1824 – Curtis was born in Providence, Rhode Island on February 24, 1824.
1830 – Curtis was sent to attend school in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
1841 – Achieved his independence and became a boarder at the community of Brook Farm.
1850 – Returned from Europe, he settled in Staten Island, obtained a post on the Tribune.
1851 – Became a popular lecturer, started work on "Nile Notes of a Howadji" and became a favorite in society. Curtis wrote for Putnam’s Magazine, of which he was George Palmer Putnam’s associate editor; and a number of volumes, composed of essays written for that publication and for Harper’s Monthly.
1855 – Curtis married Anna Shaw.
1856 – Curtis was involved in the founding of the Republican Party. He was engaged actively in the presidential campaign of John C. Fremonts.
1863 – Became the political editor of Harper’s Weekly.
1871 – Curtis was appointed to chair the commission on the reform of the civil service by President Ulysses Grant. The commission became progressive under Curtis’s leadership. He was the president of the National Civil Service Reform League and of the New York Civil Service Reform Association.
1884 – Curtis refused to support the Republican candidate James Blain for presidency.
1892 – In April, Curtis delivered at Baltimore his eleventh annual address as president of the National Civil Service Reform League. He passed away on August 31, 1892.