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Guide to the Zena G. Holman Jack London Collection
241-082-149  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Zena G. Holman Jack London Collection
    Date (inclusive): 1888-1971
    Date (bulk): (bulk 1900-1927)
    Collection number: 241-082-149
    Collector: Holman, Zena G.
    Extent: 14 linear feet, 4 oversize folders.
    Repository: Diablo Vista District Archives
    Sonoma, California 95476
    Abstract: Born John Griffith Chaney on January 12, 1876 in San Francisco, Jack London was an American author, journalist, and social activist best known as the author of Call of the Wild and White Fang. London's interest in the rights of workers and socialism resulted in several works such as The Iron Heel and The People of the Abyss. The Zena G. Holman Jack London Collection is arranged in five series: 1. Publications, 2. Scrapbooks, 3. Photographic Material, 4. Correspondence, and 5. Ephemera. Items span the years 1888 to 1971 with the bulk of the collection from 1900 to 1927.
    Physical Location: Diablo Vista District Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in this collection: English

    Access

    The collection is open for research with permission from the Diablo Vista District Archives staff.

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult the Diablo Vista District Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the Diablo Vista District Archives, Sonoma as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Parks.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Zena G. Holman Collection, 241: 082-149: [box: folder number], Diablo Vista District Archives, Sonoma, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Zena G. (Patrick) Holman (1891-1980) donated this collection in 1970. Holman and her husband Wilford R. Holman owned the Holman Department Store in Pacific Grove, CA. Along with other historically significant collections, Holman collected Jack London's publications, personal writings, photographs, and documentary material about the author. No further accruals are expected.

    Processing Information

    Lola Aguilar processed this collection and created and encoded its finding aid in 2012.

    Administrative History

    Born John Griffith Chaney on January 12, 1876 in San Francisco, Jack London was an American author, journalist, and social activist best known as the author of Call of the Wild and White Fang. Jack's parents, Flora Wellman and William Chaney were unmarried and subsequently, Chaney deserted Flora before Jack was born. A few months later Flora met and married widowed Civil War veteran John London, who had two daughters, Eliza and Ida. The family settled in Oakland. Eliza became a second mother to Jack even after her marriage to Captain J.H. Shepard.
    Jack spent many hours in the Oakland Library, mentored by librarian Ina Coolbrith and later befriended by reference librarian, fellow socialist, and founder of the Ruskin Club, Frederick Irons Bamford. In 1890, Jack graduated from Cole Grammar School and went to work at Hickmott's Cannery in Oakland. London quit work in 1892 and became an oyster pirate, served on a fish patrol, sailed on a sealing ship, joined Kelly's Army of unemployed men, and tramped around the country until late 1894 when he returned home to attend high school at age 19. Jack embraced socialism as a consequence of his exposure to poverty and social injustice during his travels. He joined the Socialist Labor Party in 1896.
    Always a prolific reader, Jack was determined to become a writer to escape the factory life. In 1893 he won the $25 prize in the San Francisco Morning Call contest for best descriptive article for "Story of a Typhoon Off the Coast of Japan." He submitted stories to various publications, generally without success. He attended high school for one year before his admittance to the University of California, Berkeley. He soon quit school to seek his fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897, returning home the next year to undertake writing as a profession. His first novel, The Son of the Wolf, was published in 1905.
    In 1900, Jack married Elizabeth "Bess" Maddern, with whom he had two daughters, Joan and Bess. He divorced Bess in 1905 and married Charmian Kittredge. The same year London bought a ranch in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, CA and called it "Beauty Ranch," with Eliza as ranch superintendent. In 1907, the couple sailed the South Pacific on their yacht, the Snark, before heading for home after Jack contracted tropical diseases, which he treated with mercury-based medicine. Back home in 1909, the London's continued to add to the ranch and started construction of "Wolf House," which was destroyed by fire in 1913.
    Jack London died of uremia aggravated by an accidental morphine overdose on November 22, 1916. At the time of his death, he suffered from dysentery and uremia and late stage alcoholism. His ashes were buried near the Wolf House ruins in Jack London State Historic Park. London prodigiously penned novels, non-fiction, essays, plays, and short stories becoming the first living author to achieve worldwide commercial and critical success.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Zena G. Holman Jack London Collection is arranged in five series: 1. Publications, 2. Scrapbooks, 3. Photographic Material, 4. Correspondence, and 5. Ephemera. Items span the years 1888 to 1971 with the bulk of the collection from 1900 to 1927.
    Series one, Publications, consists of 163 file folders and includes nine subseries: 1.1 Books by Jack London, 1.2 Books by Charmian Kittredge London, 1.3 Books by Joan London, 1.4 Books by Other Authors, 1.5 Periodicals, 1.6 Newsletters, 1.7 Book Catalogs, 1.8 Pamphlets, and 1.9 Clippings. This series contains a complete collection of Jack London's books, many of which are first editions and includes his articles that appeared in contemporary periodicals. He wrote socialist pamphlets that are included in this series, along with socialist pamphlets written by other authors. Holman collected clippings that mentioned London during and after his death.
    Series two, Scrapbooks, consists of ten file folders and include histories, photographs, brochures, programs, manuals, directories, bibliographies, news releases, and news clippings. Zena Holman compiled ten scrapbooks that contain her eight years research project of Jack London's life and career.
    Series three, Photographic Material, consists of two file folders and includes photographs of London at different ages, Jack and Charmian at their ranch, and photographs of the building of their yacht, the Snark. Series four, Correspondence, consists of five file folders and contains London's and Charmian's original typewritten and handwritten signed correspondence to friends. Recipients include Frederick Irons Bamford, writer Anna Strunsky (Walling), and Dr. William S. Porter. Series five, Ephemera, consists of six file folders and contains pawn tickets, brochures, programs, cards, broadsides, and posters. The Ruskin Club programs include London as a featured speaker.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Holman, Zena G.
    London, Jack, 1876-1916
    London, Charmian, 1871-1955
    London, Joan, 1901-1971
    Shepard, Eliza London
    Bamford, Frederick Irons
    Walling, Anna Strunsky, 1879-1964
    Porter, Dr. William S.
    Jack London State Historic Park (Calif.)
    California. Dept. of Parks and Recreation
    Glen Ellen, (Calif.)
    American literature—20th century
    Authors, American—20th century
    Historic parks