Jack London
American writer of fiction and non-fiction; Journalist
Jack London
John Griffith "Jack" London was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone.
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Paid Notice: Deaths LONDON, CHARLOTTE LORD
NYTimes - over 5 years
LONDON--Charlotte Lord. Jacqueline and David mourn the loss of our devoted mother Charlotte on September 2, 2011 after a brief illness. Beloved wife of the late Jack London. A woman before her time, she was a renowned radio commentator, mostly for the ABC and CBS radio networks, music producer and programmer, financial advisor, and driver in the
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The Weekend Wonder – Jack London - StyleBistro
Google News - over 5 years
“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet
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The Curfew - By Jesse Ball - Book Review
NYTimes - over 5 years
Of the many prominent conventions in dystopian novels — from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” to Vonnegut’s “Player Piano” — the most ironic is the urban future that looks like a sepia shot from the hinterlands of time. Our so-called advances have backfired,
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Volunteers work to take over Jack London State Historic Park - Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Google News - over 5 years
A volunteer association is working to take over operations at Jack London State Historic Park as the state inches closer to shutting down the popular Glen Ellen hiking and tourist destination. Docent Jim Taylor led a tour of Jack London
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Feast for funding at Oakland's Bocanova - Inside Bay Area
Google News - over 5 years
Meredith Melville, center, co-owner of Bocanova in Jack London Square, will mark the restaurant's second birthday Sept. 1 with a fundraiser for Oakland Fund for the Arts. The evening will feature dishes prepared by cevichera Gloria Fuentes,
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London's legacy at Kenwood Vineyards - Monroe News Star
Google News - over 5 years
In 1913 the prolific author Jack London wrote a book and titled it "Valley of the Moon." The story is about a couple that left the city of Oakland in search of a suitable plot of land on which they could farm. In the book, Jack London brought out
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Suspect In Sweet Jimmie's Shooting Pleads Not Guilty - KTVU San Francisco
Google News - over 5 years
An Oakland man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of murder and five counts of attempted murder for a shooting at a restaurant near Jack London Square in April that left two people dead and five people wounded. The plea entry by 22-year-old Clem
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Around Livermore: Playing a round in Livermore - San Jose Mercury News
Google News - over 5 years
So it is with the extension of Jack London Boulevard to El Charro Road. This road work started in earnest at the beginning of summer and along with it, two other related projects. One project, the grading of the land at El Charro and Interstate 580 is
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Sungevity doubles space in Jack London Square - San Francisco Business Times (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
After years of struggling to gain traction, the redevelopment of Jack London Square has attracted a major tenant: Sungevity — a firm that's on track to become one of Oakland's largest employers. The solar panel leasing company signed a lease to double
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SOMA's New Addition, To the Races, and Daniel Patterson Updates - SF Weekly (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
And a quick update on Daniel Patterson's projects: Inside Scoop reports his pending Jack London Square restaurant slated to open in November has a new moniker courtesy of chef Kim Alter: Haven. Also, his Plum Bar (adjacent to Plum) is moving along,
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PM Bay Area Buzz: Teen driving car hospitalized after East Bay shooting ... - San Jose Mercury News
Google News - over 5 years
A 16-year-old boy was in critical condition at a hospital Monday after a gunman opened fire on the car he was driving near Jack London Square, police said. The wounded boy's half-brother and another passenger, both 16, in the car were
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Robert Ryan's Quiet Furies
NYTimes - over 5 years
BORN to play beautifully tortured, angry souls, the actor Robert Ryan was a familiar movie face for more than two decades in Hollywood's classical years, his studio ups and downs, independent detours and outlier adventures paralleling the arc of American cinema as it went from a national pastime to near collapse. A little prettier and he might have
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Night Owl: New developments on Jack London Square - San Jose Mercury News
Google News - over 5 years
10 Clay St. is the subject of a land deal at Jack London Square pictured in Oakland, Calif. on Thursday August 4, 2011. (Michael Conti/Staff) You may not have paid much attention to the deal that happened last month involving the airy
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Seattle needs more shrines to writers - Crosscut
Google News - over 5 years
But I did get to wander the old farm landscape at Jack London's Beauty Ranch in the Valley of the Moon. I saw John Steinbeck's famous camper lovingly cared for in a museum in Salinas. I toured the gloriously kitschy John Steinbeck Wax Museum in
