Lot 145: Diary of Jack London's cabin boy/valet

PBA Galleries

PBA Galleries

2015-06-29 14:12:36

Lot 145: Author: Nakata, Yoshimatsu. Title: Manuscript diary, in Japanese with some English notes and headings, mostly in Nakata's hand, but with some later entries in English in another hand, some referring to Nakata in the third person. Place Published: California & Hawaii. Date Published: 1915. Description: Approx. 250 pages. Printed diary format in Japanese with preliminary printed text, the handwritten diary portion in ink. 19x12 cm (7½x4¾"), blue cloth. Original manuscript diary kept by Jack London's longtime valet and houseboy Yoshimatsu Nakata, during the adventuresome year of 1915, when Jack and Charmian London, accompanied by Nakata, made their final trip to Hawaii, where they were to stay for ten months. Though the entries are in Japanese, most pages are headed with a location in English, e. g. Napa, Vallejo, Off Antioch, Dutch Slough, etc. These may be referenced to Russ Kingman's informative work "Jack London: A Definitive Chronology." The diary begins with Napa and Vallejo, then Benicia, Pittsburg and Antioch, as Jack and Nakata cruise the Delta aboard Roamer. There are several pages with "Head Reach Gun Club" (where London landed on Jan. 12) in the upper margin, then on to Stockton, Point Timber, and Glen Ellen, where they stayed for a lengthy sojourn. After a few nights at 490 27th Street (Oakland) they board the Matsonia for their week-long voyage to Hawaii. Most of the diary covers the lengthy stay on the islands, with pages headed Honolulu, Hilo, Honolulu again for nearly the entire remainder. It was in Honolulu that Jack London's good will and role as a benefactor towards Nakata was to boomerang against him - the education he had helped pay for led Nakata to seek greener pastures in Hawaii, and he resigned to go to dental school, spending the remainder of his life as a dentist in Honolulu. Nakata had served the Londons in various capacities from 1907 to 1915, having first been hired when Jack and Charmian were in Hawaii while cruising aboard the Snark. He formed a close bond with the couple, and accompanied Jack on many of his boating trips through the Sacramento River Delta as well as to the South Seas and around the United States. The diary forms an important parallel source for the period covered, and a translation will undoubtedly provide key information and added perspective to the final full year of Jack London's life. This diary was on exhibit at the Huntington Library from September 19, 1998, to January 11, 1999, part of "The Wisdom of the Trail: Jack London, Author and Adventurer". Some cover wear, well shaken, hinges split in places, some pages loose. PBA Galleries' Sale 563: Fine Literature with the Wayne Martin Collection of Jack London Thursday, 25th June 2015 Estimate: $8000-12000
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