First, it is my pleasure to thank Jo Anne Sharpe for conceiving of this index with guide to the index to theJack London Newsletter, which was the chief source for material published on Jack London, Jesse Stuart and Mary Johnston for a period of two decades. Her work is an index of articles, notes and book reviews that the JLN published about Jack London.
The data for this introduction must be based on my memory which, like all human memory, can be faulty; once an item was published, it was discarded, and little of the correspondence between editor and contributor exists today. When I began editing theJLN in 1967 I had no idea how long it was going to last or the influence it would have on Jack London studies. Many of today's London scholars first published in the JLN. Their contributions appeared with little editing, as I made no claim to London expertise outside of bibliography. London and the JLN were hobbies with me.
Those who have engaged me in conversation about theJLN often want to know how my interest arose in Jack London. From 19531965 I was the Librarian (sometimes referred to as the Head Librarian) of Murray State College (later Murray State University) in Murray, Kentucky. One of the faculty members in the English department at MSU was Clell Peterson, who one day suggested that the two of us produce a bibliography of Jack London. This was in the late 1950s. However, he had not yet completed his doctoral dissertation (on Sir Walter Scott), and about six months later he withdrew from the project. John London, a book dealer, agreed to become co-compiler and later George Tweney, a book collector and dealer, joined us at London's suggestion.
Bibliographies are by their very nature never complete and rarely comprehensive. However,Jack London: A Bibliography was published by the Talisman Press in 1966 and sold for $15.00. Clell, who inspired the bibliography, reviewed it in the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America.
Dealers, collectors and scholars soon began sending me additions and corrections to the bibliography. These were published in what later became known, at least in theJLN, as WLT, the revised and enlarged edition published by Kraus-Thompson in 1973. WLT being, of course, the initials of the last names of the three compilers.
TheJack London Newsletter (some wanted it to be called the Jack London Review) seemed to be the logical place to publish brief articles, reviews of books about London, and a continuation of Jack London: A Bibliography.
The first several numbers were printed in Mayfield, Kentucky and later volumes were printed in Carbondale, Illinois by the Author's Office and The Printing Plant. Unfortunately, no priority was given by the printers to printing theJLN and, after falling behind two years and six issues, I decided to cease publication.
The cost of an annual subscription to theJLN went from $2.50 in 1967, to $5.00 and later to $10.00. There were never more than 200 subscribers, and most of these were libraries rather than individuals. Those individuals who did not subscribe from the first issues have found it impossible to complete their files except by photocopying the missing issues. The JLN was not copyrighted, so those who wish to photocopy may do so.
For two decades theJLN was the leading journal publishing information about Jack London and his works. Articles were welcomed from scholars, collectors, students, and international fans, and material translated from foreign languages into English was also published. It was a family enterprise. Annie, my wife, translated several articles from the French and my daughter, Ruby Susan, translated material from the German. Annie and I often arranged the mailings by zip code and I sometimes, though never successfully, attempted to get around some of the requirements made by the U. S. Post Office. Postal rate increases occurred frequently over the years and usually meant a drop in subscribers.
TheJLN was the first U. S. publication to introduce the work of a number of outstanding undergraduate and graduate students. It also published the work of foreign scholars. One of these was Francis Lacassin, whose translations and prologues introduced Jack London to a new generation of French readers. And, for several years, Charles Christian Hoffmeister translated from the Russian what ViI Bykov and other Soviet scholars were writing about Jack London. Other foreign contributors included Edward Allatt and Victor Tambling from Great Britain, Eijii Tsujii from Japan, and Mario Maffi from Italy. Viet-Nam (North) was represented, as was the People's Republic of China, and Brazil. It was our intention to demonstrate the international reputation of Jack London.
Many issues of theJLN contained a current bibliography of material by London (including reprints of his works and translations), and about London. These bibliographies expanded our knowledge of Jack London and his works. They also contained material not recorded in such standard sources as the MLA International Biographyor the current bibliography of Western American Literature published in the WAL. Subscribers often called my attention to items I might have missed. Several anthologies of London criticism have reprinted material from the JLN.
I did little editing of articles and, at times, this was regrettable.
Established scholars may at times have been misinterpreted by newer scholars, and some forgot that friends, as well as opponents, can be made through the critical language used in disagreements. One should be able to disagree without name-calling or being disagreeable.
Many of the contributors have become my friends and continue to correspond. When I once queried someone in charge of seating arrangements at a Jack London Birthday Banquet as to my being seated at the head table, she replied, "Because you are you." Part of me has been the JLN and WLT.
As I began these remarks, let me end them by once again thanking Jo Anne Sharpe for her dedicated work on this project. It has been a labor of love in regard to Jack London, and it is her hope that her work will make the contents of theJack London Newsletter more accessible to London scholars.
Hensley Woodbridge, Professor Emeritus of Spanish, Southern illinois University - Carbondale Co-compiler of