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Exhibit item: California Grizzly Bear Claw. With permission of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley

Exhibit item:
California Grizzly Bear Claw
With permission of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley.

This small California Grizzly Bear claw is dated 1858. The orginal label reads "lassoed and dragged to Redwood City Wharf."

Mark Twain, in a letter to Thomas Aldrich in 1871, had this to say about Bret Harte's use of a grizzly as his logo for the Overland Monthly.

Quotation:
SAMUEL CLEMENS
Mark Twain's Letters, volume 4, 1995
Editors: Victor Fischer, Michael B. Frank, Lin Salamo

"Do you know the prettiest fancy & the neatest that ever shot through Harte's brain? It was this: When they were trying to decide upon a vignette for the cover of the Overland, a grizzly bear (of the arms of the State of California) was chosen. Nahl Bros. carved him & the page was printed, with him in it. ...As a bear, he was a success - he was a good bear. But then, it was objected, that he was an objectless bear - a bear that meant nothing in particular, signified nothing, - simply stood there snarling over his shoulder at nothing -- & was painfully & manifestly a boorish & ill-natured intruder upon the fair page. All hands said that - none were satisfied. They hated badly to give him up, & yet they hated as much to have him there when there was no point to him. But presently Harte took a pencil & drew these two simple lines under his feet & behold he was a magnificent success! - the ancient symbol of Californian savagery snarling at the approaching type of high & progressive Civilization, the first Overland Locomotive! I just think that was nothing less than inspiration itself."

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