The Many Works of Anne McCaffrey

Home  Biography  Bibliography  Series Details  Miscellany  Links

A Biographical Timeline

Introduction to the timeline:  I've been a fan of Anne McCaffrey's writing since my father first handed me Dragonflight at age thirteen.  Some ten years later I learned more about her personal life and writing career and became a fan not just of her writing, but of Ms. McCaffrey herself.  I found the determination of a single mother to make a living from writing - in what was then a heavily male-dominated genre - remarkable and inspirational.  What a role model she is for young women everywhere with an interest or talent in traditionally male fields.  So when I decided it was time to revamp and further develop an earlier website I had done on McCaffrey, I knew I wanted to include a biography. 

As it turns out, biographies of McCaffrey are a dime a dozen online, with varying degrees of detail and length, and after some thought I decided it would be a waste of time (and perhaps a waste of webspace, as I have no illusions of being a great biographer) to write my own summary of her life.  Instead I hit upon the idea of creating a timeline outlining many of the key events in her life. 

A timeline unfortunately makes for rather dry reading and does not really paint a picture of what it's been like to be Anne McCaffrey the way a tradition biography would.  For example it gives no indication of the dark period in the early 1980s when McCaffrey suffered from exhaustion and insomnia following a long and hectic promotional tour.  And because I've tried to keep it concise it doesn't necessarily explain why some entries are of interest - for example that the man she studies stage direction under in the late 1950s became the model of one of her most popular characters, Robinton of Pern.  Fans interested in this type of information will have to seek it elsewhere - a good deal of information is available on the web, and I heartily recommend the biographies written by Martha Trachtenberg and Todd McCaffrey, listed below. 

A biographical timeline does however nicely diagram the intersection of McCaffrey's career with her personal life, and I myself didn't fully realize and appreciate how the pieces fit together until I worked on this timeline.  I hope others find it interesting as I do.

Primary Sources
Anne McCaffrey: Science Fiction Storyteller by Martha P. Trachtenberg
Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey by Todd McCaffrey
Anne Inez McCaffrey: Forty Years of Publishing
by Mathew D. Hargreaves

When I have the time to read it a second time, I will be updating this timeline with details
from the new biography by Robin Roberts, Anne McCaffrey: A Life With Dragons


Biographical Timeline of Anne McCaffrey

April 1, 1926 Anne Inez McCaffrey born to George Herbert McCaffrey and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey; she had an elder brother, Hugh aka "Mac"
1927 Brother Kevin born
~1939 Brother Kevin sick with osteomyelitis; he spent much time in and out of hospitals and their mother devoted herself to nursing him
1942-1943 McCaffrey is a student at Stuart Hall, a girls' boarding school in Virginia
1944 McCaffrey enters to Radcliffe College (women's college associated with Harvard).  Her studies include cartography, Celtic folklore, Chinese philosophers, English literature, US foreign policy, Russian, and Slavonic languages
1947 McCaffrey graduates cum laude from Radcliffe College, with a BA in Slavonic languages and literatures.
1948 McCaffrey moves to New York City, and has a succession of jobs, mainly as a secretary and/or copywriter
1949 McCaffrey meets H. Wright Johnson
Jan 14, 1950 McCaffrey marries H. Wright Johnson
Spring 1950 McCaffrey begins reading - and writing - science fiction
late 1951 McCaffrey and Johnson move to Upper Montclair, New Jersey
Aug 29, 1952 Son Alec is born
Oct 1953 First story published, "Freedom of the Race" in Science Fiction Plus
Jan 25 1954 McCaffrey's father dies
1955 "The Greatest Love" written, an ahead-of-its time tale that postulated in vitro fertilization; not published for 22 years
Apr 27, 1956 Son Todd is born
1956 16-year-old Hungarian refugee Josef Kaldi taken in by the Johnsons
Aug 1958 Johnson family moves to Wilmington, Delaware.  While there, McCaffrey becomes active in local music and theater, and studies stage direction under Frederic H. Robinson.
Apr 1959 Second story published, "Lady in a Tower" in Fantasy and Science Fiction
1959 McCaffrey attends her first Science Fiction Writers' Conference in Milford, Pennsylvania.  Attendees included Robert Silverberg, Judith Merril, Harlan Ellison, Kate Wilhelm, and James Blish.  McCaffrey also introduced to Virginia Kidd.
Aug 27, 1959 Daughter Georgeanne (Gigi) is born
Apr 1961 Third story published, "The Ship Who Sang" in Fantasy and Science Fiction
1962 Josef Kaldi leaves the Johnsons and joins the US Army
1963 Johnson family moves to Düsseldorf, West Germany for six months
McCaffrey attends her first science fiction convention, in Washington DC, and is encouraged to continue writing by James Blish.
Virginia Kidd becomes McCaffrey's agent
Dec 1963 McCaffrey invited to direct the American premiere of Carl Orff's opera Ludus de Nato Infante Mirificus, performed in German; she also performs the part of a witch
1965 Johnson family moves to Sea Cliff on Long Island, NY
McCaffrey devotes herself to writing full-time.
Mar 1966 Fourth story published, "The Ship Who Mourned" in Analog
1966 McCaffrey becomes the secretary/treasurer of the Science Fiction Writers of America
Oct 1966 Fifth story published, "The Ship Who Killed" in Galaxy
Sept 1967 First novel published, Restoree
Oct 1967 Sixth story published, "Weyr Search"
Dec 1967 Seventh story published, "Dragonrider" (first of two parts, second part followed in Jan)
Jul 1968 Second novel published, Dragonflight
Aug 1968 McCaffrey first visits Ireland, with her Aunt Gladys McElroy
Sept 1, 1968 Awarded the 1968 Best Novella Hugo for "Weyr Search" (first woman to win the Hugo)
1969 Seven short stories and two novels (Decision at Doona and The Ship Who Sang) published over the course of the year
Spring 1969 Awarded the 1968 Best Novella Nebula for "Dragonrider"
1970 Three short stories and one edited work published over the course of the year
 Aug 1970 McCaffrey files for divorce in Mexico
Aug 25, 1970 McCaffrey moves to Ireland with her two younger children; eldest Alec began college at Stony Brook University.  McCaffrey's mother joins them a week later.
1970 Johnson remarries
1971 One short story and three novels (Dragonquest, The Mark of Merlin, and Ring of Fear) published over the course of the year
May 1971 McCaffrey buys her first horse, Mr. Ed aka "Horseface"
1972 No works published over the course of the year
Alec leaves college and joins the family in Ireland
1973 Nine short stories, one novel (To Ride Pegasus), and one edited work published over the course of the year
Alec returns to the United States
1974 Three short stories published over the course of the year
Jul 12 1974 McCaffrey's mother dies from her second major stroke
1975 One short story, one novella (A Time When), and one novel (The Kilternan Legacy)published over the course of the year
Gigi diagnosed with Crohn's disease
late 1975 Awarded the 1976 E.E. "Doc" Smith Award for Imaginative Fiction
1976 One novel (Dragonsong) published over the course of the year
McCaffrey buys first home and dubs it "Dragonhold"
1977 Four short stories, one anthology, and one novel (Dragonsinger) published over the course of the year
McCaffrey and daughter Gigi start Dragonhold Stables, a private livery stable
Jun 1978 The White Dragon is published and becomes the first hardcover science fiction novel to make The New York Times bestseller list.  Also one short story and one other novel (Dinosaur Planet) published over the course of the year
1979 One short story and one novel (Dragondrums) published over the course of the year
Awarded the 1979 Ditmar Award and the 1979 Galdalf Award for The White Dragon
Todd enlists in the US Army
Apr 4, 1980 No works published over the course of the year
Awarded the 1980 Best Novel Balrog Award for Dragondrums and the Professional Achievement Balrog Award
1981 One short story published over the course of the year
