1878-1899: The Arts: Chronology

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1878-1899: The Arts: Chronology




  • Fiction Edward Eggleston, Roxy; Anna Katharine Green, The Leavenworth Case; Henry James, The Europeans.
  • Poetry Sidney Lanier, The Marshes of Glynn; John Greenleaf Whittier, The Vision of Echard and Other Poems.
  • Music Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, by James A. Bland; A Flower for Mothers Grave, by Harry Kennedy The Old Wooden Rocker, by Florence Harper; The Sbdmore Fancy Ball, music by David Braham, lyrics by Edward Har-ngan; Sweet Mary Ann, music by Braham, lyrics by Harrigan
  • A survey reveals that American theaters are fire hazards, citing flammable scen-ery and faulty floor planning as factors; one in four theaters burns down within four years of construction.
  • Richard Morris Hunt, a favorite architect of the upper classes during the Gilded Age, begins work on the Vanderbilt mansion in New York City.
  • Wild West exhibitions by equestrian daredevil W. F. Carver entrance eastern audiences.
  • 12 June Poet and antislavery activist William Cullen Bryant dies in New York City.


  • Fiction Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, Falconberg; George Washington Cable, Old Creole Days; William Dean Howells, The Lady of the Aroostook; Henry James, Daisy Miller; Frank R. Stockton, Rudder Grange; Albion W. Tourgée, A Fools Errand.
  • Music The Babies on Our Block, music by David Braham, lyrics by Edward Harrigan; In the Evening by the Moonlight, by James A. Bland; In the Morning by the Bright Light, by Bland; Oh, Dem Golden Slippers, by Bland
  • The Chicago Art Institute opens, signaling a cultural renaissance for a city leveled by fare just eight years earlier.
  • The first Madison Square Garden, a railroad station converted into an entertainment arena, opens on Twenty-sixth Street in Manhattan.
  • Sculptor Daniel Chester French completes a bust of his Concord neighbor Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • 13 Jan. The Mulligan GuardsBall, a farce by Edward Harrigan, opens at the Theatre Comique in New York City and runs through 24 May.
  • 14Apr. Walt Whitman delivers a lecture in New York City on the death of Abraham Lincoln In 1865-1866 Whitman, who was deeply moved by the assassination of Lmcoln, wrote two poems about the dead president: When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomd and O Captain! My Captain!
  • 30 Apr. Sarah Josepha Hale, author of Mary Had a Little Lamb and longtime editor of Godeys Ladys Book, dies in Philadelphia.
  • 16 June H. M. S. Pinafore, the first Gilbert and Sullivan production to be staged in New York City, opens at the Bowery Theater.


  • Fiction Henry Adams, Democracy ; Louisa May Alcott, Jack and Jill: A Village Story; Thomas Bailey Aldrich, The Stillwater Tragedy; George Washington Cable, The Grandissimes; Lucretia Peabody Hale, The Peterkin Papers ; Marietta Holley (Josiah Allens Wife), My Wayward Pardner; Harriet M. Lothrop (Margaret Sidney), The Five Little Peppers andHow They Grew; Albion W. Tourgée, Bricks Without Straw; Lew Wallace, Ben-Hur; Constance Fenimore Woolson, Rodman the Keeper: Southern Sketches.
  • Poetry Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ultima Thule.
  • Music A Bird from Oer the Sea, by C. A. White; Cradles Empty, Babys Gone, by Harry Kennedy; De Golden Wedding, by James A. Bland; The Five-cent Shave, by Thomas Cannon; The Full Moon Union, music by David Braham, lyrics by Edward Harrigan; Hear Dem Bells, by D. S. McCosh; Whist the Bogie Man, music by Braham, lyrics by Harrigan; Why Did They Dig Mas Grave So Deep? by Joseph P. Skelly.
  • Twenty-one-year-old Pauline Hopkins stars in the Boston premiere of her musical drama Slaves Escape.
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, founded in 1870, moves to a new building in Central Park in uptown Manhattan.
  • John Knowles Paines Second Symphony premieres in Boston.
  • Expatriate artist James McNeil Whistler paints Vertice: Nocturne in Blue and Silver.
  • Albert Pinkham Ryder summons up the otherworldly in his painting of The Fly-ing Dutchman.
  • 4 Feb. Steele MacKayes melodrama Hazel Kirke opens in New York at Madison Square Theater.
  • May Francis F. Browne of Chicago publishes the first issue of The Dial: A Monthly Review and Index of Current Literature, which soon becomes well known for its intelligent reviews of the important books of the day. The magazine moves to New York in 1916 and becomes a champion of American and international modernist literature in 1920s, ceasing publication in 1929.
  • 8 Nov. French actress Sarah Bernhardt makes her New York debut at Booths Theater.


