Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, October 31, 2015

My Study Photographs, 3b

Continued from two days ago.

Okay, so these two framed objects hanging from my study wall date back to the era of my Jack London Obsession (1982-1997 or so). I'll tell you what the two objects are in just a moment.

I mentioned last time that I had been out to Glen Ellen, Calif. (north of San Francisco a bit), several times to visit the Jack London Ranch State Historical Park. It was the ranch where he was living when he died at age 40 in 1916. Well, one of my favorite side trips on that visit was in Glen Ellen itself, a tiny town that featured the Jack London Bookstore (RIP), operated by the wonderful husband and wife (both now gone), Russ and Winnie Kingman. Here's a picture I took--I think in the summer of 1990.

It was not just a bookstore, though. Russ and Winnie had for many years been Jack London Freaks of the first order, and their store, which sold a variety of used books, focused on Jack London material, and I spent a bit of our son's inheritance there. More than a bit--including a first printing of The Call of the Wild (with rare dust jacket). I will not tell you how much it cost--or how long it took me to pay it off (yes, it's now paid for). (In a post quite awhile ago I wrote about how, for a while, Jack London's daughter Becky, 1902-92, lived in an apartment in their store--and I got to meet her.)

The Kingmans were also avid collectors and had all sorts of goodies hanging on the walls--and for sale. Among them--the larger of the two items I framed. It's the November 4, 1906, issue of the Boston Sunday Post's Sunday Magazine, and on the cover is featured a recent Jack London story, "The White Man's Way,"one of his Northland stories; it would later appear in his collection Love of Life (1907). It seems that London originally sold the story to the Sunday Magazine of the New York Tribune (appearing also in Nov. 1906), and the Boston Post seems to have piggybacked. As did a paper in St. Louis. Probably others. He got $530 for it. (Link to the story.)

The other item in the frame, below the magazine, is JL's calling card, signed on the back (which is the side you can see). I don't remember where I got it. From Russ and Winnie?

We had the items framed in Kent, Ohio (near where we were living), at Jacobs, now long gone. He was a great guy, Mr. Jacobs, and carefully framed many of the objects that hang on our walls.

As I said the other day, I see this item every day, and I cannot look at it without thinking of Russ and Winnie Kingman, of London scholars like Earle Labor and Clarice Stasz, of Becky London, of I. Milo Shepard (who was London's executor at the time I was doing all my work), of all my teaching colleagues who spent some glorious weeks in the summer of 1990 reading and talking about London in a seminar out at Sonoma State, of all the hundreds (thousands?) of students with whom I read The Call of the Wild at Harmon Middle School, of all those adventures I had, none of which rivaled London's, but all of which changed me in ways I continue to discover.

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