the life of Ring W. Lardner
(in brief)

Updated 18 February 2006








Born Ringgold Wilmer Lardner on 6 March 1885, in Niles, Michigan, the youngest child of wealthy parents Henry and Lena Phillips Lardner; 1890-1897 is taught at home, first by his mother and later by a private tutor; even though he has physical problems with one of his legs, he is active in sports, especially baseball; shows an early interest in music and theatricals; 1897-1901 attends Niles High School, where he sings in a quartet and plays football; graduates at age 16 and writes the class poem, reportedly his first published work, which appears in the Niles Daily Star (14 June 1901); 1901 goes to Chicago, where he works briefly as an office boy; returns to Niles and finds employment with the Michigan Central Railroad; 1902 at his father's urging enrolls in Armour Institute in Chicago to study engineering; fails all courses except rhetoric and is forced to leave at the end of the spring semester; 1903-1905 returns to Niles, rests for a year, and works about a year and a half for the Niles Gas Company as a bookkeeper, bill collector, and meter-reader; is active in the Niles American minstrel group; acts in and writes the music and most of the lyrics for a two-act musical comedy, Zanzibar (14 April 1903).



1905-1913 1905-1907 works as a sports reporter for the South Bend Times; 1907-1908 works successively as a general sports writer for the Chicago Inter-Ocean and as a baseball reporter for the Chicago Examiner, where he writes under the alias James Clarkson and travels with the White Sox on their spring tour; 1908-1910 is employed as a baseball reporter for the Chicago Tribune; 1910-1911 works as managing editor and feature writer of the St. Louis Sporting News, sports editor of the Boston American, and as copyreader for the Chicago American; marries Ellis Abbott of Goshen, Indiana, on 28 June 1911; 1912 once again works as a baseball writer for the Chicago Examiner; his first son, John Abbott, is born 4 May; 1913 rejoins the Chicago Tribune staff and begins writing the daily column, "In the Wake of the News," a collection of sports tidbits, humorous verse, observatio