  • Fiction George Washington Cable, Madame Delphine; Rose Terry Cooke, Somebodys Neighbors; John William De Forest, The Bloody Chasm; Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings; William Dean Howells, Dr. Breens Practice; Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady and Washington Square.
  • Poetry Ina Coolbrith, A Perfect Day, and Other Poems; John Greenleaf Whittier, The Kings Missive and Other Poems.
  • Music Are You Going to the Ball This Evening? by Joseph P. Skelly; My Loves a Rover, by C. A. White; Paddy Duffys Cart, music by David Braham, lyrics by Edward Harrigan; Peek-a-boo! by William J. Scanlan; Wait Till the Clouds Roll By, by Charles E. Pratt; The Widow Nolans Goat, music by Braham, lyrics by Harrigan.
  • Boston publisher James R. Osgood withdraws from publication the so-called seventh edition of Walt Whitmans Leaves of Grass (actually the sixth edition) after the Boston district attorney declares the book obscene literature; the Phila-delphia publisher Rees, Welch takes over the edition, selling two thousand cop-ies in one week, partly because of the publicity generated by its having been banned in Boston.
  • William Dean Howells resigns the editorship of The Atlantic Monthly.
  • For the third consecutive year Mary Cassatt is the only American to show paint-ings with the French Impressionists in Paris; this year her paintings The Cup of Tea and Mrs. Cassatt Reading to Her Grandchildren are included in the exhibit.
  • Edward MacDowell compose his First Modern Suite for piano.
  • Hired by the Boston and Albany Railroad, architect Henry Hobson Richardson designs railroad stations in and around Boston.
  • June Roswell Smith, one of the founders of Scribners Magazine in 1870, acquires nine-tenths of the stock in the magazine and subsequently changes its name to The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine. In October Richard Watson Gilder becomes editor of the magazine, serving through 1909. During the 1880s and 1890s the magazine serializes fiction by the leading American realists, including Henry James and William Dean Howells.
  • 1 June The Professor, the first play written by actor William Gillette, opens at Madison Square Theater in New York City.


  • Fiction Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), The Prince and the Pauper; F. Marion Crawford, Mr. Isaacs; William Dean Howells, A Modern Instance; Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward, Doctor Zay; Constance Fenimore Woolson, Anne.
  • Poetry Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Maurine and Other Poems.
  • Music Bring Back My Bonnie to Me, by Charles E. Pratt.
  • Walt Whitmans autobiographical Specimen Days and Collect, notes and essays featuring his recollections of the Civil War, is published.
  • Abraham Cahan, a Russian Jew, arrives in New York City, where he later becomes editor of the Yiddish-language Jewish Daily Firward and publishes fiction such as Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto (1896) and The Rise of David Levinsky (1917).
  • Publisher John W. Lovell launches the popular Lovells Library and proceeds to publish a new book (priced at ten to twenty cents) every day.
  • John Singer Sargent paints The Daughters of Edward D. Boit.
  • 24 Mar. Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, author of Paul Reveres Ride and Hiawatha, dies in Cambridge, Massachusetts; he is subsequently the first American memorialized in the Poets Corner at Westminster Abbey in London.
  • 27 Apr. Transcendentalist essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson dies in Concord, Massachusetts.
  • 11 Dec. A performance of Gilbert and Sullivans lolantbe is lighted by 650 incandescent bulbs at the Bijou Theater the first time such lighting has been used in American theater.


  • Fiction Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, A Daughter of the Philistines; F. Marion Crawford, Dr. Claudius; Edward Eggleston, The Hoosier School-boy; Mary Hallock Foote, The Led-Horse Claim; Joel Chandler Harris, Nights with Uncle Remus; E. W. Howe, The Story of a Country Town; George W. Peck, Pecks BadBoy and His Pa; Howard Pyle, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood; Constance Fenimore Woolson, For the Major.
  • Poetry James Whitcomb Riley, The Old Swimmin Hole and Leven More Poems; John Greenleaf Whittier, The Bay of Seven Islands and Other Poems; Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Poems of Passion.
  • Music Marguerite, by C. A. White; My Dads Dinner Pail, music by David Braham, lyrics by Edward Harrigan; Strolling on the Brooklyn Bridge, music by Joseph P. Skelly, lyrics by George Cooper; There Is a Tavern in the Town, author unknown; When the Robins Nest Again, by Frank Howard.
  • Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) recalls the river of his youth and young adulthood in Life on the Mississippi.
  • Thomas Eakins paints The Swimming Hole.
  • The Modern Language Association, a professional organization for teachers of literature and language, is founded.
  • Benjamin Franklin Keith opens his first theater; by the time of his death in 1914 he owns some four hundred vaudeville theaters.
  • 24 May The Brooklyn Bridge opens to traffic with President Chester A. Arthur presiding over the ceremonies.
  • 4 July William Frederick Cody produces his first Buffalo Bills Wild West Show, in North Piatte, Nebraska.
  • 22 Oct. The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City opens with a production of Charles Gounods Faust.


  • Fiction Katherine MacDowell (Sherwood Bonner), Suwanee River Tales; Alice Brown, Stratford-by-the-Sea; Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; F. Marion Crawford, A Roman Singer; Joel Chandler Harris, Mingo and Other Sketches in Black and White; John Hay, The Bread-Winners; Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona; Sarah Orne Jewett, A Country Doctor; Mary Noailles Murfree (Charles Egbert Craddock), In the Tennessee Mountains; Frank R. Stockton, The Lady, or the Tiger? and Other Stories.
  • Poetry Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Mercedes, and Later Lyrics.
  • Music Always Take Mothers Advice, by Jennie Lindsay; The Fountain in the Park, by Robert A. King; White Wings, by Banks Winter.
  • A statue of founder John Harvard, sculpted by Daniel Chester French, is placed in Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Chicago-based architect William Jenney uses a steel frame in his ten-story Home Insurance Company building, the first full-scale use of steel skeletal con-struction.
  • Artist Winslow Homer moves to Prouts Neck, on the Maine coast, and depicts a rescue at sea in The Life Line; despite frequent travel, Homer makes Maine his home base for the rest of his life.
  • John Singer Sargent shocks high society and stodgy critics with his eroticized portrait Madame X.
  • 12 Apr. Producer David Belascos May Blossom opens in New York at the Madison Square Theater.


  • Fictton George Washington Cable, Dr. Sevier; Rose Terry Cooke, Root-Bound and Other Sketches; F. Marion Crawford, Zoroaster; Marietta Holley (Josiah Allens Wife), Sweet Cicely; Oliver Wendell Holmes, A Mortal Antipathy; William Dean Howells, The Rise of Silas Lapham; Thomas Allibone Janvier, color Studies; Sarah Orne Jewett, A Marsh Island; Henry Francis Keenan, The Money-Makers ; Mary Noailles urfree (Charles Egbert Craddock), The Prophet of the Great bmoky Mountains; Edward Payson Roe, Driven Back to Eden.
  • Music A Handful of Earth from My Dear Mothers Grave, by Joseph Murphy, I Had $15 in My Inside Pocket, by Harry Kennedy, Povertys Tears Ebb and Row, music by David Braham, lyrics by Edward Harrigan; Sleep, Baby, Sleep (Irenes Lullaby), by John J. Handley, Theres a Light in the Window, by Bobby Newcomb.
  • Theater managers begin to fireproof their buildings with asbestos curtains.
  • Architect Henry Hobson Richardson builds the Marshall Field Wholesale Store in Chicago, a model for practical yet vibrant urban design.
  • 15 Feb. Leopold Damrosch, director of the Metropolitan Opera company, dies; he is succeeded by his son Walter.
  • 21 Feb. After four and a half years of construction, a dedication ceremony marks the completion of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.


  • Fiction Louisa May Alcott, Jos Boys; Amelia E. Barr, The Bow of Orange Ribbon; Frances Hodgson Burnett, Little Lord Fauntleroy; Rose Terry Cooke, The Sphinxs Children and Other Peoples; William Dean Howells, Indian Summer; Henry James, The Bostomans and The Princess Casamassima ; Sarah Orne Jewett, A White Heron and Other Stories ; S. Weir Mitchell, Roland Blake.
  • Poetry John Greenleaf Whittier, Saint Gregorys Guest and Recent Poems.
  • Music Johnny Get Your Gun, by Monroe H. Rosenfeld; The Letter That Never Came, by Paul Dresser; Maggie, The Cows Are in the Clover, by Al W. Filson; Never Take No for an Answer, by J.F. Mitchell; Remember, Boy, Youre Irish, by William J. Scanlan; Rock-a-Bye Baby, by Effie I. Canning
  • Denman Thompsons New England drama The Old Homestead is staged; it re-mains one of the most popular American plays for more than two decades.
  • Thomas Eakins is forced out at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts after ar-guing that female students be allowed to study nude models.
  • Louis Sullivan begins work on the Auditorium Building in Chicago; construc-tion will extend over three years.
  • Jan. William Dean Howellss first Editors Study literary column is published in Harpers Monthly.
  • Mar. Paul J. Schlicht of Rochester, New York, founds Cosmopolitan Magazine, which during the 1880s and 1890s publishes fiction and nonfiction by American realists such as William Dean Howells, Henry James, Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Hamlin Garland, Satrah Orne Jewett, Theodore Dreiser, Harold Frederic, and Stephen Crane. Having moved to New York City in 1887, the magazine be-comes a muckraking journal during the early years of the twentieth century, campaigning for social reform, and in the 1960s it becomes a popular magazine for career women.
  • 27 Apr. The eminent architect Henry Hobson Richardson dies at age forty-seven.
  • 17 May The Cincinnati Art Museum opens to the public.
  • 28 Oct. The Statue of Liberty is dedicated in New York Harbor with Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free lines from Emma Lazaruss sonnet The New Colossus engraved on its base.


  • Fiction Alice Brown, Fools of Nature; Palmer Cox, The Brownies, Their Book; Harold Frederic, Seths Brothers Wife; Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, A Humble Romance; Alice French (Octave Thanet), Knitters in the Sun; Joel Chandler Harris, Free joe and Other Georgian Sketches; Marietta Holley (Josiah Allens Wife), Samantha at Saratoga; Joseph Kirkland, Zury: The Meanest Man in Spring County; Thomas Nelson Page, In Ole Virginia; Rowland Evans Robinson, Uncle Lishas Shop.
  • Poetry Madison Cawein, Blooms of the Berry; Lizette Woodworth Reese, A Branch of May.
  • Music Happy Birds, music by Edward Holst, lyrics by C. T. Steele; I Owe $10 to OGrady, by Harry Kennedy; If the Waters Could Speak as They Flow, by Charles Graham; The Outcast Unknown, by Paul Dresser.
  • Sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens completes his Lincoln memorial for Lincoln Park in Chicago.
  • Journalist-poet Eugene Field writes two of his most enduring poems, Little Boy Blue and Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
  • Thomas Eakins completes his portrait of Walt Whitman.
  • Arthur William Foote, a member of the so-called Boston Classicist school, composes In the Mountains, an overture.
  • Ada Rehan, John Drew, and Mrs. George H. Gilbert star in actor-playwright Augustin Dalys hit comedy The Railroad of Love.


  • Fiction Louisa May Alcott, A Garland for Girls; Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward; Margaret Deland, John Ward, Preacher; Edward Everett Hale, Mr. Tangiers Va-cations; Grace King, Monsieur Motte; Joseph Kirkland, The McVeys; Amelie Rives, The Quick or the Dead?
  • Poetry Madison Cawein, The Triumph of Music and Other Lyrics; Walt Whitman, November Boughs.
  • Music The Convict and the Bird, by Paul Dresser; Drill, Ye Terriers, Drill, author unknown; The Mottoes That Are Framed upon the Wall, music by W. S. Mullaly, lyrics by William Devere; Oh, That We Two Were Maying, music by Ethelbert Nevin, lyrics by Charles Kingsley; Where Did You Get that Hat? by Joseph J. Sullivan; The Whistling Coon, by Sam Devere; With All Her Faults I Love Her Still, by Monroe H. Rosenfeld.
  • After the publication of Edward Bellamys utopian novel Looking Backward, many readers join Bellamy Clubs, dedicated to redistributing wealth and trans-forming society.
  • George Eastman markets the first Kodak box camera, ushering in an era of popular photography.
  • Arthur William Footes acclaimed choral composition The Wreck of the Hesperus premieres in Boston.
  • Construction begins on the Boston Public Library, an Italian Renaissance struc-ture designed by the New York firm of McKim, Mead and White.
  • Western landscape artist Albert Bierstadt paints The Last of the Buffalo.
  • 6 Mar. Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women (1868, 1869), dies in Boston; her father, Transcendentalist philosopher Bronson Alcott, precedes her in death by just two days.
  • 14 Aug. Actor DeWolf Hopper recites Ernest Thayers poem Casey at the Bar at Wallacks Theater in New York City.


  • Fiction Jane Goodwin Austin, Standish of Standish; Mary Hartwell Catherwood, The Romance of Dollard; Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur s Court; Lafcadio Hearn, Chita: A Memory of Last Island; William Dean Howells, Annie Kilburn; Francis Hopkinson Smith, A White Um-brella in Mexico; Charles Dudley Warner, A Little Journey in the World; Con-stance Fenimore Woolson, Jupiter Lights.
  • Thomas Eakins paints The Agnew Clinic.
  • Thomas Edison, working with material developed by George Eastman, creates film for motion pictures.
  • Americans dance the two-step to John Philip Sousas first popular march, The Washington Post March.
  • 2 Feb. Frank A. Munsey publishes the first issue of Munseys Weekly an unapologetically popular magazine packed with accessible short fiction. Becoming a monthly in 1891, the magazine serializes fiction by popular romance writers such as F. Marion Crawford, H. Rider Haggard, and Anthony Hope.
  • 12 July Works by Edward MacDowell, Arthur William Foote, John Knowles Paine, and other composers are performed at the Paris Exposition, signaling the coming-of-age of American classical music.


