Jack London Commits Matrimony (11-19-1905)

Jack London was known for writing adventure stories.  He’d also led an adventurous life.  His 1905 Chicago adventure was particularly momentous.

Jack and Charmian in Hawaii, 1915

Jack and Charmian in Hawaii, 1915

In November of that year London was in the city on a lecture tour.  Back in San Francisco, his wife Bessie was divorcing him.  London was eager to marry Charmian Kittredge.

On the evening of November 18th, Jack received word that the divorce was final.  Charmian was in Newton, Iowa.  Jack telegraphed her that they could now get married.  Next morning, Charmian boarded the first train east.

While Charmian was racing to meet him, Jack scurried around Chicago, preparing the legal formalities for a quick wedding.  It would have to be on this day, November 19, because Jack was traveling on that lecture tour.  But it was now Sunday, and all the government offices were closed.

Somehow, Jack located the license clerk, and got him to City Hall to fill out the paper work.  Then Jack was off to North Western Station to meet Charmian when she arrived on the 5:15 train.  Meanwhile, the license clerk had talked Judge Grant into coming in to work on his own day off to perform the ceremony.

That evening, at 10 p.m., Jack and Charmian were married.  They were still married when Jack died in 1916.

—30—

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2 Responses to “Jack London Commits Matrimony (11-19-1905)”


  1. 1 Jeff November 22, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Hey, love your blog. I’ve been reading for quite a while, but finally thought I’d let you know. I have one of my own about Chicago sports, and I would like to hear if someone was enjoying my blog, so I figured I’d let you know. I love Chicago. Born and raised in the Heart of Chicago, now living in Logan square, I love reading the history of our great town, and you help make that possible. Thanks!


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