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I-T: After Loan Dispute, Jack London Village is On the Market - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
Jack London Village, a historic commercial unit located at the edge of Glen Ellen at 14301 Arnold Drive, has been put up for sale, reports the Sonoma Index-Tribune. Jack London Village, a historic commercial unit located at the edge of Glen Ellen at
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Jack London Village on market - Sonoma Index-Tribune
Google News - over 5 years
By Bill Lynch INDEX-TRIBUNE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & PUBLISHER The historic Jack London Village commercial property, on Arnold Drive in Glen Ellen, was recently put on the market for $2.95 million by its owner Bernard MacElhenny of MacElhenny,
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Oaktown Jazz Workshops moving to Jack London Square, will celebrate July 16 - San Francisco Chronicle (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
This Saturday, July 16, Oaktown Jazz Workshops -- OJW -- will celebrate the grand opening of its new home at 55 Washington in Jack London Square. The community is invited to show their support and enjoy live jazz. All proceeds to benefit Oaktown Jazz
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Belmont Park: Jack London staying home for next step - Daily Racing Form
Google News - over 5 years
ELMONT, NY - The 3-year-old Jack London was entered in stakes races at both Delaware Park and Monmouth Park for Saturday, but instead found a better - albeit less prestigious - spot Sunday at Belmont Park. Coming off an eye-catching
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Sungevity plans to hire 200 to 300 employees by year's end - San Jose Mercury News
Google News - over 5 years
The growing sales staff of Sungevity are photographed at their new Jack London Square office in Oakland on March 10, 2010. The sales staff never have to leave their desks to make a sale. Sungevity is one of the first solar companies to
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Jack London
    FORTIES
  • 1916
    Age 40
    London died November 22, 1916, in a sleeping porch in a cottage on his ranch.
    More Details Hide Details London had been a robust man but had suffered several serious illnesses, including scurvy in the Klondike. Additionally, during travels on the Snark, he and Charmian may have picked up unspecified tropical infections. At the time of his death, he suffered from dysentery, late-stage alcoholism, and uremia; he was in extreme pain and taking morphine.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1916
    Age 40
    In his Glen Ellen ranch years, London felt some ambivalence toward socialism and complained about the "inefficient Italian labourers" in his employ. In 1916, he resigned from the Glen Ellen chapter of the Socialist Party, but stated emphatically he did so "because of its lack of fire and fight, and its loss of emphasis on the class struggle."
    More Details Hide Details In an unflattering portrait of London's ranch days, California cultural historian Kevin Starr refers to this period as "post-socialist" and says "... by 1911... London was more bored by the class struggle than he cared to admit." George Orwell, however, identified a fascist strain in London's outlook: But temperamentally he was very different from the majority of Marxists. With his love of violence and physical strength, his belief in 'natural aristocracy', his animal-worship and exaltation of the primitive, he had in him what one might fairly call a Fascist strain. London shared common concerns among European Americans in California about Asian immigration, described as "the yellow peril"; he used the latter term as the title of a 1904 essay. This theme was also the subject of a story he wrote in 1910 called "The Unparalleled Invasion". Presented as an historical essay set in the future, the story narrates events between 1976 and 1987, in which China, with an ever-increasing population, is taking over and colonizing its neighbors with the intention of taking over the entire Earth. The western nations respond with biological warfare and bombard China with dozens of the most infectious diseases. On his fears about China, he admits, "it must be taken into consideration that the above postulate is itself a product of Western race-egotism, urged by our belief in our own righteousness and fostered by a faith in ourselves which may be as erroneous as are most fond race fancies."
    London's ashes were buried on his property not far from the Wolf House. London's funeral took place on November 26, 1916, attended only by close friends, relatives, and workers of the property.
    More Details Hide Details In accordance with his wishes, he was cremated and buried next to some pioneer children, under a rock that belonged to the Wolf House. After Charmian's death in 1955, she was also cremated and then buried with her husband in the same simple spot that her husband chose. The grave is marked by a mossy boulder. The buildings and property were later preserved as Jack London State Historic Park, in Glen Ellen, California. Because he was using morphine, many older sources describe London's death as a suicide, and some still do. This conjecture appears to be a rumor, or speculation based on incidents in his fiction writings. His death certificate gives the cause as uremia, following acute renal colic, a type of pain often described as "the worst pain ever experienced", commonly caused by kidney stones. Uremia is also known as uremic poisoning. Late-stage alcoholism also causes systemic failure.
