Jack and Charmian London, Revisited

Before I go any further: Credit!  All images used in this post come from:  Jack London Photographs and Negatives, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California. And I am so grateful!

Yesterday’s cyber-visit to The Huntington resulted in a treasure trove of photographs from their collection of Jack London Photographs and Negatives. There were albums devoted to the Voyage of the Snark, to Charmian’s relatives, to their friends, their travels, and their favorite celebrities.

Charmian London, her uncle Roscoe Eames, Jack London. 1906.

I’ve discussed the Londons before in these posts.  Briefly: After the untimely deaths of both parents, Charmian Kittredge was raised in Berkeley by her mother’s sister, Netta, and Netta’s husband Roscoe Eames. Netta and Roscoe published a journal called The Overland Monthly and Out West magazine, and in the course of securing an early London story for publication, Netta introduced Charmian to the author – and the rest is history.

Roscoe Eames had a few sisters. One married a guy and moved to Los Angeles – their grandson was actor Joel McCrea. Another, Mae, married a guy and stayed in the Bay Area. Mae’s elder daughter was the ubiquitous Whist hostess and fashion plate, Nina Mauvais Watson. I have a new, if still vague, sense of what Nina looked like based on that awful newspaper photo (to be found here) – but now I have great photos of Mae!

I’m not sure where Rose Crest (the Watson-Mauvais place in Glen Ellen, Sonoma County) was with respect to Wake Robin (the Londons’ place), but they had to be close. One fine summer day, circa 1915, Mae came over from Rose Crest and there were cameras!

img_3808       Charmian-Roscoe-Mae c1915

This is so cool. I mean, it’s great seeing Mae and Roscoe hanging out together, and it’s great getting to know more and more about Charmian – but I love the backdrop. Up in the hills of Sonoma County… these terrific Berkeley artsy free-love leftists being all relaxed and social, living the life.

My favorite Roscoe Eames story is the one involving Jack London’s ship, The Snark, and the much-anticipated 1907 excursion to Hawaii and the South Seas. Roscoe was heavily involved in the building of the ship and the planning of the journey. He was even hired on as the voyage’s official navigator. By the second or third day at sea, all aboard had realized that Roscoe knew absolutely nothing about navigation. Great story – Now with nifty new photographs!

De Crew and Officers c1907
The Crew of The Snark – Bert Stolz, Roscoe, Charmian, Jack, Tochigi. 1906.
Roscoe Eames aboard The Snark, 1907

I love these tangents. Such interesting people, and such fascinating lives. No – they aren’t blood relations, as such – but they’re definitely family. And I hope they can make it to the next reunion!!

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