1882: January 14, van Loon is born in Rotterdam.


1902-1905: arrives in the United States, attends Cornell University

1905-1907: serves as journalist for the Associated Press in Russia and Poland

1906: June, marries Eliza Ingersoll Bowditch

1907-1911: attends the University of Munich; receives his Ph.D. in history


1907-1911: attends the University of Munich; receives his Ph.D. in history

1913: publishes The Fall of the Dutch Republic

1915-1917: October 1915-June 1917, lecturer in history at Cornell University

1915: publishes The Rise of the Dutch Kingdom

1917: publishes A Short History of Discovery

1919: January, becomes a United States citizen


1920: publishes Ancient Man: The Beginning of Civilizations

1920: June, divorces Eliza Bowditch van Loon

1920: August, marries Eliza Helen (Jimmie) Criswell

1921-1922: September 1921- January 1922, teaches history at Antioch College

1921: publishes The Story of Mankind

1922: awarded Newbery Medal for Story of Mankind

1922-1923: May 1922- April 1923: columnist for the Baltimore Sun

1922-1925: contributes drawings and illustrations to The Survey

1923: publishes The Story of the Bible

1926-1928: contributes illustrations and drawings to The Nation

1927: publishes The Story of America

1927: October, divorces Jimmie van Loon; marries Francis Goodrich

1928: publishes Life and Times of Peter Stuyvesant

1928: publishes Man the Miracle Maker

1929: October divorces Francis van Loon


1930: publishes R. v. R.: The Life and Times of Rembrandt van Rijn

1930: meets and begins association with Albert Einstein

1932: presents a weekly radio program on history for WEVD in New York; leads to the creation of the University of the Air, for which van Loon is named Dean.

1932: publishes Van Loon’s Geography: The Story of the World We Live In

1932: meets and begins association with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

1934-1935: November 1934-April 1935, writes “Meet the Commentator” column for King Feature Syndicate

1935: meets and begins association with Thomas Mann

1935: May-December, delivers a twice-weekly radio program for NBC

1936: publishes The Songs We Sing (with Grace Castagnetta)

1937: publishes The Arts

1937: November, elected president of the Authors’ Guild

1938: publishes How to Look at Pictures: A Short History of Painting

1938: publishes Our Battle


1940: publishes The Life and Times of Johann Sebastian Bach

1940: Organizes the Dutch Relief Committee; named chairman of the Queen Wilhelmina Fund

1942: publishes The Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, With a Short Life of the Author by Hendrik Willem van Loon of Rotterdam Who Also Illustrated the Book

1942: publishes Van Loon’s Lives

1942: knighted by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands

1944: March 11, van Loon dies in Old Greenwich, Connecticut