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Mar 3, 2024 - Mar 3, 2024

Eliza Shepard: Matriarch and Jack London’s Silent Partner

Jack London’s stepsister Eliza Shepard eschewed the limelight and did not like to be photographed.  Yet she, along with Jack’s wife Charmian, was indispensable in operating and preserving Jack’s Beauty Ranch and the property that became Jack London State Historic Park. Women’s History Month is the perfect time to acknowledge her legacy.

On March 3, at 2-4 p.m., Jack London State Historic Park will present “Eliza Shepard: Matriarch and Jack London's Silent Partner.” This two-part program in the park’s House of Happy Walls Museum will explore the backstory of Beauty Ranch and how Eliza Shepard became his bookkeeper, lawyer, contractor, and ranch manager, while also championing women’s and veterans’ rights as an activist and community leader.

Letters and telegrams between Jack and Eliza and Eliza and Charmian will bring to life the energy and diligence required to build and then secure the enchanting Beauty Ranch. Surprise revelations and quirky details bring the no-nonsense Eliza to life.

The first part of the program will be presented by Elisa Stancil Levine, author of the book “Jack London State Historic Park” (available at the park’s bookstore), who began researching Eliza’s life in 2005.

“As a volunteer at the park, I became fascinated by Eliza, her tireless efforts, her history, and her personality. Without Eliza, we would not have the park today,” Levine said.

After a brief intermission, the second half of the program will present how Eliza became matriarch of the Shepard family and how her influence is felt even today.

Although Eliza died in September 1939 her legacy continues. Her son Irving continued her work at the ranch and his descendants own and manage the 160 acres and 120 vineyards in the center of the park.

Great grandson Brian Shepard will tell Eliza’s story from the family’s point of view.  In an intimate conversation with Elisa Stancil Levine, a fireside chat with Brian will take attendees on a trip down memory lane as he recalls some of the stories of Eliza that have been handed down over the years.

Seating at this event is limited.  The event space can be reached only by stairway.  For more information about access, call (707) 938-5216.

Event Times

  • Mar 3, 2024

    14:00:00 - 16:00:00

Jack London State Historic Park

2400 London Ranch Road
Glen Ellen, CA 95442

Eliza Shepard: Matriarch and Jack London’s Silent Partner