  • Fiction Gertrude Atherton, Los Cerritos; Kate Chopin, At Fault; Ignatius Donnelly, Caesars Column; William Dean Howells, A Hazard of New Fortunes; Henry James, The Tragic Muse.
  • Poetry Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Wyndham Towers; Emily Dickinson, Poems; James Whitcomb Riley, Rhymes of Childhood; George Edward Woodberry, The North Shore Watch.
  • Music The Irish Jubilee, music by Charles B. Lawlor, lyrics by James Thornton; Maggie Murphys Home, music by David Braham, lyrics by Edward Har-rigan; Throw Him Down, McCloskey, by J. W. Kelly; Thy Beaming Eyes, music by Edward MacDowell, lyrics by William Henry Gardner.
  • The eleventh U.S. Census declares the American frontier closed; three years later, addressing the American Historical Association in Chicago, Frederick Jackson Turner examines The Significance of the Frontier in American History.
  • Impressionist Childe Hassam paints Washington Arch in Spring.
  • Author Lafcadio Hearn moves to Japan; he will spend the rest of his life over-seas, publishing Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan in 1894 and Outof the East in 1895.
  • McKim, Mead and Whites new Madison Square Garden is completed in New York.
  • Louis Sullivan designs the first American skyscraper, the Wainwright Building in Saint Louis.
  • 9 July Reginald De Kovens comic opera Robin Hood opens in Chicago; it includes the popular songs Brown October Ale and Oh, Promise Me.
  • 9 Dec. Playwright James A. Hernes realistic drama Margaret Fleming opens in New York.


  • Fiction Jane Goodwin Austin, Betty Alden: The First Born Daughter of the Pilgrims; Ambrose Bierce, Tales of Soldiers and Civilians; Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, The Mam-mon of Unrighteousness; H. C. Bunner, Short Sixes; Rose Terry Cooke, Huckle-berries Gathered from New England Hills; Richard Harding Davis, Gallegher and Other Stories; Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, A New England Nun; Hamlin Garland, Main-Travelled Roads; Joseph Kirkland, The Captain of Company K; Mary Noailles Murfree (Charles Egbert Craddock), In the Strange Peoples Country; Francis Hopkinson Smith, Colonel Carter of Carter sville.
  • Poetry Thomas Bailey Aldrich, The Sisters Tragedy with Other Poems; Emily Dickinson, Poems, Second Series; Richard Hovey, Launcelot and Guenevere: A Poem in Dra-mas; Lizette Woodworth Reese, A Handful of Lavender.
  • Music The Last of the Hogans, music by David Braham, lyrics by Edward Harrigan; Molly O! by William J. Scanlan; The Pardon Carne Too Late, by Paul Dresser; The Picture That Is Turned toward the Wall, by Charles Graham; Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ré, by Henry J. Sayers.
  • Sculptor John Quincy Adams Wards memorial to Henry Ward Beecher is in-stalled in Borough Hall, Brooklyn, four years after the death of the popular preacher.
  • Theodore Thomas resigns as head of the New York Philharmonic to assume charge of the the Chicago Orchestra.
  • 22 Feb. The melodrama Mad Money opens in New York; saloon keeper Steve Brodie, famous for having jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge in 1886, re-creates his jump on stage.
  • 4 Apr. Acclaimed actor Edwin Booth, brother of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, makes his final appearance after more than four decades on the stage.
  • 5 May Carnegie Hall opens in New York City.
  • 1 July Americas first international copyright law goes into effect.
  • 28 Sept. Herman Melville, author of Moby-Dick (1851), dies in obscurity in New York City; his last completed work, Billy Budd, remains unpublished until 1924.


  • Fiction Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, The Golden Calf; F. Marion Crawford, Don Orsino; Richard Harding Davis, Van Bibber and Others; Mary Hallock Foote, The Chosen Valley; Edward Everett Hale, East and West; Joel Chandler Harris, Uncle Remus and His Friends; Marietta Holley (Josiah Allens Wife), Samantha on the Race Problem; William Dean Howells, The Quality of Mercy; Grace King, Tales of Time and Place; Thomas Nelson Page, The Old South.
  • Poetry Ambrose Bierce, Black Beetles in Amber; Madison Cawein, Moods and Memories; Paul Laurence Dunbar, Oak and Ivy; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (Death-bed Edition).
  • Music After the Ball, by Charles K. Harris; The Bowery, music by Percy Gaunt, lyrics by Charles H. Hoyt; Daddy Wouldnt Buy Me a Bow-Wow, by Joseph Tabrar; Daisy Bell (or A Bicycle Built for Two), by Harry Dacre; Molly and I and the Baby, by Harry Kennedy; Push Dem Clouds Away, by Gaunt.
  • Stephen Crane leaves Syracuse University after one semester and begins chroni-cling slum life in New York City for city papers.
  • Charles K. Harris composes After the Ball, which later becomes the first song to sell five million copies in sheet music.
  • Edward MacDowell completes his First Piano Sonata, the Tragica.
  • Mary Cassatt is commissioned to paint Modern Woman, a mural for the Womans Building at the 1893 Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
  • Augustus Saint-Gaudenss sculpture Diana is placed atop the new Madison Square Garden in New York City.
  • Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Roots sixteen-story Monadnock Building is completed in Chicago; it is the tallest masonry building in the United States.
  • Jan. Charlotte Perkins Gilmans short story The Yellow Wall-Paper, describing a young womans slide into mental illness, appears in New England Magazine.
  • 26 Mar. Walt Whitman dies in Camden, New Jersey.
  • 27 Aug. Fire destroys the interior of the New York Metropolitan Opera House.
  • Nov. William Peterfield Trent founds The Sewanee Review at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. Primarily devoted to Southern literature and culture, it is the longest-running literary quarterly in the United States.


