L. Ron Hubbard: a Chronology - L. Ron Hubbard: A Profile
Significant Events in the life of L. Ron Hubbard

The following chronology presents the milestone events along the many avenues L. Ron Hubbard walked—as an adventurer, explorer, author, philosopher and all else that led him to truthfully declare:

“I have lived no cloistered life and hold in contempt the wise man who has not lived and the scholar who will not share.”

“I have seen life from the top down and the bottom up.
I know how it looks both ways. And I know there is wisdom and that there is hope.”

Kalispell, Montana, 1912
Helena, Montana, 1914

March 13, 1911 L. Ron Hubbard is born in Tilden, Nebraska, to Harry Ross Hubbard, an officer in the United States Navy and Ledora May Hubbard nee Waterbury.

1913 The young Ron Hubbard resides with his namesake and maternal grandfather, Lafayette Waterbury, in Kalispell, Montana. Among other adventures from these tender years comes Ron’s first memorable encounter with indigenous Blackfeet.

1914 The extended Waterbury clan, including Ledora May’s numerous siblings, relocate to the Montana State capital at Helena. There, Harry Ross secures an outlying ranch affectionately dubbed the “Old Homestead.” It borders an immense and imposing landscape that “swallows men up rather easily.” Hence, as the adage went, one must live larger than life simply to survive.

A young Ron Hubbard and father en route from Helena, Montana, to Oakland, California, 1920

Old Tom

1916–1917 Among other colorful figures in this still pioneer setting is an outcast Blackfoot medicine man locally known as Old Tom. A rare relationship is established as the elderly shaman imparts tribal lore to a six-year-old Ron Hubbard. In a ceremony still recalled in Blackfoot legend, Ron is then ushered into tribal ranks as a blood brother.

USS Ulysses S. Grant

1923 In the wake of his father’s promotion to a naval yard at Puget Sound, Ron enters the Boy Scouts. By November 1923, Harry Ross again enjoys promotion and the Hubbard family boards the USS Ulysses S. Grant out of San Francisco through a then newly opened Panama Canal to the nation’s capital. The voyage proves especially fateful as Ron encounters United States Naval Commander Joseph C. Thompson, recently returned from Vienna and a study of psychoanalysis under Sigmund Freud. For some months thereafter, Thompson walks the twelve-year-old Ron through an informal course of psychoanalytic theory. Although Ron will never embrace psychoanalysis whole cloth, what amounts to a model of the human mind proves unforgettable.

1924 After earning an impressive array of merit badges, Ron is one of four young men elected to represent scouting at the Presidential Celebration of National Boys’ Week. Through the same season, he leads his Washington Troop 10 to victory in regional competition. Whereupon he enters the annals of scouting history as America’s youngest Eagle Scout.

Guam, 1927

1927 The now sixteen-year-old L. Ron Hubbard boards the USS President Madison outbound from San Francisco to Japan, China and thence to the island of Guam, where his father now serves the naval refueling station. It signals the commencement of an extended Asian sojourn and will leave an indelible impression. While ensconced on Guam, he teaches English in a native school and finds employment in a photographic studio. His own picturesque landscapes and studies of villagers will sell to National Geographic. On his return to Helena in early September, he joins the Montana National Guard’s 163rd Infantry, distinguishes himself as a marksman and edits the high-school newspaper. But Helena can no longer hold him.

At the helm of the Mariana Maru, China Seas, 1928

Mariana Maru, inter-island schooner, 1928

1928–1929 Impetuously boarding the USS Henderson out of San Diego, the now seventeen-year-old L. Ron Hubbard again ventures eastward. Upon landing at Guam (much to his father’s surprise), he signs on as helmsman and supercargo with a twin-masted schooner bound for the China coast. Through the next fourteen months, as he himself would later phrase it, he drinks deep from the “airy spiralings and dread mysteries” of Asia; and while abiding questions remain unanswered, his path of research and discovery is now evident.

Washington, DC, 1930

1930–1931 Matriculates to George Washington University, where he studies engineering and molecular physics. But what most engages him is extracurricular experimentation to isolate a long-postulated life force at the root of human consciousness. He is further searching out a long-pondered Dynamic Principle of Existence for the unification of all available knowledge. Also in an extracurricular vein he earns national renown as a free-flight daredevil and Midwest barnstormer.

It is additionally through these collegiate years, he embarks on a literary career supplying aviation articles for The Sportsman Pilot, short stories for the university literary review and an award-winning one-act play entitled The God Smiles. Finally, and no less significantly, he serves as a freelance reporter-photographer for the Washington Herald, while performing as a balladeer on Washington radio WOL. (Hereafter both photography and music will prove lifelong pursuits.)

Doris Hamlin, of the 1932 Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition

1932–1933 Organizes and helms the Caribbean Motion Picture Expedition. It is a 5,000-mile voyage aboard a last four-masted schooner. Expeditionary aims include filming newsreel footage of Caribbean pirate haunts. The expedition further yields floral and reptile specimens for the University of Michigan and photographs for the New York Times.

Upon completion of the voyage, he embarks on the West Indies Mineralogical Expedition and so completes the first mineralogical survey of Puerto Rico under American protectorship. (See the L. Ron Hubbard Series edition, Adventurer/Explorer: Daring Deeds & Unknown Realms.)

L. Ron Hubbard, center second row, president of the American Fiction Guild’s New York chapter, 1936

1934–1936 Publishes a first tale of intrigue for what was then a literary phenomenon: Pulp Fiction. Thereafter, while averaging a similarly phenomenal 70,000 words a month, he swiftly assumes legendary status as an author of mysteries, westerns, aerial thrillers, high-seas adventure and even the occasional romance. In accord with his stature, and notwithstanding his relative youth, he is elected president of American Fiction Guild’s New York chapter. In such capacity, he now joins a society of authors comprising a veritable pantheon of Pulp Fiction Kings, including: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. P. Lovecraft. Thereafter, he divides his time between New York City and a writer’s retreat in Port Orchard, Washington.

1937 Such is L. Ron Hubbard’s popularity that Columbia Pictures purchases film rights for an LRH novelette entitled Murder at Pirate Castle. The author is enlisted to adapt his tale for the screen as an episodic serial. Retitled The Secret of Treasure Island, it breaks all box office records of the day and L. Ron Hubbard is next enlisted to coscript The Mysterious Pilot, The Great Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok and The Spider Returns.

Writer’s retreat, Port Orchard, Washington

On his return to Port Orchard from Hollywood in the autumn of 1937, he designs a series of laboratory experiments to examine cellular memory—specifically inherited memory traces passed from one generation to the next. Albeit years hence, this is the kernel discovery of the engram and the springboard to that long-sought Dynamic Principle of Existence, Survive! It also provides the ideological foundation for a first philosophic work: a now legendary manuscript entitled “Excalibur.”

The Alaskan Radio Experimental Expedition, 1940

1938 At a pivotal juncture in pulp fiction history, L. Ron Hubbard is enjoined by publishing magnate Street & Smith to author tales for Astounding Science Fiction. In particular, he is to infuse an overly machine-driven genre with a human element. The result is a profound change in literary direction and a Golden Age of Science Fiction dawns.

1939–1940 Whilst authoring such classic tales as Death’s Deputy, Fear and Final Blackout, L. Ron Hubbard embarks on the Alaskan Radio Experimental Expedition. Conducted under the auspices of the Explorers Club, where he was admitted as an active member in February 1940, the five-month voyage of 1,500 miles courses through a treacherous Inside Passage from Puget Sound to Ketchikan, Alaska.

