Jack London

Jack London

Jack London A brief introduction to the author… Early Years… Born on January 12, 1876, in San Francisco Named John Griffith Chaney Took his st...

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Jack London

A brief introduction to the author…

Early Years…


on January 12, 1876, in San Francisco Named John Griffith Chaney Took his stepfather’s last name, London, shortly after birth Family lived in Oakland, CA


quit school at age 14 (8th grade), and worked and traveled for many years For awhile, he made a living stealing oysters Then, he worked on a government patrol to prevent people from stealing oysters He also went to Japan, working as a sailor. London

Early Adulthood London

returned to school at age 19 He completed a four-year high school curriculum in one year, and entered UC Berkley After one year at the university, London couldn’t resist the lure of the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada He never returned to college, but he never got rich from his trips to the gold fields

Onward to the Klondike!

London would have been on a boat like this.

Jack London's Klondike Cabin

Klondike Gold Rush - 1897 Thousands

went to the Klondike in hopes of getting rich Show calculator 



were fierce: harsh elements, hunger, illness, death Contracted scurvy and returned to CA in 1898 Wrote! The

Call of the Wild was written in less than five weeks. He made no revisions!

Skagway harbor and docks

The Klondike

From out of the Klondike. . .  While

in Alaska, London became friends with the brothers Marshall and Louis Whitford Bond. Their dog, a St. Bernard-collie mix named Jack made an impression on him. Buck is based on this dog.  In 1901, London visited the Bond brothers at their ranch in Santa Clara, which was owned by their father, a judge. This became the basis for Judge Miller’s ranch in the book, down to the last detail!  While in the Klondike, London was affected by animal cruelty. In one case, he wrote about “Dead Horse Trail,” a section of pass littered with the bodies of horses. “Men shot them, worked them to death, and when they were gone, went back to the beach and bought more. . . Some did not bother to shoot them—stripping the saddles off and the shoes and leaving them where they fell. Their hearts turned to stone— those which did not break—and they became beasts, the mean on Dead Horse Trail.”  Though The Call of the Wild is about dogs, this same heartlessness is vividly depicted in the book.

White Pass: The Dead Horse Trail

View of Skagway from a mountain circa 1896

Broadway Street, circa 1900


completed fifty books – including novels and short story collections – during his seventeen-year writing career At the time, he was the highest-paid writer in the United States London married twice He and his first wife had two daughters In 1905, he bought a ranch in Glen Ellen, CA London

Final Years London

intended to build his dream mansion, Wolf House In 1913, The mansion burned to the ground in a mysterious fire London was ill, reportedly from kidney disease On November 22, 1916, Jack London succumbed to death shortly after eating his dinner – he was forty years old

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