Jack London, legendary author of adventure classics such as Call of the Wild and White Fang, came from blue-collar beginnings and was largely self-taught. He based many of his exciting literary yarns on his hard-scrabble life experiences which included poaching oysters, laboring at a cannery, jute mill, and coal power plant, and panning for gold in the Alaskan Klondike. Broken by personal despair, two unsuccessful attempts to have children with second wife Charmian, the destruction of his California dream home, and slow kidney failure from years of alcohol abuse, London died on November 22, 1916, at age forty.
This selective small digital collection highlights his will, letters, and book inscriptions that offer insights into his complex relationships with the important women in his life: first wife Bessie, second wife Charmian, daughters Joan and Bess, mother Flora, “mammy” Jennie, and friend/collaborator Anna Strunsky. Other items in the digital collection include photographs and book covers. For more details about London’s life as well as a full inventory of USU’s larger print collection of Jack and Charmian London materials, see http://uda-db.orbiscascade.org/findaid/ark:/80444/xv27206.
Merrill-Cazier Library's Special Collections and Archives houses one of the largest Jack London manuscript collections in the world, second only to the prestigious Huntington Library in San Marino, California. This acquisition was a result of the close personal and professional relationship between Irving Shepard, Jack London's nephew and executor of his literary estate, and King Hendricks, a prominent London scholar and English professor at USU. Thanks to a series of purchases and donations from the London estate made between 1964 and 1971, USU is now proud to provide online access to selected material from the collection.