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Charmian Kittredge London
1871 – 1955
|"Charmian's parents, Dayelle Wiley and Capt. Willard Kittredge were married Oct. 6, 1866. Charmian was born Nov. 27, 1871 in Wilmington, California.
Her mother died October 7, 1877 when Charmian was six years old. In the Spring of 1878 Charmian was sent to Berkeley to live with her aunt." Netta Wiley Eames.
"March 1900 she first met Jack. They eventually were married November 19, 1905 in Chicago, Illinois. She became Jack's soul-mate always at his side, and a perfect match."
Source: Kingman, Russ. A Pictorial Life of Jack London (Crown 1979)
Charmian was an excellent typist (over a hundred words a minute) and stenographer, skills that were applied to assist Jack's writings and business correspondence. View photo
Charmian's Musical Talent
Charmian's musical ability was another endearing aspect of her makeup, a virtuoso pianist, she played Lizst and Chopin (among others) for Jack's entertainment. There were moments when Jack, who had an appreciation for opera and classical works, requested she play to accompany his writing.
Author Irving Stone:
"Charmian had a genuine love for music, sang pleasingly, and even had the force and discipline to train herself to become an accomplished pianist.
She had a rich and stimulating voice with a wide tone range, laughed a great deal, even though the point of humor might be obscure, and was an indefatigable talker. She could carry on an intelligent and logical discussion, for she had a varied flow of words and phrases. A woman of great physical courage, she was the first to ride astride a horse into the hills when few women were riding at all, and those who dared were riding English side-saddle on the Golden Gate Park bridle paths. She had a deep love of horses. Ambitious, both socially and intellectually, she worked hard to advance herself, and saved her money with which to take a trip through Europe, did a little painting on China dishes, tried hard to make progress each year over the last."
|Source: Stone, Irving. Jack London, Sailor on Horseback. (Doubleday 1938)|
|"Charmian was a courageous woman who "would challenge anything" but who "never boasted" and "never gossiped" —a woman who was gritty but "feminine, very feminine"—one who was attractive enough in her eighties to turn men's heads." – Milo Shepard|
|Charmian died January 14, 1955, at the age of 84. She was cremated and her ashes were placed with Jack's under the rock that marks his grave at the Jack London State Historical Park.|