Person:Kurt Vonnegut (2)

  1. Bernard Vonnegut1914 - 1997
  2. Alice VonnegutEst 1918 - 1958
  3. Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.1922 - 2007
m. 1 Sep 1945
Facts and Events
Name Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Gender Male
Birth[1] 11 Nov 1922 Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, United States
Military[2] 1944 Serving in US Army; taken prisoner in Germany
Marriage 1 Sep 1945 to Jane Marie Cox
Death[1] 11 Apr 2007 New York City, New York, United States
Reference Number? Q49074?

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (; November 11, 1922April 11, 2007) was an American writer. In a career spanning over 50 years, Vonnegut published 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays, and five works of non-fiction, with further collections being published after his death. He is most famous for his darkly satirical, best-selling novel Slaughterhouse-Five (1969).

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, Vonnegut attended Cornell University but dropped out in January 1943 and enlisted in the United States Army. As part of his training, he studied mechanical engineering at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) and the University of Tennessee. He was then deployed to Europe to fight in World War II and was captured by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. He was interned in Dresden and survived the Allied bombing of the city by taking refuge in a meat locker of the slaughterhouse where he was imprisoned. After the war, Vonnegut married Jane Marie Cox, with whom he had three children. He later adopted his sister's three sons, after she died of cancer and her husband was killed in a train accident.

Vonnegut published his first novel, Player Piano, in 1952. The novel was reviewed positively but was not commercially successful. In the nearly 20 years that followed, Vonnegut published several novels that were only marginally successful, such as Cat's Cradle (1963) and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1964). Vonnegut's breakthrough was his commercially and critically successful sixth novel, Slaughterhouse-Five. The book's anti-war sentiment resonated with its readers amidst the ongoing Vietnam War and its reviews were generally positive. After its release, Slaughterhouse-Five went to the top of The New York Times Best Seller list, thrusting Vonnegut into fame. He was invited to give speeches, lectures and commencement addresses around the country and received many awards and honors.

Later in his career, Vonnegut published several autobiographical essays and short-story collections, including Fates Worse Than Death (1991), and A Man Without a Country (2005). After his death, he was hailed as a morbidly comical commentator on the society in which he lived and as one of the most important contemporary writers. Vonnegut's son Mark published a compilation of his father's unpublished compositions, titled Armageddon in Retrospect. In 2017, Seven Stories Press published Complete Stories, a collection of Vonnegut's short fiction including 5 previously unpublished stories. Complete Stories was collected and introduced by Vonnegut friends and scholars Jerome Klinkowitz and Dan Wakefield. Numerous scholarly works have examined Vonnegut's writing and humor.

Family Background


This story begins with the arrival here in 1850 of Clemens Vonnegut. Vonnegut was in the silk ribbon business; he was 27 years old. At that time, the population of Indianapolis was 8,000 — and growing rapidly. Clemens “came and saw all this opportunity,” Price says. He soon found a partner named Vollmer and they started a hardware business. “By the 1960s it was the oldest family retail business in the city,” Price says. Clemens was a physical fitness advocate who was occasionally seen chinning himself on tree branches when the spirit moved him. He was also involved in the Maennerchor and supported German language instruction in the public schools, where he became one of the longest serving board members.

Clemens had four sons, one of which, Bernard, became an architect. Bernard, in turn, was father to Kurt Vonnegut Sr., also an architect, and a co-founder of the Children’s Museum. Kurt Sr. had three children of his own: Bernard, Alice and Kurt Jr. Their handprints can still be found in the cement of the driveway to the house they lived in on the 4400 block of North Illinois Street. The Vonnegut family was at the center of the city’s cultural life until the Great Depression. Kurt Sr.’s architectural practice suffered for lack of business. “Nothing,” Price says, “was being built.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kurt Vonnegut, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
  2. United States. World War II Prisoners of War Data File, 12/7/1941 - 11/19/1946.