The timeline

The timeline is great. MJP, did you recently add the Inflation Calculator feature? I don't remember noticing it before. I ran into DH Lawrence's wage as a teacher somewhere online and was annoyed that it did not show an adjusted rate, so I had to do some searching. If anyone's curious, here's what I found: Lawrence made £100 per year as a teacher from 1908-1910, which is £11,000~ today ($15,790). For 1955, we have Bukowski's salary as a permanent carrier at $3,470, or $30,832 today. It really makes me wonder what were the expenses for essentials back then!

You've got to admire the amount of detail put into that timeline of Buk's life. That timeline's comparable to one you might find in an Oxford or Norton edition, but better. It helped me quite a lot while reading the letters collections.

Well, amigos, I'm out.
without which the pure inflation-rate is meaningless.

You made a great point roni. Here's what I found...

The BLS website has an article ("One hundred years of price change: the Consumer Price Index and the American inflation experience") that reports the average cost of a "living room suite" in America as $172.44, or $1,532.22 with inflation, in 1955. I presume that's a monthly rate. I'm still not sure what they mean by "living room suite." Would that entail a bedroom, a living room, a small kitchen, and a bathroom? That seems luxurious compared to what Bukowski had in the early days albeit he did end up in some decent places later on, such as the ones he was living in by that point. Do you think the Westmoreland apartment was as wild as it looks in that timeline photo with the ivy or whatever it is growing on it? Anyway, that salary I reported was only held for 10 days. I wonder what that salary was compared to the Distribution Clerk job he last held. Where should we look to find that out?

If anyone's curious about the cost of other things from 1955, you can check the link here:

My apologies if there are some rules against linking. I recall some shameless self-promoters got licked awhile back, but I figure this link is relevant. Let me know if the amigos find something. Personally, I don't understand a cent!

EDIT: Note to MJP: somehow the calculator missed my eye on other look-thrus. Like I said, there's a lot to see on that great timeline. Thank you nonetheless!


Founding member
I added "period maps" for the addresses up through Mariposa.

They're probably of zero interest to anyone outside of Los Angeles, but I had the old map, so there they are. It shows the streets before the freeways cut through, and old landmarks like Westlake Park (now MacArthur Park).

It started out just looking at Longwood, because before the 10 freeway went through a block from the house, it was a different neighborhood. Then it kind of spread out from there to all the pre-freeway addresses.

I should have probably made them larger - included more surrounding streets - but I don't think I'm going to go back and do that.
Much appreciated mjp. Where did you get a hold of this map? It sounds pretty interesting from San Diego.


Founding member
It's a map book called Gillespie's Guide from 1939. Gillespie's started in 1925 and had the Los Angeles map book market cornered until the Thomas Brothers came down from Oakland with their Thomas Guide in the 1940s. In the 70s, 80s and 90s every car in Los Angeles had a Thomas Guide in it. When people were giving you directions, they'd give Thomas Guide page numbers.

I had to scan the small Gillespie's pages separately and stitch them together, which is why some of them don't quite line up exactly.


Founding member
Yes. I couldn't tell you what those updates or changes were, but I assume I took from those books. Updates are made to the timeline all the time. Last change was two days ago.


Founding member
In these 1921 maps, the address for the Merry Company job says it was a "candy factory." I realize there's a 25 year gap between that map and Bukowski's job, but Merry Company seems like a better name for a candy factory than a picture frame factory.

Anyway, the picture frame job time frame fits right in with what he wrote to Caresse Crosby, so the candy factory thing must just be a coincidence. Funny how smaller businesses on that map are described by what they did rather than the business name. I'm looking for a business map like that from the 40s, but there's not one out there. It's kind of a miracle to have such detailed images of that 1921 map...



Founding member
The government updated the way their inflation calculator works at some point in the past couple months (they break it down by month now rather than just by year), so I just discovered that none of those dollar value comparisons have been working in the timeline. They're fixed now. I'm sure that is thrilling news.


Founding member
It really makes me wonder what were the expenses for essentials back then!
that's the most important question, without which the pure inflation-rate is meaningless. More or less.
Yeah, it's funny, I'm watching some British show now where they stick a bunch of people into a recreation of an Victorian-era East end London slum to demonstrate how hard life was in the city back then, and there are dropping some amazing facts. Like the cost of food - most people spent two-thirds of their income on food! It really makes you realize how cheap food has become in the modern age.

The other third of their income was spent on housing, which left most people with nothing after those two essentials were covered (when you could cover them). These days those costs have flipped, and it's more likely you'll find people in big cities spending two-thirds of their income on a place to live. I don't know how we do it. Though watching that show makes me glad I'm living now and not 170 years ago.

Great show, Victorian Slum House.


The artist formerly known as mjp
Founding member
An unusual development - a new address.

This one for Bukowski and Barbara Fry(e), their first address together in Los Angeles. It's a parking lot now, but there's still an old court apartment on the lot next door, so it was likely an apartment. Which Barabara must not have liked, since it looks like they moved to the house on Branden St. a month later.

Amarillo Daily News, November 11, 1955

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