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Stuart Cummings Ripley

Timeline

  • 1892, March 3. Born in Cummings, Ohio, to Horace and Susannah Ripley.
  • 1893. Baptism in Episcopalian Church cancelled by lack of Holy water during drought.
  • 1897. Age of five reads unassisted entire oeuvre of Charles Dickens.
  • 1903. Narrowly escapes death in collapse of bridge over rain-swollen stream. Credits his beloved horse, Angel's Wings, for saving him.
  • 1910. Sexual initiation by "one-armed" wife of local Presbyterian minister.
  • 1911. First published work in Cummings College Comedogenic, student humor magazine, poem titled "Milk-vetch."
  • 1912. Forced to leave Cummings College after two years because of fraternity hazing ("hot oil and nudity") incident.
  • 1914. Employed as reporter by Cummings, Ohio, Courier.
  • 1914, July 28. World War I begins. Starts but abandons long lyric poem on assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
  • 1916, March 9. Pancho Villa raids Columbus, New Mexico. Writes sonnet dedicated to Villa, hectograph, privately distributed.
  • 1916. Covers Pershing's incursion into Mexico for Cleveland Plain-Dealer and New Masses Journal in New York.
  • 1916, June 21. Caught up in Battle of Carrizal in which he reportedly shoots two Mexican soldiers to meet newspaper deadline.
  • 1917. December 9. Covers Allenby's defeat of Turks in Palestine. Becomes involved with T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Investigated for abuse of local Arab, but cleared of charge of "wrongdoing to Arabs."
  • 1918, July. Reports from Paris on unsuccessful German siege. Joins Gertrude Stein as "literary ambulance driver."
  • 1918, October. Worldwide influenza epidemic reaches height. Begins but fails to complete lyric poem on flu epidemic.
  • 1918, November 11. Armistice reached between Allies and Germany. Writes short play, now lost, based on armistice, "Hump the Hun."
  • 1918-1925. Remains in Paris as expatriate. Becomes friends with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sherwood Anderson, Djuna Barnes, Kay Boyle, John Dos Passos, Ford Maddox Ford, H.D., Henry Miller, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas. Frequent visitor to Italy.
  • 1919. Publishes first book, Catastrophe at Carrizal.
  • 1919, June 30. Prohibition imposed in U.S.
  • 1919. Older brother Stanley dies of alcoholism.
  • 1920. Warren G. Harding elected U.S. President. Writes frivolous ode, distributed privately, on election of dullard as President. Claims Harding election aberration.
  • 1923. Meets Fleur Beauvais.
  • 1924. Publishes Fleur, poetry. Publishes Desert Sand, first of Desert Triade.
  • 1924. Marries Fleur Beauvais.
  • 1925. Treated for STD. Divorces Fleur Beauvais. Has falling out with Stein, Toklas. Returns to Ohio.
    1926. Publishes Desert Bloom.
  • 1928. Herbert Hoover elected President. Pens ode to late Eugene V. Debs, distributed privately.
  • 1927. Lindbergh solo flight to Paris. Abandons flying lessons because of nearsightedness. Begins but quits attempt to write stage play of Lindbergh flight.
  • 1928. Publishes My Town to hostile reaction in Cummings, Ohio, which he attempts to disguise as Monacatoothatootha, Ohio. Falling out with father after cross-burning incident.
  • 1928. Quickly relocates to Greenwich Village, New York.
  • 1928. Launches left-wing magazine, Commonality, which survives for eight issues. Meets contributor Sally Beacon.
  • 1929. Publishes Desert Dogs, last of his Desert Triade.
  • 1930. Marries Sally Beacon. Honeymoon in Estes Park, Colorado.
  • 1931. Publishes At Length, essays.
  • 1932. Lindbergh baby kidnapped. Begins work on libretto for opera by Sergei Prokofiev based on kidnapping, but abandons project.
  • 1932. Son Thaddeus is born despite breach delivery and possible brain impairment.
  • 1932. Begins affair with Frannie Schmidt.
  • 1933. Franklin D. Roosevelt inaugurated as President. Seeks to read inaugural poem at ceremony but rebuffed by Harold Ickes.
  • 1933. Dines with H.L. Mencken in Baltimore. Hospitalized at Johns Hopkins for acute seafood poisoning.
  • 1935. Publishes Time of Darkness, novel.
  • 1934. Moves to rented cottage in Sag Harbor, Long Island.
  • 1934. Gangster John Dillinger shot. Labors on libretto with composer George Gershwin on never completed Dillinger opera.
  • 1934. Meets Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell. May have become physically involved with Campbell.
  • 1935. Publishes Climbing the Hill, novel.
  • 1935. Publishes My Time in Merlini, essays.
  • 1935. Publishes Always at Night, novel.
  • 1935. Father dies.
  • 1936. Publishes Paris in My Youth, memoir.
  • 1936. Mother dies.
  • 1936, August. Visits Parker and Campbell at their temporary quarters, the Wagon Wheel Tavern, Bucks County, PA. Falling out with Parker in which his glasses are broken.
  • 1937. Carouses with Harpo Marx and Alexander Woollcott at George S. Kaufman's Bucks County, PA, farm. Intercedes in violent confrontation between Harpo and Woollcott.
  • 1938. Publishes Angel in the Clouds, novel.
