The Bancroft Library, The University of California, Berkeley

The Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library at the University of California, Berkeley. One of the largest and most heavily used libraries of manuscripts, rare books, and unique materials in the United States, Bancroft supports major research and instructional activities and plays a leading role in the development of the University's research collections. The Bancroft Library's holdings include more than 500,000 volumes, 50,000,000 manuscript items (some 35,000 linear feet), 2,800,000 photographs and other pictorial materials, 43, 000 microforms, and 23,000 maps.

The Bancroft Collection, the Library's largest resource, documents the history of North America from western plains states to the Pacific Coast and from Panama to Alaska from the late eighteenth century onward. The collection was initially assembled by Hubert Howe Bancroft, who settled in San Francisco during the gold rush era, becoming a bookstore owner and publisher. Beginning in the 1860s he gathered materials for his vast publication project of a series of histories of western North American, in the end numbering 39 volumes. Within a decade he had amassed 16,000 volumes. Purchased by The University of California, Berkeley in 1905, the collection documents, through primary and secondary resources, the economic, political, social, and cultural history of this vast region. The greatest emphasis in the collection is on California and Mexico, with the history of most other Western American states collected up to 1900, except such broad, overlapping issues as water and the environment, which are collected without regard to date. Also represented are early Pacific voyages of exploration and discovery; continental expansion west of the Mississippi, including the Louisiana Purchase, fur trade, overland journeys to the West; Hawaii and the Philippines, British Columbia and the Yukon.

Some of the topical strengths include materials relating to Spanish/ Mexican California, the California Gold Rush and the settlement that followed, urban and rural development, particularly in northern California, the environmental movement in the American West, and local, state, and national political figures. The Bancroft Collection richly documents nineteenth and early twentieth century Chinese immigration to California and the West. Included in the collection is much that reflects the social life, culture, and commerce of these immigrants as well as the varying responses of other communities and individuals to the Chinese. The primary source materials include photographs, original art, cartoons and other illustrations; letters, diaries, business records, and legal documents; as well as pamphlets, broadsides, speeches, sheet music, and other printed matter.

California Historical Society, San Francisco

The California Historical Society (CHS) was founded in 1871, and designated by the state legislature in 1973 as the official historical society of California. Its mission is to engage the public's interest and participation in collecting, preserving, and presenting art, artifacts, and written materials relevant to the history of California and to support historical research, publication, and educational activities. The Society's holdings include research collections of library, archival and photography materials, as well as a fine arts collection with more than 5000 works of art that document the history of California in both the 19th and 20th centuries. Plans for the library were developed after the Society reorganized in 1922, and C. Templeton Crocker (1884-1948), eager to find a permanent home for his sizable collection of Californiana, placed it on permanent loan to the Society in 1923. Now owned by CHS, the library's collections today are built upon the strengths of Crocker's collection. Housed in the North Baker Research Library at the Society's headquarters in San Francisco, the Society's research collections of primary and secondary resources include over 35,000 volumes of books and pamphlets, more than 4,000 manuscript collections, and some 500,000 photographs documenting California's social, cultural, economic, and political history and development, along with a large collection of maps, ephemera, posters, broadsides, periodicals, and newspapers relating to the history of California and the West from the early explorations to the present time.

The library's collection of rare books is notable for its 17th, 18th, and 19th century volumes on early explorations of the West and the Pacific, and many early books relating to the Mission period and the Gold Rush in California. Its manuscript collections include diaries of overland travelers as well as trips to California around the Horn and over the Isthmus of Panama. Its photography collections represent unique holding of many of California's most prestigious photographers, including Carleton Watkins, Eadweard Muybridge and Arnold Genthe. Of particular note among the many images that document the social, political, and cultural evolution of California are Genthe's street scenes of the San Francisco Chinese community in the late 1800s. The Library is also home to the Kemble Collections on Western Printing and Publishing, one of the most complete collections of materials documenting printing and publishing in the western United States, consisting of more than 4,000 books, extensive pamphlet and ephemeral materials, photographs, periodicals and manuscript material. The research collections at CHS include many sources reflecting the social life, culture, and commerce of Chinese immigrants as well as the varying responses of other communities and individuals to the Chinese.

The California State Library

The State Library has a rich collection of historic images, including photographs, prints, daguerreotypes, posters, sheet music covers, postcards, ephemera, and other illustrations. Catalog records for selected individual images.

The Huntington Library

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Huntington, a key figure in the development of Southern California in the early 20th century, was also an active collector of rare books and manuscripts; art; and plants. By the time he established the institution, he and his wife had amassed an extensive collection focusing on British and American history, literature, and art, as well as rare and spectacular plant specimens.

Located in San Marino, California, the institution serves some 1,800 scholars each year conducting advanced research in the humanities. The library’s rare books and manuscripts comprise one of the world’s largest and most extensively used collections in America outside of the Library of Congress. Researchers who use our collections produce the leading scholarly books and articles in their fields; these in turn become the basis for the textbooks that are used in elementary, secondary, and undergraduate education across the nation. The Huntington also serves some 20,000 school children in the Los Angeles area, providing informal botanical, art, and library education through extensive on-site programs. Among the treasures for research and exhibition are the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, a Gutenberg Bible on vellum, the double-elephant folio edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, and an unsurpassed collection of the early editions of Shakespeare’s works.

Our 150 acres of stunning botanical gardens are divided into multiple thematic areas: the Rose Garden; Shakespeare and Herb Gardens; Desert Gardens, Japanese Garden; Australian Garden; Subtropical and Jungle Garden; Palm Garden; North Vista and Camellia Collection; and Art Gallery Garden. The newly constructed Rose Hills Conservatory for Botanical Sciences will become home to multiple interactive educational exhibits, targeting school children ages 7 to 11, through a $1.75 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The first phase of a new 12-acre Chinese garden, the largest outside of China, gets under way in late 2002.

The Huntington’s art collection are specialized in character, focusing on 18th century British and French art, and on American art ranging from the early 18th century to the early 20th. Other objects of the same period round out the collection: French paintings, French and British sculpture, tapestries, furniture, porcelain, and silver, and British drawings and watercolors. The collections have continued to grow, both by gift and purchase, particularly in the area of American art. Rotating art exhibits include shows derived substantially from The Huntington’s collections, as well as traveling exhibits from other museums throughout the United States and abroad. The Huntington is world renowned as home to Gainsborough’s Blue Boy and Lawrence's Pinkie.

The Society of California Pioneers

The Society of California Pioneers was founded by pre-Gold Rush pioneers and is perpetuated by direct descendants of those who arrived in California before 1850. The mission of the Society is to preserve, promote and enjoy California heritage through a research library, a museum, a gallery, educational and social activities, and to commemorate those whose sagacity, enterprise, and love of independence induced them to settle in the wilderness and become founders of a new state.

The Stanford University Libraries — Special Collections & Archives

Green Library houses a nearly 3-million-volume research collection in the social sciences and humanities, including area studies, interdisciplinary fields and government documents. Its collections includes approximately 6,500 current periodicals and journal titles and some 350 current newspapers. A 20,500 volume reference collection supports the work of the Information Center Desk.

Photograph citation:

San Francisco — one year after. The beginning of new and greater San Francisco showing a large amount of reconstruction in the heart of the city. Millions of dollars spent to make San Francisco one of the finest cities in the world. [Detail]
Charles Weidner
BANC PIC 19xx.169:074—AX
The Bancroft Library
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