In the early nineties–was it 1992?–Hensley Woodbridge decided to retire his renown publication the Jack London Newsletter. Graciously, he let me Inherit his subscription list and a box of back copies. I renamed the newsletter and aimed to publish a mix of scholarly articles and archival documents–unpublished manuscripts, letters, photographs, readers’ reports, and so on. The key difference is the scope of the journal. No longer limited to the study of Jack London, the Jack London Journal was interested in London, principally, but also those cultural workers who impacted his life and work. I published seven numbers in all, and I thank all the subscribers and people who donated their time and money to make this short run of a periodical a great success.
I’m glad to see that the influence of the Jack London Journal continues. The 2010 Jack London, Photographer, included material on the human document (even if some of it is not quite accurate) that first appeared in the journal; I republished, for the first time, Sarah Orne Jewett’s introduction to McClure’s “Human Documents” feature (she didn’t edit the feature) as well as critical material I had been giving as conference papers for a couple of years in the 1990s. I had also published in volume 6 five of London’s photographs taken in Korea; it was their first appearance in print. In 2021, the University of Iowa Press published Jack London in His Own Time, a collection of letters, essays, and other material, that includes thirty-two pages from six different issues. A number of these items are excerpted, so you may want to get the full texts by buying the issues themselves.
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The first number of the journal includes George Carpenter’s reader’s report on The Call of the Wild for Macmillan Company, the first installment of Cloudesley Johns’s memoir, and Sarah Orne Jewett’s introduction to McClure Magazine’s feature entitled “Human Documents.”
Because I had a particular interest in London’s The Star Rover, I decided to include a number of documents and essays pertinent to that novel. Leonard Cassuto contributed an essay on “The Sun-Dog Trail,” one of the best essays I published.
I have a particular fondness for this issue. It contains nine essays and documents that contextualize London’s essay “The House Beautiful,” published for the first time as London had written it. London, Frank Lloyd Wright, Oscar Lovell Triggs, and William Morris contribute to this issue’s blending of socialism and aesthetics. The cover design for the “Jack London Journal” is a William Morris border surrounding an Arts and Crafts-inspired font and leaf.
Not only is the photograph on the cover a departure from the text box of earlier issues but also is the inclusion of a single archival manuscript: Frank Atherton’s “Jack London in Boyhood” adventures. Like Cloudesley Johns’s “Who the Hell Is Cloudesley Johns?” Atherton’s memoir is indispensable reading–especially if you want to join the multitude of London biographers.
The pairing of two essays on biography–one by Jacqueline Tavernier-Courbin and one by Clarice Stasz–makes this another issue of special concern for London biographers. In addition, I published an autobiography of London entitled “In the Days of My Youth” and its cannibalized reprintings as promotional booklets by Macmillan Company.
Tony Williams did an exceptional job of editing London’s final manuscript, “Cherry.” Along with that text and Tony’s introduction, I reprinted material from “The Mid-Pacific Magazine,” an essay about the Hands around the Pacific Movement, and a critically edited text of London’s first piece of published writing, “Story of a Typhoon off the Coast of Japan.” As I point out in the issue’s introduction, London’s career began and ended in the Pacific.
Not enough can be said about Clarice Stasz’s contributions to the world of Jack London and the study of American history. One day, she let me know that she had access to Yoshimatsu Nakata’s “A Hero to His Valet,” his account of his life with the Londons. The memoir also includes Sekine’s account of London’s final days. This issue may be the most popular of the seven, perhaps because it is the thinnest.
Here is the back cover to Jack London Journal 6:
And here’s a cover from Hensley’s publication: