George Sterling (December 1, 1869 – November 17, 1926) was a noted poet and playwright. He was born in Sag Harbor, Long Island, the first of nine children of a doctor. He followed his mother’s brother, Frank Havens, to California where he joined the Realty Syndicate as Havens' associate. It is here that he met his future wife, Caroline (Carrie) Rand. Havens second wife was Carrie’s sister, Lila. Both were Realty Syndicate secretaries.
However, his ambitions were literary. He was mentored by Ambrose Bierce and he, in turn, mentored Jack London. When a book of his poetry was published in 1903 to favorable reviews, he was convinced he could become as famous as Keats, to whom he was compared. Accepting an offer to establish a literary colony in Carmel-by-the-Sea he left Piedmont, though not his position at his uncle’s firm, in 1905. In the art colony Sterling was known as “The Uncrowned King of Bohemia.” An exodus from San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake increased the number of residents and visitors.
Carrie accompanied him to their new start by the sea. Sterling had promised to mend his promiscuous and alcoholic ways. He did not.
The couple divorced in 1914 and Carrie returned to Piedmont where she was employed as a curator at the Piedmont Art Gallery until her death by suicide in 1918.
George also died by his own hand 8 years later. His remains are at the Chapel of Memories.
Sterling was portrayed in two London novels, Martin Eden and Valley of the Moon.
Links and References
- The Uncrowned King of Bohemia
- George Sterling on Wikipedia
- San Francisco’s Unofficial Poet Laureate
- George Sterling on FindAGrave
- George Sterling on Prabook