1855      Charles Altamont Doyle, the youngest son of a political cartoonist, John Doyle, known as H.B., and Mary Foley, his Irish landlady's daughter, marry in Edinburgh on July 31.

1856      Anne Mary Frances Conan Doyle, known as 'Annette', Arthur's elder sister, is born.

1858      Catherine Doyle is born. She dies in infancy.

1859      Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle is born on May 22 in Edinburgh, as the third child of Charles and Mary Doyle.

1861      Mary Doyle is born. She dies two years later.

1864      At the age of almost five Arthur writes his first story (only thirty-six words) about a Bengal tiger and a hunter.

1866      Caroline Mary Burton Doyle, called 'Lottie', Arthur's younger sister, is born. Arthur is sent to stay with his mother's relatives in Ireland, where he witnesses a confrontation with the Fenians. He is sent to Newington Academy in Edinburgh.

1867      Arthur attends Hodder, a Roman Catholic prep school in Lancashire. Constance Amelia Monica Doyle, called 'Connie', Arthur's youngest sister, is born.

1870      Arthur begins education at Stonyhurst College, a Jesuit boarding school in Lancashire, and remains there for five years. He writes verses and edits a school paper.

1874      Visits his uncle, Richard Doyle, illustrator for Punch, in London.

1873      John Francis Innes Hay Doyle, called 'Duff', Arthur's younger brother, is born.

1874      Arthur spends Christmas in London at the studio of his uncle Richard Doyle, at 7 Finborough Road, Chelsa. He sees Henry Irving in Hamlet.

1875      Arthur passes the Matriculation Examination at London University and next spends a year in a Jesuit school, Stella Matutina, in Feldkirch, Austria, to improve his German.

1876      Conan Doyle returns home from Austria via Lake Constance, Basel, Strasbourg, and Paris, where he stays briefly with his uncle Michael Doyle, who encourages him to read Edgar Allan Poe. In autumn he enrolls in the University of Edinburgh Medical School.

1877      Bryan Mary Julia Josephine Doyle, called 'Dodo', Arthur's youngest sister, is born.

1879      Arthur works as a medical assistant to Doctor Hoare in Birmingham. His first short story, “The Mystery of the Sasassa Valley”, is published in Chambers Journal. He also publishes a scientific article, “Gelseminum as a Poison” in the British Medical Journal. Arthur's father is taken to a nursing home.

1880      Serves as a ship's surgeon on the Arctic whaler Hope.

1881      Earns the degree of Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery. Visits Waterford in Ireland, where his family used to live before emigration to England. Leaves from Liverpool to serve as a shipboard medical officer on the steamer Mayumba bound for West Africa. “That Little Square Box” published.

1882      Conan Doyle leaves for Southsea, Portsmouth, to establish his own medical practice. Publishes in London Society, All the Year Round, Lancet, and the British Journal of Photography. Writes his first novel, The Narrative of John Smith, which was later lost and published in 2011.

1883      Publishes in the British Journal of Photography a semi-autobiographical photographic essay, “To the Waterford Coast and Along It” and “The Captain of the Polestar” in Temple Bar. Joins the Portsmouth Literary and Scientific Society.

1884      Publishes “J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement” in Cornhill Magazine, “The Heiress of Glenmahowley” in Temple Bar, and “The Cabman's Story” in Cassell's Saturday Journal. His uncle Dicky dies leaving him a little money.

1885      On 5 August, Conan Doyle marries Louise Hawkins (nicknamed 'Toulie'). Publishes “The Man From Archangel” in London Society.

1886      After reading The Reminiscences of Judge Edmonds, Doyle becomes interested in spiritualism and the paranormal.

1887      A Study in Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes novel, is published in Beeton's Christmas Annual. Conan Doyle is initiated into Freemasonry at the Phoenix Lodge No. 257 at Southsea, Portsmouth, as an unattached mason.

1888      The first book edition of A Study in Scarlet.

1889      Mary Louise Conan Doyle, the first child of Conan Doyle, is born. Micah Clarke published. Anne Frances (Annette) dies unmarried.

1890      Doyle studies ophthalmology in Vienna. Visits the Hygiene Institute in Berlin where Robert Koch's cure for tuberculosis was being tested, and reports on the cure for the Review of the Reviews. Anne Mary Frances Conan Doyle dies of influenza on January 13 at the age of thirty-three. The second Sherlock Holmes novel, The Sign of the Four is published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine.


1891      Arthur Conan Doyle starts a practice as an eye specialist at 2 Upper Wimpole Street, London and lives nearby at Montague Place. In August, Doyle decides to give up medicine and make his living as a full-time professional writer. The White Company is published in a serialised form in Cornhill Magazine. The first six "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" are published in the Strand Magazine. Charles Doyle is transferred to the Royal Edinburgh Asylum as a private patient.

1892      Conan Doyle goes to Norway with Jerome K. Jerome and skis for the first time. Louise gives birth to Arthur Alleyne Kingsley. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is published by Newnes. Charles Doyle is transferred to the Crichton Royal Lunatic Asylum, Dumfries.

1893      Charles Doyle dies at Crichton at the age of 61. Louise is diagnosed with tuberculosis. Conan Doyle takes his wife to Davos, Switzerland, because of her ill health. He is the first British to cross the Alpine pass in snow shoes. Joins the British Society for Psychical Research. Publication of “The Adventure of the Final Problem,” in which Holmes is apparently killed. Another stay in Switzerland at the end of the year.

1894      Publication of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and Round the Red Lamp, a collection of medical short stories. Conan Doyle goes on a lecture tour of the United States. The play Waterloo” is performed.

