Bear in Mind: The California Grizzly

Everybody's got a bear story to tell

Bear in Mind is the story of the California grizzly bear. Once arguably the most powerful and terrifying animal in the California landscape, he now lives in the imagination, a disembodied symbol of the romantic West. Bear in Mind is also a portal into one of California’s great resources, the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. More than 150 images from the library’s archives and collections accompany the bear stories of Indians, explorers, vaqueros, forty-niners, and naturalists, among others. The result is a uniquely compelling natural history, a grand book worthy of its subject.

Published in conjunction with the Bancroft Library.


“While no one today would dare talk about extinguishing the grizzly, it remains imperiled by old frontier attitudes: exaggerated fear, unbridled demand for resources, and insistence on muscling in on grizzly space. Snyder's book helps us recognize these outmoded stances and resurrects a more accommodating approach, making it a welcome addition to the lore of grizzly.”

Sierra magazine


“One feels a strange combination of grief and exhilaration in this book--so powerfully vivid are the stories and pictures of the California grizzly, so heartbreaking the fact of the great bear's annihilation. Susan Snyder has done a marvelous job of evoking the wonder, fear, and awe that still cling to the grizzly bear.”

—Thomas McNamee, author of Grizzly Bear and The Return of the Wolf to Yellowstone




1st Place in the 2004 Westerners International Best Book Competition

2004 Rounce and Coffin Club Western Books Exhibition Award

2004 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award for Nature

About the Editor

Susan SnyderAn inveterate diarist and boon companion to Dear Dog Endymion, Susan Snyder worked as a teacher, illustrator, and Japanese language interpreter before becoming head of public service at The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has spent twenty years exploring the library’s stacks, attics, and moats.