    He met with Duke Kahanamoku, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana'ole, Queen Lili‘uokalani and many others, before returning to his ranch in July 1916.
    More Details Hide Details He was suffering from kidney failure, but he continued to work. The ranch (abutting stone remnants of Wolf House) is now a National Historic Landmark and is protected in Jack London State Historic Park. London witnessed animal cruelty in the training of circus animals, and his subsequent novels Jerry of the Islands and Michael, Brother of Jerry included a foreword entreating the public to become more informed about this practice. In 1918, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Humane Education Society teamed up to create the Jack London Club, which sought to inform the public about cruelty to circus animals and encourage them to protest this establishment. Support from Club members led to a temporary cessation of trained animal acts at Ringling-Barnum and Bailey in 1925.
    London published The Acorn Planter in 1916.
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  • 1915
    Age 39
    London's last visit to Hawaii, beginning in December 1915, lasted eight months.
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  • 1914
    Age 38
    Beginning in December 1914, London worked on The Acorn Planter, A California Forest Play, to be performed as one of the annual Grove Plays, but it was never selected.
    More Details Hide Details It was described as too difficult to set to music.
  • 1913
    Age 37
    In 1913 and 1914, a number of newspapers printed the first three sentences with varying terms used instead of "scab", such as "knocker", "stool pigeon" or "scandal monger".
    More Details Hide Details This passage as given above was the subject of a 1974 Supreme Court case, Letter Carriers v. Austin 418 U.S. 264 (1974), in which Justice Thurgood Marshall referred to it as "a well-known piece of trade union literature, generally attributed to author Jack London". A union newsletter had published a "list of scabs," which was granted to be factual and therefore not libelous, but then went on to quote the passage as the "definition of a scab". The case turned on the question of whether the "definition" was defamatory. The court ruled that "Jack London's... 'definition of a scab' is merely rhetorical hyperbole, a lusty and imaginative expression of the contempt felt by union members towards those who refuse to join", and as such was not libelous and was protected under the First Amendment. Despite being frequently attributed to London, the passage does not appear at all in the extensive collection of his writings at Sonoma State University's website. However, in his book The War of the Classes he published a 1903 speech entitled "The Scab", which gave a much more balanced view of the topic:
  • 1910
    Age 34
    Starr notes that London was absent from his ranch about six months a year between 1910 and 1916, and says, "He liked the show of managerial power, but not grinding attention to detail.
    More Details Hide Details London's workers laughed at his efforts to play big-time rancher considered the operation a rich man's hobby." London spent $80,000 ($ in current value) to build a stone mansion called Wolf House on the property. Just as the mansion was nearing completion, two weeks before the Londons planned to move in, it was destroyed by fire.
    After 1910, his literary works were mostly potboilers, written out of the need to provide operating income for the ranch.
    More Details Hide Details Stasz writes that London "had taken fully to heart the vision, expressed in his agrarian fiction, of the land as the closest earthly version of Eden... he educated himself through the study of agricultural manuals and scientific tomes. He conceived of a system of ranching that today would be praised for its ecological wisdom." He was proud to own the first concrete silo in California, a circular piggery that he designed. He hoped to adapt the wisdom of Asian sustainable agriculture to the United States. He hired both Italian and Chinese stonemasons, whose distinctly different styles are obvious. The ranch was an economic failure. Sympathetic observers such as Stasz treat his projects as potentially feasible, and ascribe their failure to bad luck or to being ahead of their time. Unsympathetic historians such as Kevin Starr suggest that he was a bad manager, distracted by other concerns and impaired by his alcoholism.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1906
    Age 30
    Most San Francisco civil records were destroyed by the extensive fires that followed the 1906 earthquake; nobody knows what name appeared on her son's birth certificate.
    More Details Hide Details Stasz notes that in his memoirs, Chaney refers to London's mother Flora Wellman as having been his "wife"; he also cites an advertisement in which Flora called herself "Florence Wellman Chaney". According to Flora Wellman's account, as recorded in the San Francisco Chronicle of June 4, 1875, Chaney demanded that she have an abortion. When she refused, he disclaimed responsibility for the child. In desperation, she shot herself. She was not seriously wounded, but she was temporarily deranged. After giving birth, Flora turned the baby over for care to Virginia Prentiss, an African-American woman and former slave. She was a major maternal figure throughout London's life.
