Saturday, January 12, 2013

This Day in History January 12, 1876

I always did enjoy The Call of the Wild, and on this date in 1876, Jack London was born.  John Griffith Chaney was his birth name, and he was the illegitimate child of Flora Wellman.  His father may have been William Chaney, an American who was instrumental in development of American astrology.  It it not known whether Chaney and Wellman were legally married because San Francisco records were destroyed in fires following the 1906 earthquake, but according to certain accounts, Chaney demanded that Wellman have an abortion when he discovered she was pregnant.  He was angry when she wouldn't and claimed the child was not his.  She shot herself, but she recovered.   He was basically raised by ex-slave Virginia Prentiss.  In 1876, she married disabled Civil War veteran, John London.

When he was 21, he went off to join the Yukon Gold Rush in 1897, and this was the setting of his some of his early success novels.  He was often accused of plagiarism, and his political beliefs were socialistic.  He is often accused of racism against Asians, but he wrote with sympathy about the Mexicans.  He died of renal failure November 22, 1916.   He was a prolific author, and you can see a list of his works at this site.

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