The City of Absurdity   The Elephant Man
John (Joseph) Merrick (1862-1890)

  John Merrick 'Tis true my form is something odd,
But blaming me is blaming God;
Could I create myself anew
I would not fail in pleasing you.
If I could reach from pole to pole
Or grasp the ocean with a span,
I would be measured by the soul;
The mind's the standard of the man.

(Poem used by John Merrick in a pamphlet accompanying his freak show, and later when he wrote to thank people for their generosity in caring for him.)

Important dates compiled from the book:
By Michael Howard and Peter Ford
compiled by: Steven Knight, Montrael, Canada.

May 19, 1837: Mary Jane Potterton born in Evington England.

February 15, 1853: Frederick Treves born at 8, Cornhill Street, Dorchester England.

December 29, 1861: Joseph Rockley Merrick weds Mary Jane Potterton, Thurmaston England.

August 5, 1862: Joseph Carey Merrick born at 50, Lee Street, Leicester England.

1865: Merricks move to 119, Upper Brunswick Street.

1868: Merricks move to 161, Birstall Street/Russel Square.

January 8, 1866: William Arthur Merrick born.

September 28, 1867: Marion Eliza Merrick born.

December 21, 1870: William Arthur Merrick dies from scarlet fever.

1870: Charles Barnabus Merrick opens Barber/Tobacco/Umbrella repair shop at 144, Churchgate.

1871: Frederick Treves begins medical studies at London Hospital, London England.

May 19, 1873: Mary Jane Merrick dies from bronchial-pneumonia.

1874: Merricks move to 4, Wanlip Street.

December 3, 1874: Joseph Rockley Merrick weds Emma Wood Antill at Baptist Church of Archdeacon Lane.

1874-75: Merricks move to 37, Russel Square.

1875: Joseph Merrick finds work at MM Freeman Cigar Factory, 9, Lower Hill street.

1877: Joseph Merrick begins short-lived work as door-to-door salesman.

1877: Joseph Merrick moves in with Uncle Charles and Aunt Sarah over barber shop.

December, 1879: Joseph Merrick meets with William Cartwright, administrator of the Leicester Workhouse.

Monday, December 29, 1879: Joseph Merrick admitted to the Leicester Workhouse.

1879: Dr. Frederick Treves becomes surgeon at London hospital.

Monday, March 22, 1880: Joseph Merrick leaves workhouse after a six week stay.

March 24-25, 1880: Joseph Merrick returns, destitute, to workhouse.

1882: Dr. Frederick Treves publishes 1st book entitled "Scrofula and Glandular Disease".

Mid 1882: Joseph Merrick undergoes surgery at Leicester Hospital to remove fleshy (trunk-like) protuberance from upper lip. Dr. Charles Marriott and Dr. Thomas Warburton Benfield are presumed to have attended.

1884: Dr. Frederick Treves appointed Head Surgeon of London Hospital.

Sunday, August 29, 1884: Joseph Merrick eats final meal at workhouse.

August-September, 1884: Joseph Merrick begins career as sideshow freak with entrepeneur Tom Norman acting as his manager/agent.

November 1884: Dr. Frederick Treves visits the Elephant Man exhibit at 123, Whitechapel Road, London, England.

December 2, 1884: Frederick Treves presents Merrick before the London Pathological Society, at 53, Berners Street, Bloomsbury, England.

March 17, 1885: Frederick Treves makes 2nd presentation to the London Pathological Society. Joseph Merrick was not present.

Early June, 1886: Joseph Merrick robbed and abandoned by Austrian showman while in Brussels, Belgium.

June, 1886: Joseph Merrick arrives at Liverpool Street railway station, London, England.

June-July, 1886: Joseph Merrick admitted to London Hospital to be treated for exhaustion, malnutrition and bronchitis.

December 4, 1886: Richard Carr Gomm, director of the London Hospital, writes letter to the London Times outlining Merrick's case.

May 21, 1887: Joseph Merrick receives visit from the Princess of Wales Alexandra, and the Duke of Cambridge.

1887: Joseph Merrick attends a performance of "Puss In Boots" at Drury Lane Theater.

1889: New photos taken to document disease's rapid progress.

Summer 1889: Joseph Merrick spends six weeks vacationing in Fawsley Park, Northampton England.

Sunday, April 6, 1890: Joseph Merrick attends both Easter services in the London Hospital Chapel.

Friday, April 11, 1890: Joseph Carey Merrick dies at 1:30 p.m. from asphyxiation at London Hospital. Body is found by Mr. Hodges and Mr. Ashe.

Tuesday, April 15, 1890: Mr. Wynne Baxter (coroner) leads judicial inquiry into Merrick's death.

Wednesday, April 16, 1890: Richard Carr Gomm writes letter to the London Times detailing Merrick's life and death.

April 1890: Joseph Merrick's remains are cast in plaster, specimens are taken, and the body is dissected by Dr. Frederick Treves. The skeleton remains on display at the London Hospital.

January 30, 1897: Joseph Rockley Merrick dies from chronic bronchitis at 28, Justice Street, Leicester England

1898: Dr. Frederick Treves declines consulting physician post at London Hospital.

1899: Dr. Frederick Treves serves as physician during the Boer War in South Africa. He is discharged from duty after being stricken with distemper.

1899-1900: Queen Victoria appoints Dr. Frederick Treves Court Physician.

May 4, 1901: Dr. Frederick Treves is Knighted by King Edward VII.

June 1902: Sir Frederick Treves performs appendectomy on King Edward VII.

1902: Sir Frederick Treves retires from medical practice to become an author.

1918: Treves moves family to Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

1922: Sir Frederick Treves writes "The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences".

December 1922: Sir Frederick Treves dies from peritonitis.

December 1922: Sir Frederick Treves cremated in Lausanne, Switzerland.

January 2, 1923: Sir Frederick Treves buried at Dorchester Cemetery following funeral at St. Peter's Church, Dorchester England.

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