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20 July 2018

A trip to the Bancroft Library

CGS Members at the UC Bancroft Library on July 11, 2018
A special thank you to Lorna Wallace, who planned the recent CGS field trip to the Bancroft Library on the UC Berkeley campus. This wonderful repository is one of the largest and most heavily used libraries of manuscripts, rare books, and unique materials in the country. It is not primarily a genealogy library but has much to offer the serious researcher. It focuses on telling the history of California, the West, and Latin America from a broad perspective. The library’s collection includes the original Spanish land grants for the state, including the Luis Maria Peralta land grant that included Oakland.

Two archivists hosted a group of about 25 CGS members. They displayed historical materials for us to explore in two separate rooms. They gave our group a good introduction and history of the Bancroft collection and explained the process of finding and gaining access to research material.

Lorna had wisely encouraged participants to sign up for a free AEON membership and browse the library website prior to our tour. CGS board member Chris Pattillo followed her advice and found a copy of the Hicks Adams Bass Pattillo Family History. It included online access to the book. “I also found Samuel Murray Stover Enroute To California, written in 1849 by my 2nd grand uncle as he traveled from East Tennessee to California. It was published in 1939 by Samuel’s grandson H.M. Folsom,” Pattillo said. “Even though I had seen a reproduction of the journal before, it was fun to see it in its original format.” 

Visitors also enjoyed browsing some of the Bancroft’s permanent exhibits, including taking selfies with the life-size cutouts of women who played a significant role in California’s history. If you live near Berkeley, take advantage of this world-class archive. If you’re farther afield, the Bancroft is well worth planning a trip.

Information provided by Chris Pattillo and Lorna Wallace. Photos by Chris Pattillo and Vicki Contente.
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