En route Captain L. Ron Hubbard annotates charts for the United States Hydrographic Office and tests a prototypic radio navigation system that significantly bears upon the development of LORAN (LOng RAnge Navigation). He additionally examines indigenous native culture, principally the Tlingit, Haidas and Aleutian islanders. On 17th of December 1940, the United States Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation awards L. Ron Hubbard a Master of Steam and Motor Vessels license. (See the L. Ron Hubbard Series edition, Master Mariner: At the Helm Across Seven Seas.)

US Navy subchaser under L. Ron Hubbard command, North Pacific, 1943

1941–1945 On 29th of   March 1941, L. Ron Hubbard earns his Master of Sail Vessels license for Any Ocean. Three months later, he is commissioned as Lieutenant (jg) of the United States Navy Reserve. With United States involvement in the Second World War, Lieutenant Hubbard is dispatched to Australia, where he coordinates relief for beleaguered forces under General Douglas MacArthur. Upon his return to American soil in March 1942, he assumes command of a convoy escort vessel in the Atlantic, then a subchaser in the Pacific. He additionally serves as a naval instructor and chief navigation officer. In anticipation of service with Allied occupational forces, he is elected to the United States Naval School of Military Government at Princeton University.

In early 1945, while recovering at Oak Knoll Naval Hospital from injuries sustained in combat, he employs the first techniques of Dianetics to dramatic effect: speeding recovery of otherwise terminal patients. With this demonstrative advance, he is now dedicated to the refinement and testing of Dianetics in application.

Los Angeles, California, 1948

1946–1949 Upon discharge from the navy in February 1946, so begins intense but methodical Dianetics refinement. In his capacity as a lay practitioner, he ultimately addresses some 350 cases drawn from matrimonial bureaus, convalescent homes, probation departments, a Georgia State orphanage and mental wards. As a Special Officer with the Los Angeles Police Department, he further studies the criminal element.

With case material amassed, he compiles results from a sixteen-year investigation into a summary manuscript. That work is Dianetics: The Original Thesis. While initially unpublished, the manuscript broadly circulates within medical/scientific circles. Response is such that he is urged by associates to author a definitive text on the subject. In late 1949, the first formally published announcement of Dianetics appears in The Explorers Journal. It is appropriately titled Terra Incognita: The Mind.

1950 Under contract with Hermitage House Publishing, L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health is completed in February. Immediately thereafter, he authors Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science for a popular magazine. On May 9, 1950, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health is released and soon hits the New York Times bestseller list. It remains on that list for twenty-eight consecutive weeks and inspires what newspapers describe as the fastest-growing movement in America.

To both advance the subject technically and meet demands for formal instruction, a first Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation is formed in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Sister organizations soon follow suit in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. By the end of December, L. Ron Hubbard has delivered more than 140 lectures, including a now legendary address to an audience of six thousand at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium.

1951 As anticipated in the final pages of Dianetics, L. Ron Hubbard embarks on a trail of research to isolate that long-pondered life force and what he describes as a “higher echelon of universal origin and destination.” He is also engaged in a refinement of Dianetics technology for swifter methods of approach and result. This developmental trail is recorded in 112 lectures and his authored works of 1951, including: Science of Survival, Advanced Procedure and Axioms, Self Analysis and Handbook for Preclears. To consolidate the administration and advancement of Dianetics, he further forms a first Hubbard College in Wichita, Kansas.

1952 Having determined a human being to be fundamentally spiritual, so begins a track of inquiry to determine the fundamental truths of spiritual existence. What ultimately and inevitably follows is the founding of Scientology. While it is initially announced at the Hubbard College in Wichita, Kansas, the first Hubbard Association of Scientologists forms in Phoenix, Arizona, with an international arm in London, England. His path of advancement is recorded in 182 lectures and a landmark work entitled Scientology: A History of Man. It is also at this juncture that L. Ron Hubbard becomes the first to accomplish a separation of the human spirit from the body along scientific lines (rather than mere belief), at which point the fact of immortality becomes incontrovertible.

