Header image  
Shamus Town©®

  Close Window


A Raymond Chandler Timeline


1858 - August 15, Morris B Chandler (or Maurice) was born in Chester, Pennsylvania to John Chandler and Amy Kirk Chandler. It is known that John Chandler and Amy Kirk were his parents, but note that this census lists him as Morris, while other documents, especially Raymond's birth certificate, list him is Maurice

1864 - November 20, Florence Dart Thornton was born in Ireland

1870 - October 29, Pearl Eugenie Hurlburt (Cissy) was born in Perry, Ohio

1885 - Laramie, Wyoming: a M Chandler attends a surprise party at the Marsh's, The Boomerang, 1/21/1885. This is most likely Morris Chandler, who was already in Laramie, ready to court and marry Florence Thornton when she arrived the following year

1886 - Florence immigrates to the U.S., a year after her older sister Francis Grace, and follows her to Laramie, Wyoming, where Francis had wed Ernest Fitt. Florence meets Morris Chandler. Ernest Fitt was in Laramie either working on the railroad or because his brother August lived there

1887 - July 25, Laramie, Wyoming: Maurice (Morris) Benjamin Chandler and Florence Dart Thornton are married, ID #297487, Volume B, Page 440, Western States Marriages Index

1887 - Laramie, Wyoming: Ray's cousin Murial is born and Florence conceives Raymond

1888 - Raymond Thornton Chandler Born in Chicago, July 23. Note that his father is listed as Maurice, not Morris Chandler

1889 - Florence takes baby Ray to Ireland to meet the folks. Florence and Raymond return October 27th, arriving in New York on the Servia (another view of the Servia) via Queenstown, Ireland and Liverpool, England

1895-6 - Many Chandler Timelines would have you believe that his parents divorced in 1895, with Florence moving back to the old sod with Raymond. HOWEVER, that is NOT what happened: The Chandlers were living near the Fitts in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, and Raymond attended the East 4th Ward Plattsmouth City School, moving to live in Chicago soon after school started, as noted on his school records

1896-7 - The Chandlers are again living in Plattsmouth with Raymond attending school. Nine days after school starts they again move to Chicago. Note the parent listed on his school records

Records from Plattsmouth courtesy Cass County Historical Society, H. Margo Prentiss, Curator. Records from Laramie courtesy Wyoming State Archives, Cindy L. Brown, Reference Archivist

1900 - Raymond and his mother are back in Plattsmouth living with the Fitts according to the June 1900 U.S. Census. Morris Chandler is not listed so sometime between 1897 and 1900 his parents split, or Morris/Maurice dies

1900 - Late June: Florence and Raymond travel to Montreal, Quebec Canada and on June 30, 1900, board the Lake Superior bound for Liverpool, London and Dulwich College

1900 - Entered Dulwich College as a day student in the Fall

1901 - Proof of residence in the form of the 1901 UK Census. Note that Florence is listed as a widow. At that time, divorce was frowned upon, so many women would say they were widowed rather than admit to divorce. Pearl did the same in late 1923 for the 1924 Los Angeles City Directory. Note that a very much alive Julian is listed directly above his widow. However, as stated above, it is possible that Morris/Maurice Chandler did pass away sometime around 1900, since there are virtually no reliable records of him beyond that period. One Ancestry.com source lists 1887 as the year of his death (unlikely), and I've not found any record of him after 1900 that can positively associate him as Raymond's father and/or Florence's husband. That said, I did find a 1920 census form listing a Maurice B Chandler, lodger, in Cook County (Chicago). However, I couldn't correlate it 100% to Florence or Ray, nor verify that is was Morris/Maurice B Chandler, son of John and Amy, especially since his age is listed as 51 and thus born 10 years later than Ray's father

1904 - Graduation from Dulwich

1905 - April, traveled to Paris to study French

1906 - Moved to Germany to continue language studies

1907 - Spring: Returned to England. Became naturalized. Summer: Passed Civil Service Exam. Took job as a clerk in the Admiralty


1908 - Literary Journalist in London, contributed to the Academy & Westminster Gazette. December 19, first poem, "The Unknown Love," published in Chamber's Journal

1909 - Left the Admiralty. Worked briefly as a Daily Express reporter

1912 - Returns to America - meets the Lloyds on the SS Merion (arrives Philadelphia July 10th). His destination is Omaha (passenger list). He finally settled in San Francisco, working odd jobs. Enrolled in night school bookkeeping course. His mother, Florence, arrives in Philadelphia on the SS Merion, December 4th. Her destination is listed as Berkeley/San Francisco.

