Timeline of Events and Historical Figures Tangential to Ragtime

by Dr. Scot Buzza


J. P. Morgan incorporates U.S. Steel, the first billion-dollar corporation.

Emma Goldman falsely arrested after Leon Czolgosz assassinates William McKinley.


Ford Motor Company founded. (Founder Henry Ford pictured right) 

The Immigration Act of 1903 legalizes xenophobia and denigration of the working class.


Harry Houdini moves to New York City.


Admiral Robert Peary makes his first expedition to the Arctic.


Suffragist Susan B. Anthony dies.

Emma Goldman founds Mother Earth, publishes on anarchism, politics, labor issues, atheism, sexuality and feminism.

Vaudeville entertainer Evelyn Nesbitt’s husband murders her lover, fuels the “Crime of the Century.”

Author Booker T. Washington lectures at Carnegie Hall. 


Composer Scott Joplin (“The King of Ragtime”) moves to New York City.


Ford’s Model T appears on the consumer market.

William Howard Taft (his wife, Helen “Nellie” Herron Taft, was among the founders of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra) elected president.

Admiral Robert Peary claims to reach the North Pole.


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People founded by W. E. B. Du Bois.


The commodification of popular musical styles peaks on “Tin Pan Alley.”


The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire kills 146 in New York City.


The Titanic, financed by American banker J. P. Morgan, sinks on its maiden voyage. 


The first women’s suffrage parade takes place in Washington D.C.

Henry Ford implements his modern assembly line.

P. Morgan dies at age 75.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in the wake of the contentious murder conviction of Leo Frank.


World War I begins. 


Booker T. Washington dies at age 59.

Georgia Governor John Slaton commuted Leo Frank’s sentence to life in prison. Shortly thereafter, Frank was abducted and lynched.


The Great Migration: 6 million African Americans move to the urban Northern Midwest.

Emma Goldman arrested and imprisoned for lecturing on contraception.


The First Red Scare marks widespread panic over social, economic and labor movements.

Scott Joplin dies.


Emma Goldman deported to Russia.

Interested in learning more about the historical figures and social events of Ragtime? Check out one of these suggested titles from the Cincinnati Public Library.