The Early Years
Selling the Library
Building The Bancroft
Herbert Eugene Bolton, 1920-1940
Herbert E. Bolton. Letter to Henry Morse Stephens. Stanford University, Cal., 5 November 1910.
Bolton's acceptance of the position as professor of American history was complicated by the vacancy caused by the death of the chairman of the Department of History at the University of Texas. Texas tugged at him, but in the end Stephens continued pressure and the thousands of documentary resources of The Bancroft won the day.
Herbert Eugene Bolton. Guide to the Materials for the History of the United States in the Principal Archives of Mexico. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1913.
Known simply as the Guide, it encompasses the major archival depositories in Mexico City and the important cities of the Mexican north. During summer trips to Mexico beginning in 1902 and then fifteen months during 1907-1908, Bolton systematically scoured and unearthed documentary treasures on California and the Southwest that were only dimly known or thought to be lost. Bolton's biographer considers this work to be the most important of all the writings he produced. His first major work, it was a milestone that established him as the master of his field and the foremost Latin Americanist of his time. Hundreds of scholars have been indebted to him. Because of various reorganizations and lost materials in the Archivo General de la Nación and later microfilming of its lists, the Guide remains fundamental for scholarly research and verification of documents.
Secretary of the Regents. Letter to Herbert E. Bolton. Berkeley, 14 November 1916. Carbon copy for H. Morse Stephens.
Before Stephens hired Bolton, he had wanted someone to put to use the resources of The Bancroft. Bolton was just the man. Soon appointed curator of The Bancroft Library, and ably assisted by Priestley, and sometimes Chapman, Bolton viewed The Bancroft as a vast workshop. He thoroughly enjoyed watching his disciples working there day and night, though none equaled his own matchless enthusiasm and perseverance. In the years 1911-1945 Bolton trained 104 Ph.D.s; The Bancroft collections were an integral part of this training.
Charles Edward Chapman. Catalogue of Materials in the Archivo General de Indias for the History of the Pacific Coast and the American Southwest. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1919.
This project was inspired by Henry Morse Stephens, after a visit to Seville in 1909-1910, where he rightly perceived that there were rich holdings on the history of the Pacific coast, a subject that he wished to develop at the University of California. Chapman carried out his work during a two-year term as the second fellow of the Native Sons of the Golden West, in 1912-1914. Building on work of the previous fellow, Chapman originally intended to cover only the Californias, but he quickly realized that strong relationships existed between the Mexican west of Nueva Vizcaya, and the lands of the north and east into Texas. Chapman eventually completed the project, producing a calendar of over 6,200 documentary entries covering the years 1597-1821 for California and the Southwest, opening up over 100, 000 pages of documents for researchers. On his return to Berkeley, Chapman was appointed instructor in California history.
Herbert Eugene Bolton. The Spanish Borderlands; a Chronicle of Old Florida and the 5outhwest. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1921.
For years, Bolton had wanted to include and provide a role for his Spaniards in American history, this engaging and immensely popular survey of the Spanish exploration and colonization of North America from the earliest days through their arrival in Alta California achieved that goal. The title emerged from the suggestion of an editor, which Bolton immediately grasped. The Spanish Borderlands articulated and defined clearly his interests and gave the region a distinctive and fitting name inextricably linked to Bolton. Now a classic, the little work remained a standard for almost fifty years.
Sidney W. Ehrman. Letter to Robert G. Sproul. San Francisco, 7 September 1928.
Bolton's publication program of the California Period was underwritten by Sidney W. Ehrman, a San Francisco attorney and University Regent, who was fascinated with the story of California. According to Bolton's biographer, Ehrman turned over $12,000 to the Regents for the costs of producing Anza's California Expeditions. Ehrman's backing and Bolton's writing and public speak created an atmosphere of enthusiasm about the history of California that generated donations of funds for purchases and frequent gifts of family papers, diaries, business records, and files of newspapers and periodicals by people who wanted their relics saved for posterity in the Bancroft.
Herbert Eugene Bolton. Anza's California Expeditions. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1930. 5 vols.
The first volume of Anza's opening of California, the Outpost of Empire, concerning the founding of San Francisco, represents the high point of his California Period. During the period 1926-1931, Bolton wrote, translated, and edited five works, in eleven volumes, on the explorations of Fray Francisco Palou, Fray Juan Crespi, Pedro Font, and Juan Bautista de Anza in the colonization of Alta California. Most of the accounts Bolton found while researching in the Archivo General de la Nación in Mexico City. This volume won the Gold Medal of the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco in 1931. A popular edition, also shown, was published by A.A. Knopf that year.
Herbert Eugene Bolton. Rim of Christendom; a Biography of Eusebio Francisco Kino, Pacific Coast Pioneer. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1936.
Padre Kino, pioneer Italian Jesuit missionary, established missions up the west coast of New Spain to San Xavier del Bac, just outside present day Tucson, during the years 1681-1711, and carried out his assignments and explorations as far as the Colorado River into California in the early Eighteenth Century. He lived his later years in the northern Sonora area knovm as the Pimeria Alta. The title of the book comes from Bolton's belief that Kino lived at the outer edge of the frontier, always pushing out the periphery of European civilization.
The result of thirty years of research and based on over 7,000 manuscript copies, many collected himself, Rim of Christendom is considered Bolton's most original piece of scholarship. Bolton also went on the trail to experience the harsh environment and to create a meticulous cartography of Kino's settlements and movements. The work was judged by the Literature Medal Jury of the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco as the best book by a Californian in 1936.
Herbert Eugene Bolton. Coronado, Knight of Pueblos and Plains. New York: Whittlesey House, 1949.
The conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado took the epic journey of the entrada in 1541-1542 to find the mythical kingdom of Cibola and its cities, which the Spaniards believed held great wealth. Led astray by the Zuni's, he took his band farther east to the land of Quivira, which was reputed to be even richer. Disappointed, he returned to Mexico, having lost his wealth and power, to live out his life in obscurity.
Besides presenting the high drama of heroic figures in such explorations, Bolton's last full-length book, published in retirement, was noted for his years of painstaking research in the documents and on the trail to accurately trace Coronado's route from Sinaloa to Kansas and his return. It is estimated that Bolton logged over 10,000 miles over the years sorting out this puzzle. The volume was well received. It won the Whittlesey House Southwestern Fellowship Award for 1949, and Columbia University's prestigious Bancroft Award for distinguished writing in American history.
Herbert Eugene Bolton Papers, [ca. 1900-1953]. Part 1: Documents.
A page of documents and their archival sources from the personal collection of Herbert Eugene Bolton compiled in 1961 by Vivian Fisher. By Bolton's own account, the collection represents over 146,000 pages, encompassing 60 archives and repositories in Europe, Mexico, and the United States. The collection contains transcripts, translations, photostats, and originals, and because of its astounding breadth and depth, it is still a vital documentary source today. Organized geographically and institutionally, it represents quite clearly his historiographical focus on the Pacific Slope and the Southwest in his research and writing. The inventory also reveals quite vividly Bolton's research-driven collecting and acquisition practices for The Bancroft and himself.
John Francis Bannon. Herbert Eugene Bolton: the Historian and the Man, 1870-1953. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1978.
John Francis Bannon, S.J., was a Bolton student who was awarded his doctorate in 1939. Bannon traces Bolton's life and career from rural Wisconsin, through graduate studies with Frederick Jackson Turner at the University of Wisconsin, and at Pennsylvania, followed by faculty positions at the University of Texas (1901-1909), and Stanford (1909-1910), culminating with his long career at the University of California, Berkeley, spanning the period 1911-1946. Bolton became curator of The Bancroft Library in 1916 and director in 1920, chairman of the Department of History in 1919, and Sather Professor of History in 1931. During retirement, 1940-1945, he was called back to teach, direct the Centennial History of California, and fill in for Priestley after Priestley became incapacitated and died.
Herbert Ingram Priestley, 1940-44
Herbert I. Priestley. José de Galvez, Visitor-General of New Spain (1765-1771). Berkeley: University of California press, 1916.
