Information Sheet Number 8
June 2000

A Potted Biography of P G Wodehouse, with Milestones

Date

Event

1877
Feb 3

Marriage of Plum’s parents, Eleanor (née Deane) and Henry Ernest

1877
Sept 26

Birth of his eldest brother Philip Peveril

1879
May 11

Birth of his second eldest brother Ernest Armine

1881
Oct 15

Birth of Pelham Grenville Wodehouse at 1 Vale Place, Guildford, Surrey

1885
May 23

Birth of Ethel Newton, the future Lady Wodehouse, in Kings Lynn, Norfolk

1886

PGW attended Dame School in Croydon, Surrey

1889

PGW was transferred to Elizabeth College, in Guernsey

1891

PGW moved to Malvern House, a preparatory school in Kearsney, Kent

1892
May 30

Birth of his younger brother Richard Lancelot Deane

1894
to 1900

PGW attended Dulwich College

1900

Received his first payment for writing: from Public School Magazine for an article entitled Some Aspects of Game-Captaincy

1900
Sept

Started work at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, London and took rooms in Markham Square, Chelsea

1901
June

Caught mumps

1901
July

First real short story published in Public School Magazine, entitled The Prize Poem

1901
Aug 16

First contribution to Globe newspaper

1902
Sept 9

Resigned from the Bank

1902
Sept 17

First article for Punch, entitled An Unfinished Collection

1902
Sept 19

First book published, The Pothunters

1902

Moved to Walpole Street, Chelsea

1903

Stayed at Emsworth House School, Hampshire

1903
Aug

Joined the By the Way column of The Globe on a permanent basis

1904
April 16

First visit to the USA

1904
Aug

Appointed Editor of the By The Way column at the Globe

1904
Dec 10

First lyric – Put Me In My Little Cell – sung in Sergeant Brue at the Strand Theatre

1905
July

First contribution to the Strand, entitled The Wirepullers

1906
March 6

Employed by Seymour Hicks as the resident lyrist at the Aldwych Theatre, working on The Beauty of Bath

1906
March 19

First met Jerome Kern, also working on The Beauty of Bath

1906
Aug

First novel for adults, entitled Love Among the Chickens, published by George Newnes Ltd. There is confusion over the date, the second edition giving July as the date of the first printing and Newnes themselves claiming June. The first edition is silent on the matter

1907

Moved to the Hicks Theatre, still writing lyrics for Seymour Hicks

1907
Dec 6

Joined Gaiety Theatre as lyrist

1909

Second visit to USA, where he sold short stories to Colliers and Cosmopolitan, and from where he resigned his job at the Globe

1909
May 11

First book, Love Among the Chickens, published in USA

1911
Aug 24

First play, A Gentleman of Leisure, opened in New York

1913
April 8

First play in London, Brother Alfred, flopped

1914
Jan

First substantial contribution to a musical production, Nuts and Wine, which also flopped in London

1914
Aug 2

Returned to New York

1914
Aug 3

Met Ethel Rowley, née Newton, an English widow, at a New York party

1914
Sept 30

Married Ethel Rowley at The Little Church Round The Corner, off Madison Square on East 29th Street, and inherited her daughter Leonora

1915
March

Appointed drama critic of Vanity Fair

1915
June 26

First appearance of Lord Emsworth and Blandings Castle in the serialisation of Something New (Something Fresh is UK title) in Saturday Evening Post

1915
Sept 18

Jeeves (and, possibly, Bertie Wooster) made a first appearance, in Extricating Young Gussie, published in Saturday Evening Post

1916
Sept 25

First Bolton, Wodehouse, Kern musical comedy, entitled Miss Springtime appeared in New York and was 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, appeared in Cosmopolitan

1926

PGW elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature

1926
July

First Mr Mulliner story, entitled The Truth About George, appeared in the Strand

1927
April 1

Took lease of 17 Norfolk Street (now Dunraven Street) in London

1929
May 27

Death of PGW’s father Ernest

1930
June 1

Started first contract with MGM in Hollywood

1931
June 7

Interview with a reporter from the Los Angeles Times published, which caused a furore in Hollywood as PGW complained about being paid so much for doing so little

1932
Dec 12

Leonora married Peter Cazalet

1933
Aug

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

1934
Jan 19

Successfully challenged in court the UK Inland Revenue’s attempts to claim more income tax on his earnings

1934
March 31

Birth of Leonora and Peter Cazalet’s daughter, Sheran

1934
June

Settled in Le Touquet

1935
June 3

Bought Low Wood in Le Touquet

1936
April 26

Birth of Leonora and Peter Cazalet’s son, Edward

1936
June 26

Awarded medallion by International Mark Twain Society

1936
Oct 9

Death of PGW’s brother Armine

1936
Oct 10

Started second contract with MGM in Hollywood

1937
Nov 4

Returned to Le Touquet

1939
June 21

Invested as D Litt at Oxford University

1939
July 8

Visited Dulwich College for last time, writing a report on a cricket match against St Paul’s which was published in The Alleynian

1940
May 21

PGW, Ethel and animals tried to leave Le Touquet in the light of the German advance, but their car twice broke 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 made the first of five radio broadcasts for fans in neutral USA

1941
July 15

Cassandra’s radio broadcast of a vituperative attack on PGW, the BBC only allowing it on the direction of Duff Cooper

1941

Death of PGW’s mother Eleanor

1943
Sept 11

PGW transferred to Paris

1944
May 16

Death of PGW’s step-daughter Leonora

1947
April 27

PGW and Ethel arrived in US on SS America

1948
Sept 2

PGW used the pseudonym Stephen Powys for a play jointly written with Guy Bolton which was successful in London

1949
June

PGW’s challenge to the US tax authorities ended in the Supreme Court with some decisions going in his favour and others against

1952
March

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

1953
July 15

PGW resumed contributing fortnightly articles to Punch

1955
May 1

They gave up their New York apartment

1955
Dec 16

PGW became an American citizen

1960
Jan 27

PGW elected to the Punch table

1961
July 15

BBC broadcast An Act of Homage and Reparation by Evelyn Waugh

1965
May 27

BBC TV series The World of Wooster commenced

1967
Feb 16

BBC TV series Blandings Castle commenced

1967
Nov

P G Wodehouse Animal Shelter opened in Remsenburg

1974
Nov

PGW’s last complete novel, entitled Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, published in the UK and immediately topped the list of best-sellers

1975
Jan 1

PGW knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, his wife Ethel taking the title Lady Wodehouse

1975
Feb 14

PGW died in hospital

1977
Oct 15

Formal opening of the PGW Memorial Corner of the Dulwich College Library

1978
Sept 19

Sunset at Blandings, a partially completed book, published posthumously with notes by Richard Usborne

1984
Oct

Lady Wodehouse died

Thanks to the many PGW biographies for help in compiling this Information Sheet, especially:

Frances Donaldson P G Wodehouse

Norman Murphy In Search of Blandings

Barry Phelps P G Wodehouse