  • Fiction Ambrose Bierce, Can Such Things Be?; Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, Social Strugglers; Stephen Crane (Johnston Smith), Maggie: A Girl of the Streets; Alice French (Octave Thanet), Stories of a Western Town; Henry Blake Fuller, The Cliff-Dwellers; Hamlin Garland, Prairie Folks; Marietta Holley (Josiah Allens Wife), Samantha at the Worlds Fair; Henry James, The Real Thing and Other Tales; Lew Wallace, The Prince of India.
  • Poetry Richard Hovey, Seaward: An Elegy on the Death of Thomas William Parsons.
  • Music The Fatal Wedding, music by Gussie L. Davis, lyrics by H. W. Windom; Little Alabama Coon, by Hattie Starr; Say Au Revoir But Not Good-bye, by Harry Kennedy; Two Little Girls in Blue, by Charles Graham.
  • The City Beautiful movement gathers momentum as city planners tout the salutary powers of communal space; Kansas City responds with plans for an elaborate network of parks and public boulevards.
  • Wellesley College professor Katherine Lee Bates writes America the Beautiful; in 1895 the poem is set to a tune known as Materna.
  • The newly completed seventeen-story Manhattan Life Insurance Building is the tallest building in New York City.
  • 1 May The Worlds Columbian Exposition opens in Chicago with sculptor Daniel Chester Frenchs seventy-five-foot-tall Statue of the Republic casting its imposing shadow over the crowds of fair goers.
  • 27 Nov. The newly renovated Metropolitan Opera House in New York City reopens with a performance of Faust.
  • 15 Dec. The New York Philharmonic performs the world premiere of From the New World, Czech composer Antonin Dvoraks ninth symphony.


  • Fiction Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Two Bites at a Cherry With Other Tales; George Washington Cable, John March, Southerner; Kate Chopin, Bayou Folk; Samuel Lang-horne Clemens (Mark Twain), The Tragedy of Puddnhead Wilson and the Comedy of Those Extraordinary Twins; Paul Leicester Ford, The Honorable Peter Stirling and What People Thought of Him; Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Pembroke; William Dean Howells, A Traveler from Altruria; Brander Matthews, Vignettes of Manhattan; Margaret Marshall Saunders, BeautifulJoe; Harriet Prescott Spofford, A Scarlet Poppy and Other Stories.
  • Poetry Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey, Songs from Vagabondici; Ina Coolbrith, The Singer of the Sea; George Santayana, Sonnets and Other Verses.
  • Music And Her Golden Hair Was Hanging Down Her Back, music by Felix McGlennon, lyrics by Monroe H. Rosenfeld; I Dont Want to Play in Your Yard, music by H. W. Petrie, lyrics by Philip Wingate; The Little Lost Child, music by Joseph W. Stern, lyrics by Edward B. Marks; She May Have Seen Better Days, by James Thornton; The Sidewalks of New York (or East Side, West Side), by James W. Blake and Charles B. Lawlor.
  • W. H. Donaldson of Cincinnati founds Billboard as an amusement weekly posting timetables and routes for circuses, carnivals, and vaudeville troupes as well as directories of people in the entertainment business; the magazine later changes its focus to the popular-music industry.
  • Margaret Marshall Saunderss dog story Beautiful Joe is a best-seller, eventually selling more than a million copies.
  • Louis Sullivan starts work on the Guaranty Building in Buffalo, New York, another skyscraper crafted according to his motto form follows function.
  • 25 Feb. Steele MacKaye, playwright, producer, and founder of the American Academy of Dramatic Art, dies in Timpas, Colorado.


  • Fiction James Lane Allen, A Kentucky Cardinal; John Kendrick Bangs, The Idiot; Alice Brown, Meadow-Grass: Tales of New England Life; Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow; Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage; Henry Blake Fuller, With the Procession Hamlin Garland, Rose of Dutchers Coolly; Edward Everett Hale, If Jesus Carne to Boston; John Ames Mitchell, Amosjudd; Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson, Violets and Other Tales; Charles Dudley Warner, The Golden House.
  • Poetry Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Unguarded Gates and Other Poems; Ina Coolbrith, Songs from the Golden Gate; Stephen Crane, The Black Riders.
  • Music The Band Played On, music by Charles B. Ward, lyrics by John E. Palmer; Down in Poverty Row, music by Arthur Trevelyan, lyrics by Gussie L. Davis; Just Tell Them That You Saw Me, by Paul Dresser; My Best Girls a New Yorker, by John Stromberg; The Sunshine of Paradise Alley, music by John W. Bratton, lyrics by Walter H. Ford; Youve Been a Good Old Wagon, but Youve Broken Down, by Ben R. Harney.
  • Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) embarks on an international lecture trip in an effort to work his way out of debt.
  • Stephen Cranes decidedly antiromantic Civil War novel, The Red Badge of Courage, becomes a best-seller.
  • 20 Feb. Frederick Douglass, abolitionist, former slave, and author of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845), dies.
  • 4 Sept. The Prisoner of Zenda, a play based on a best-selling 1894 novel by Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins, opens at the Lyceum Theater in New York.
  • 19 Nov. Landscape architect Calvert Vaux, who designed Central Park in New York City with Frederick Law Olmsted, drowns in Gravesend Bay, off the coast of Long Island.


