The Valley of the Moon

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Jack London’s novel The Valley of the Moon

The Valley of the Moon (1913) is the title of a novel by American writer Jack London, as well as the mythic name for the Sonoma Valley of California. Jack London built his ranch, Beauty Ranch, in Glen Ellen and lived in the Sonoma Valley for many years. He died in a cottage on his ranch in 1916.

A reviewer for the University of California Press edition of The Valley of the Moon called the book a "road novel fifty years before Kerouac" and said the work reflects London's loss of hope in socialism and his growing interest in scientific farming. It is also widely considered a hymn of praise to London’s second wife, Charmian.

The Valley of the Moon is the story of a struggling working-class couple in Oakland, Billy and Saxon Roberts, who leave city life behind in the early years of the twentieth century on a search through central and northern California for a suitable place to work the land. Such elements of the novel mirror Jack London’s determination to escape the urban struggles of his own youth, and London’s depiction of Saxon is considered one of his finest portrayals of women.

These images of the Valley of the Moon on this page are from the Sonoma State University Library collections and from the collections of the Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen.

For a display about the Valley of the Moon and the publication of Jack London’s 1913 novel, visit the Library’s 3rd floor breezeway, between the south and north wings of the building.

The Valley of the Moon can be checked out at the The Sonoma State University Library. Looking for an online version? Project Gutenberg carries The Valley of the Moon as well as over 42,000 other free ebooks.

For more information on The Valley of the Moon and on Jack London and his essays, journal writing, short stories, and novels, see the SSU Library’s Jack London Collection page as well as these resources: