This virtual presentation re-creates an exhibit held at The Bancroft Library from August 23 - November 26, 2002. More than 150 items relating to the history of the California Grizzly are presented in ten themes. In addition, the web site includes a virtual map of some twenty-seven examples of Grizzly Bear art and statuary in and around the Berkeley Campus.
One of the state's most visible and enduring symbols, the California Grizzly adorns the state flag and seal, and is UC Berkeley's longtime mascot, celebrated in song and story. The California Grizzly also serves as a fitting microcosm for the study of California history from the 1700s to the present. Through the lens of time, one can view the brutality, ignorance, romance, guilt and 're-definition' that characterize our treatment of this icon of California history.
Highlights of the exhibit include:
A letter describing the 1887 shooting of the last known grizzly in the Yosemite area. Its pelt later was sold to UC Berkeley, where it remains in carefully-controlled storage.
A John J. Audubon illustration of two grizzlies, based on descriptions by explorers Lewis and Clark
The campus's recently-acquired original manuscript of Hittell's 1860 landmark biography, "The Adventures of James Capen Adams," or "Grizzly Adams." It contains several hundred handwritten pages and records Hittell's personal interviews with Adams in the 1850s. Adams hunted and trapped
grizzlies and kept some as pets. He even trained bears, such as his "pet," Ben Franklin, to walk with him down San Francisco streets.
Writings by naturalist John Muir about the grizzly. Muir also wrote about the hunter who killed the last grizzly near Yosemite in 1887 and gave the pelt to painter Thomas Hill.
William H. Davis' memoirs of the pre-Gold Rush abundance of grizzlies in the Bay Area.
An interview for Hubert Howe Bancroft (founder of The Bancroft Library) with hunter George Nidever, who said he killed more than 200 grizzlies in the 1840s and 1850s. A paper used by Nidever for bear target practice also will be on display.
A 1772 map and diary by Franciscan monk Juan Crespi that detail grizzly sightings along Strawberry Creek, which runs through UC Berkeley.
William E. Brown, Jr.
Associate Director, Public Services
The Bancroft Library
University of California
Berkeley, Ca 94720
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