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A Joan Crawford Chronology
1900s/1910s (on this page, below) • 1920s • 1930s • 1940s • 1950s • 1960s • 1970s to present
NOTE: The years listed for events from Joan's birth up until her enrollment at Stephens College in the Fall of 1922 can be inexact due to varying accounts by the print biographies and other sources I've consulted. When sources disagree, I've made reasonable guesses re which date is correct based on available information. (See the About page for a listing of biographies used as sources for this page and this site as a whole.)
Release dates for movies and TV appearances that appear here are from the IMDb. Also: When I've found a year for an event, but no specific info re the month or date, I've usually included the event in brackets at the beginning of the listing for that year.
March 23. Lucille Fay LeSueur is born to Thomas LeSueur and Anna Bell Johnson in San Antonio, Texas. Thomas LeSueur leaves the family shortly after her birth.
[NOTE: The often-cited "1904" birth year seems impossible since Joan's older brother Hal Hayes LeSueur was born September 3, 1903, according to both school records and his later movie studio records. Baby Lucille---unless born prematurely, which no source mentions--- physically couldn't have made her debut only 6 months later.]
August 20. According to a society-page blurb from Wilson's Weekly Democrat and Daily Hornet (Lawton, Oklahoma): "Mrs. Anna LeSueur returned Sunday from a weeks [sic] visit with relatives at San Angelo, Texas." [Thanks to Giannis Daropoulous for his research.]
July 13. According to a July 15 society-page article from the Lawton (Oklahoma) Weekly Star, Anna LeSueur and Henry Cassin are married on Tuesday, July 13, in Fort Worth, Texas. Text of article (thanks to the research of Giannis Daropoulous):
Popular Lawton People Are Wedded
In Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday
of This Week
Henry Cassin, the popular D Avenue abstractor and owner of the C Street Airdome, supposedly and generally accepted as a confirmed old bachelor, hied himself away to Fort Worth, Texas, early this week, and without the aid or consent of his numerous Lawton friends, took unto himself a wife and help-meet in the person of Mrs. Anna Le Suer [sic], an accomplished young widow lady, who has been one of the popular sales-ladies at Simpson's general merchandise establishment.
Mr. Cassin is one of Lawton's successful and most reliable young business men, who came here from Davenport, Iowa, in the early days of Lawton.
Mrs. Le Seur is a charming little lady of many graces, whose friends are legion. They will go to housekeeping at once, in their own home on West D Ave., amid the hearty well wishes of a multitude of friends who have known both the bride and groom intimately in a social and business way.
July 13. July 14 society-page article from the Lawton Daily News-Republican of the July 13 marriage of Cassin and LeSeur (thanks to the research of Giannis Daropoulous):
[headline partially cut off] and Honored Citizen Takes
To Himself a Bride in Texas
Henry J. Cassin, the honorable and esteemed, who numbers the whole town as his friends, was married yesterday at Fort Worth, Texas, to Mrs. Anna LeSeur. He and his bride returned to Lawton this morning. Within a few days they will go to housekeeping in the Cassin residence in the 900 block on D avenue.
Mrs. Cassin had been visiting her parents in San Angelo, Texas, and by previous arrangement Mr. Cassin met her in Fort Worth, where they were married at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon. Mrs. Cassin had been a saleslady at Simpson's, and was highly esteemed and popular. Henry has been the recipient of many congratulations today and seemed considerably embarrassed in his new situation, so entirely new to him.
April 20. Lawton census records show a "Casson" family: Henry J. Cassin, wife Anna, son Hal, daughter Lucille (age 5).
[NOTE: If Lucille is indeed 5, this would make her birth year 1905, not 1906. However, I still give credence to the 1906 birth year, since this is the date she gave when enrolling at Stephens College in 1922; there would have been no reason to lie to make herself seem younger when trying to get into college.]
June. For three days Henry Cassin features a Pavlova-style dancer at his "Opera House" in Lawton. The "Gypsy Fantasy" dance particularly enthralls young Billie, as Lucille is now known, as does the chance to visit the performer backstage. The dancer gives Billie a pair of used toe shoes.
