Henry L. Oak. Photograph, ca. 1870.

Henry Lebbeus Oak was the young editor of the Occident, a Presbyterian journal published by the Bancroft house, when he was enlisted to assist with the cataloging of the library prior to its move to the fifth floor of the new, but yet unfinished, Bancroft Building on Market Street. This small book, with Oak's supplements as new lots of materials arrived, served the Pacific Library, as it was first called, for the next twelve years.

Henry Lebbeus Oak was born at Garland, Maine, in 1844. He entered Bowdoin College and graduated from Dartmouth in 1865, intending to become a teacher. His association with Bancroft began in 1868, when he was the office editor of the Occident. Besides being a librarian from 1869 until 1887, Oak supervised the literary work going on in the library and wrote large portions of Bancroft’s histories.


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