Timeline: Ideas and Education 1865-1905


The Light of Education.
  • 1865
  • Vassar College opens as first women’s college offering curriculum modeled on men’s Ivy League
  • Atlanta University, GA, founded
  • Yale University awards first Ph.D. in the United States
  • Jules Verne publishes “De la Terre la Lune,” (From the Earth to the Moon) a humorous science fantasy novel that tells the story of the president of a post-American Civil War gun club in Baltimore, his rival, a Philadelphia maker of armor, and a Frenchman, who build an enormous sky-facing Columbiad space gun and launch themselves in a projectile/spaceship from it to a Moon landing.
  • 1866
  • Fisk University, Nashville, TN, founded


  • "The Light They Cannot Stand. The Power that will Disperse the Clouds which Hang Over the Sunny South." Puck. Jan. 1883, p.279.

  • 1867
  • Howard University, Washington, DC, founded
  • J. W. DeForest, Miss Ravenel’s Conversion from Secession to Loyalty
  • 1868
  • University of California is created
  • Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
  • John Rollin Ridge, Cherokee, publishes first volume of poetry published by a Native American author
  • 1869
  • Hayden Expedition begins geological survey of western lands
  • John Wesley Powell navigates the Grand Canyon with an exploring party
  • Charles Eliot named president of Harvard, begins instituting curriculum changes that form the basis of the modern liberal arts
  • Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad
  • 1870
  • Congress incorporates Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington, DC
  • 1871
  • Polaris Expedition
  • Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas
  • 1872
  • Mark Twain, Roughing It
  • John Gast paints “American Progress”
  • 1873
  • St. Louis opens first public kindergarten
  • Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age
  • 1875
  • Smith and Wellesley Colleges founded in Massachusetts
  • Thomas Eakins, “The Gross Clinic” (painting)
  • Richard Dugdale, The Jukes
  • 1876
  • Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, establishes graduate school curriculum that becomes a model nationwide
  • Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia
  • John W. Draper photographs the solar spectrum
  • Mathematician Josiah Gibbs publishes a paper on thermodynamics that establishes the basis for physical chemistry
  • Melvil Dewey introduces Dewey decimal system for library organization
  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • 1877
  • Astronomer Asaph Hall identifies the two moons that orbit Mars
  • Extensive dinosaur fossil beds discovered in Como Bluffs, Wyoming
  • 1878
  • John Wesley Powell, Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States
  • Henry James, The Europeans
  • 1879
  • Art Institute of Chicago founded
  • Carlisle Indian School founded in Pennsylvania
  • US Geological Survey created to study the nation’s topography and nature resources
  • Henry George, Progress and Poverty
  • Henry James, Daisy Miller
  • 1880
  • Henry Adams, Democracy
  • Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad
  • Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur
  • 1881
  • Booker T. Washington founds Tuskegee Institute, Alabama
  • Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia, founded
  • Wharton School of Finance created at University of Pennsylvania
  • Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus, His Songs and Sayings
  • Henry James, Portrait of a Lady
  • 1882
  • Henry Adams, John Randolph
  • Mark Twain, The Prince and the Pauper
  • 1883
  • Modern Language Association founded
  • Metropolitan Opera opens in New York
  • Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi
  • Lester Frank Ward, Dynamic Sociology
  • 1884
  • American Historical Association founded
  • Bryn Mawr College established in Pennsylvania
  • John Fiske, Excursions of an Evolutionist
  • Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona
  • Sarah Orne Jewett, A Country Doctor
  • Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • First volume of the History of Woman Suffrage, edited Susan B. Anthony, Ida Husted Harper, et al., published


Crazy Father.

Crazy Father. Image courtesy the Victorian Scrapbook at The Trade Card Place.

