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Special Section: Jack London Centennial

Learn more about Jack London in this timeline of his remarkable life and legacy.

1876 — He’s born in San Francisco on Jan. 12 and named John Griffith Chaney. His unwed mother, Flora Wellman, marries John London on Sept. 7, and he is renamed Jack London.

1879 — John London moves family to Oakland where he operates a truck garden near present Emeryville.

1886 — London family moves to Oakland after living on farms in San Mateo and Livermore. Jack discovers the Oakland Public Library.

1890-91 — Jack graduates from Cole Grammar School in Oakland and works at a salmon cannery for 10 cents an hour. He borrows money to buy a sloop, the Razzle Dazzle, and becomes an oyster pirate in San Francisco Bay.

1893 — He joins a sailing schooner for an eight-month journey to Japan, resulting in his first published story, “Typhoon of the Coast of Japan.”

1897-98 — Jack travels to the Klondike in Canada for its gold rush.

1900 — He marries Bessie May Maddern and publishes his first book, “The Son of the Wolf.” He also meets Charmian Kittredge. Publishes his first book, “The Son of the Wolf.”

1901-02 — His daughters Joan and Beck are born. Jack travels to the slums of London’s East End to research “The People of the Abyss.”

1903 — Visits Glen Ellen and separates from Bessie.

1904 — “The Sea-Wolf” is serialized in “The Century Magazine. London covers the Russo-Japanese War for the San Francisco Examiner. Bess files for divorce.

1905— London buys the old Hill Ranch in Glen Ellen, the first of seven land purchases that merge into his Beauty Ranch. He marries Charmian Kittredge.

1906 — He reports on the San Francisco earthquake for Collier’s Magazine.

1907 — London sets sail on what will be a two-year adventure in the South Pacific aboard the Snark. He contracts a tropical disease, and health problems force him to return home.

1909 — He publishes semi-autobiographical novel, “Martin Eden.”

1910 — Charmian gives birth to a baby girl, Joy, who lives only 38 hours.

1911 — London moves to his Beauty Ranch and begins building his dream home.

1913 — Wolf House is destroyed by fire weeks before the Londons are to move in. London publishes “John Barleycorn” and “The Valley of the Moon.” Drives wagon and four horses to the Northwest.

1916 — He publishes “The Acorn Planter,” and dies at Beauty Ranch on Nov. 22.

1955 — Charmian London dies.

1959 — London’s nephew, Irving Shepard, transfers 40 acres of Beauty Ranch to the state, including the House of Happy Walls, London’s gravesite and the Wolf House ruins.

1960 — Jack London State Park opens to the public.

1979 — State purchases an additional 756 acres of Beauty Ranch from the Irving family, greatly expanding Jack London Historic State Park.

2012 — Jack London Park Partners group reaches agreement with the state to take over management of the park.

2016 — Jack London Park Partners launches a capital campaign to recharge the museum at the House of Happy Walls, and embarks on a yearlong commemoration of Jack London.

Special Section: Jack London Centennial

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