A brief introduction to the author…
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
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