  • Fiction George Ade, Artie: A Story of the Street and Town; James Lane Allen, Summer in Arcady; John Kendrick Bangs, A Houseboat on the Styx; Abraham Cahan, Yekl: A Tale of the New York Ghetto; Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), Personal Recollections of joan of Arc and Tom Sawyer, Detective, and Other Tales; Stephen Crane, The Little Regiment and Other Episodes of the American Civil War; John Fox Jr., A Cumberland Vendetta and Other Stories; Harold Frederic, The Damnation of Theron Ware; Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs; Annie Fellows Johnston, The Little Colonel; William Gilbert Patten (Burt L. Standish), first novel in his Frank Merriwell series.
  • Poetry Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Judith and Holofernes; Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey, More Songs from Vagabondia; Emily Dickinson, Poems, Third Series; Paul Laurence Dunbar, Majors and Minors and Lyrics of Lowly Life; Lizette Wood-worth Reese, A Quiet Road; Edwin Arlington Robinson, The Torrent and the Night Before.
  • Music All Coons Look Alike to Me, by Ernest Hogan; A Hot Time in the Old Town, music by Theodore M. Metz, lyrics byjoe Hayden; In the Baggage Coach Ahead, by Gussie L. Davis; Kentucky Babe, music by Adam Geibel, lyrics by Richard Henry Buck; May Irwins vBully Song, by Charles E. Tre-vathan; Mister Johnson, Turn Me Loose, by Ben R. Harney; Mother Was a Lady, music by Joseph W. Stern, lyrics by Edward B. Marks; My Gal Is a High Born Lady, by Barney Fagan; On the Benches in the Park, by James Thornton; Sweet Rosie OGrady, by Maude Nugent; Youre Not the Only Pebble on the Beach, music by Frederick J. Redcliffe (Stanley Carter), lyrics by Harry B. Berdan (Harry Braisted).
  • Louis Sullivan discusses the aesthetics of the skyscraper in The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered.
  • After a lifetime of conflict with the arts establishment, Thomas Eakins is given a one-man show in Philadelphia.
  • 15 Jan. Matthew Brady, well known for his Civil War photography, dies in New York City.
  • 23 Apr. The first public motion-picture show, a pastiche of short scenes and skits, is screened at Koster and Bials Music Hall in Manhattan.
  • 5 Oct. William Gillettes Civil War thriller The Secret Service opens at the Garrick Theatre in New York City with Gillette in the starring role.


  • Fiction James Lane Allen, The Choir Invisible; Alice Brown, The Day of His Youth; Mary Hartwell Catherwood, The Spirit of an Illinois Town and The Little Renault; Kate Chopin, A Night in Acadie; Richard Harding Davis, Soldiers of Fortune; Ellen Glasgow, The Descendant; Henry James, The Spoils of Poynton and What Maisie Knew; Richard Malcolm Johnston, Old Times in Middle Georgia; Alfred Henry Lewis, Wolfville; S. Weir Mitchell, Hugh Wynne, Free Quaker; Charles M. Shel-don, In His Steps.
  • Poetry Edwin Arlington Robinson, The Children of the Night.
  • Music Asleep in the Deep, music by Henry W. Petrie, lyrics by Arthur J. Lamb; At a Georgia Camp Meeting, by Kerry Mills; Break the News to Mother, by Charles K. Harris; On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away, music by Paul Dresser, lyrics by Dresser and Theodore Dreiser.
  • John Philip Sousa composes The Stars and Stripes Forever.
  • Augustus Saint-Gaudenss memorial to Civil War commander Robert Gould Shaw is unveiled on the Boston Common.
  • Construction begins on the New York Public Library, an impressive example of Beaux-Arts architecture designed by the New York firm of Carrère and Hastings.
  • Author and illustrator Frederic Remington, well known for his depictions of the American West, publishes a collection of his Drawings.
  • A patent for the player piano is granted to inventor Edwin S. Votey.


  • Fiction Gertrude Atherton, The Californians; Stephen Crane, The Open Boat and Other Tales of Adventure; Paul Laurence Dunbar, Folks from Dixie; Finley Peter Dunne, Mr. Dooley in Peace and War; Ellen Glasgow, Phases of an Inferior Planet; Henry James, The Two Magics: The Turn of the Screw, Covering End; Mary Johnston, Prisoners of Hope; Charles Major, When Knighthood Was in F/ower; Brander Matthews, Outlines in Locai Color; S. Weir Mitchell, The Adventures of Francois; Frank Norris, Moran of the Lady Letty; Thomas Nelson Page, Red Rock; Francis Hopkinson Smith, Caleb West; Edward Noyes Westcott, David Harum.
  • Poetry Richard Hovey, The Birth of Galahad and Along the Trail; George Cabot Lodge, The Song of the Wave and Other Poems; Morris Rosenfeld, Songsfront the Ghetto.
  • Music Gold Will Buy Most Anything but a True Girls Heart, music by Monroe H. Rosenfeld, lyrics by Charles E. Foreman; Gypsys Love Song, music by Victor Herbert, lyrics by Harry B. Smith; I Guess Iil Have to Telegraph My Baby, by George M. Cohan; Kiss Me, Honey, Do, music by John Stromberg, lyrics by Edgar Smith; My Old New Hampshire Home, music by Harry von Tilzer, lyrics by Andrew B. Sterling; The Rosary, music by Ethelbert Nevin, lyrics by Robert Cameron Rogers; She Is More to Be Pitied Than Censured, by William B. Gray; She Is the Belle of New York, music by Gustave Kerker, lyrics by Hugh Morton; She Was Bred in Old Kentucky, music by Frederick J. Red-cliffe (Stanley Carter), lyrics by Harry B. Berdan (Harry Braisted); When You Were Sweet Sixteen, by James Thornton; Zizzy, Ze Zum, Zum, music by Lyn Udall, lyrics by Karl Kennett.
  • Connecticut native Charles Ives composes his First Symphony.
  • Charles W. Chesnutts short story The Wife of His Youth, a dissection of intraracial prejudice, appears in The Atlantic Monthly.
  • 4 Apr. Bob Cole and Billy Johnsons A Trip to Coontown the first full-length musical written, performed, and produced by African Americans, premieres at the Third Avenue Theatre in New York City.
  • July Clorindy, or The Origin of the Cakewalk, a musical by Will Marion Cook and Paul Laurence Dunbar, opens in New York City.
  • 7 Nov. The great Austrian contralto Ernestine Schumann-Heink makes her American operatic debut, appearing in Lohengrin in Chicago.


  • Fiction Ambrose Bierce, Fantastic Fables; Alice Brown, Tiverton Tales; Charles W. Chesnutt, The Conjure Woman and The Wife of His Youth and Other Stories of the Color Line; Kate Chopin, The Awakening; Winston Churchill, Richard Carvel; Margaret Deland, Old Chester Tales; Paul Laurence Dunbar, The Uncalled; Paul Leicester Ford, Janice Meredith; Henry James, The Awkward Age; Alice Moore Dunbar Nelson, The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories; Frank Norris, McTeague; Booth Tarkington, The Gentleman from Indiana; Edith Wharton, The Greater Inclination.
  • Poetry L. Frank Baum, Father Goose: His Book; Stephen Crane, War ls Kind; Paul Laurence Dunbar, Lyrics of the Hearthside; Richard Hovey, Taliesin: A Masque; Edwin Markham, The Man with the Hoe and Other Poems.
  • Music The Curse of the Dreamer, by Paul Dresser; Hello, Ma Baby, by Joe E. Howard and Ida Emerson; Td Leave My Happy Home for You, music by Harry von Tilzer, lyrics by Will A. Heelan; The Moth and the Flame, music by Max S. Witt, lyrics by George Taggart; My Wild Irish Rose, by Chauncey Olcott; Stay in Your Own Back Yard, music by Lyn Udall, lyrics by Karl Kennett; When Chloe Sings a Song, music by John Stromberg, lyrics by Edgar Smith.
  • Two Revolutionary War novels, Richard Carvel by Winston Churchill and Janice Meredith by Paul Leicester Ford, are best-sellers.
  • Winslow Homer captures the brute power of nature in his paintings The Gulf Stream and After the Hurricane.
  • 15 Jan. Edwin Markhams blank-verse poem The Man with the Hoe is published for the first time, in the San Francisco Examiner, and quickly becomes a labor standard; during Markhams lifetime the poem is published in more than ten thousand newspapers and magazines in more than forty languages.
  • 18 July Horatio Alger, author of popular rags to riches novels, dies.
  • 18 Sept. John Stark of Sedalia, Missouri, publishes Scott Joplins Maple Leaf Rag and sets off a national craze for ragtime.
  • 6 Nov. Actor William Gillette creates his most memorable role, starring as the British sleuth in Sherlock Holmes, his adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyles detective fiction. The production opens at the Garrick Theatre in New York City, is performed regularly in the United States and Great Britain until 1903, and is revived frequently, with Gillette playing the title for the last time in 1932.

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1878-1899: The Arts: Chronology

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1878-1899: The Arts: Chronology