  • 1905
    Age 29
    In 1905, London purchased a ranch in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, California, on the eastern slope of Sonoma Mountain, for $26,450.
    More Details Hide Details He wrote: "Next to my wife, the ranch is the dearest thing in the world to me." He desperately wanted the ranch to become a successful business enterprise. Writing, always a commercial enterprise with London, now became even more a means to an end: "I write for no other purpose than to add to the beauty that now belongs to me. I write a book for no other reason than to add three or four hundred acres to my magnificent estate."
    After divorcing Maddern, London married Charmian Kittredge in 1905.
    More Details Hide Details London was introduced to Kittredge by his MacMillan publisher, George Platt Brett, Sr., while Kittredge served as Brett's secretary. Biographer Russ Kingman called Charmian "Jack's soul-mate, always at his side, and a perfect match." Their time together included numerous trips, including a 1907 cruise on the yacht Snark to Hawaii and Australia. Many of London's stories are based on his visits to Hawaii, the last one for 10 months beginning in December 1915. The couple also visited Goldfield, Nevada, in 1907, where they were guests of the Bond brothers, London's Dawson City landlords. The Bond brothers were working in Nevada as mining engineers. London had contrasted the concepts of the "Mother Woman" and the "Mate Woman" in The Kempton-Wace Letters. His pet name for Bess had been "Mother-Girl;" his pet name for Charmian was "Mate-Woman." Charmian's aunt and foster mother, a disciple of Victoria Woodhull, had raised her without prudishness. Every biographer alludes to Charmian's uninhibited sexuality.
  • 1904
    Age 28
    During 1904, London and Bess negotiated the terms of a divorce, and the decree was granted on November 11, 1904.
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    On August 18, 1904, London went with his close friend, the poet George Sterling, to "Summer High Jinks" at the Bohemian Grove.
    More Details Hide Details London was elected to honorary membership in the Bohemian Club and took part in many activities. Other noted members of the Bohemian Club during this time included Ambrose Bierce, Gelett Burgess, Allan Dunn, John Muir, Frank Norris, and Herman George Scheffauer.
    Released through the personal intervention of President Theodore Roosevelt, London departed the front in June 1904.
    More Details Hide Details
    London accepted an assignment of the San Francisco Examiner to cover the Russo-Japanese War in early 1904, arriving in Yokohama on January 25, 1904.
    More Details Hide Details He was arrested by Japanese authorities in Shimonoseki, but released through the intervention of American ambassador Lloyd Griscom. After travelling to Korea, he was again arrested by Japanese authorizes for straying too close to the border with Manchuria without official permission, and was sent back to Seoul. Released again, London was permitted to travel with the Imperial Japanese Army to the border, and to observe the Battle of the Yalu. London asked William Randolph Hearst, the owner of the San Francisco Examiner, to be allowed to transfer to the Imperial Russian Army, where he felt that restrictions on his reporting and his movements would be less severe. However, before this could be arranged, he was arrested for a third time in four months, this time for assaulting his Japanese assistants, whom he accused of stealing the fodder for his horse.
  • 1903
    Age 27
    On July 24, 1903, London told Bessie he was leaving and moved out.
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  • 1902
    Age 26
    While living at his rented villa on Lake Merritt in Oakland, London met poet George Sterling; in time they became best friends. In 1902, Sterling helped London find a home closer to his own in nearby Piedmont.
    More Details Hide Details In his letters London addressed Sterling as "Greek", owing to Sterling's aquiline nose and classical profile, and he signed them as "Wolf". London was later to depict Sterling as Russ Brissenden in his autobiographical novel Martin Eden (1910) and as Mark Hall in The Valley of the Moon (1913). In later life London indulged his wide-ranging interests by accumulating a personal library of 15,000 volumes. He referred to his books as "the tools of my trade".
    Among the works he sold to magazines was a short story known as either "Diable" (1902) or "Bâtard" (1904), in two editions of the same basic story; London received $141.25 for this story on May 27, 1902.