June. Billie and brother Hal put on a show in a local barn for the neighbors. Hal and friends do a trapeze act and Billie, wearing her toe shoes, does a 10-minute act, performing a bit from the ballet "Giselle" and a gypsy dance to the tune "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie." The kids repeat the show a few days later.
July. Billie, leaping off her front porch to escape piano lessons and follow playmates, cuts her foot deeply on a broken milk bottle. Neighbor boy Don Blanding, the future poet, carries her into the house and phones the doctor. Billie eventually has three operations on her foot and is unable to attend elementary school classes for the year-and-a-half following her injury.
[NOTE: Many biographers say this incident happened either the year of or the year before the discovery of money in the family cellar (see "1915" entry below). However, reliable records on Don Blanding, the neighbor who rescued Billie, say that he was a senior in high school in 1912 and left home after that summer. If he did any rescuing it was that year, or earlier.]
June 18. According to the Lawton Constitution, the Cassin family has a gathering this Sunday:
Family Reunion at Cassin Home
At the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Cassin Sunday was held a family reunion of relatives. A most delightful time was had by all present and a most sumptuous dinner was enjoyed. Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Cassin; Mary Lydon, of San Francisco; Lee Brierley, of Trinidad, Colorado; Mrs. Mary Delehanty; Katherine and Mary Delehanty; Mike Delehanty; Mrs. Gertrude Cassin, James Cassin; Mr. and Mrs. H.C. Cassin and Lucile Cassin.
September 1. The Lawton Constitution announces that a Mrs. Clara Gibson is in jail for larceny after a mortgage loan for $4,000 given to her via Henry Cassin by a Dr. J.D. Lenort disappears. (See January 26 and January 28, 1917, entries below.)
December. According to Jazz Baby, Billie and brother Hal are sent by train to Anna Bell's parents' home near Phoenix, Arizona, for the holidays. During the trip, Hal tells Billie that Henry Cassin is not their real father and shows her a picture of Thomas LeSueur. [Editor's note: According to newspaper records of the time, Anna's parents lived in San Angelo, Texas, not Phoenix.]
January 26. According to the Lawton Constitution, the trial against Henry Cassin for embezzlement begins. (His co-conspirator, Mrs. Clara Gibson, has been granted immunity.) "...there were but few in the court house who had not made up their mind as to who got the money and it was not Henry Cassin."
January 28. According to the Lawton Constitution, the Cassin case is declared a mistrial, with the jury voting 7 to 5 for his acquittal.
June 16. The Lawton Constitution announces that Henry Cassin and Anna Bell are leaving Lawton for Kansas City, Missouri (thanks to Giannis Daropoulous for his research):
The many friends of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cassin and family will learn with regret that they are leaving this week for Kansas City, Mo., where they expect to make their home.
The Cassin family arrives at Kansas City's Union Station and checks in to the New Midland Hotel in a seedy part of town. Cassin and Anna Bell eventually take over the running of the hotel.
September. Henry Cassin enrolls Billie at the St. Agnes Academy, a Catholic girls' school. When he leaves the family soon afterwards, Billie must work for her keep there. For the next 3 years (4th through 6th grades), she lives at the school and returns home on weekends.
May. Billie performs in a dance recital for St. Agnes. Her mother attends and introduces her to her new companion, Harry Hough.
Fall. Anna Bell begins to run the City Gate Laundry, located across the street from her former New Midland Hotel residence.
Spring. Anna Bell tells the children that Hough has proposed and that they're moving to his Genessee Street home. (Joan later said she never knew if the two had actually married.)
Late Summer. Billie runs in to Henry Cassin by accident in downtown Kansas City and they have an ice-cream together. She never sees him again. (While it's been reported in various Joan bios that Cassin dies this year, in fact he died 10/25/22 in Nashville, Tennessee, and was buried in Lawton, Oklahoma, on 10/31/22. See the Henry Cassin Encyclopedia entry to read the death notice in the Lawton paper.)
Fall. Billie enters the Rockingham Academy, a boarding school for "difficult" children that Hough has suggested.
1900s/1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s on