In the aftermath of the Seven Years War, 1756-1763, Spain inherited Louisiana, which created an empire that embraced the whole continent west of the Mississippi. Galvez, the greatest of Spain's visitor generals, was ordered to New Spain to analyze and recommend improved administration, economic policies, and military defense for such vast domains. Among his recommendations was the creation of the Provincias Internas, a new military organization for northern frontiers that led directly to the colonization of Alta California in 1769. Originally Priestley's doctoral dissertation, this work was a pioneering study in the field of Spanish colonial administration. The book won the Loubat Prize at Columbia University in 1918, and has remained an enduring treatise on Galvez and his institutional reforms.
Herbert I. Priestley. Memorandum to Herbert E. Bolton. Carbon typescript, 22 January 1920.
In the budget request for the 1920-1921 fiscal year, the book fund was $1,000, amended to $2,000. Even in the best years before World War II, it never exceeded $12,000. For Priestley, the line of $450 for stamps was his savior. He carried on a prodigious correspondence soliciting gifts of all kinds. When the university funds ran out, he often used his own money to keep the letters and materials flowing. In this communique, Priestley also requests that his title be changed to librarian from assistant curator, his title when he arrived in 1912. As the librarian, there was no one more dedicated or who loved the Bancroft Library more. Through all of his travails as librarian, he represented a generous humanity to all those he served, especially the graduate students who affectionately knew him as Pop.
Herbert I. Priestley. The Mexican Nation, a History,. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1926, [c1923].
Priestley's semipopular text on Mexico, which remained a standard for two decades, illustrates his great love for Mexico, its people and history, especially the modern period. He was sympathetic with the human and social goals of the Revolution of 1910. Through his professional activities and writing, he met many Mexican educators and scholars such as José Vasconcelos and Manuel Gamio. In recognition of his Latin American scholarly achievements, he was elected to memberships to the Sociedad Mexicana de Geografia y Estadística, the Academia Científica Antonio Alzate, and an honorary professorship to the Museo Naciónal de Mexico. He held other Latin American related elective memberships in the Cuba and the United States.
Herbert I. Priestley. The Coming of the White Man, 1492-1848. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1929.
Priestley expressed his thoughts on the role of Spain in shaping the culture of the American world, complemented by the impact of other European cultures such as the French and Dutch in early American life.
Herbert I. Priestley. France Overseas; a Study of Modern Imperialism. New York: D. Appleton-Century Co., 1938.
Herbert I. Priestley. France Overseas Through the Old Regime; a Study of European Expansion. New York: London, D. Appleton-Century Co., 1939.
These volumes represent an extension of Priestley's research in European colonial administrations and a reflection of his wide interest in international themes throughout the world. He was appointed chairman of the Committee on International Studies in 1930, and also taught international relations in the Department of Political Science. His France Overseas; a Study of Modern Imperialism won the Gold Medal for distinguished scholarship by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco in 1938.
Herbert I. Priestley. Letter to Irving A. Leonard. Berkeley, 29 December 1939.
Constantly strapped for funds, Priestley was always on the lookout for possible gifts or exchange arrangements such as that proposed to Leonard. Through his wide scholarly memberships and contacts in the United States and Latin America, he mounted a prodigious program of solicitations for materials of all types. By these means, Priestley built vast printed collections of government publications, journals of learned societies, ephemera, and scholarly monographs, besides the manuscripts that so interested Bolton. He also enlisted the aid of graduate students, who visited agencies and institutes in search of free materials.
Agapito Rey. A Dedication to the Memory of Herbert Ingram Priestley, 1875-1944, Arizona and the West, vol. 6, no. 3 (Autumn 1964), pp. 187-190.
As scholar-librarian, Priestley also had an active professorial life. He received his doctorate at 42, and was appointed assistant professor in 1917; he was advanced to associate professor of Mexican history in 1920, and to professor in 1923--a rapid ascent at that time. Besides his publishing, he was active in a wide array of historical and social science organizations and other professional organizations, and remained so until his death in 1944.
