Kay Boyle is born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, on 19 February. Her grandfather, Jesse Peyton Boyle, runs a successful legal text company.

When KB is six months old, the family moves to Philadelphia. They will later live in Washington, D.C. and Atlantic City.

During these years, KB is mainly educated by her mother, Katherine Elizabeth Evans.


Family travels to Europe and spends two months in Berlin.


KB attends the Armory Show with her mother and sister, Joan.


KB and her sister Joan produce a literary magazine The Blue Heron financed by their grandfather.


Family suffers a financial setback and moves to Cincinnati, Ohio. KB’s father, Howard Peterson Boyle, a former lawyer, runs a garage the Boyle Motor Company.


KB takes practical courses at the Ohio Mechanical Institute. She works as a switchboard operator in her father’s business.


KB and her sister Joan study at the Parsons School of Fine and Applied Arts in New York. They are sent home when the money runs out. KB enrolls in the New York school of Fine and Applied Art. She and Joan live at 316 West 82nd street.


KB becomes engaged to Richard Brault, a French exchange student at the University of Cincinnati. In the fall, she returns to the New York school of Fine and Applied Art and takes a writing class at Columbia University.


KB takes a night class at a secretarial school while working for a “Rotarian” wholesale jeweler.

During the fall political campaign of 1921, she drives Farmer-Labor speakers around Cincinnati in her Model T. She collects signatures for the release from prison of Eugene Debs.

She starts an autobiographical novel.

In November 1921, her first publication, “Reactionary Composers,” is published in Harriet Monroe’s Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.


In New York, KB works for Marjorie Welles, a fashion writer.

Richard Brault graduates from the University of Cincinnati and moves to New York. On June 24, 1922, KB and Brault marry at City Hall. They move in a one room on the first floor of a brownstone at 322 East 15.

In the fall of 1922, KB writes two unsigned reviews for The Dial on De Gourmont’s Mr Antiphilos, Satyr (September) and one on Sidney Dark’s An Outline of Wells.

KB, grandmother, Eva S. Evans, dies on 26 October.

In November, KB takes a job as business correspondent and advertising manager for Lola Ridge, the American editor of Broom. At Ridge’s literary Thursday, KB meets literary figures including Marianne Moore and William Carlos Williams. Ridge urges Marianne Moore to read KB’s poetry. She has KB read Emanuel Carnevali’s poetry.

KB reads Robert McAlmon’s poetry in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.

KB’s first published poem, “Monody to the Sound of Zithers,” appears in the December issue of Poetry.


January: KB publishes poems in The Forum and Broom.

26 May: Boyle and Brault sail for France on the SS Suffren, arriving 5 June in Le Havre.

KB’s poem “Harbor Song is published in the July issue of Poetry.

The Brault spend the summer in Pleuhiden, Brittany, with Brault’s family.

In September, they travel to Paris. KB visits Harold Loeb and meets Robert McAlmon.

In October, KB and Richard move to Le Havre where Richard has taken a job with an electrical supply company. They live at 5 rue Guillemard.

Over Christmas, KB reads Evelyn Scott’s Escapade.


January 1924:  KB meets William Carlos Williams and his wife Flossie on their arrival to Le Havre.

Late spring: the Braults move to a village across the harbor from Harfleur. KB starts corresponding with Carnevali again.

In September, KB sends Evelyn Scott the manuscript of her autobiographical first novel (later entitled Process).


Continues to rewrite her first novel.

Early 1925: KB receives a letter from Ernest Walsh asking her to contribute to This Quarter.

In May, KB meets Otto and Louise Theis at a party given by Evelyn Scott. Kay and Richard visit the Theises in London.

The poem “Summer” is published in This Quarter, no 1 (1925).


On January 2, KB receives a letter from Walsh inviting her to recover from a lung ailment in Grasse. KB and Walsh begin a love affair.

In May, they spend some time at the Hotel de France, in Mougins, near where Picabia lives.

