The World of Jack London
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Finn Froelich: Artist and Friend

Finn Haakon Froelich (1868 – 1947) a Norwegian-born sculptor by profession, knew after reading The Sea-Wolf that he had to meet the author Jack London.

Their love for boating was the beginning of the life-long friendship between these creative men until the untimely death of Jack London in 1916. Finn Froelich became a part of the group of friends who would gather at Jack's home in the city at the beginning of his writing career and later would make many trips to the Beauty Ranch to visit Jack and Charmian. The author and artist shared their love for fun and practical jokes. They often challenged each other in a game of poker which Jack would use his livestock to pay off his debts. During one of the games Froelich had won a cow and three goats. He sold the goats but kept the cow for several years.

Froelich was a noted artist in the San Francisco bay area and had a studio in Burlingame called The Western Sculpture. In 1913, the Londons spent December on their boat the Roamer sailing in the San Francisco Bay and docking at different times to attend special holiday gatherings. On the day before Christmas, they found themselves stuck in the mud by Mill Valley and spent the night with Finn Froelich. The next morning they joined the family in celebrating the holiday. Charmian wrote in her diary – The house is full of kids, Jack says, "These are real folks." Finn often brought the children to the ranch for a visit while he kept a watchful eye on the building of Wolf House. In the years that followed Jack's death, Finn's son, Guilford S. Froelich recalled Jack London giving him an orange kitten from under the ranch house.

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While Finn was at the ranch he engaged both Jack and Charmian to pose for a bust. Jack had no problem with this but Charmian didn't particularly like sitting still that long. Froelich delivered a marble medallion of Jack on August 4, 1914 on the same day that Charmian recorded in her diary that she had asked Eliza, Jack's stepsister who also was the ranch manager, to put electricity in the cottage. In the fall of 1915, while Froelich worked on the bust of Jack he decided to have some fun with the guests who were staying in the top story of the carriage house. He drilled holes in the floor and tied ropes to the legs of the bed. That night after they had gone to bed, Finn pulled on the ropes from the ground floor simulating an earthquake. The next morning the guests left the ranch.

The bust that Jack modeled for in 1915 has been displayed in a variety of special places throughout all these years. It was unveiled at the University Club in Honolulu where Jack spoke on Balboa Day in 1916. Later the next year, the Sonoma Index – Tribune July 28, 1917 reported: "The Hawaiian islanders, among whom Jack London lived and wrote about for many years, will unveil a bronze bust of the Writer on Pan-Pacific Day in September". The bust will be erected on the site of the grass hut on the beach at Waikiki which London occupied during his visit there and where he sat almost daily during his last visit while writing his famous dog stories"

Along with the bust of Charmian, Finn created another sculpture of a woman on horseback. This sculpture was inspired by Charmian's love of riding horses over their Beauty Ranch and Jack's popular book, Little Lady of the Big House. This piece of art is currently displayed on the windowsill in the dining room in The House of Happy Walls.

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