Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy 135th Birthday Jack London!

Jack London  (1876 - 1916)

Jack London by Arnold Genthe
Collection of
The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.


Christened John Griffith Chaney on January 12, 1876, Jack London was born near 3rd and Brannan Streets in San Francisco California. Sadly his birthplace burned in the Great Earthquake and Firestorm of May 1906.  Click Here to read London's account of the disaster, first published by Collier's on May 5th 1906. In 1953 the California Historical Society placed a plaque at the site of his childhood home, honoring London's memory and many contributions to the literary world.   London was a prolific American writer, photographer, activist and journalist.  His fiction, novels and essays  gained him world-wide fame and fortune.   He was one of a group of writers who pioneered the nascent genre of commercial magazine fiction.  White Fang and Call of the Wild endure as his most memorable novels, yet he penned many popular essays, exposés, articles and short stories. 


Jack London's flask, 1907
Sterling Silver, Snake Skin, Glass
Collection of the California Historical Society
Gift of Albert Bender

London's flask is currently on view in the galleries of the California Historical Society.  After London died his wife Charmian gave the flask to his friend George Sterling, most likely the one who originally presented London with the flask. Sterling then gave the flask to Albert Bender, a great philanthropist of the Bay Area arts and cultural scene in the early 20th century. The flask is one of Bender’s many gifts to CHS and it is one of the earliest acquisitions of the permanent collection.


Jack London Resources on the Web:

Jack London Online Collection

Jack London State Historic Park

The World of Jack London

Jack London on Wikipedia
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