The Huntington Library’s Jack London Collection forms the largest archive of his papers in the world, encompassing more than 50,000 items. The collection includes drafts of his writings, correspondence, ephemera (booklets, brochures, an extensive array of news clippings about him, and more), plus most of the volumes of his own personal library, many containing his annotations. The photographs available here in the Huntington Digital Library, about 12,000 photographs, which date from 1902 to about 1955 (the bulk dating between 1902 and 1916, the year London died), are pulled from this extensive archive. Most of the photographs were taken by London himself and document the poor in the City of London in 1902, the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, London’s 18-month cruise through the South Pacific and South Seas in 1907-1908, a shipboard journey around Cape Horn in 1912, the Mexican revolution in 1913, and London’s ranch in the Sonoma Valley, where he used ecological principles of farming that were far ahead of his time. The photographs not only document London’s own life and careers, but also constitute some of the earliest and most important eyewitness views of the locations mentioned above. For this reason, the photographs hold enormous importance for scholars in other areas, as well as for London scholars. For example, London captured early scenes of the leper colony on the island of Molokai, images that have been used by a few scholars of Hawaiian history and of the history of the disease but that could be used by many more. Similarly, the 13 photo albums containing images from the Russo-Japanese War constitute some of the first and most important pictures to come from that little-documented war.
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