    More Details Hide Details In the text, a cruel French Canadian brutalizes his dog, and the dog retaliates and kills the man. London told some of his critics that man's actions are the main cause of the behavior of their animals, and he would show this in another story, The Call of the Wild. In early 1903, London sold The Call of the Wild to The Saturday Evening Post for $750, and the book rights to Macmillan for $2,000. Macmillan's promotional campaign propelled it to swift success.
  • 1901
    Age 25
    In a letter dated Dec 27, 1901, London's Macmillan publisher George Platt Brett, Sr. said "he believed Jack's fiction represented 'the very best kind of work' done in America."
    More Details Hide Details Critic Maxwell Geismar called The Call of the Wild "a beautiful prose poem"; editor Franklin Walker said that it "belongs on a shelf with Walden and Huckleberry Finn"; and novelist E.L. Doctorow called it "a mordant parable... his masterpiece." The historian Dale L. Walker commented: Some critics have said that his novels are episodic and resemble linked short stories. Dale L. Walker writes: Ambrose Bierce said of The Sea-Wolf that "the great thing—and it is among the greatest of things—is that tremendous creation, Wolf Larsen... the hewing out and setting up of such a figure is enough for a man to do in one lifetime." However, he noted, "The love element, with its absurd suppressions, and impossible proprieties, is awful." The Iron Heel is interesting as an example of a dystopian novel that anticipates and influenced George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. London's socialist politics are explicitly on display here. The Iron Heel meets the contemporary definition of soft science fiction.
    He ran unsuccessfully as the high-profile Socialist nominee for mayor of Oakland in 1901 (receiving 245 votes) and 1905 (improving to 981 votes), toured the country lecturing on socialism in 1906, and published two collections of essays about socialism: The War of the Classes (1905) and Revolution, and other Essays (1906).
    More Details Hide Details Stasz notes that "London regarded the Wobblies as a welcome addition to the Socialist cause, although he never joined them in going so far as to recommend sabotage." Stasz mentions a personal meeting between London and Big Bill Haywood in 1912. In his late (1913) book The Cruise of the Snark, London writes, about appeals to him for membership of the Snark's crew from office workers and other "toilers" who longed for escape from the cities, and of being cheated by workmen.
  • 1900
    Age 24
    London married Elizabeth "Bessie" Maddern on April 7, 1900, the same day The Son of the Wolf was published.
    More Details Hide Details Bess had been part of his circle of friends for a number of years. She was related to stage actresses Minnie Maddern Fiske and Emily Stevens. Stasz says, "Both acknowledged publicly that they were not marrying out of love, but from friendship and a belief that they would produce sturdy children.", Kingman says, "they were comfortable together... Jack had made it clear to Bessie that he did not love her, but that he liked her enough to make a successful marriage." During the marriage, London continued his friendship with Anna Strunsky, co-authoring The Kempton-Wace Letters, an epistolary novel contrasting two philosophies of love. Anna, writing "Dane Kempton's" letters, arguing for a romantic view of marriage, while London, writing "Herbert Wace's" letters, argued for a scientific view, based on Darwinism and eugenics. In the novel, his fictional character contrasted two women he had known.
  • 1898
    Age 22
    On returning to California in 1898, London began working to get published, a struggle described in his novel, Martin Eden (serialized in 1908, published in 1909).
    More Details Hide Details His first published story since high school was "To the Man On Trail", which has frequently been collected in anthologies. When The Overland Monthly offered him only five dollars for it—and was slow paying—London came close to abandoning his writing career. In his words, "literally and literarily I was saved" when The Black Cat accepted his story "A Thousand Deaths", and paid him $40—the "first money I ever received for a story". London began his writing career just as new printing technologies enabled lower-cost production of magazines. This resulted in a boom in popular magazines aimed at a wide public and a strong market for short fiction.
  • 1897
    Age 21
    On July 12, 1897, London (age 21) and his sister's husband Captain Shepard sailed to join the Klondike Gold Rush.