1913 - Raymond and his mother travel to Los Angeles, where, with the help of Warren E Lloyd, Secretary for the Los Angeles Creamery, whom he met on the SS Merion, Raymond gets a job as a bookkeeper for the Los Angeles Creamery. Listed address with Dulwich College s c/o Mrs. Warren E. Lloyd, 713 S. Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles

1914-1915 - Raymond and his mother live at 311 Loma Drive

1916-1917 - Raymond and his mother move to Santa Barbara where he works as the manager of the Los Angeles Creamery branch.

1917 - August, Enlisted in Canadian Army. Florence moves back to Los Angeles. December 7, Raymond arrived in Liverpool

1918 - March, served in France as corporal in 7th Battalion of Canadian Expeditionary Force. June, transferred to Royal Air Force and attended aviation training. November, Armistice declared

1919 - February 20, Raymond is discharged and returns to Canada. Travels to Victoria, British Columbia and boards the Governor bound for San Francisco, arriving on March 12,1919. Takes a job at an English bank. Returned to Los Angeles. Again works for Los Angeles Creamery. Began affair with Cissy Pascal. July 10, 1919 Cissy Pascal files for divorce

1920 - October 24, Pascal Divorce final

1922 - Chandler takes a bookkeeping job with Dabney Oil Syndicate. Rises to position of Vice-President

1923 - September 26, Florence Chandler dies

1923 - September 27, Florence cremated and interred at Rosedale Cemetery

1924 - February 6, Raymond and Cissy marry

1927 - April 12, Raymond files a Declaration of Intention to regain his U.S. Citizenship

1929 - March, Raymond's aunt Francis Grace Fitt dies (obit 3/4/1929 Plattsmouth Journal)

1930 - February 3, Raymond and Cissy separate.

1930 - March 4, Pearl Cecily Chandler, first party, and Raymond T. Chandler, second party, have a Memorandum of Agreement prepared. Raymond agreed to pay Cissy $300 per month, paid semi-monthly on the first and fifteenth commencing 3/1/30. Raymond also quitclaimed the Chrysler roadster, license number 3P9784, to Cissy. Raymond gave title to all the household furniture, furnishings and personal property at 1024 South Highland to Cissy as well. Raymond further agreed to keep three life insurance policies, totaling $50,000, in full force with Cissy as beneficiary. Neither agreed, expressed or implied, as to a divorce

1930 - March 24, Pearl Cecily Chandler and Raymond T. Chandler sign the Memorandum of Agreement


1932 - Fired from oil business for drinking. Goes to Seattle. Cissy falls ill and Ray returns.

1933 - Began to write. Short story "Blackmailers Don't Shoot" published in Black Mask.

1934 - Lived in Los Angeles, contributing to Black Mask and Dime Detective Magazine. July, "Smart-Aleck Kill" published in Black Mask. October, "Finger Man" published in Black Mask

1935 - January, "Killer in The Rain" published in Black Mask. June, "Nevada Gas" published in Black Mask. October, writes poem "Improvisation for Cissy." November, "Spanish Blood" published in Black Mask

1936 - January, "Guns at Cyrano's" published in Black Mask. January 11, Ray attends Black Mask dinner and meets Dashiell Hammett (Black Mask Dinner Picture: UCLA Special Collections). March, "The Man Who Liked Dogs" published in Black Mask. May 30, "Noon Street Nemesis" published in Detective Fiction Weekly. June, "Goldfish" published in Black Mask. September, "The Curtain" is published in Black Mask. Ray earns $1,500 from the five stories

1937 - January, "Try The GIrl" published in Black Mask. June 15, Date of first known Chandler letter (to the editor of the Fortnightly Intruder). November, "Mandarin's Jade" published in Dime Detective

1938 - January, "Red Wind" published in Dime Detective. March, "The King in Yellow" published in DIme Detective. Spring, Chandler starts work on "The Big Sleep." June, "Bay City Blues" published in Dime Detective. Ray earns $1,275 for the three Dime Detective stories

1939 - January, "The Lady in The Lake" published in Dime Detective. February 6, publication of "The Big Sleep" by Alfred Knopf and by Hamish Hamilton. March 13, Ray begins work on "The Lady in The Lake" novel. April, puts aside "The Lady in The Lake" and begins "Farewell, My Lovely.". May, The Chandlers rent a cabin near Big Bear Lake. Briefly works on "The Lady in The Lake" again. June, again works on "Farewell, My Lovely." September 15, finishes the first draft of "Farewell, My lovely." December, moves to La Jolla for the winter

1940 - Florence's remains removed from Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery

1940 - October 1, publication of "Farewell, My Lovely" by Alfred Knopf and Hamish Hamilton.

