Aug 30, 1797
Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin is born in London. She is the only child of feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the political philosopher William Godwin.
Sep 10, 1797
Mary Wollstonecraft dies as a result of complications from childbirth.
Jan 1, 1970
William Godwin marries a widow named Mary Jane Clairmont, who moves in with her two children, Charles and Claire.
Dec 19, 2019
William and Mary Jane Godwin give birth to their only child together, William Godwin, Jr.
Dec 19, 2019
Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin's first poem, "Mounseer Nongtongpaw," is published by the press owned by her father and stepmother.
Jun 1, 1812
To separate Mary from her stepmother, William Godwin sends his daughter to stay with the Baxter family in Dundee, Scotland. She stays there until November, becoming close friends with the Baxters' daughter Isabel.
Jun 1, 1813
Mary Godwin returns to the Baxters' home.
Mar 1, 1814
Upon returning from Scotland, Mary Godwin meets Percy Bysshe Shelley, a young poet and an admirer of her father's who visits their home often. He also happens to be married to a woman named Harriet Westbrook, with whom he has one young daughter and another child on the way. Mary and Percy Shelley soon fall in love.
Jul 1, 1814
Sixteen-year-old Mary runs off with Percy Shelley to Europe. Her stepsister Claire Clairmont accompanies them. Mary Godwin becomes pregnant almost immediately. William Godwin is furious and refuses to see his daughter for the next two and a half years.
Sep 13, 1814
Mary Godwin, Claire Clairmont and Percy Shelley return to London. Mary is penniless, pregnant, and a social outcast due to her having run off with a married man. The couple is forced to live apart while Shelley goes into hiding to escape his creditors.
Feb 22, 1815
Mary Godwin gives birth to the couple's first child, a daughter named Clara. The baby is two months premature and dies only a few weeks after birth.
Jan 24, 1816
Mary Godwin gives birth to the couple's second child, William.
Jun 1, 1816
The Shelleys take a summer holiday in Switzerland with Lord Byron and his pregnant lover Claire Clairmont. While stuck in the house one rainy afternoon, Lord Byron suggests a contest to see who can write the best ghost story. Shelley sketches the tale that becomes Frankenstein.
Oct 9, 1816
Mary Godwin's older half-sister Fanny Imlay Godwin commits suicide with an overdose of laudanum.
Dec 1, 1816
Shelley's wife Harriet Westbrook commits suicide by throwing herself into London's Serpentine River. She was pregnant with the couple's third child.
Dec 30, 1816
A pregnant Mary Godwin marries Percy Bysshe Shelley at St. Mildred's Church in London. She reconciles with her father.
Sep 2, 1817
Mary Shelley gives birth to her third child, a daughter named Clara Everina. Shortly after the birth she publishes a book about her 1814 elopement with Shelley entitled History of a Six Weeks' Tour.
Jan 1, 1818
Frankenstein is published anonymously, to immediate and wild success.
Mar 1, 1818
The Shelleys travel to Italy in order to convince Lord Byron to give his estranged lover Claire Clairmont access their child. They remain in Italy for several years.
Sep 24, 1818
Clara Everina contracts dysentery and dies in Italy.
Jun 7, 1819
The Shelleys' three-year-old son William dies of malaria in Italy. The couple now has no living children, though Mary is pregnant with their fourth.
Nov 12, 1819
Mary Shelley gives birth to the couple's son Percy Florence, the only one of their children to outlive his parents.
Jul 8, 1822
Percy Shelley drowns in the Gulf of Spezia while sailing with a friend. A devastated Mary Shelley has his body cremated.
Feb 19, 1823
Shelley's novel Valperga is published.
Aug 25, 1823
Mary Shelley and her son Percy Florence arrive in Italy from England.
Apr 19, 1824
Lord Byron dies in Greece.
Dec 19, 2019
Mary Shelley begins editing a book of her late husband's poems for publication. She is forced to stop when her father-in-law threatens to cut off support to her and her son unless she pledges never to publish any of his son's works during his lifetime.
Jan 23, 1826
Shelley's novel The Last Man is published.
Dec 19, 2019
William Godwin, Jr., the son of Shelley's father and stepmother Mary Jane Clairmont, dies of cholera.
Apr 7, 1836
William Godwin dies in London.
Feb 1, 1837
Shelley's novel Falkner is published.
Nov 1, 1839
Mary Shelley edits and publishes the collected poems of her late husband Percy Bysshe Shelley. Percy Shelley's father agreed to the publication, so long as it contained no memoirs of his son. The following month she publishes a collection of Shelley's essays and assorted writing.
Oct 1, 1845
A man claiming to be Lord Byron's son threatens to publish letters allegedly written by Mary and Percy Shelley unless Mary Shelley buys them from him. She wins a court injunction to prevent him from doing so.
Feb 1, 1851
Mary Shelley dies at her London home after a long illness, possibly caused by a brain tumor.
Feb 8, 1851
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley is buried in the graveyard of St. Peter's church in Bournemouth. Her parents' remains are moved from St. Pancras and buried on either side of her.