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Meet Kurt Vonnegut

A Lifetime of Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut is one of the most influential American writers and thinkers of the 20th century. Vonnegut’s work shakes traditional values, while offering offbeat and time-warping, alternative views of life.

November 11th 1922

Kurt Vonnegut is born

He was the third and last child (preceded by Bernard and Alice) of Kurt Sr. and Edith (Lieber) Vonnegut.

November 11th 1922

1936-1940

KV attends Shortridge High School

and writes for the newspaper, the Shortridge Daily Echo.

1936-1940

1940-1943

KV studies Chemistry at Cornell University

takes a few courses in Journalism at Butler.

1940-1943

1943

Enters the United States Army

takes engineering courses at Carnegie and the University of Tennessee

1943

May 14th, 1944

Edith Vonnegut Passes Away

Kurt Vonnegut’s mother dies of an overdose of alcohol and sleeping pills.

May 14th, 1944

December 19th, 1944

WWII Prisoner

KV is captured at the Battle of the Bulge and taken to Dresden.

December 19th, 1944

February 13th, 1945

Bombing of Dresden

Survives the bombing of Dresden as a POW held captive in an underground slaughterhouse

February 13th, 1945

September 1st, 1945

Ties the knot

KV marries Jane Cox in Indianapolis.

September 1st, 1945

May, 11th 1947

Kurt’s son Mark is born

May, 11th 1947

December 29th, 1949

Kurt’s Daughter Edith Is Born

December 29th, 1949

1950

Report on the Barnhouse Effect is published

KV has his short story Report on the Barnhouse Effect published by Colliers magazine, quits GE, and moves his family to Barnstable, Massachusetts

1950

1952

KV publishes his first novel, Player Piano

1952

October 4th, 1954

Kurt’s Daughter Nanette is Born

October 4th, 1954

October 1st, 1957

Kurt’s Father Passes Away

October 1st, 1957

1958

Adoption

Kurt’s sister Alice dies of cancer, and her husband James passes away in a commuter train accident 48 hours previously. KV and Jane adopt 4 of Alice’s children.

1958

1959

Kurt publishes The Sirens of Titan

1959

1961

Short Story Collection

Kurt Vonnegut publishes his first collection of short stories, Canary in a Cat House.

1961

1961

Kurt Publishes Mother NIght

1961

1963

Cat’s Cradle Is Published

1963

1965

Vonnegut publishes God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

KV publishes God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and begins a two-year residency at the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop.

1965

1967

Kurt Vonnegut publishes his masterpiece, Slaughterhouse-Five

1967

1968

Welcome to the Monkey House is Published

1968

1970

Happy Birthday, Wanda June

Kurt and Jane separate, he moves alone to New York City and produces his play Happy Birthday, Wanda June

1970

1973

Kurt Publishes Breakfast of Champions

1973

1987

Kurt Vonnegut Publishes Bluebeard

1987

1990

Kurt publishes Hocus Pocus

1990

1991

Publishes Fates Worse than Death

another non-fiction collection

1991

1993

Collaboration With Joe Petro III

KV meets screenprinter Joe Petro III and they begin a visual art collaboration that lasts until KV’s death in 2007

1993

2005

A Man Without a Country is Published

Kurt Vonnegut publishes his last major work, A Man Without a Country, a non-fiction work

2005

April 11, 2007

Kurt Vonnegut Passes Away

Three weeks after a fall on the steps of his Manhattan brownstone, Kurt Vonnegut passes away.

April 11, 2007

1997

KV publishes his self-described “last novel” Timequake.

1997

Writings & Publications

Novels

Novel

Piano Player

(1952); pub. as Utopia 14 (1954); repub. as Player Piano (1966)

Collections

Kathi Badertscher, PhD

Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Kathi Badertscher, PhD, is Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. Badertscher teaches a variety of BA, MA, and doctoral courses, including Applying Ethics in Philanthropy and History of Philanthropy. She has participated in several Teaching Vonnegut workshops and is a member of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. Dr. Badertscher has been a guest speaker on ethics in philanthropy, including at the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners – Indianapolis Council; Association of Fundraising Professionals – Indiana Chapter; and Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, Tianjin, China. In 2019 she received IUPUI Office for Women, Women’s Leadership Award for Newcomer Faculty. In 2019 and 2020 she received the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Graduate Teaching Award.
Dr. Badertscher’s publications include “Fundraising for Advocacy and Social Change,” co-authored with Shariq Siddiqui in Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, 5th ed., 2022; “Insulin at 100: Indianapolis, Toronto, Woods Hole, and the ‘Insulin Road,’ co-authored with Christopher Rutty, Pharmacy in History (2020); and three articles in the Indiana Magazine of History: “A New Wishard Is on the Way,” “Evaline Holliday and the Work of Community Service,” and “Social Networks in Indianapolis during the Progressive Era.” Her chapters on social welfare history will appear in three upcoming edited volumes on the history of philanthropy, including “The Legacy of Edna Henry and Her Contributions to the IU School of Social Work,” Women at Indiana University: Views of the Past and the Future, edited by Andrea Walton, Indiana University Press, 2022 (forthcoming). Dr. Badertscher is also the Philanthropy and Nonprofits Consulting Editor for the forthcoming Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Elizabeth Van Allen, Indiana University Press, 2021. Dr. Badertscher is an active volunteer in the Indianapolis community. At present, she is a Coburn Place Safe Haven Board Member and a Children’s Bureau/Families First Brand and Marketing Advisor. Dr. Badertscher holds the MA in History from Indiana University and the MA and PhD in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

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