Sep 9 1981 Mr. Ed euthanized due to debilitating arthritis; McCaffrey's first grandchild born: Eliza to Alec and Kate Johnson.  The balance of death and birth inspires the ending of Moreta
1982 One novel (Crystal Singer) published over the course of the year
1983 One novella (The Coelura) and one novel (Moreta) published over the course of the year
mid 1983 Alec graduates magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts and enters grad school at M.I.T.; Todd is based in West Germany as an army sergeant; Gigi attends the University of Massachusetts.
Mar 30-Apr1 1984 McCaffrey is Guest of Honor at IstaCon, the first Pern-based science fiction convention
McCaffrey and Robin Wood begin planning The People of Pern
1984 Two novels (Dinosaur Planet Survivors and Stitch in Snow) published over the course of the year
Anne expands and moves the Dragonhold Stablesbuilds; Gigi returns to Ireland and studies in Dublin.
1985 One short story and one novel (Killashandra) published over the course of the year
The Golden Saddles Young Riders Competition moves to Dragonhold Stables
McCaffrey invites her former sister-in-law, Sara Brooks to Ireland to manage her home and garden
1986 Two short stories and two novels (Nerilka's Story and The Year of the Lucy) published over the course of the year
McCaffrey visits the Dolphin Research Center and gets to swim with the dolphins
1987 One novel (The Lady) published over the course of the year
McCaffrey's brother Hugh dies
1988 One short story and one novel (Dragonsdawn)
McCaffrey begins writing with up-and-coming authors to help build their careers
McCaffrey's second grandchild, Amelia, born to Alec and Kate Johnson
July 1988 Khmer Gold, a novel written by McCaffrey's brother Hugh, is posthumously published
Nov 1988 Family friend John Greene murdered
1989 One novel (The Renegades of Pern) published over the course of the year
1990 Four short stories, two novels (The Rowan and Pegasus in Flight) and two co-authored novels (Sassinak and The Death of Sleep) published over the course of the year
Work on McCaffrey's new home, "Dragonhold-Underhill" is begun on the grounds of the Dragonhold Stables, six miles from the original "Dragonhold"; construction complete the following year
Nov 1990 Gigi settles permanently in Ireland
1991 Four short stories, one novel (All the Weyrs of Pern) and two co-authored novels (Generation Warriors and Partnership) published over the course of the year
May 1991 McCaffrey has knee replacement surgery due to arthritis
Jul 1991 "Weyrfest" a Pern-based programming track, begun at DragonCon, an annual science fiction convention held in Atlanta, Georgia.  Track continues to date
1992 Two novels (Crystal Line and Damia) and two co-authored novels (Crisis on Doona and The Ship Who Searched) published over the course of the year
[Short stories no longer noted on timeline starting with this year]
1993 Two novels (Damia's Children and The Chronicles of Pern) and two co-authored novels (Powers That Be and The City Who Fought) published over the course of the year
McCaffrey and Gigi's fiancé Geoff Kennedy set up a blacksmith shop and farriery school near to Dragonhold-Underhill
Aug 1993 Gigi weds Geoff Kennedy
Dec 1993 Todd weds Jenna Scott
1994 Two novels (Lyon's Pride and The Dolphins of Pern), three co-authored novels (Treaty at Doona, The Ship Who Won, and Power Lines), and one anthology published over the course of the year
Ceara born to Todd and Jenna
1995 One novella, one novel (Freedom's Landing) and one co-authored novel (Power Play) published over the course of the year
1996 One novella and one novel (Black Horses for the King) published over the course of the year
Alec and family move to Ireland; Alec becomes McCaffrey's business manager
Sep 1996 McCaffrey has hip replacement surgery
1997 Two novels (Dragonseye and Freedom's Choice) and one co-authored novel (Acorna) published over the course of the year
Jan 1997 Pern television deal signed with Zyntopo
1998 One novella, two  novels (The Masterharper of Pern and Freedom's Challenge) and one co-authored novel (Acorna's Quest) published over the course of the year
Mar 17 1998 Gigi and Geoff adopt Owen, born Feb 22
1998 Alec and Kate file for divorce
1999 Two novels (Nimisha's Ship and The Tower and the Hive) and one co-authored novel (Acorna's People) published over the course of the year
Jun 26, 1999 Awarded the 1999 Margaret A. Edwards Achievement Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults
July 1999 Awarded the 1999 Julie Award For A Lifetime Of Distinguished Service
Throughout The Fantastic Arts
Nov 1999 Todd publishes Dragonholder, a biographical scrapbook of McCaffrey
2000 One novel (Pegasus in Space) and one co-authored novel (Acorna's World) published over the course of the year
2001 One novel (The Skies of Pern) and one co-authored novel (Acorna's Search) published over the course of the year
Apr 2001 Right before filming is to begin, the Pern television is scraped due to creative differences between the head writer Ron Moore and the WB network.
2002 One anthology and one novel (Freedom's Ransom) published over the course of the year
2003 Two co-authored novels (Acorna's Rebels and Dragon's Kin) published over the course of the year
Aug 2004 Awarded the 2004 L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Lifetime Achievement Award


Home    Biography    Bibliography    Series Details    Miscellany    Links
Site created by Cheryl B. Miller, copyright © 2004-2007.  All rights reserved.
All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey’s fiction are copyright ©
Anne McCaffrey 1967-2007, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.

email cheryl @