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Jack was a 20-year-old artist from Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Orphaned at the age of 15, he worked a variety of jobs. After a stint as a logger, he came to Santa Monica, California, where he drew portraits on the pier for 10 cents apiece. Working his way from place to place on tramp steamers and similar accommodations, he went to Paris where he studied art. Subsequently, he found himself able to return to his native land in the grandest style possible for one with no money: sailing on Titanic on a ticket he won in a poker game.
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