George P. Hammond, 1946-1965
George P. Hammond. Don Juan de Oñate and the Founding of New Mexico, 1595-1620. Ph.D. thesis, University of California, 1924.
George P. Hammond completed his doctoral work in 1923 at the University of California, with Herbert E. Bolton as his mentor, having spent a year in Spain gathering documentation for his dissertation in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville. His thesis also became his first book publication, appearing in a revised and condensed form after being serialized in the New Mexico Historical Review, 1926-1927.
Baltasar de ObregÓn. ObregÓn's History of 16th Century Explorations in Western America, Entitled Chronicle, Commentary, or Relation of the Ancient and Modern Discoveries in New Spain and New Mexico, Mexico, 1584. Translated, edited, and annotated by George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey. Los Angeles, Calif.: Wetzel Publishing Company, 1928.
In 1927, Hammond began his long association with Agapito Rey, who worked closely with him as translator. In the Seville archives, Hammond had come upon this manuscript written by an old Spanish soldier, who had been stationed on the northern frontier of Mexico. ObregÓn had become interested in the history and legends of the native peoples he saw about him and wrote this narrative of his observation. With major publications such as this beginning to appear nearly every year, Hammond also held teaching positions at the University of North Dakota, the University of Arizona, and the University of Southern California. He settled at the University of New Mexico in 1935. There, while teaching and pursuing his own research, he was appointed as Dean of the Graduate School. He founded the Quivira Society for scholarly publications there and succeeded in getting enough money from university funds to buy a new printing press for both the Society's and the university's publications.
Hammond and Agapito Rey. Narratives of the Coronado Expedition, 1540-1542. Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press, 1940.
The Coronado Cuarto Centennial publications, 1540-1940, were inaugurated in 1940 at the University of New Mexico, under the general editorship of George P. Hammond. Although the second volume in the series, this was the first to appear. Signatures of both Bolton and Hammond appear in this presentation copy from Dr. Hammond to Dr. H.E. Bolton. It was carried by Bolton on his travels in 1940 when, at the age of 70, he joined Hammond's party in its study of the various routes of the Coronado expedition. Herbert E. Bolton's work resulting from the trek, Coronado on the Turquoise Trail, Knight of Pueblos atid Plains, the first volume in the series, appeared in 1949.
George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey. Don Juan de Oñate, Colonizer of Neiv Mexico, 1595-1628. [Albuquerque]: University of New Mexico Press, 1953.
These impressive volumes, also part of the Coronado Cuarto Centennial publications, built on the early work Hammond did in the 1920s for his thesis at the University of California.
Friends of The Bancroft Library. GPH: an informal record of George P. Hammond and his era in The Bancroft Library. [Berkeley] University of California, 1965. Keepsakes, no. 13.
The closely-guarded secret of what would be the Friends' Keepsake for 1965 was revealed at the 18th annual meeting of the Friends, celebrating the life and work of Hammond as the energetic director of The Bancroft Library from 1946 to 1965. This remarkable Festschrift resulted from the collaboration of numerous friends and colleagues, with contributions by O. Cort Majors, Dale L. Morgan, Agapito Rey, Charles L. Camp, Robert H. Becker, Robert E. Burke, Warren R. Howell, Susanna Bryant Dakin, J.S. Holliday, and France V. Scholes. In addition, it contained a bibliography of Hammond's publications, by Francis P. Farquhar, and the text of his first appearance in print: Impressions of Spain, originally published in 1923.
Program for the annual meeting of the Friends of The Bancroft Library, 1965.
George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey. The Rediscovery of New Mexico, 1580-1590. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1966.
The history of New Mexico was Dr. Hammond's first and enduring love. Long in preparation, this book records, in diaries and reminiscences, what happened during the end of the sixteenth century in the Pueblo country.
George P. Hammond. Reminiscences. [Berkeley, CA: G. P. Hammond, 1986].
Following his retirement in 1965, George Hammond maintained an office at The Bancroft Library until the late 1980s. He continued to conduct his research and writing during that period, publishing several works, among them his Reminiscences.
