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LONDON, Jack (1876–1916). The Call of the Wild. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905.

8vo. Half title, 18 plates (11 full–page color printed plates including frontispiece and 7 full–page woodcuts) by Philip P. Goodwin and Charles Livingston Bull, with numerous decorations by Charles Edward Hooper. Original decorated green cloth stamped in red, white and black with gilt–lettering on upper over and spine, top edge gilt, decorated endpapers; morocco–backed folding box.

Early edition, PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY LONDON PRESUMABLY TO THE ANARCHIST POLITICAL ACTIVIST EMMA GOLDMAN (1869–1940): “Dear Emma– never mind the new San Francisco; here’s to the new library. Affectionately yours, Jack London. Glen Ellen, Calif. June 15, 1906”. London appears to be referring to the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake that destroyed most of the city, including the Cecil H. Green Library at Stanford University. London had a strong connection with the University, giving lectures on literature, socialism, and is even where he met Anna Strunsky (another acquaintance of Emma Goldman); a graduate student who London was involved with romantically and intellectually, and would remain lifelong friends and colleagues.

Emma Goldman was an international anarchist who conducted leftist activities in the United States from about 1890 to 1917. She advocated for free speech, free love, birth control, women’s equality, and the right of labor to organize. She fought against anti-syndicalism laws, the military draft, and American intervention in the Russian Revolution. In her activist magazine, Mother Earth, she would speak out against the atrocities happening during the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake: “What is going to be the end of the great display of superficial sentimentality for the stricken city? An all-around good deal: Moneyed people, contractors, real estate speculators will make large sums of money. Indeed it is not at all unlikely that within a few months good Christian capitalists will secretly thank their Lord that he sent the earthquake” (Mother Earth, May 1906). The inscription from London to Goldman was probably a playful attempt to avoid her views on the event.

There have only been two inscriptions by Jack London to an “Emma” that have come up for sale and it is their content, along with the uniqueness of this copy that has led us to conclude that these are to Emma Goldman. The first inscription was in London’s The Road that read: “Dear Emma, When the ‘Great Divide’ of socialism comes, you may need all the information to be found written in these covers” and the other bears the inscription with a quote by the author from London’s The Son of the Wolf: “Dear Emma, ‘Man rarely places a proper valuation upon his womankind, at least not until deprived of them’”. (See Bonham’s sale 2014). The first inscription touches on London’s well documented socialist ideas of which London would often debate with Goldman and her anarchist views. The second inscription is a feminist–type quote from the author. It is well documented that Emma Goldman advocated passionately for the rights of women and is today heralded as a founder of anarcha–feminism, which challenges patriarchy as a hierarchy.

In her autobiography, she recounts her time spent with Jack London and her high praise of the author: “In San Francisco I learned that Jack London lived in the neighborhood. I had met him with other young socialist students at the Strunskys’ on my first visit to California, in 1897. I had since read most of his works and I was naturally eager to renew our acquaintance…” Goldman goes on to say that she wanted to interest London in the project that the Ferrer Association was planning in establishing the Modern School in New York and requested that he attend her lecture on Francisco Ferrer. “His reply was charismatic: ‘Dear Emma Goldman,’ it read, ‘I have your note. I would not go to a meeting even if God Almighty were to speak there. The only time I attend lectures is when I am to do the talking. But we want you here. Will you not come to Glen Ellen and bring whomever you have with you?’” She would enthusiastically accept the invite and shares her experience of meeting the author: “How different was the real Jack London from the mechanical, bell-button socialist of the Kempton-Wace Letters! Here was youth, exuberance, throbbing life. Here was the good comrade, all concern and affection. He exerted himself to make our visit a glorious holiday. We argued about our political differences, of course, but there was in Jack nothing of the rancor I had so often found in the socialists I had debated with. But, then, Jack London was the artist first, the creative spirit to whom freedom is the breath of life. As the artist he did not fail to see the beauties of anarchism, even if he did insist that society would have to pass through socialism before reaching the higher stage of anarchism. In any case it was not Jack London’s politics that mattered to me. It was his humanity, his understanding of and his feeling with the complexities of the human heart. How else could he have created his splendid Martin Eden, if he did not have in himself the elements that had contributed to the soul-struggle and undoing of his hero? It was this Jack London, and not the devotee of a mechanistic creed, who lent meaning and joy to my visit to Glen Ellen” (Goldman, Living My Life pp. 468–469).

WITH AN ORIGINAL GELATIN SILVER PHOTOGRAPH INSCRIBED BY LONDON WITH THE CAPTION “This is Buck X Jack London”, mounted on the front free endpaper. On the verso is an additional inscription by London to a “Dear Emma” in pencil but we can only decipher a partial inscription as the four corners of the photograph are mounted. The photograph depicts Marshall Bond, Oliver H.R. La Farge, Lyman R. Cold and Stanley Pearce who sit with two dogs in front of a log cabin in Dawson, Yukon in 1897. The “X” marks the spot in the photograph above Louis Bond’s dog who was the inspiration for the character “Buck” in “The Call of the Wild”. In 1897, the 21–year–old London traveled to Dawson City to join the Klondike Gold Rush which at that time he began submitting stories to magazines based on his adventures to the Far North and it was in these adventures that became the inspiration for his best–known Yukon book, The Call of the Wild. We could only locate one other copy of this photograph which is in the Jack London Collection at The Huntington Library. A UNIQUE AND IMPORTANT COPY WITH THE RARE ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH. BAL 11876 (first edition); Parker 16; Sisson & Martens, p. 13.

 LONDON, Jack (1876–1916). The Call of the Wild. New York: T...
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