1895      “The Exploits of Brigadier Gerard" published in the Strand. Conan Doyle and his wife Louise visit Egypt. They cruise up the Nile to Wadi Halfa – a trip which inspired Arthur to write The Tragedy of the Korosko. Conan Doyle travels to the front during the Sudan War hoping to witness battle firsthand. The Stark Munro Letters, a semi-autobiographical novel, is published.

1897      Conan Doyle and his ailing wife Louise move to their new residence, Undershaw, a house in the village of Hindhead, Surrey, near the town of Haslemere, about 40 miles south west of London. The Napoleonic novel, Uncle Bernac, is published. Conan Doyle meets and falls in love with Jean Leckie, a beautiful woman 14 years his junior.

1898      The Tragedy of the Korosko published.

1899      A Duet, with an Occasional Chorus published. ACD resigns from the Masonic Lodge.

1900      Doyle serves in the Boer War as a volunteer doctor in the Langman Field Hospital at Bloemfontein between March and June. He writes a book, The Great Boer War. Runs for a seat in Parliament, representing the Unionist Party, but loses the election.

1901      Sherlock Holmes is brought back in The Hound of the Baskervilles, published in the Strand Magazine.

1902      The War in South Africa: Its Causes and Conduct published. It soon sells 300,000 copies. Conan Doyle is knighted for this publication, which defends British conduct in the Boer War. ACD rejoins Freemasonry.

1903      Resurrects Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Empty House" in the October issue of the Strand.

1904      Conan Doyle is made a member of the Crimes Club.

1905      Receives the honorary degree of LL.D. from the university of Edinburgh. The Return of Sherlock Holmes is published in book form.

1906      Louise dies at the age of forty-nine. Sir Nigel is published. Conan Doyle begins investigation of the George Edalji case. Stands for Parliament again, but is defeated.

1907      Conan Doyle marries Jean Elizabeth Leckie, whom he first met and fell in love with in 1897. Through the Magic Door published.

1908      The couple move to Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex.

1909      Denis Percy Stewart Conan Doyle is born to Jean and Arthur. Conan Doyle writes The Crime of the Congo, a long pamphlet in which he denounces the horrors of that Belgian colony. Becomes President of the Divorce Law Reform Union (until 1919).

1910      Conan Doyle becomes involved in the Oscar Slater case. Adrian Malcom is born to Jean and Arthur. "The Marriage of the Brigadier," the last of the Gerard stories, is published in the Strand.

1911 Conan Doyle and Jean participate in the motor car race called Prince Henry Tour. Withdraws from Freemasonry. Has his first airplane flight from Hendon airfield. The Last Galley (short stories, mostly historical) published. Two more Holmes stories appear in the Strand: "The Red Circle" and "The Disappearance."

1912      The first Professor Challenger story, The Lost World, is published. Lena Jean Annette is born to Jean and Arthur. Conan Doyle argues with George Bernard Shaw about the Titanic.

1913      The second Professor Challenger book, The Poison Belt, is published. Publishes an article “Great Britain and the Next War" in Fortnightly Review. Campaigns for a channel tunnel.

1914      Travels to the Canadian west. After the outbreak of World War One, Conan Doyle, aged 55, tries to enlist in the military; when he is rejected, he forms a local volunteer force. Writes To Arms!

1915      The Valley of Fear, the final Sherlock Holmes novel, is published in book form. Five Holmes films are released in Germany.

1916      Conan Doyle declares his belief in spiritualism in the Light magazine.

1917      Speaks publicly on spiritualism for the first time. His Last Bow is published by John Murray. ACD publishes The New Revelation, proclaiming himself a spiritualist. Danger! and Other Stories published.

1918      Eldest son, Kingsley, dies from pneumonia, which he contracted during his convalescence after being seriously wounded during the 1916 Battle of the Somme.

1919      Vital Message published. Brigadier-General Innes Doyle, sir Arthur's brother, dies from post-war pneumonia.

1920      ACD writes about the Cottingley fairies in the December issue of the Strand. Lectures on spiritualism in Australia. Meets the famous illusionist Harry Houdini.

1921      Mother dies. His wife Jean discovers that she had the ability to do trance-writing. The Wandering of a Spiritualist published.

1922      Lecture tour in North America. Announces belief in fairies. The Coming of the Fairies published. Jean Conan Doyle attempts to contact Houdini's deceased mother.

1923      A second visit to North America. Our American Adventure published.

1924      Memories and Adventures published (reprinted with additions and deletions in 1930). Our Second American Adventure published.

1925      The Lost World is made into a film. The Land of Mist published. At the International Spiritualist Congress, held in Paris, Sir Arthur is nominated Honorary President.

1926      ACD publishes a two-volume book, The History of Spiritualism.

1927      The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes published.

1928      Conan Doyle launches a five-month tour of Africa, visiting South Africa, Rhodesia and Kenya. The Complete Sherlock Holmes Short Stories is published by Murray.

1929      Visits Scandinavia and Holland. On his return he suffers a heart attack. The Maracot Deep published.

1930      Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dies in his home, Windlesham Manor, in Crowborough, East Sussex on July 7, of heart attack, and is buried at the rose garden in Windlesham. He is later reinterred together with his wife in Minstead churchyard in the New Forest, Hampshire. The Edge of the Unknown published.

1940      Sir Arthur's second wife, Lady Jean Conan Doyle, dies on 27 June.


Doyle, Arthur Conan. A Life in Letters. Ed. by Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower & Charles Foley. London: Harper Collins Publishers, 2008.

____. Memories and Adventures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

____. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Meyers, Jeffrey, Valerie Meyers, eds. The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Reader: From Sherlock Holmes to Spiritualism. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2002.

Pascal, Jane. B. Arthur Conan Doyle: Beyond Baker Street. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Last modified 14 November 2013