1941 - July, sell film rights to "Farewell, My Lovely" to RKO for $2,000. September, finishes draft of "The High Window"

1942 - Moves to 12216 Shetland Lane in Brentwood, then called Brentwood Heights. May, sells the film rights to "The High Window" to 20th Century Fox for $3,500. Publication of Avon edition of "The Big Sleep," the first paperback appearance of Chandler's novels. August 17, "The High Window" is published by Alfred Knopf and Hamish Hamilton.

1943 - April, "The Lady in The Lake is finished. Signs contract to collaborate with Billy Wilder on screenplay of James M. Cain's "Double Indemnity" for Paramount. Publication of "The High Window" by Alfred Knopf and by Hamish Hamilton. Contributed articles to The Atlantic Monthly. Moves to 6520 Drexel Avenue. Has an affair with a secretary. November 1, publication of "The Lady in the Lake" by Alfred Knopf and by Hamish Hamilton.


1944 - April, "Double Indemnity" released by Paramount. Warner Brother's buy film rights to "The Big Sleep." September, the Paramount contract expires

1945 - Returned to work at Paramount and wrote original screenplay "The Blue Dahlia." July, begins work on the screenplay for "The Lady in The Lake" for MGM. Abandoned after 13 weeks. November, "Writers In Hollywood" published in The Atlantic. Ray nominated for Academy award for "The Blue Dahlia."

1946 - Permanently moved to La Jolla. Buy a house at 6005 Camino de la Costa

1947 - Wrote original screenplay "Playback" for Universal. NBC airs "Philip Marlowe" radio program as summer replacement for the Bob Hope show

1948 - Signs with Brandt & Brandt literary agency. June, "Oscar Night in Hollywood" published in The Atlantic. September, completes "The Little SIster." CBS buys the rights to "The Adventures of Philip Marlowe" radio show

1949 - June 24, publication of "The Little Sister" by Hamish Hamilton. July, featured in a Newsweek article. September 24, publication of "The Little Sister" by Houghton Mifflin, Chandler's new U.S. publisher. Ill with allergies, shingles and bronchitis.

1950 - Publication of "The Simple Art of Murder" (collection of early stories) by Houghton Mifflin and by Hamish Hamilton. Worked on screenplay of "Strangers on a Train" for Warner Brothers. Hires Juanita Messick as private secretary. July, begins work with Alfred Hitchcock on a film version of Patricia Highsmith's "Strangers on a Train"

1951 - February, J.B. Priestly visits Chandler in La Jolla. S.J. Perelman visits in the summer.


1952 - February, the "Ten Percent of Your Life" article (on literary agents) is published in The Atlantic. May, completes draft of "The Long Good-Bye." August 20, trip to England with Cissy. Return to La Jolla in October

1953 - November 27, publication of "The Long Goodbye" by Hamish Hamilton

1954 - March 1, publication of "The Long Goodbye" by Houghton Mifflin. December 12, Cissy Chandler dies

1955 - Chandler begins heavy drinking. February, attempts suicide, confined to the county hospital then a private sanitarium. March, sells the La Jolla house. Visits friends in Chicago and New York. April, travels to England. Becomes friends with Stephen and Natasha Spender, Ian Fleming, and Helga Greene, who later becomes his literary agent. September, his English residential permit expires. Returns to the U.S. November, returns to London. December, travels to Madrid and Tangier

1956 - Lives in London until May. Forced to return to La Jolla for tax reasons. May, hospitalized in New York City for alcoholism and exhaustion. June, returns to La Jolla and rents an apartment at 6925 Neptune Place. July, hospitalized at a Chula Vista clinic. December, goes to Palm Springs and Arizona

1957 - Works on a the novel version of "Playback." Tax dispute with British authorities. Ray does not go to England as planned. Helga Greene visits Chandler in La Jolla. December, completes "Playback"

1958 - February, returns to London. April, travels to Capri and Naples, where he interviews crime boss Lucky Luciano. The planned article is never published. July, publication of "Playback" by Hamish Hamilton and by Houghton Mifflin. August, returns to La Jolla.

1959 - February, proposed marriage to Helga Green. March, travels to New York to accept presidency of Mystery Writers of America. Meets with Helga's father, who disaproves of the marriage (and perhaps Ray). So unsettles Ray he unravels. Returns to La Jolla. Helga returns to London. Ray gets Pneumonia. Dies in La Jolla's Scripps Clinic on March 26th.


2010 - September, Loren Latker, wife Dr. Annie Thiel and their friend and attorney Aissa Wayne, daughter of John Wayne, begin the process of reuniting Cissy and Ray by going to court to obtain permission to remove Cissy from Cypress View and bury her with Ray in Mount Hope Cemetery.

2011 - February, Valentines Day: Cissy and Ray are reunited with a service in Mt. Hope. Reception and dinner follows.

  © 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Loren Latker


  Close Window