In late May, they move to Annot, in the Basses Alpes, and settle at the Hotel Grac. In Annot, they meet Archibald Craig (Cedric Harris) and his cousin, the Dayang Muda of Sarawak (born Gladys Palmer).

On 16 October 1926, Walsh dies of tuberculosis. He is buried at Monaco.


On 11 March 1927, Sharon Walsh is born in Nice.

KB lives with Ethel Moorhead in Monte Carlo. She collaborates with Morrhead to bring out the third number of This Quarter.

Her review of W. C. Williams’s In the American Grain is published in transition n° 1 (April 1927).


Mid-march 1928, KB leaves Stoke-on-Trent for Paris.

Through Archibald Craig she meets transition editor Eugene Jolas. She ghostwrites a novel the memoirs of the Dayang Muda and works on a poetry anthology with Craig.

Meets James and Nora Joyce at a party given by the Jolases. Jolas also introduces her to Desnos, Breton, Tzara, Derain, Aragon, and Pound.

On May 19, 1928, Jolas and Kay meet Harry and Caresse Crosby at the Bal Nègre.

KB meets Harold Stearns (the Peter Pickem of the Paris Tribune).

Meets Raymond Duncan at tea at Gertrude Stein’s. Decides to go and live at the Duncan colony. Sells togas and scarves at Duncan’s shop on Boulevard Saint Germain.

In September, she contracts a spinal meningitis and nearly dies.

Answers the “Why Do American Live in Europe?” questionnaire in the fall 1928 issue of transition.


In March 1929, KB meets fashion writer Bettina Bedwell and ghostwrites articles in the Paris Tribune for her.

KB settles in Saint Aulde, two hours away from Paris, with Laurence Vail.

She translates the first chapter of René Crevel’s Babylone for Black Sun Press.

In June 1929, she sign transition’s “Revolution of the Word” declaration.

On 18 December, Apple Vail is born in Paris.

Harry Crosby commits suicide in New York. 


In the fall, KB moves with her family to La Marguerite, Route Nationale, Villefanche, outside of Nice.

Wedding Day and Other Stories is pubished by Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith.


Laurence and Kay moves in Villa Coustille, at Col-de-Villefranche. They form their own coterie which includes Robert Carlton Brow, Mary Reynolds, Marcel Duchamp, Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman, Allan Ross MacDougall, and James Stern.

KB writes two readies for Bob Brown’s “Readie Anthologie”.

Caresse Crosby asks her to translate Raymond Radiguet’s Diable au corps.

Meets Samuel Beckett and becomes friend with James T. Farrell.

Applies for A Guggenheim Fellowship to write an epic poem about the history of aviation.

Plagued by the Nightingale and KB’s translation of Joseph Delteil’s Don Juan are published by Cape and Smith.

KB’s translation of the first chapter of René Crevel’s Babylone, “Mr. Knife, Miss Fork,” is published by Black Sun Press.

Her monograph poem, Landscape for Wyn Henderson, is published by Curwen in London.


On 2 April 1932, Laurence and Kay marry in Nice.

Year Before Last is published by Harrison Smith.

KB’s translation of Radiguet’s The Devil in the Flesh is published by Crosby Continental Edition and Harrison Smith.

KB’s poem A Statement is published by Modern Editions Press.


In June, the Vails spend their last month at Villa Coustille. In July, they travel to Austria. On their way, they stop at Bazzano to visit Carnevali.

In the autumn, they spend three months in Vienna.

In December, they move to Kitzbuhel in the Tyrol. They settle at the Kaiserhof pension.

KB applies a second time for a Guggenheim fellowship to write an aviation epic. She is given recommendations by Evelyn Scott, Archibald MacLeish, Padraic Colum.

The First Lover and Other Stories and Gentlemen, I Address you Privately are published by Harrison Smith and Robert Haas.


KB receives Guggenheim Felloship.

In February, the civil war erupts in the Austrian capital.

In June 28, in Innsbruck, KB and Vail witness an attack on the Biergarten.

