Bancroft Library

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Description:
The Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library of the University of California, Berkeley. It was acquired as a gift/purchase (November 25, 1905) from its founder, Hubert Howe Bancroft, with the proviso that it retain the name Bancroft Library in perpetuity. The collection consisted of 50,000 volumes of historical materials on the history of California and the North American West, from the Isthmus of Panama to Alaska and from the Trans-Mississippi West to Hawaii, including the great Pacific voyages of discovery of Cook, Malaspina, Vancouver, La Pérouse, and Otto von Kotzebue. At the time it was the largest such collection in the world, and remains so today.

Later history

Until the decade of the 1960s, The Bancroft Library continued to focus exclusively on the history of the American West, particularly the borderlands of northern Mexico and the southern United States, from Florida to California, an area associated with the research interests of long-time directors Herbert E. Bolton (1918–1940) and George P. Hammond (1946–1966).

In the 1950s and 1960s Bancroft added the University of California archives and the Regional Oral History Office, both significant to the history of California. In 1970, under new director James D. Hart (1970–1990), Bancroft's scope expanded dramatically when the University Library's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections was merged into it. These included the Tebtunis Archive of ancient papyri, excavated by an...
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