Chronology of Sophie Treadwell


1885         Born October 3 in Stockton, California, to Alfred B. and Nettie Fairchild Treadwell.

1890-91    Father moves to San Francisco.  Along with her mother, alternately lives with and away from her father for the next several years.

1902-06    While attending the University of California at Berkeley, performs in numerous sketches and plays.  Final year of college is marked by poverty and illness.  Graduates with a Bachelor of Letters degree with an emphasis in French.

1907         Moves to Los Angeles and performs in vaudeville.  Befriends Constance Skinner, author and former dramatic critic.

1908         Skinner arranges for Treadwell to type Helena Modjeska's memoirs at the actress's home in Tustin, California.  With encouragement from Modjeska, markets her play, The Right Man, to theatrical producers in New York.  Returns to San Francisco in the summer to be with her ailing mother.  Hired as a journalist for the San Francisco Bulletin.

1910         Marries William O. McGeehan, famed sports reporter and humorist.  Six months later, recuperates from a recurring nervous condition at St. Helena Sanitorium.

1912         Performs a leading role in The Toad, a drama of ancient Egypt, at the Forest Theatre, Carmel-by-the-Sea.

1914         Interviews celebrities, covers a sensational murder trial, and writes her first serial, " An Outcast at the Christian Door," for the Bulletin.

1915         Her serial, "How I Got My Husband and How I Lost Him,"  adapted for the stage and produced in San Francisco under the title, An Unwritten Chapter.  Spends four months in France writing articles on World War I for the Bulletin and Harper's Weekly.  Returns to the States in August, accepting a job with the New York American.

1916-19     Writes several plays, acting in and producing one of them, Claws, as a showcase in 1918.  Befriends art patrons, Walter and Louise Arensberg.  Has romantic affair with the painter Maynard Dixon.

1920-21     Covers the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution, including an exclusive interview with Pancho Villa, for the New York Tribune.

1922         Gringo produced on Broadway by Gutherie McClintic.

1923         Spends the summer with a small group of theatre artists studying acting with Richard Boleslavsky.

1924         Sues John Barrymore over his failure to return her play manuscript on the life of  Edgar Allan Poe.

1925         Acts in and produces her comedy, O Nightingale,  on Broadway.

1927         Attends the murder trial of Ruth Snyder and Judd Gray.

1928         Machinal  produced on Broadway by Arthur Hopkins.

1929         Ladies Leave  receives a short run on Broadway.  Works briefly for United Artists on script revisions and adaptations.

1930         Treadwell and McGeehan embark on the first of two lengthy trips through Europe and North Africa.

1931         Machinal  produced in London under the title The Life Machine.  The novel, Lusita, published.

1933         Visits Moscow for the production of Machinal  by Alexander Tairov.  Lone Valley, produced and directed by Treadwell, closes on Broadway after three performances.  McGeehan dies.

1934         For Saxophone copyrighted.  Treadwell's mother dies.

1936         Plumes in the Dust  produced on Broadway.  Travels to Egypt and the Far East.

1941         Hope for a Harvest  produced in New York by the Theatre Guild.

1942         Spends ten months in Mexico City as correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune.

1944         Highway  given a workshop production in Pasadena.  Tries briefly to work as a screenwriter in Hollywood.

1949         Adopts a German baby, whom she names William.  Divides her time over the next several years between Europe, Mexico, Connecticut and California.

1953         Hope for a Harvest  aired on television's "U.S. Steel Hour," produced by the Theatre Guild.

1954         An adaptation of Highway televised.  Sells the family  ranch in Stockton.

1956-65    Based mostly in Torremolinos, Spain, turns more to writing novels.  Seeks relief from a variety of debilitating ailments.

1959         Novel, One Fierce Hour and Sweet,  published.

1960         Machinal revived off-Broadway at the Gate Theatre.

1965         Moves to Tucson, Arizona.

1967         Woman with Lilies  produced at the University of Arizona under the title, Now He Doesn't Want to Play.

1970         Dies in Tucson, February 20.

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