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Oscar Wilde: Topics in Chronicling America

During the late 19th century, Oscar Wilde rose to fame as a lauded author but also for his aestheticism and controversy. This guide provides access to materials related to "Oscar Wilde" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"The evolution of Wilde." November 6, 1889. The Maryville Times (Maryville, TN), Image 3. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

On November 30, 1900, Oscar Wilde dies of cerebral meningitis surrounded by a few friends in a Parisian hotel room. Known as an "Apostle of Esthetes," who wrote "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and "The Importance of Being Earnest," his life was marked by fame and controversy. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


October 16, 1854Oscar Wilde is born, Dublin, Ireland.
1871-1874Reads Classics at Trinity College, Dublin.
1874-1878Attends Magdalen College, Oxford.
1881Wilde publishes a book of poems.
January-August 1882Travels throughout the United States on lecture tour.
August 1883Brief visit to New York for the staging of his first play, "Vera."
April 1891Novel "Picture of Dorian Gray" is published.
February 14, 1895Play "The Importance of Being Earnest" premieres in London.
February-April 1895Incident with the Marquess of Queensbury and the subsequent libel trial.
April-May 1895Trial and conviction of Wilde on charges of sodomy and gross indecency.
May 1895-May 1897Imprisonment in Pentonville and Wandsworth Prisons.
May 1897Leaves England to live in Paris.
November 30, 1900Wilde dies of cerebral meningitis; buried in Cimetiere de Bagneux.
1909Wilde's remains are disinterred and reburied in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.