    More Details Hide Details This was the setting for some of his first successful stories. London's time in the harsh Klondike, however, was detrimental to his health. Like so many other men who were malnourished in the goldfields, London developed scurvy. His gums became swollen, leading to the loss of his four front teeth. A constant gnawing pain affected his hip and leg muscles, and his face was stricken with marks that always reminded him of the struggles he faced in the Klondike. Father William Judge, "The Saint of Dawson", had a facility in Dawson that provided shelter, food and any available medicine to London and others. His struggles there inspired London's short story, "To Build a Fire" (1902, revised in 1908), which many critics assess as his best. His landlords in Dawson were mining engineers Marshall Latham Bond and Louis Whitford Bond, educated at Yale and Stanford. The brothers' father, Judge Hiram Bond, was a wealthy mining investor. The Bonds, especially Hiram, were active Republicans. Marshall Bond's diary mentions friendly sparring with London on political issues as a camp pastime.
    Financial circumstances forced him to leave in 1897 and he never graduated.
    More Details Hide Details No evidence suggests that London wrote for student publications while studying at Berkeley. While at Berkeley, London continued to study and spend time at Heinold's saloon, where he was introduced to the sailors and adventurers who would influence his writing. In his autobiographical novel, John Barleycorn, London mentioned the pub's likeness seventeen times. Heinold's was the place where London met Alexander McLean, a captain known for his cruelty at sea. London based his protagonist Wolf Larsen, in the novel The Sea-Wolf, on McLean. Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon is now unofficially named Jack London's Rendezvous in his honor.
    In 1897, when he was 21 and a student at the University of California, Berkeley, London searched for and read the newspaper accounts of his mother's suicide attempt and the name of his biological father.
    More Details Hide Details He wrote to William Chaney, then living in Chicago. Chaney responded that he could not be London's father because he was impotent; he casually asserted that London's mother had relations with other men and averred that she had slandered him when she said he insisted on an abortion. Chaney concluded by saying that he was more to be pitied than London. London was devastated by his father's letter; in the months following, he quit school at Berkeley and went to the Klondike during the gold rush boom. London was born near Third and Brannan Streets in San Francisco. The house burned down in the fire after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake; the California Historical Society placed a plaque at the site in 1953. Although the family was working class, it was not as impoverished as London's later accounts claimed. London was largely self-educated.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1896
    Age 20
    London desperately wanted to attend the University of California, Berkeley. In 1896, after a summer of intense studying to pass certification exams, he was admitted.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1894
    Age 18
    In 1894, he spent 30 days for vagrancy in the Erie County Penitentiary at Buffalo, New York.
    More Details Hide Details In The Road, he wrote: After many experiences as a hobo and a sailor, he returned to Oakland and attended Oakland High School. He contributed a number of articles to the high school's magazine, The Aegis. His first published work was "Typhoon off the Coast of Japan", an account of his sailing experiences. As a schoolboy, London often studied at Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon, a port-side bar in Oakland. At 17, he confessed to the bar's owner, John Heinold, his desire to attend university and pursue a career as a writer. Heinold lent London tuition money to attend college.
  • 1893
    Age 17
    In 1893, he signed on to the sealing schooner Sophie Sutherland, bound for the coast of Japan.
    More Details Hide Details When he returned, the country was in the grip of the panic of '93 and Oakland was swept by labor unrest. After grueling jobs in a jute mill and a street-railway power plant, London joined Kelly's Army and began his career as a tramp.
  • 1889
    Age 13
    In 1889, London began working 12 to 18 hours a day at Hickmott's Cannery.
    More Details Hide Details Seeking a way out, he borrowed money from his foster mother Virginia Prentiss, bought the sloop Razzle-Dazzle from an oyster pirate named French Frank, and became an oyster pirate. In his memoir, John Barleycorn, he claims also to have stolen French Frank's mistress Mamie. After a few months, his sloop became damaged beyond repair. London hired on as a member of the California Fish Patrol.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1886
    Age 10
    In 1886, he went to the Oakland Public Library and found a sympathetic librarian, Ina Coolbrith, who encouraged his learning. (She later became California's first poet laureate and an important figure in the San Francisco literary community).
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1885
    Age 9
    In 1885, London found and read Ouida's long Victorian novel Signa.
    More Details Hide Details He credited this as the seed of his literary success.
  • 1876
    Age 0
    Late in 1876, Flora Wellman married John London, a partially disabled Civil War veteran, and brought her baby John, later known as Jack, to live with the newly married couple.
    More Details Hide Details The family moved around the San Francisco Bay Area before settling in Oakland, where London completed public grade school.
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