James D. Hart, 1970-1990
Proposal that the University of California Library Collect Manuscripts of Contemporary Western Authors. Hectograph typescript, 14 December 1951.
Hart proposed collecting contemporary western authors in 1951 and secured the approval of the Library Committee. He regretted the loss of many author collections to other institutions and stated it is high time that there be established a continuing program to collect and preserve manuscript material of significant contemporary western authors, particularly Californians. He went on to build such a collection at Berkeley.
The Friends of The Bancroft Library. Minutes, Council Meeting No. 43, 18 July 1969.
At this pivotal meeting, the new University Librarian James Skipper announced the approval of his plans for the expansion of the scope of The Bancroft Library and the appointment of a new director, Professor James D. Hart. Hart spoke of his purpose to preserve the integrity and growth of the present Bancroft collections, and to strengthen them by amalgamation with the Rare Books and other divisions, to the benefit of all of them.
A New Decade, a New Director, Bancroftiana, no. 45 (July 1969), pp. 1-2.
The lead story in Bancroftiana no. 45 introduced James D. Hart, the new director, to the Friends of The Bancroft Library. The story also described the new structure of the Library, incorporating the Main Library's Rare Books and Special Collections Department, the Regional Oral History Office, the University Archives, and the Mark Twain Papers.
The Oxford Companion to American Literature. Fifth edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.
James D. Hart gained national prominence in 1941 with the publication of his Oxford Companion to American Literature. He liked to tell the story of how he walked into the offices of the Oxford University Press on the spur of the moment to inform them that they needed such a book and that he was the man to do it. They asked to see sample entries for the volume, and he had to stay up all night to create them. Hart's Companion been a standard reference work ever since. He was still working on the revisions for the sixth edition at the time of his death.
A Companion to California. New Edition. Berkeley: University of California Press, .
Perhaps it was inevitable that the man responsible for the Oxford Companion to American Literature and who had become director of The Bancroft Library would produce A Companion to California. Although Hart greatly broadened the scope of Bancroft's collections, he had always had a strong interest in California history and was concerned that the library maintain its preeminent position among repositories of Western Americana. Bancroft staff will attest that his Companion to California contains a wealth of easily accessible information about our state.
On the Occasion of the Announcement of the James D. Hart Directorship of The Bancroft Library and the Strouse Fund for the Art and History of the Book. Broadside, 26 March 1988.
In 1988, Norman H. Strouse, a long-time friend and benefactor of The Bancroft Library, endowed the James D. Hart Directorship and the Strouse Fund for the Art and History of the Book. Future directors will therefore be correctly styled The James D. Hart Director of The Bancroft Library. The broadside keepsake commemorating the event was printed by Wesley Tanner, with text by Anthony Bliss.
James D. Hart, Director 1970-1990.
James D. Hart became director of The Bancroft Library in 1970, he had already served as vice chancellor, chairman of the English Department, chair of the Faculty Sub-Committee on The Bancroft Library, and had been acting director of The Bancroft Library in 1960-61, during Director Hammond's sabbatical leave. As an author, he was known for his classic Oxford Companion to American Literature (1941), The Popular Book (1950), American images of Spanish California (1960), My First Publication (1961), From Scotland to Silverado (1966), and for his leadership in the Book Club of California, of which he had served as president and as chairman of its Publication Committee.
Program for Hart Memorial Service, Faculty Glade, UC Berkeley, 26 July 1990.
One of the most moving tributes to JDH at the memorial service was delivered by Jim Holliday, a long-time friend and former associate director of Bancroft. Mr. Holliday donated this copy of his text at the request of library staff members.
The Legacy of James D. Hart at The Bancroft Library, 1970-1990. Berkeley: Friends of The Bancroft Library, 1991.
Bancroft's tribute to James D. Hart was the 1991 exhibition featuring a selection of major acquisitions made by the Library during his tenure as director. The exhibition included eighty- five items demonstrating the new range of Bancroft's collecting interests. The catalog of the exhibit was issued as a keepsake to the Friends.
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