Told in the Drooling Ward

   A world hidden from view

   A place now lost to memory

Jack London, as you’ve never read him before.In 1914 Jack London wrote this largely overlooked short story about his neighbors down the hill, the residents of the Sonoma State Home for the Feeble-Minded.

London, though a world-famous author at the time, was a rancher at heart, and his Beauty Ranch shared the eastern slope of Sonoma Mountain with the extraordinary population that inhabited the tree-lined lanes, the echoing day halls, and the back-wards — the “drooling wards” — of what was, for many decades, the country’s largest home for the developmentally disabled. Inquisitive as well as practical, it is only natural that London would occasionally hire day-laborers from the State Home, working alongside them, studying them, and, finally, using his craft to capture what he perceived to be their essence. Always striving to get to the heart of any subject he tackled, for this story London adopts the persona of a resident, a feeb, using a voice that is unique in his canon. The authentic cadences and rhythms he employs as Tom, the narrator, stand as one of London’s most nuanced, and least appreciated, achievements as a writer.
Told In the Drooling Ward
5.0 rating based on 12,345 ratings
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 based on 6 reviews.

jack london

perfect and good so Jack london live stilll 😀 for me
- servet baya r

Drooling ward

Interesting, educational, shocking.
- Bev birch

The story Tom is absolutely fascinating

The main character of the story Tom is absolutely fascinating. His life at the home for what he refers to as the feeble-minded or the feebs and the droolers is heart wrenching and at times inspiring. Tom’s commitment to caring for and about the residents at the home is nothing short of life giving to those that he selflessly serves and often saves. His attempts to live elsewhere always fail and even when he went away with a few of the residents it was horrible for him to be away from the safety of the routine of life in the home. He had visions and hopes and dreams but somewhere deep inside he knew that he would always be at the home helping to feed the droolers and look out for the feebs. The story is well written. I felt bad for Tom and at the same time I was happy he believed he had a purpose because he did. I guess in life that's all any of us needs is to know- that our life has meaning and that we have a purpose.
- Gail Eichinger

Jack London's Life in the Drooling Ward

Would love to read more of this story!
- Karin Whitehead

Droolin' Ward

for being "just" a short story, it is quite informative about Jack London's world. Its captivating and since it's short it doesn't "tie up" the readers time telling the story! Huzzah , Ed, & keep doing this!
- Bradley Gene Hood

Revealing a Mystery

This story, and its forward, is a revelation of a place and time I never knew. Despite having lived in Glen Ellen for over 25 years and driven through SDC thousands of times, I never really knew anything of the world beyond the gates. However, now I feel I've been given a very personal insight into the past of our community.
- Fran Meininger

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