1953–1954 As the announcement of Scientology immediately inspires worldwide attention, Mr. Hubbard answers requests for lectures and instruction in London. He further tours the Continent presenting Scientology to religious and academic communities in France, Germany and Spain.

Through simultaneous technical advancement, he now very literally measures the electronics of human thought and the inherent potential of the human spirit. On his return to Phoenix, in the spring of 1954 he authors The Creation of Human Ability. The preceding discoveries coupled with what is presented through the pages of that work effectively comprise the core of the Scientology religion.

Founding Church of Scientology
Washington, DC

1955 With respect to the meteoric growth of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard relocates from Phoenix to the nation’s capital and there forms the Founding Church of Washington, DC. In addition to his continued technical advancement of the subject, he now serves as Scientology’s first Executive Director. In such capacity, he authors an initial body of organizational policy, comprising a technology all unto itself and perfectly mirroring central truths of Scientology as applied to group endeavor.

An L. Ron Hubbard lecture from a series
entitled "Nuclear Radiation and Health"

1956–1958 Scientology does not teach you. It only reminds you. For the information was yours in the first place.” Thus, L. Ron Hubbard presents Scientology fundamentals with Scientology: The Fundamentals of Thought and thus he brings Scientology to bear on the fundamental predicament of modern existence. Included in the offing is a landmark series of lectures on radioactive fallout and a then omnipresent threat of nuclear holocaust. He is the first to decry the hydrogen bomb as not a weapon per se, but an instrument of terror to engender mass hysteria. So compelling is the argument it inspires commensurate debates in British Parliament.

Also from the era is Scientology applied to the workaday world as presented in L. Ron Hubbard’s The Problems of Work. It is another presentation of Scientology fundamentals. In this case, the technology to empower working people under an aphorism that reads: “They are not cogs in a mighty machine. They are the machine itself. ” Finally and simultaneous to all the above and more, he steers Scientology from Europe and America, while “commuting” between Washington and London to deliver more than three hundred lectures.

Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead,
Welcoming Scientologists to his
new home at Saint Hill Manor

1959–1961 To provide a worldwide emanation point for Scientology training and dissemination, he purchases Saint Hill Manor on the East Grinstead downs in Sussex, England. The 55-acre luxury estate is the former residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur, but will ever after remain L. Ron Hubbard’s home.

Moreover, the estate soon gains international renown as the site of L. Ron Hubbard’s landmark horticultural experimentation wherein he categorically demonstrates plants emit emotional wavelengths paralleling other life forms. (See the L. Ron Hubbard Series edition, Horticulture: For a Greener World.)

Johannesburg, South Africa

It is also at this juncture he embarks on a round-the-world flight to Australia for a now famed series of lectures in Melbourne. He further ventures to South Africa for an equally famed series of lectures in Johannesburg. In this way, he extends Scientology across the Southern Hemisphere.

Finally, and of most lasting significance, he inaugurates the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course as Scientology’s single most comprehensive training program. In full, the Briefing Course will present the entire history of technical development and students will ultimately follow L. Ron Hubbard’s footsteps to the state of Clear and beyond.

1962–1964 Scientology technical advancement is unceasing as faithfully recorded in lectures to Briefing Course students. In a word, Mr. Hubbard is now mapping the Scientology Bridge to never previously envisioned heights of awareness and ability. He is additionally now developing a universal pattern of organization paralleling axiomatic Scientology truths bearing upon survival and prosperity. Then, too, this is the era wherein he isolates primary barriers to learning and literacy. The result is Study Technology, now employed globally in both Scientology organizations and secular education. Finally, he further resumes his photographic pursuits with award-winning English landscapes exhibited in Continental galleries.

1965 In a culminating moment of Scientology history, Mr. Hubbard unveils the Classification and Gradation Chart. Delineating the step-by-step advancement to ever-higher states of awareness and ability, this is that long-sought Scientology Bridge. Almost immediately thereafter, and born from a parallel track of research, he unveils the Seven Division Scientology Organizing Board. This, then, is that universal pattern of successful operation for any group endeavor.

