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tv   Oral Histories  CSPAN  October 4, 2015 3:51pm-4:01pm EDT

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interesting while while dealing with immigrant experience today. he rose to the highest echelon of government and he was a citizen of geneva. never say switzerland. geneva. a different place. ron: an independent city state. it did not exceed to the hell that it h -- the helvetica federation until 1814. >> we have discussed this over fondue one evening. ron: yes. >> let's close the formal session and -- ron: people can ask the questions. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on c-span 3. follow us on twitter. and to keep up with the latest history news. american can come
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history tv features the city of santa rosa, california. their luther burbank lived for more than 50 years. hosted by our comcast cable partners, c-span city tour staff showcase the city's history. learn more about santa rosa all weekend here on american history tv. >> jack london was one of the most famous authors in the world at the time. he was the highest-paid author in the world, giving -- getting $.12 per word. he was one of the authors that was read throughout the world, including soviet union russia the time, japan. he was translated into language after language. people found his writing compelling. he was deeply concerned about the human condition. and much of what he wrote about, while it may have seemed on the
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surface like stories about dogs thethe yukon, it was about state of humanity and his concern for humankind. beautyon jack london's ranch, also known as the ranch of good intentions. this is where jack london lived until his death in 1960. the entrance to the cottage provides people with a sort of overview of jack's life. there are a lot of pictures on the wall. there is a video for them to see so they can get a sense of jack london in the 1905 to 1960 period. as they walk through the cottage, they seem a mentos of his troops to the south seas when he was sailing with his wife. they will see the original study that he worked in. and this room, a much larger study that he created after they will house, which was his dream
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house, burned to the ground. it burned to the ground just a few weeks before he was to move in. when workers were finishing the wood with linseed oil. they took a rag and threw it in the fireplace. unfortunately, spontaneous combustion caused fire and burned it to the ground. jack london understood that he probably wasn't going to live that much longer. he was aware that he was not healthy and decided to work on his farm and to work on the cottage that we are in today. so the added this particular room, which became a much largest that he for him to be able to work with his wife and with his manservant so that he could get much more accomplished in the short time he had left.
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initially his most famous book and probably his most famous book today is "the call of the wild." he also wrote one called "white fang," which was really a sequel to "the call of the wild." both were of exploring in the yukon, searching for gold. for a while, he was a vagrant, he wrote a book called "on the road." if you want to talk about the socialistic period, "the iron heel" is a fascinating book that was written about the revolution that would come after he died, actually, it was written in the future. "the call of the wild" until recently was red by schoolchildren. he even wrote science fiction. jack london probably would have been writing longhand when people came upon him in his office. typing was done either by his wife, charmian, or by his manservant.
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he was surrounded by books. he loved books. he would also see some technological innovations, like a dictaphone which was invented by thomas edison but was used by london because it allowed him to dictate letters without him having to write them longhand. he, his wife, and his manservant could all work in here at the same time, whether it was working on books, correspondence, or farm. he was very productive here. in fact, 2/3 of his work was published after he moved here. books like "white fang" was published here in 1906, a year after he bought his ranch property. "little lady of the big house" was published while he was here. he would write 1000 words a day before breakfast, but a lot of time was spent because he was trying to build the beauty
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ranch, the ranch of good intentions, so that it could be a model, and that took a lot of his time. one of the elements that he sought to perfect in order to help people was to create a much more productive ranch, a much more productive farm, so that people could be said, people -- could be fed, people could have jobs, and people could be more successful. a lot of what he was doing was experimental. he was trying things that we expected to be successful, we -- he expected that they would be written about, and people could learn about what he did, for example, historically, americans believe in manifest destiny. they believe that america has the god-given right to own the entire country from coast to coast. if you were a virginia planter, and you are out your land, you could move out west. in west virginia, even start another plantation. you could move south and start another plantation. the problem was, when you got to california, if you move west, you drown, so you had to figure
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out ways to reuse and to make the land sustainable over time. jack london believed that he could do that. he worked to learn as much as he could by reading everything that he could find written about agriculture in this area. he worked with the university of california to understand the most modern techniques. he worked with pioneers of the area to develop crops that would work here that might not work in other places or might just be innovative and unique and therefore provide some real benefit. this is a piggery that jack london built in 1915. when he built it, the scribes from san francisco were making fun of the fact that he spent $3000 to build a piggery. they call it the palace hotel for pigs, making reference to the finest hotel. it was designed for over 200 pigs, and one man could actually manage the entire operation, feeding them, watering them,
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doing whatever needed to be done. this is one of the things that he did as example of his entrepreneurship. after his death, the family tried to keep the farm going. they found it was more and more difficult over time, and eventually they converted into a guest ranch. so before and during world war ii, this was a place where people from san francisco or the local area could come and enjoy a weekend of horseback riding or enjoy the scenery. jack london park today is operated by jack london park partners. we are a not-for-profit organization that helped the state when the state of california was in financial trouble and was looking to close 25% of their parks. we volunteered to take this park over because we believed that we could make it an exciting and sustainable endeavor, and we have. today, we have got about twice as many visitors as used to come to the park. about 100,000 people visit us every year.
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i think this is a great model for some facilities. we have historic buildings, we have a museum, we have that country, so we can support -- we have backcountry, so we can support horsemen, hikers, we can support history buffs, and i think the combination of that with local community involvement can make for extraordinary success. >> throughout the weekend, american history tv is peter -- featuring santa rosa, california. the city to her staff recently traveled there to -- to learn about its rich history. learn more at c-span.org/citi estour.

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