Firsts, Film, and Ephemera from James Pepper Rare Books
Item 91 is an autographed souvenir card from a man whose name you may not recognize, but who played one of the most important roles ever in California history. His name is James W. Marshall, and he is noted for a discovery he made on January 19, 1848, while building a lumber mill for one John Sutter. What he found, of course, was gold, and his discovery set off the California Gold Rush, which would quickly change the face of that land. Unfortunately, Marshall soon lost his claim to the hordes of incoming gold seekers, and ended up broke. Later in life, he signed cards such as this to raise enough money to get by. $5,000.
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