1966–1967 Departing Saint Hill to secure a base for advanced Scientology research, Mr. Hubbard ventures to Rhodesia. There, he works to extend basic human rights to native Africans and is, in fact, still remembered as a “rare voice in the land.” Upon his return to England, he delivers the final lectures of the Saint Hill Special Briefing Course; whereupon he accepts an Explorers Club flag for the Hubbard Geological Survey Expedition. It is designated to examine ancient Mediterranean civilizations and so amplify Man’s knowledge of history. It is manned by an elite body of Scientologists comprising the first of the Sea Organization and thereafter dedicated to supporting LRH research and advancing Scientology as a whole.

The venture launches in early 1967 aboard two expeditionary vessels, Enchanter (later rechristened Diana) and Avon River (latterly Athena). What ensues is a revolutionary explanation of why civilizations collapse and the singular factor behind all human conflict. In November 1967, he accepts delivery of the 3,200-ton Royal Scotman (latterly Apollo). She will serve as Mr. Hubbard’s home and research vessel for the next eight years.

The Apollo

1968–1970 While simultaneously mapping upper spans of the Scientology Bridge and standardizing Scientology application, Mr. Hubbard now addresses bedrock failings of society at large. Initially and in particular, he examines precipitating factors of drug addiction. What ensues is a Scientology regimen to address underlying causes of usage. Also through these years comes his advancement of Study Technology to address downtrending literacy rates and another regimen entirely for humane criminal rehabilitation. While beyond even that, he authors an entire series of articles on cultural degradation. (See the L. Ron Hubbard Series edition, Freedom Fighter: Articles & Essays.)

1971–1973 Having standardized a pattern of organizational form and function, Mr. Hubbard now addresses the exigencies of managing an international network of organizations. To that end, he isolates workable principles of personnel utilization, target attainment, executive performance, financial management, data analysis and more. These principles are found in The Management Series and are employed far beyond Scientology organizations.

Through what remains of 1972 and well into 1973, Mr. Hubbard conducts a sociological study in and around New York City. He is now working to isolate root causes of late twentieth-century cultural decline and from these studies comes an array of programs for social betterment. He additionally examines deleterious trends in the modern diet, which later prove significant in addressing residual effects of drugs.

1974–1975 Upon completing a transatlantic crossing in October of 1974, the Apollo lands in the Lesser Antilles. There, Mr. Hubbard lends his considerable photographic talents to the Curaçao Tourist Board. In the same vein, he further photographs Curaçao’s Mikvé Israel–Emanuel Synagogue (the oldest Jewish house of worship in the Americas and still presenting L. Ron Hubbard photographs in synagogue guidebooks). Finally, and all but concurrently, he conducts an extensive photographic shoot for Scientology publications. In no way, however, are such pursuits the extent of his artistic endeavor; for having organized a music and dance troupe to entertain at ports of call, these years also see his codification of artistic presentation, composition, arranging and recording.

By mid-1975, activities aboard the Apollo outstrip the vessel’s capacity and Mr. Hubbard returns to the United States. He initially settles in Dunedin, Florida, where he produces/records local church choirs of every denomination for radio performance and a rejuvenation of regional religious influence.

1976–1980 Relocating to a Southern California desert ranch in La Quinta, he organizes, trains and supervises a film production unit. Through the next five years, he will script, shoot, direct and produce an array of Scientology instructional films. No less intensively, he further now examines residual effects of substance abuse and specifically the fact drug traces remain in the body even years after ingestion. Accordingly, he develops the Purification Program. Coupled with his 1969 discoveries, his development of an LRH drug rehabilitation regimen is now complete and proves the single most effective regimen in the rehab arena. Finally, and likewise bearing upon the course of generations, he again addresses inadequacies of education and spiraling illiteracy. What ensues are discoveries now at work in L. Ron Hubbard’s Key to Life, and which indeed proves a revolution in learning.

1981–1983 “Trying to survive in a chaotic, dishonest and generally immoral society is difficult.” Thus L. Ron Hubbard introduces The Way to Happiness and thus he presents society at large with a first nonreligious moral code and common sense guide to living. Initial distribution promulgates a grass-roots movement, particularly within business communities and law enforcement.

Subsequently and in celebration of his fiftieth anniversary as a professional writer, he authors Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000. It immediately garners international acclaim and worldwide bestseller status. What is generally regarded as his magnum opus, however, is the ten-volume Mission Earth series and which, all told, makes for an output of some two million words through these years. Moreover, Mr. Hubbard will soon complement both works with first-ever soundtracks to novels: the highly innovative Space Jazz for Battlefield Earth and the critically acclaimed Mission Earth album.

1984–1986 “And what is one rising to, after all? One is rising to eternity.” From just such a vantage point, and while residing at a central California estate, L. Ron Hubbard now indeed advances Scientology into realms that touch eternity. Meanwhile, the Mission Earth series is now published and the successive appearance of each volume on the New York Times bestseller list will long be remembered as a landmark event in publishing history. Mr. Hubbard further writes and scores still another album, The Road to Freedom as a musical statement of fundamental Scientology principles.

January 24, 1986 Mr. Hubbard departs this life, having achieved all he set out to accomplish. His global impact, however, soon to be measured in the tens of millions, continues to grow.

In reply to demands for his literary works, all earlier titles are republished. The first, Final Blackout and Fear, promptly ride bestseller lists, repeating popularity from fifty years earlier. In full, forty L. Ron Hubbard works appear on international bestseller lists. Moreover, with combined sales of fiction and nonfiction titles, he becomes the most published and translated author in history, as recorded in the Guinness Book of Records.

Similarly, as Scientology is the only major religion born in the twentieth century, there is no other religious founder in modern history with such broadly popular appeal. Hence, the ten thousand Scientology churches, missions and related organizations spanning every continent today.

The appeal of Mr. Hubbard’s secular works is likewise unprecedented, as exemplified by the fact all his technologies have since inspired global movements:

• Study Technology now employed across entire school systems at the behest of federal governments.

• His technology for drug rehabilitation now in some fifty nations and truthfully credited with the salvation of at least a million terminal addicts.

• His program for criminal reform now likewise international and just as truthfully credited with reducing 70 and 80 percent recidivism to negligible fractions.

The Way to Happiness distributed by the millions across notoriously violent lands; whereupon national crime rates precipitously plummet to levels not seen in decades.

• And the hundreds of thousands of organizations in well over a hundred nations now employing L. Ron Hubbard’s technology for survival and prosperity.

Meanwhile, in recognition of a man who unquestionably stands as the world’s single most influential author, educator, humanitarian and philosopher, some four hundred United States mayors and governors proclaim March 13 “L. Ron Hubbard Day” and May 9 “Dianetics Day.”

Moreover, with continued dissemination of L. Ron Hubbard’s work, his impact on lives triples every decade—all towards the fulfillment of his dream for:

A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where Man is free to rise to greater heights.”

Today, many millions embrace L. Ron Hubbard’s legacy to uplift their lives, their communities and Mankind as a whole. To provide for those newly discovering that legacy, new organizations are continually arising and there is now no major city on Earth that does not offer the fruit of his discoveries according to the spirit in which it was given:

I know no man who has any monopoly upon the wisdom of this universe. It belongs to those who can use it to help themselves and others.

“If things were a little better known and understood, we would all lead happier lives.

“And there is a way to know them and there is a way to freedom.

“The old must give way to the new, falsehood must become exposed by truth, and truth, though fought, always in the end prevails.”


Significant Events in the Life of L. Ron Hubbard

By L. Ron Hubbard