On July 7, Kathe Vail is born in Innsbruck.

In October, KB is photographed by Man Ray in Paris.

My Next Bride is published by Harcourt, Brace. 


On April 27, the Vails leave Austria for England. They stop in Switzerland to visit the Joyces. They also see the Jolases.

The family settled in Seaton, Devonshire.

KB receives the O. Henry Award for Best Short Story of the Year for “The White Horses of Vienna.”


At the end of July, the Vails leave Devon for Mégève in the French Alps. On their way, they visit Nancy Cunard at La Chapelle-Réanville.

In Megève, Kay writes poems for the Vail’s Family Almanach.

The White Horses of Vienna and Other Stories and 365 Days are published by Harcourt, Brace.


In January 27, KB is in Geneva where she takes the oath of repatriation and registered as a U.S. citizen according to a June 1936 law.

James Laughlin visits the Vails at their chalet, Les Cinq Enfants, in Megève.

Mary Reynolds and Marcel Duchamp also come to visit.


Djuna Barnes visits the Vails at Les Cinq Enfants.

In Paris, KB meets Anais Nin.

In September, the Vails visit Pound in Rapallo with Jonathan Cape. Kay writes to Jay Laughlin that she is taken by Pound’s views on social credit and Chinese.

Monday Night is published by Harcourt, Brace.

A Glad Day is published by New Directions.


On 29 March, Clover Vail is born in Lauzanne.

KB has an affair with Kurt Wick, a ski instructor in Megève.

KB meets an expatriate Austrian baron, Joseph von Franckenstein, who works in Megève as a tutor and ski instructor.

In September, France declares war on Germany. Joseph von Franckenstein in interned in a French camp for “enemy aliens”

The Youngest Camel is published by Little Brown.


In October, KB begins a love affair with Joseph von Franckenstein.

The Crazy Hunter, Three Short Novels is published by Harcourt, Brace.


KB leaves Lisbon on a PanAm Clipper and arrives in  New York on 14 July.

She and the children takes residence in Nyack, NY, near Bessie Breuer and Henry Varnum Poor.

Joseph von Franckenstein works on a ranch in Elsinore, California.

KB’s story, “Defeat” receives the O. Henry Award for Best Short Story of the Year.


Joseph von Franckenstein applies for U.S. citizenship. He is induced in the US Army. Trains at Camp Hale, Colorado.

On 3 December, Faith von Franckenstein is born in New York.

Primer for Combat is published by Simon and Schuster.


KB travels to Reno to obtain divorce from Laurence Vail.

On 24 February, KB and Joseph von Franckenstein marry in Salt Lake City.

She lives at a hotel in Denver to be near Joseph with her two youngest children and her mother.

On 23 November, Ian von Franckenstein is born on in New York.


In March, Joseph von Franckenstein is sent to Europe.

Later in the year, KB embarks on a tour of U.S.  air bases with a group of twelve writers, editors and photographers.

KB’s novel Avalanche and her monograph poem American Citizen Naturalized in Leadville, Colorado are published by Simon and Schuster.


KB visits Paris, Luxembourg, Italy, and North America.

8 May: formal surrender of the German forces.


KB moves to Paris with her three youngest children.

In November, KB is assigner New Yorker foreign correspondent in Europe.

Thirty Stories and A Frenchman Must Die are published by Simon and Schuster.


On 23-24 January 1947, KB visits a DP (displaced persons) camp in Wildflecken The camp is run by  Kathryn Hulme.


KB joins Joseph von Franckenstein in Marburg, where he works as an information control officer.


Joins Joseph von Franckenstein in Frankfurt., where he is the news editor of the State Department German language daily and later becomes deputy in chief of the Intelligence Division of the U. S. Land Commissioner’s Office

His Human Majesty is published by McGraw-Hill.


KB is back in the U.S. to visit her ailing mother.

The Smoking Moutain: Stories of Post-War Germany is published by McGraw-Hill.


