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American Passages: A Literary Survey

Regional Realism – Timeline

This timeline places literary publications (in black) in their historical contexts (in red).


– Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), The Innocents Abroad (1869)
– Bret Harte, “The Outcasts of Poker Flat,” “Plain Language from Truthful James” (1869)
Peak years of British slave trade (1720-80)
United States Secret Service established (1860)
Transcontinental telegraph service established between New York and San Francisco (1861)
Civil War (1861-65)
Homestead Act (1862)
Emancipation Act (1863)
President Abraham Lincoln assassinated (1865)
Ku Klux Klan formed (1866)
First elevated railroad begins service in New York City (1867)

[2818] Anonymous, REFUGEES LEAVING THE OLD HOMESTEAD (ca. 1863) courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration [NWDNS-LC-CC-306].


– Bret Harte, “The Luck of Roaring Camp” and Other Sketches (1870)
– Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
– Sarah Orne Jewett, Deephaven (1877)
Fire destroys large portions of Chicago (1871)
Yellowstone National Park established (1872)
Battle of Little Bighorn (Custer’s Last Stand) (1876)
Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone (1876)
Edison patents the phonograph (1878)


– Joel Chandler Harris, “The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story,” “Mr. Rabbit Grossly Deceives Mr. Fox,” Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings (1881)
– Sarah Orne Jewett, The White Heron (1886)
– Charles W. Chesnutt, “The Goophered Grapevine” (1887)
– Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), The Prince and the Pauper (1882), Life on the Mississippi (1883), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1889)
President James Garfield assassinated (1881)
American Red Cross founded (1881)
Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)
American Federation of Labor launched (1886)
Coca-Cola invented (1886)

[1577] Thomas Eakins, THE AGNEW CLINIC (1889) courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


– Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, “The Revolt of ‘Mother,’ ” “A New England Nun” (1891)
– Kate Chopin, “At the ‘Cadian Ball” (1892), “Désirée’s Baby,” At Fault (1893), Bayou Folk (1894), A Night in Acadie (1897), The Awakening (1899)
– Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896)
– Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), Following the Equator (1897)
– Charles W. Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman, “The Wife of His Youth” and Other Stories of the Color Line(1899)
Massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota (1890)
Daughters of the American Revolution founded (1890)
Pan-American Union formed (1890)
National American Woman Suffrage Association founded (1890)
Immigration Center established on Ellis Island (1892)
World Columbian Exposition, Chicago (1893)
Hawaii becomes a U.S. Protectorate (1893)
Klondike Gold Rush (1896)
Spanish-American War (1898)

[2576] William Merritt Chase, AT THE SEASIDE (1892) courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Miss Adelaide Milton de Groot (1876-1967), 1967. (67.187.123) Photograph (c) 1993 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


– Sarah Orne Jewett, “The Foreigner” (1900)
– Zitkala-Sa (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin), “Impressions of an Indian Childhood,” “The School Days of an Indian Girl,” “An Indian Teacher Among Indians” (1900)
– Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa), Indian Boyhood (1902)
– Alexander Posey, letters of Fus Fixico (1902-08), “Hotgun on the Death of Yadeka Harjo” (1908)
President William McKinley assassinated (1901)
Orville and Wilbur Wright achieve first powered flight, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina (1903)
International Workers of the World union founded (1905)
First radio broadcast (1906)
Ford Model T goes into production (1908)


– Charles Alexander Eastman (Ohiyesa), The Soul of an Indian (1911), The Indian Today (1915), From the Deep Woods to Civilization (1916)
First movie studio opens in Hollywood (1911)
World War I begins in Europe (1914)
Panama Canal opens (1914)
D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915)
United States enters World War I (1917)
18th Amendment to the Constitution (Prohibition) (1919)