N. Currier, lithograph, New York, c. 1850, Huntington Library RB 10285

"California Gold. An accurate drawing of the famous hill of gold, which has been put into a scow by the owner, and attached to a Sperm Whale, who is now engaged in towing it around the Horn for New York."


When word got out that James W. Marshall had found gold in the American River near Sacramento, California, people all over the world began dreaming big dreams. Get rich quick. Grab the gold and head for home. Cartoonist N. Currier poked fun at people and their golden dreams. Through cartoons, songs, letters, military reports, labor contracts, and business records, their dreams live on, 150 years after the Gold Rush began.

(What is the man on the hill of gold saying? Click here to find out.)

Gold fever breaks out

California 150

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