General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo. Photograph, n.d.

The high point in Bancroft’s collecting of Californiana was the winning of General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo’s friendship. Vallejo was a leader among the Californios, one who as an official for many years had accumulated a quantity of records which were, in effect, the official archive of the Mexican government in California. Vallejo held himself aloof from the American immigrants pouring in and was engaged in writing his own history of California when Bancroft employee Henry Cerruti gained his confidence. At first Vallejo permitted Cerruti to examine a few documents, then lent him a few to copy, then allowed his entire collection to be taken for copying, and finally presented them as an outright gift to Bancroft. Vallejo went on to dictate, in 1874-75. a long reminiscence, aptly titled "Historia de California." Finally, Vallejo was instrumental in urging his countrymen also to place their papers at Bancroft’s disposal.


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