There are 6 bronze tags affixed to the writing surface, 4 of which were professionally
engraved, and a 5th tag, lightly scratched, with the name of the award winner, and an
oval cast medallion from the Livestock dept. of the Panama Pacific International Exposition.
These bronze tags are engraved with the following:
- "In Memoriam, Jack London" on a banner shaped tag.
- "By all means let us have a C.P.E. The only way for man to understand himself
is by understanding all life about him. Jack London"
It is interesting to note that this quote is not found in any of Jack London’s
known quotes, but was found in the archives of the Huntington Library, hidden in a 1915
magazine article from Everywoman, which was found in the scrapbooks, assembled by
Charmian London. The presence of a qoutation by Jack London two years prior to the CPE
can be easily explained. The Children's Pets Exhibit was an annual event since at least 1913, and, as mentioned
in the article from Everywoman, in 1915 it was actually held as
one of the final events in the Panama Pacific International Exposition.
- "Presented by Mrs. Jack London"
- "For Most Popular Exhibit, Children’s Pet Exhibition, San Francisco 1917"
- This tag at first glance appears to be blank, but on closer inspection it has been
scratched with the name of the boy who won this award, "James Rolph III".
- A bronze oval medallion, affixed by the livestock department of the Panama Pacific
International Exposition, with the profile of a rooster, and the initials, "C.P.E."
(for Children’s Pets Exhibit) and dated "1917".
Putnam’s work is very stylistically consistent. It
is easily recognized by the smooth flowing forms, with distinct characteristics
of the animal’s strong muscular foundation, combined with a realistic
natural living form, and real character.
However, the technique could not be called Realism, as with the sculpture of the 19th Century animalist,
Bayre. The dog’s anatomy and musculature is implied, rather than carefully
delineated. Yet it is clear that the carver has a clear understanding of his
subject. The unique color and grain of redwood – so symbolic of the sculptor
and his friend Jack London’s home state – adds to the unique quality
of this carving. It depicts the dog in repose, as he was at the end of the
famous story. - Jeffery Morseburg
Auguste Rodin called Putnam "the greatest animal sculptor alive".
If you examine Putnam’s works, and the nuances of the forms from different
angles, it becomes clearly apparent why Rodin was so impressed. This is an
amazing statement, because Rodin was considered one of the most famous animal
sculptors in the world at that time.
Clearly we can see in this superb example of Putnam’s work, exactly
what Rodin saw. The unique talent Arthur Putnam possessed, is masterfully displayed
in Jack London’s writing tablet. It is clear that Buck must have been
one of Arthur Putnam’s ultimate challenges, and that this is a masterpiece.
Arthur Putnam knew Jack London as a friend, and Jack had just gained world
fame for his 1903 novel "The Call of the Wild". I’m sure Putnam
took the time to read the book, and discovered that "Buck" was no
ordinary dog, but a strong powerful animal who was a survivor of a most brutal
world. Even though "Buck" had been cruelly and heartlessly abused
by men who were blinded with greed for gold, he still allowed his
soul to remain soft enough, such that a tiny spark of love for man still
remained in his heart. Buck’s forgiving nature and deeper understanding
provided the environmen for that spark to grow to a true love for his new human best friend.
Buck is masterfully depicted with his head held high in proud dignity, yet
he is clearly relaxed, content, and finally at peace with himself and his new
It makes me wonder. Is a dog’s heart softer, more aware and more forgiving
than man’s? To me, this has a deeper meaning: that no matter what horrors
you may have to face, healing and the rebirth of a content, happy heart,
is always possible. It may require the strength to make the choice to lose
everything you know in life, exchanging it for the unknown, even when you know that there is only a slim hope of finding the contentment
you seek in the future.