

1848: His sister "Fanny" dies of consumption.

1849: His eighth child Henry Fielding Dickens is born.

May 1849: David Copperfield begins serialization.

1850: His ninth child Dora Annie Dickens is born.

Jan. 1851: A Child's History of England begins serialization.

Mar. 1851: His wife has a nervous breakdown.

Late Mar. 1851: His dad John Dickens dies.

Apr. 1851: His youngest child, Dora Annie Dickens dies.

1852: His tenth child Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens is born.

1852: Bleak House begins serialization.

Dec. 1853: His first public reading of A Christmas Carol.

1854: Hard Times begins serialization.

1857: Meets, and begins dating Ellen ("Nelly") Ternan who is a professional actress.

Dec. 1857: Little Dorrit begins serialization.

May 1858: He and Catherine separate with her agreeing to move to another place with son Charlie.

Apr. 1859: A Tale of Two Cities begins serialization.

Dec. 1860: Great Expectations begins serialization.

1863: His mom Elizabeth Barrow Dickens dies.

1863: His son, Walter, dies in Calcutta, owning the rank of lieutenant in the 42nd Highlanders.

1863: His close friend and rival, William Makepeace Thackeray dies.

May 1864: Our Mutual Friend begins serialization.

1869: Falls ill and has to cancel the rest of his English reading tour.

Mar. 1870: Meets Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace for a private meeting.

June 9th, 1870: After a long day's work on his serialized novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which he has six parts of a projected twelve done, he dies.

June 14, 1870: Buried in the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

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