On 26 January, Katherine Evans Boyle dies in Los Angeles.

KB is in Cassis, near Marseille.

Joseph von Franckenstein undergoes loyalty hearing in Germany. KB’s alleged leftist associations is the main charge against him. Janet Flanner testifies on their behalf.


Joseph von Franckenstein is cleared of charges but he is dismissed from the State Department. The New Yorker does not renew KB’s accreditations. She is blacklisted by magazines.

The family moves to Connecticut and lives in Ann Watkins’s guest House.


Joseph von Franckenstein takes a teaching job at the Thomas School in Rowayton and the family moves to a house on campus. They will live in Rowayton until 1962.

The Frankensteins testify before the Senate Constitutional Rights Committee.


The Seagull on the Step is published by Alfred A. Knopf.

In November, KB and Joseph von Franckenstein testify about their case before a Senate Constitutional Rights Subcommittee.


KB teaches a short story summer course at the University of Delaware.

KB and Franckenstein are officially cleared by the State Department.


KB is induced as a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

Three Short Novels is published by Beacon Press.


The Youngest Camel: Reconsidered and Rewritten is published by Harper and Brothers.


Generation Without Farewell is published by Knopf.


KB receives a Guggenheim fellowship for a history of Germany (never published).

Joseph von Franckenstein is reinstated by the State Department.


Joseph von Franckenstein as cultural attaché at the American Embassy in Teheran.

Collected Poems is published by Knopf.

Breaking the Silence: Why a Mother Tells Her Son about the Nazi Era is published by the Institute of Human Relations Press, American Jewish Committee.


KB spends a term as a writer writer in residence at Wesleyan College.

KB visits Joseph von Franckenstein in Teheran. He is very ill.

In September, KB takes a position as a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State College, in San Francisco, California.

On 7 October, Joseph von Franckenstein dies of lung cancer at the Presidio Military Hospital.

KB buys a house at 419 Frederick Street.


KB is on a fellowship at Radcliffe for a year, beginning July 1rst.


KB travels to Cambodia on fact-finding mission with a group called Americans Want to Know.

Nothing Ever Breaks Except the Heart and Other Stories is published by Doubleday.

Pinky the Cat Who Liked to Sleep is published by Crowell-Collier.


KB is arrested in October and December for participation in protests against the war. She serves jail time at Santa Rita Correctional Institution.

The Autobiography of Emanuel Carnevali compiled and prefaced by KB, is published by Horizon Press.


In April, KB spends another time in jail. She discovers she has breast cancer. She participates in the student strike at San Francisco State College.

Being Geniuses Together, 1920-1930 is published by Doubleday.


KB teaches at Hollins College in Virginia.

Pinky in Persia is published by Crowell-Collier.

Testament for My Students and Other Poems is published by Doubleday.

The Long Walk at San Francisco State and Other Essays is published by Grove.


KB receives an honorary doctorate from Columbia College, Chicago.


Enough of Dying! Voices for Peace is published by Dell.


The Underground Novel is published by Doubleday.


KB receives an honorary doctorate from Skidmore College.


KB retires from San Francisco State College.


KB receives a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship for her lifetime contribution to American literature.

Fifty Stories is published by Doubleday.

KB moves to Cottage Grove, Oregon, to be near her son Ian.


KB receives an honorary doctorate from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.


KB takes up residence at 41 Yosemite Avenue in Oakland.

This is Not a Letter and Other Poems is published by Sun & Moon Press.

KB’s translation of René Crevel’s Babylon is published by North Point Press.

She moves to Oakland.


KB receives an honorary doctorate from Bowling Green State University.


KB’s daughter Apple dies on May 4.

KB moves to retirement residence in Redwoods in Mill Valley.

Life Being the Best and Other Stories is published by New Directions.


KB receives Lannan Foundation Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement.


KB is baptized as a Roman Catholic in December.

Collected Poems of Kay Boyle is published by Copper Canyon Press.


KB dies on 27 December in Mill Valley

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