  • 1938. Covers Spanish Civil War for Ashtabula, Ohio, Star Beacon. Becomes involved with Lillian Hellman. Has falling out with Hemingway.
  • 1939. Publishes Anatomy of Rebellion, essays on Spanish Civil War.
  • 1939. Sally Beacon drowns in Long Island Sound, reputed suicide, although body never found.
  • 1939. War declared after Nazi Germany invades Poland. Begins writing stage play based on Nazi invasion of Poland, but discards project.
  • 1940. Meets William Saroyan at premier of Saroyan play The Time of Your Life. Close relationship with Saroyan sours after bad debt issue.
  • 1941. U.S. enters war after Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Works on libretto for Kurt Weill opera on Pearl Harbor. Project abandoned.
  • 1942. Covers World War II as correspondent for Hartford Courant.
    1943. Develops antagonistic relationship with Edward R. Murrow.
  • 1943. Aboard B-25 bomber over Nazi Germany, skillful radio work by Ripley enables plane to return safely despite major damage.
  • 1944. October. Covers Battle of Leyte. Reportedly bayonets two Japanese soldiers in hand-to-hand fighting.
  • 1945. War ends. Stationed in Tokyo. Said to have had relationship with Tokyo Rose.
  • 1946. Returns to New York City. Teaches calculus at CCNY until position in English opens.
  • 1946. Publishes In Time of War, World War II reportage.
  • 1947. H.L. Mencken publishes analysis of Ripley's work, The New American Prophet. Book recalled for serious factual errors, never reissued.
  • 1948. First play Sweet Sweat is staged. Receives advice on rewriting play from George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart.
  • 1948. Meets companion-to-be, actress Jill Castenberry.
  • 1948. Play Window on Work is staged.
  • 1949. Meets and befriends Truman Capote. Clashes with Jack Dunphy, Capote's lover.
  • 1950. Korean War begins. Starts libretto for Richard Rodgers musical on Korean War, but abandons project.
  • 1950. Visits Robert Lowell, hospitalized for schizophrenia. Loses Monopoly game to Lowell.
  • 1951. Play Art of Carmen is staged.
  • 1952. Eisenhower elected President. Launches failed drive to void Eisenhower election.
  • 1952. Begins acquaintance with Robert Penn Warren. May have had intimate relationship with Warren's wife, Eleanor.
  • 1952. Testifies before House Un-American Activities Committee. Condemned by Arthur Miller for naming names, but befriended by Elia Kazan and Budd Shulberg. Loses CCNY teaching post.
  • 1953. Engages in losing arm-wrestling match with Norman Mailer.
  • 1954. Interviewed by George Plimpton for Paris Review. Roughs up Plimpton for losing transcript and substituting interview with Alberto Moravia.
  • 1955. Effort to heal breach with Hemingway fails.
  • 1955. Woman appears claiming to be late Sally Beacon. Claim disproved.
  • 1956. Moves with Castenberry to Uhlerstown, PA.
  • 1957. Completes unpublished novel The Raw End.
  • 1958. Completes unpublished novel Lost in the Stacks.
  • 1959. Publishes Recipes by Ripley, privately printed by ladies of local church.
  • 1959. Mini Fish, age eighty-seven, member of local ladies church group, alleges alienation of affection against Ripley, rendered moot that year by her death from psoriasis.
  • 1959. Castro takes control of Cuba. Launches unsuccessful petition drive for recall of Castro.
  • 1960. Kennedy elected President. Seeks to read inaugural poem, but Robert Frost selected instead. Accuses Frost of senility. Rumors of a special relationship between Ripley, Kennedy, and Marilyn Monoe.
  • 1960. Has falling out with Castenberry. Counseling under famed psychiatric guru Abelard Honig restores relationship.
  • 1961. Completes 3000 page unpublished memoir Up from Ohio.
  • 1962. Cuban missile crisis. Launches unsuccessful petition drive for impeachment of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
  • 1962. Visited in Bucks County by Katherine Anne Porter, whose novel Ship of Fools was just published. Falling out with Porter. His face scratched.
  • 1963. Kennedy assassinated. Contributes to legal defense fund for Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • 1964, February 2. Dies of heart attack in Philadelphia hospital. Last words: "Damn that SOB Hemingway anyway."
  • 1986. Jill Castenberry donates Ripley archives to Cummings College.
  • 1987. Ripley son, Thaddeus, lays claim to Ripley archives, restricts access by scholars.
  • 1994 Thaddeus dies. Ripley grandson, Stuart Providence Ripley, maintains restrictive policy.
  • 2006, July. Official Stuart Cummings Ripley Website launched.
  • 2006, August. Lawyers for Stuart Providence Ripley threaten lawsuit to close Official Stuart Cummings Ripley Website.
  • 2006, September. BCWW lawyers offer to settle dispute by assessing members for undisclosed amount to pay legal costs.
  • 2007, June. The Tinicum Township, PA, Board of Supervisors, Township Historical Commission, and the Stuart Cummings Ripley Appreciation Society move to purchase and renovate the old Ripley house in Uhlerstown, near the Delaware River.

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