  • 1885
  • American Economic Association founded
  • Washington Monument dedicated in Washington DC
  • Astronomers witness the birth of a star in the Andromeda Nebula
  • Three children from Newark, New Jersey, treated for rabies at Louis Pasteur’s clinic in France; first Americans whose lives were probably saved by his treatment
  • George Washington Cable, The Silent South
  • Laurence Gronlund, The Cooperative Commonwealth
  • William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham
  • Josiah Strong, Our Country
  • 1886
  • “Liberty Enlightening the World” dedicated in New York harbor
  • Henry James, The Bostonians
  • 1887
  • Marine Biological Laboratory founded at Woods Hole, Massachusetts
  • Albert Michelson, researcher and teacher at US Naval Academy, seeks to measure velocity of light and establishes that there is no “luminiferous ether” in space
  • National Geographic Society is founded
  • 1888
  • Babylonian Expedition Fund of University of Pennsylvania’s Museum launches its first archaeological expedition to Nippur (in today’s Iraq)
  • Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000-1887
  • James Bryce, The American Commonwealth
  • Russell Conwell, Acres of Diamonds
  • 1889
  • American Academy of Political and Social Science founded
  • Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
  • Andrew Carnegie, “The Gospel of Wealth”
  • Bronson Howard, Shenandoah (play)
  • Theodore Roosevelt, The Winning of the West (1889-1896 )
  • 1890
  • University of Chicago founded
  • Louis Sullivan designs Wainwright Building, St. Louis
  • Charles “Buddy” Bolden forms jazz band in New Orleans
  • George Washington Cable, The Negro Question
  • James Herne, Margaret Fleming (play)
  • William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes
  • William James, Principles of Psychology
  • Alfred Mahan, The Influence of Sea Power upon History
  • Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives
  • 1891
  • Throop University, later renamed Caltech, founded in California
  • Astronomer James Keeler shows that Saturn’s rings are made up of small particles
  • Sophia Alice Callahan (Creek), A Child of the Forest
  • Hamlin Garland, Main-Traveled Roads
  • 1892
  • Researcher Theobald Smith demonstrates that Texas cattle fever is spread by ticks, paving the way for further discoveries of insect-borne pathogens
  • American Fine Arts Society founded
  • American Psychological Association founded
  • Frank Lloyd Wright designs first private home in Chicago
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (story)
  • Thomas Nelson Page, The Old South
  • Walt Whitman publishes final version of Leaves of Grass
  • 1893
  • World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago; includes world’s first Ferris Wheel
  • World’s Parliament of Religions, Chicago
  • Frederick Jackson Turner delivers “The Significance of the Frontier in American History,” American Historical Association
  • Stephen Crane, Maggie, A Girl of the Streets
  • 1894
  • First trials of diphtehria antitoxin
  • Field Museum of Natural History founded in Chicago
  • William Dean Howells, A Traveler from Altruria
  • John Muir, The Mountains of California
  • Mark Twain, The Tragedy of Pudd’nhead Wilson
  • 1895
  • Boston Public Library opens
  • At Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, Booker T. Washington delivers “Atlanta Compromise” address
  • Katherine Lee Bates writes “America the Beautiful”
  • Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton et al, The Woman’s Bible
  • 1896
  • X-ray first used to treat breast cancer
  • George Washington Carver appointed director of agricultural research at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama
  • Brooks Adams, The Law of Civilization and Decay
  • Abraham Cahan, Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto
  • Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware
  • Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs
  • 1897
  • William James, The Will to Believe
  • Edward Arlington Robinson, The Children of the Night (poetry)
  • 1898
  • Biltmore Forest School created for study of forestry
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Woman and Economics
  • Peter Finley Dunne, Mr. Dooley in Peace and War
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
  • James Luther Long, “Madame Butterfly” (story)


America's Cup 1899.

The boats three miles from the finish, ten minutes before the race was called off. "The First Trial for the 'America's' Cup—The Yachts at Work." Harper’s Weekly. Oct. 1899, p.1040.


  • 1899
  • Enrico Marconi demonstrates wireless technology by broadcasting news of the America’s Cup yacht race
  • Charles Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman
  • Kate Chopin, The Awakening
  • John Dewey, The School and Society
  • W.E.B. DuBois, The Philadelphia Negro
  • Frank Norris, McTeague
  • John Philip Sousa, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” (music)
  • Thorstein Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class
  • Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” helps popularizes ragtime nationwide
  • 1900
  • Walter Reed demontrates that yellow fever is a virus transmitted by mosquitoes
  • L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • David Belasco, Madame Butterfly (play)
  • Theodore Dreiser, Sister Carrie
  • Jack London, The Son of the Wolf
  • Josiah Strong, Expansion
  • 1901
  • Rockefeller Institute for Medican Research founded in New York City
  • First College Board examinations are given
  • Jokichi Takamine, Japanese-American researcher at Johns Hopkins University, isolates the hormone adrenaline
  • Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo
  • Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition
  • John Muir, Our National Parks
  • Frank Norris, The Octopus
  • Booker T. Washington, Up from Slavery
  • 1902
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art founded in New York
  • Researcher Walter Sutton establishes the basis for modern genetics by demonstrating that chromosones come in pairs and carry inherited traits
  • Photographer Alfred Stieglitz begins journal Camera Work
  • Henry James, The Wings of the Dove
  • William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • Helen Keller, The Story My Life
  • Ida Tarbell, History of the Standard Oil Company
  • Owen Wister, The Virginian
  • 1903
  • New York publisher Joseph Pulitzer establishes Pulitzer Prizes
  • First commercial wireless broadcast station opens on Cape Cod
  • Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain
  • W.E.B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk
  • Henry James, The Ambassadors
  • Jack London, The Call of the Wild
  • Frank Norris, The Pit
  • Kate Douglas Wiggin, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
  • “The Great Train Robbery,” film
  • 1904
  • Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis
  • Lewis Hine begins his career photographing immigrants at Ellis Island
  • Charles Eastman (Ohiyesa), An Indian Boyhood
  • Ellen Glasgow, The Deliverance
  • G. Stanley Hall, Adolescence
  • O. Henry, Cabbages and Kings
Vassar Trolley 1916.
  • Robert Hunter, Poverty
  • Jack London, The Sea Wolf
  • Henry James, The Golden Bowl
  • Astronomer Charles Perrine discovers Jupiter’s sixth and seventh moons (1904-1905)
  • 1905
  • David Belasco, “The Girl of the Golden West” (play)
  • Thomas Dixon, The Clansman
  • Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth

Clarence Kerr Chatterton (American, 1880-1973) The Vassar Trolley, 1916, Oil on canvas. The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York. Gift of Stephanie B. Schmidt in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen P. Becker, 1995.16


© 2010 Rebecca Edwards, author of New Spirits: Americans in the Gilded Age, 1865-1905 by Rebecca Edwards, Oxford University Press


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New Spirits
Timelines in US History 1895-1905
Perceptions and Realities: The Victorian Age Inventions of the era Tramps and Millionaires Yellowstone Park Journals of the era White City/1893 Worlds Fair The Civil War President McKinley